Is Cutting Your Cuticles Actually The Best Option?

If you've ever stepped foot into a nail salon, you know that one of the first things your nail artist will look at is your cuticles. When getting your manicures, you can be certain that your cuticles will most likely be pushed back or cut. Whether you know the reason why or not, the cuticles are always the first to go. According to The Hand and Wrist Institute, your cuticles are dead skin cells that protect your nails by creating a wall that can keep dirt and debris out. Since this area works to keep bacteria and other factors out, it is highly delicate.


However, this doesn't mean they aren't the first thing to go when you get your manicures done. Usually, your cuticles are removed to give you a much finer and more precise manicure. While removing your cuticles makes your manicures much easier, it's fair to question whether removing them is the best for your nail and skin health.

Should you cut your cuticles?

Before you tackle that cuticle when a clipper, keep in mind that it isn't recommended to remove your cuticles. In fact, celebrity manicurist Dr. Deborah Lippman tells, "Our cuticles prevent free radicals and bacteria from entering the body. They're meant to protect both the skin barrier and the nails themselves." Lippman adds that removing cuticles exposes you to potential infections and can wind up ruining your nails in the end. While you might not like the look of them, cuticles are there to protect your nails and play an essential role in doing so.


The University of Utah Healthcare adds that, overall, cutting your cuticles is nothing but an aesthetic choice. Cutting your cuticles either by biting them or clipping them with cuticle clippers exposes them directly to infections. When you cut the cuticle, you are creating an open wound where bacteria and access and create a nail infection. These infections can cause redness, irritation, swelling, and even pus. The best option is to completely leave the cuticle alone. However, if you simply don't like the look of them, there are small ways you can shrink their appearance.

How to care for your cuticles

Although cuticles are essential for nail health, many don't like the look of exposed cuticles. Thankfully, there is a way you can minimize their look without cutting them completely off. Prevention recommends dampening the cuticle and grabbing a cuticle remover to loosen the cuticle. Afterward, grab a metal pusher to push the cuticle to the back of the nail. Rinse off the cuticle remover and cut only the excess skin that remains. Be certain you are only cutting the excess hanging skin and stop there. This process ensures you rid the excess cuticles without exposing your nail to bacteria.


On the other hand, if you are okay with your cuticles exposed, you still need to ensure they are taken care of along with the rest of the nails. Clutch Nails suggests moisturizing your cuticles daily with lotions or oils. Keeping your cuticles hydrated helps prevent dry cuticles that can dry and peel off. Having your cuticles peel and fall off can be a painful experience. To prevent any nail infections, you also want to ensure your nail tools are washed, cleaned, and disinfected before using them again.