Monday, January 9, 2012

Should You Cut Your Cuticles?

When I first started this blog, I wanted to write more posts about conditions and disorders of the skin and nails.  However, for the last few months, I have done a ton of polish posts because it has been so fun to experiment with color and I feel prettier when my nails are painted.  However, as an Esthetican and a Nail Tech, providing people with good information regarding the skin and nails is important to me.  Therefore, in 2012, I want to commit more to blogging about such content.  Today, I want to start with the question of whether or not you should nip your cuticles.  

The cuticle is that pesty part of the nail that you always want pushed back and trimmed during your manicure.  Why wouldn't you-it makes the polish look so much neater and is one of the main reasons why we get our manicures.  However, these annoying pieces of skin serve such an important purpose.

The cuticle is the dead tissue attached to the nail plate.  This tissue is sticky, and can be very difficult to remove from the nail plate. But as ugly as they can be, cuticles are there to protect you.  The cuticle seals the space between the natural nail plate and the living skin above it to prevent entry of foreign material and microorganisms.  Therefore, they are helping to prevent injury and infection.  When the cuticle is damaged, often times from nipping, germs have an easy entryway into your body.  This is especially true given how many germs your hands encounter on a daily basis (think about door handles, ATM machines, ect). 

The debate has been whether or not to cut or nip the cuticle.  While some nail techs say that it is a must to make the polish look better, others firmly believe that it is harmful and unnecessary to nip.  These nail techs feel that if you soften cuticles and push them back, the client is better off.  They also encourage their clients to push them back at home, especially after getting out of the shower when they are softest.  There are many doctors that agree by saying that in cutting cuticles, it increases the chance of inflammation and infection. Some State Cosmetology Boards have even made it illegal to nip during a manicure or pedicure service.  My state of Massachusetts has banned the cutting of cuticles.  

As a nail tech myself, I have to say that I agree that you should never cut the cuticle.  While I was taught that it may be necessary, with my experience, and in doing my own nails for this blog, I see how detrimental nipping can be.  During nail school, and after I received salon manicures with nipping, my skin right before the cuticle would be extremely red and swollen.  (While cutting cuticles is illegal in Massachusetts, most everyone does it and just hasn't been caught by the board).  Up until recently, I would nip my own cuticles believing that it would make my polish look better.  How wrong I was!  Since I have stopped nipping, my cuticles look better and are in better shape.  I gently push them back after the shower, and once a week, I use  OPI's Avoplex cuticle remover.  I don't get as many hangnails either!  I am trying to moisturize as much as I can using either OPI's Avoplex cuticle oil, or Aquaphor. My best advice to you would be to STOP nipping, and try pushing the cuticle back diligently.  Think about how much more protected you will be from all of the germs and microorganisms floating around out there. 

Thanks as always for reading.  If you have a question regarding the skin or nails, please e-mail me at and I will research and blog about it.


  1. I've always been afraid of cutting my own cuticles! Now I'm glad. I've never heard of cuticle remover, I'll have to check it out!

    1. Hi Sarah!

      Thanks for reading my post. I went to your blog and read your post from yesterday. Congratulations! I followed your blog and look forward to your updates. Rest and enjoy!

  2. Oh dear! I've been cutting I'm scared. I hope they grow back soon, thanks for the advice!