Waking up one morning and finding peeling cuticles can be quite distressing and unsightly. Though many a time, it may not be noticed, it can be quite annoying, as it can cause hindrance to daily activities. It is not only a matter of cosmetic concern, it can also be signs of some health conditions like nutritional deficiency and poor health. The cuticles are made of dead skin cells and are a part of the body's natural defense mechanism. Hence, it is essential to take proper measures to prevent them from damage.
The nails of the hands and feet have small folds of skin at the base. These thickened folds of skin are known as cuticles or eponychia (sing. eponychium). The main function of these skin folds is to keep the nails anchored to the fingers, and also ensure that they are strong and healthy. They also act as a protective shield against a number of infections and also from bacterial and fungal infestation. Sometimes, small tears may occur in them, making them protrude from their attachment. These are also called hangnails and are hardly noticed. They are a part of the body's natural process of wear and tear. Only when they stick to the fabric, do they come into notice.
- One of the primary causes is dry skin. When the skin loses moisture, it begins to become dehydrated and dries up, which may cause the cuticle to detach itself from the nail base.
- The growth of nail fungus called onychomycosis, at the site of this thickened skin can lead to infection. This infection can also damage the nails and make them dry and chapped.
- If you have the habit of biting nails, quit it, as it can loosen the cuticles, making them lose their elasticity.
- Overuse of nail cosmetics and manicuring can lead to this infection, which can be quite painful.
- Some other causes include injury to the nails, over-clipping, and even stress.
This condition can be painful at times and may also bleed. In order to prevent further infection, you must take a few necessary precautions.
- Trim the overgrown cuticles on a routine basis and use ample moisturizer to keep them from dislodging from the nails.
- Don't overexpose your nails to water or harsh chemicals, as these may only worsen the condition.
- Never tear off the hangnails, as these may rupture the adjoining area, making it prone to bacterial infections.
- Apply essential oils, like concentrated orange oil, tea tree oil, or jojoba oil to the nails before going to bed as these oils retain the moisture and prevent them from cracking.
- An orange stick can be used to push back the cuticles.
- Apart from the measures at home, eating a balanced diet is also essential to prevent this nail problem.
There are also many methods to prevent this condition from taking place. Following a proper nail care regimen will help a great deal, and also keep the nails in good condition.
Disclaimer: This NailArtMag article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.