Until about a year ago, I was cutting my cuticles roughly once a week. I wasn’t just cutting hang nails, I was taking off my entire cuticle. For years, I was always under the impression I was supposed to be cutting away the whole cuticle because it was dead skin. Little did I know that what I was doing was actually dangerous. Finally, I’ve learned the answer to cutting or not cutting cuticles. Here’s why you shouldn’t cut cuticles:
Think of your cuticles as a barrier to infection. Now think of removing that barrier. What do you think happens? Yup, you are putting yourself at an increased risk of infection. The Huffington Post sat down with dermatologists Dr. Eric Schweiger and Dr. Michael Gold to discuss why cutting cuticles is actually bad for your health.
Before we get into the expert opinion’s, remember that once you cut your cuticles, it’s a long (and annoying) process of letting them grow back. Your nails might not look so hot for a while. Moving on…
“Trimming the cuticles can break the seal that protects the surrounding skin from infection,” Dr. Schweiger told Huff Post. “Not only can biting or cutting the cuticles introduce infection, but without the cuticle barrier to protect that surrounding skin and developing nail, an infection is more likely to develop. This potential infection around the base of the nail, called a paronychia, is unsightly and often painful. If a paronychia develops, it is important to see your dermatologist for prescription treatment or sometimes to drain the area surrounding the nail.”
It’s also important to note that many of the instruments used by nail salons, more often than not, aren’t properly cleaned. So just think about how bad cutting your cuticles is with a clean instrument, and think about how worse it is if the instrument has been used on loads of other people.
Dr. Gold urges people to “understand that cuticles play a very important role in preventing things like bacteria from entering the area at the base of the nail.” If you are simply getting your cuticles pushed back, or not having anything done to your cuticles, Dr. Gold says it’s still important to make sure the nail technician is using sterile instruments that haven’t been used on other people.
Dr. Shweiger says, “Cuticle-trimming is not necessary; the only benefit of trimming the cuticle is the cosmetic look that some people prefer.”
Bottom line: cuticles do not need to be cut or trimmed as this can lead to infection.