Whether you see them as built-in guitar picks, defense weapons or tools for getting your keys on and off pesky rings, it's likely you put your nails through a great deal of abuse each day. But you can buffer your nails from potential damage by keeping both your nails and cuticles moisturized, and using cuticle cream is one way to do that.
One of the functions of the cuticle is to protect the new cells that come up from the base of the nail [source: Mayo Clinic]. Dry, cracked or otherwise damaged cuticles create an opening for bacteria and fungi. That's why when you use cuticle cream to prevent dryness, you improve your chances that your nail won't become infected.
Dry cuticles can affect your overall appearance, too, by making your hands seem less attractive. For this reason, some people take matters into their own hands by trimming their cuticles with scissors. A better approach to cuticle aesthetics is to keep the cuticles soft and moisturized. If they for some reason get too long or unruly, you may try gently pushing back a moistened cuticle with a washcloth -- though some experts don't approve of cuticle pushing at all [source: Johnson]. Damaging your cuticles while you try to trim them or push them back can also create an opening for bacteria and fungi and may lead to infection.
To learn more about getting healthier and better looking nails, follow the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Almond, Elaine. "Manicure, Pedicure, and Advanced Nail Techniques." (Accessed 10/5/09)http://books.google.com/books?id=jmF4J4Xl0sUC&pg=PA101&dq=cuticle+cream#v=onepage&q=cuticle%20cream&f=false
- Berg, Rona, Anja Kroencke, and Deborah Jaffe. "Beauty: The New Basics." (Accessed 10/5/09) http://books.google.com/books?id=qAVvUjfza9gC&pg=PA298&dq=cuticle+cream#v=onepage&q=cuticle%20cream&f=false
- Bruno, Karen. "What's New for Your Hands and Nails." 8/5/09. WebMD (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/advances-skin-care-9/hands-fingernails
- Bruno, Karen. "Women's Hand and Nailed Care." WebMD. 8/7/09 (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/advances-skin-care-9/strong-nails-hands
- Johnson, Anna. "Three Black Skirts: All You Need to Survive." (Accessed 10/5/09)http://books.google.com/books?id=Upf8GL9FkpIC&pg=PA61&dq=%22moisturizing+cuticles%22&ei=vsHKSsbwI5eQMvXTuNgD#v=onepage&q=%22moisturizing%20cuticles%22&f=false
- Mayo Clinic. "Nails: How to Keep Your Finger Nails Healthy and Strong." 11/30/08 (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nails/WO00020
- Rosdahl, Caroline and Mary T. Kowalski. "Textbook of Basic Nursing." (Accessed 10/5/09) http://books.google.com/books?id=odY9mXicPlYC&pg=PA619&lpg=PA619&dq=dangers+of+dry+cuticles&source=bl&ots=z-3Ch6Q2v-&sig=GcAJS44LFI8-yOmLq4IIUT8ULNg&hl=en&ei=RUjKSo7HPIuiMa7J7PIH&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10#v=onepage&q=&f=false
- Web MD. "Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center." 11/13/08 (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/nail-problems-and-injuries-prevention