Your Nail Cuticle

Anail cuticle is one part of the structure of the entire finger. In looking at fingernails, these keratin structures protect a very delicate area of the fingertips while still providing sensation.

While most people are aware that nails safeguard our hands, they may not realize that the nail contributes to the way we interact with the world.


Fingernail Formation

Your fingernails have various parts including the eponychium (cuticle). Other parts include the root, nail bed, and nail plate. The nail cuticle appears at the base of your finger and creates a waterproof barrier between your nails and outside influences that could harm your hands, particularly the nail root and nail bed. 

As you get older nail cuticles may dry out or crack, which increases the chances of finger infections or fungus. If you’re past the age of 40 chances of damaged cuticles increases, so it’s more important than ever to take good care of your hands and hydrate the cuticles regularly.

Other reasons your nail cuticles may crack include your environment (too hot/dry or very cold), health issues, exposure to chemicals, and over-exposure to water.

Cuticle Trimming

Some experts do not suggest trimming nail cuticles. They feel this compromises the protective nature of the cuticle. Other professionals, however, routinely use cuticle trimming as part of a good manicure treatment (over-growth of nail cuticles can stifle nail growth). No matter what, if you do choose to trim your cuticles don’t overdo it.

The best approach for safely trimming your cuticles is to first massage them with cuticle cream. Next, use a cuticle pusher to move back the cuticle so that the white of your fingernail shows.

Repeat this process over 1-2 weeks. By the end of that period there will be a dry, loose bit of dead skin that can be trimmed neatly using sterilized cuticle scissors. Afterward simply keep your hands well moisturized. This will deter getting hangnails.


Your nail cuticle plays a key role in finger and hand health. They act as a protective barrier keeping germs and fungus out of your fingernail. Because of this, nail cuticles should not be over-manicured.

While your nail cuticle can be trimmed safely following the procedure described in this article to create a visually appealing manicure, all due caution should be maintained. If at any time you accidentally cut live skin, make sure to clean it out completely and apply an antiseptic.



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