After announcing a new “Ask SoNailicious” feature, I received a few interesting questions that I’ll be answering over the next few weeks on SoNailicious, every Sunday. Today I’m answering one of the most common questions – how to fix dry cuticles with hangnails. Our reader, Christine asks:
“…no matter how much cuticle oil/creams and hand lotion I put on my hands my cuticles are still dry with hangnails…. Is there a trick or treatment to nice looking cuticles?”
It’s important to identify what is causing the problem before recommending any treatments. The most common causes of dry cuticles are:
- Infection or allergy
- Poor diet
- Mechanical damage
So to make dry cuticles look nice and smooth, you’ll need to eliminate all of the above by addressing each one individually. I’d recommend the following steps:
- Eliminate all external damage to your cuticles. Stop using all lotions, oils and polishes. Polish remover can dry sensitive skin and cuticles. Only use pure olive oil (buy from a grocery shop) or almond oil from a chemist or organic food shop) to soften them. Don’t cut them (ever). Instead use a good cuticle remover to groom them. Avoid pushing them too hard and wear gloves if you do any housework or gardening. Here’s more great tips on cuticle care.
- Improve your diet. Make sure your diet is rich with vitamins A, C, E and B (B1, B6 and B12). These are some of the main vitamins responsible for your skin condition. Vitamin deficiency, particularly a lack of vitamin E, can cause dry skin. Make sure you’re your diet is rich with the previously mentioned vitamins by eating milk, eggs, oats, fresh fruit, olive oil. Here’s more information on the best foods for strong nails. Avoid fast food, it’s better to exclude fast food completely. Finally take the appropriate vitamin supplements – multivitamins or vitamins for skin and nails.
- See a doctor. If after 3 weeks of having a good diet and not touching your cuticles they’re still looking damaged and dry, I’d recommend seeing a doctor. It may be some kind of infection, allergy or even hormonal problem that would require a more serious treatment.
- Keep going. In the event that your cuticles are looking nice and smooth after the 3 weeks of a good diet and not touching your cuticles, then continue doing the same! Develop a good routine for your cuticles such as:
- I’ll repeat it again, don’t ever cut cuticles, gently push after softening them with oil or after shower,
- moisturize them regularly with a natural oil (see our cuticle oil recommendations),
- try using only 3-free nail polish and finally,
- don’t leave polish remover on your nails for extended periods when removing nail polish. Even better, apply cuticle oil before removing nail polish to protect your cuticles from acetone and other chemicals.
I hope the above recommendations help. What about you, what are your best tips for dry cuticles? Have you ever faced a similar problem and what did you do to solve it?
– Maria, xx