You may think of a professional manicure as a way to pamper yourself. But while getting a manicure may help you unwind and relieve stress, it can also benefit your personal hygiene and overall health. In fact, by massaging your fingers using cuticle cream, the manicurist ensures that your nail plate and cuticle are moisturized and that the skin around your nail is made softer [source: Almond].

Why is moisturizing so important? You can think of your cuticles as little soldiers, standing guard to protect the nail from infections [source: Mayo Clinic]. But just as a real soldier may perform poorly when ill or out of shape, dry cuticles tend to fall down on their jobs. In fact, bacteria and fungi that cause infections find it much easier to slip past a torn cuticle [source: Rosdahl and Kowalski]. That's where cuticle cream comes in.

To find some key cuticle cream ingredients, you may not have to look further than your pantry. Many are made up of a combination of moisturizing vegetable oils, often including oil from the avocado. And when you add a little citrus to the mixture, you have more than a recipe for guacamole -- you have a combination that not only keeps cuticles moisturized, but also helps them absorb that moisture. Though they're generally thought of as second best to cuticle oils, cuticle creams can soften rough cuticles after several applications. But they're not miracle workers. If you have severely dry cuticles, nails and skin, you might not see dramatic results simply by applying cuticle cream.

If you're interested in learning how cuticle cream can boost your cuticle health, read on to the next page.