You must have heard of cuticle trimmers or cuticle cutters but what is a cuticle and how exactly should you be taking care of it, should you cut it?

A Cuticle is a thin layer of dead/dry skin at the bottom of your nail bed. It serves as a barrier for your nails to protect you from infection. Some people (nail technicians) cut this later off during manicures but once you cut them off, the area becomes a point of entry and you expose yourself to harmful bacteria and fungus – and we don’t want that. Another reason you shouldn’t cut your cuticles is to avoid cutting your skin, it’s so easy to go too deep and accidentally cut yourself – Ouch!

The best thing to do is never cut your cuticles, instead push them back for a neat manicure and if ever you should cut any skin around your nail, it should be a painful hangnail that occurs along the sides of the nail (and can cause whitlow) or below your cuticle. Here are a few tips for caring for this delicate part of your nail.

dreamstime nails manicure cuticle pusher orange stick

Push Back, Don’t Cut!

After listing a few reason why you shouldn’t cut your cuticles, there’s really no good reason why you should. If you remove it the space is wide open and anything can get in there, like an infection and it could cause other problems like ridges, lines and white discolouration. It could also hinder the growth of your nails.

What you should do is push back using a cuticle pusher (metal) or wooden orange stick which is more delicate for home manicures on your natural nail. The best time to do this is after a shower, this is when the skin is soft and easy to push back. Alternatively you can use cuticle remover, massage it in and then push it back using a wooden orange stick/cuticle pusher. You can also try soaking your hands in warm water until your cuticles are soft enough to push back.


Like the rest of the skin on your body, your cuticle which is also skin needs to be moisturised. Doing this will keep them from looking dry and rough, in return your finger nails will look much healthier. Using cuticle oil regularly will also help make the cuticle soft enough to push back whenever you’re ready or doing a manicure.

So the next time you do your nails at home or go to the salon, don’t cut the cuticles. There’s nothing more unsightly than freshly manicured hands with a side of infection.

Photo: Dreamstime


By Lawrence Micheals

An incurable optimist, a writer, poet, a technopreneur in the making, a resource personnel, an event planner who is technically gifted and clinical when it matters.

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