What exactly is a damaged cuticle? This often happens when the skin around your nails dries out and hence it starts peeling, flaking and cracking. Skin conditions, trauma, underlying diseases etc. are among factors that can potentially cause this problem. Today, you’ll discover the causes, symptoms, cuticle treatments and more about damaged nail cuticles.
Let us begin our discussion with the comprehensive meaning of what a cuticle is. It may have other meanings but in our case, we define it as the thin dead tissue layer riding on the nail plate to create cover between your nail plate and eponychium to prevent matrix area from being infected by bacteria, fungi or virus.
Now, peeling, flaking, cracking or sore cuticle means the same thing as damaged cuticles. This can occur on the fingers or toes. There are a number of factors or conditions that can lead to this. So, understanding how to get rid of damaged cuticles is fundamental but also an accurate diagnosis of the underlying causes is as well very important to help you define the best treatment. This repair damaged nails and prevent the reappearance of this nerve-wracking and embarrassing condition
Read below to see the possible causes and their respective treatments or remedies:
What causes damaged nail cuticles
Here are explained common causes of damaged cuticles and nails:
Dry skin around nails
This is the most common cause of damaged nail cuticles. When they dry, they can easily crack, peel or flake just the same way your skin does. Factors that can lead to dry skin around nails cuticles are cool dry weather, cruel detergents, and soaps, acetone nail polish, prolonged use of nail polish, excessive drying, prolonged or frequent exposure to water. Skin dryness can also be due to underlying diseases or certain medication causing immune disorder or hormonal shifts.
Cracked, peeled or sore cuticles can easily get infected leading to serious symptoms such bleeding, extreme pain among others.
Biting fingernails or the skin around fingernails
Biting the skin around fingers is another common cause. Whether influenced by compulsive body disorder or otherwise, no relief or good can emerge from this ‘bad habit’. It can also enhance infections since many pathogens survive in the moisturized environment.
This habit is totally avoidable but first, you have to beware of it. Thereafter, you can resolve to stop but if impossible may due to a nervous disorder, you can try to employ a technique that will prevent you from biting. Wear bandages over your fingertips or apply something that will taste bad upon biting, this will stop you from biting anymore.
Infections can also damage your cuticles. The infections can occur before the damage or after the damage. “Low-level chronic infection caused by yeast and moisture.” These are the words of Jessica Krant, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. There are several symptoms that can occur alongside infection i.e. if you notice your nails are turning brown this can be a sign of fungal infections
Your cuticles, both of fingers and toes can also be due to certain internal diseases. Diseases of heart, kidney etc. can lead to dehydration that may affect the whole body and thus can lead to them being damaged.
There are also certain skin conditions that can lead to this condition. A good example is psoriasis. Allergens such certain foods, pollen, cold etc. and irritants such as some harsh soaps and detergents, certain chemical among other irritants are other triggers for cuticle damaging. They can lead to eczema or another dermatitis that can damage your cuticles.
Malnourishment and nutritional deficiency
Usually, the food we eat or our diet determines a lot about our health. Certain food is dehydrating, lead to certain systemic diseases or can surge the level of blood sugar leading to hormonal shifts that can lead to dry skin or other skin conditions. These can potentially lead to nail cuticular damage.
According to beautysight.org, “deficiency in vitamins and essential minerals could worsen cuticle and nails peeling and other problems”. What then is the solution? Well, a combination of good nutrition and multivitamin supplements may be the best relief.
There are also certain types of medications that can lead skin conditions that can trigger the same problem. They include oral antibiotics or medications used to treat internal severe diseases such as heart and kidney problems. These medications can also result in autoimmune disorders that can also contribute to your cuticles being damaged.
They can also be a sign of physical trauma. It can result from hard or rough work. Improper manicure and pedicure can also result in damaged nail cuticles. There are more forms of cuticle injuries including heat at home and all can potentially damage them. In case of severe damages, bleeding is the most common symptom among other symptoms.
Symptoms – bleeding, soreness
Symptoms of damaged cuticles are virtual but unfortunately, many people seem to be unaware or ignorant about this condition. To many people, this condition is unsightly and embarrassing and they tend to be nervous about it especially the teenagers. Here are some of the symptoms that may occur alongside cuticle damages:
- Peeling skin around nails, cracking or flaking may be experienced in nails, cuticles or eponychium. The causes may be affecting the entire finger/toe. Note, many symptoms begin on the nails and eponychium.
- Bleeding skin around the nails
- A sore skin around the nails or sore cuticles
- The skin around the nails will get dry and may itch or develop burning sensation.
- In cases of severe traumatic injury, the nails may be detached as the cuticles also get damaged.
- If you usually bite your nails, then you can somehow predict the occurrence of deformed cuticles.
Underlying diseases accompanied that may result in this problem may even cause life-threatening symptoms. Proper diagnosis is significant to administer proper treatment. Splitting, cracked or peeling cuticles can be relieved with simple and easy home remedies. OTC or prescribed therapies can also be employed in moderate or severe cases.
How to repair damaged cuticles – treatments and remedies
If you have damaged cuticles then don’t panic, there are several commercial and home remedies available that can be used to get rid of unsightly and bad cuticles. Here we explain the best ways to repair them
When the cuticles peel, crack, split or flake because they are dry, moisturizing can help you avoid bad cuticles. There are various forms of techniques you can apply to act as moisturizing options. They are commercial or homemade remedies. Here are the most effective moisturizing options:
This product has been used for years and many people have good testimonies about it. Many users are pleased with how they moisturize, soften and treat damaged cuticles. A good brand for this case is Vaseline petroleum jelly. Apply it before going to bed and cover with socks or gloves.
Today as we speak, we have numerous creams and oils on the market. These are commercial but you can as well resolve to prepare homemade creams but a mixture of commercial cream and home creams can do much better. Follow the recipe below to make one at home:
- To 1/3 cup of your best hand cream, add 4 drops of olive oil and 3 drops of lavender oil
- Warm the mixture gently
- Massage the mixture properly into your cuticles and nails
- You should repeat the procedures at least twice daily until the condition relieves
Apply essential oils
Essential oils are also important since they are a good moisturizer. They also nourish the cuticles and they are beautiful once again. Essential oils such as jojoba oil, avocado oil, tea tree oil have a greater capability to repair damaged oil. Tea tree oil is good for treating infections. A mixture of aloe vera gel and tea tree oil are very effective for sore cuticles.
A moisturizing effect can also be met through the application coconut oil, vitamin E oil, beeswax, shea butter. All these can moisturize the cuticles or general skin and heal skin sores.
There are many infection treatments options that can help to treat or prevent such infections. There antibacterial ointments, antifungal or antiviral treatments that can be used. They can be topical or oral, they can the accessed through over the counter or through doctor`s prescription. Antibiotics creams like Neosporin, bacitracin and more can also be meaningful. If you are not sure, you may visit your doctor for sure prescription.
More tips treat or prevent them
There several dos and dons that can be observed to prevent or relieve the damage. Here are the most common tips:
- Overgrown or long cuticles should push back in a well-organized manner. Don’t trim but instead, you can push them with an orange stick
- Trim your nails to avoid hangnails that will urge you to pick
- Stop biting or sucking your fingernails-this is a bad habit and can result in bad cuticles due to excessive moisture.
- When doing rough works at home or anywhere else, try to wear cotton-lined gloves or boots. You should do the same if you handle harsh chemicals. It is not ideal to wear gloves while washing dishes but you know excess of it is just a hell. Switch to doctor`s recommended dishwashing soaps.
- Another good idea to limit the vulnerability of bad cuticles is to protect both your hand feet from the cold or dry weather. This can be achieved through wearing gloves and socks plus closed shoes. Also adhere to regular applications of moisturizers as well.
- Avoid the application acetone nail polish removers and resolve to acetone-free bands
You may need to see your doctor
For sure, the above causes and repair approaches will put you somewhere closer to beautiful and healthy cuticles or nails. However, if this is not the case then it is time to see your doctor or dermatologist. In certain circumstances, even the cuticle problem may worsen or become persistent.
You should seek professional medical service if they become extremely painful, swells or form pus or when the damaged cuticles develop a reddened skin. These can be signs serious infection or serious underlying condition.