Fingernails don't grow very quickly. Their growth averages out to around 0.12 inches (3 mm) a month and toenails grow at least half as slow as that. Interestingly, they grow even slower in cold weather, and research has shown that the nails on your middle and fourth finger grow faster than the rest of your nails [source: New York Times].
Tips for Treating Damaged Cuticles
How you should treat your damaged cuticles depends on just how much damage has been done -- and that usually depends on how it happened in the first place. If you've been biting your fingernails or you yanked off a hang nail, taking care of the issue may not be any more difficult than treating a minor cut. All you have to do is pour some hydrogen peroxide on it, clean it thoroughly and cover it with a bandage. If you do that right away and keep an eye on it, you should be fine. There is, however, a chance that you could end up with an infection. If that happens, treating the injury might not be so simple.
It's very common for damaged cuticles to result in an infection known as paronychia. It can be caused by bacteria, fungi or yeast and it usually results in soreness and occasionally a pus-filled blister. Treatment for bacterial paronychia usually involves soaking the affected nail in warm water several times a day as well as taking antibiotics and undergoing the occasional surgical procedure to remove excess fluid or a small portion of your nail. Fungal infections and yeast infections may require special medication, so if your finger becomes infected you should have it looked at by a doctor for a proper diagnosis [source: Badash].
Another common cause of cuticle damage is dry skin. When your skin dries out, your cuticles lose natural fats that help keep them soft. You can treat the issue by using a moisturizer for your hands and cuticle cream for your cuticles. These creams are specifically designed with fats and waxes to help replace those you've lost and keep your cuticles soft and healthy [source: Gallant].
Keep reading to find out how you can avoid cuticle damage and costly treatments.