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The Essential Cuticle Care Guide: What Is Cuticle?

Categories: Nail Care

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what is cuticle, cuticle care guideOur Essential Cuticle Care Guide would be incomplete without this post about the cuticle itself. What is cuticle? While the answer seems to be so simple, many of us call a cuticle what is in fact the Eponychium! And that’s where all the problems start. Because if we don’t know what and where it is then how we can look after it properly?

Have a look at the chart below, see where the cuticle is? Now look at your nails, at the base of your nail precisely – the area where the nail meets your skin. The cuticle is the layer of dead, transparent skin that attaches itself to the nail plate as it sloughs off the underside of the eponychium. The cuticle overlaps the hard nail and touches the lunula. If you’re wondering what they do, or why you need them, have look at this article.

what is cuticleImage source: Nail-solutions

Now that we know what is cuticle it becomes apparent why trimming cuticles is a big no. Cutting them can break the seal that protects the surrounding skin from infection. Same rule applies to the eponychium. Don’t ever cut it! The eponychium protects the nail matrix (growth center). Trimming disturbs the function of the eponychium causing the body to react with a self-defense mechanism, similar to scarring. The cut tissue will be replaced with thicker, harder material. The more you remove the skin, the faster the body will replace it – thus creating an unhealthy cycle that may cause any number of nails infections.

Cuticles and eponychium should not be dry, thick and hard but soft, pliable and moist. If you get frequent manicures, your cuticles should be smooth and even, pushed back as far as they’ll go. If not, they may be ragged or creeping up on the nail. Either way, it’s a great idea to pay attention to these little friends as they are directly responsible for the health and strength of your nails.

So dear readers, did you know that what is usually called cuticle is in fact eponychium? What is your best tip for caring after cuticles?

Related posts

For more on Cuticle Care check out our Essential Cuticle Care Guide articles.

Note: This was the third post in a five-part Essential Cuticle Care Guide series. In our next post we’ll share the best 5 cuticle creams that are truly amazing.

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  • Mel May 16, 2013, 11:42 am

    Thank you for putting this up and actually educating people properly! So many times have people been misinformed about cuticles and glad that people will now understand that cuticle actually grows ON the nail plate (which can easily be removed with a cuticle remover – Orly’s CUTIQUE is the best i’ve ever tried!).
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  • Maria V May 16, 2013, 11:08 pm

    Thank you Mel. I haven’t tried ORLY Cutique yet – it’s on my list now! x

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