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Do You Really Know What Your Cuticles Are?!

7 January, 2018 - 08:31pm by - First Lady | 16 Comments

by BR Tabatha

If there's one thing that will ruin a beautiful nail polish its thick, overgrown or ratty cuticles.  Well sort of.  You see, the bits most of us call cuticles are actually called the 'proximal fold of the eponychium'.  Yes.  Catchy.

Ok, so now you know what your cuticles aren't.  But what are they?  The cuticle is actually a group of cells that are pulled out from the bottom layer of the eponychium as the nail grows.  The cuticle cells grip both the proximal fold of the eponychium and the nail, creating a barrier to prevent infection and bacteria getting under the skin or nail bed.

You can see on the top half of this photo (thanks Pinterest!) that the Proximal Nail Fold has released from the cuticle.  The bottom half shows the Proximal Nail Fold is still attached to the cuticle and is being pulled tightly over the nail. 

Whatever you call the bit of skin around your nails, you probably know that it does have needs.  And lucky for us busy/lazy girls, our Proximal Nail Fold of the Eponychiums are easy to please.  

There are just three things you need to do to keep them happy.

1.  Moisturise.  The skin around your nails is always thirsty - so hydration is the key.  Dry skin are likely to snag (hangnails), opening your nails up to infections.  Hydrated folds will be softer and easier to manage. They'll also be less likely to split.

2.  Don't cut the skin around your nails - the Proximal Nail Fold and Cuticle act as a barrier to protect your nail roots and bed from bacteria.  Break the seal by cutting and you're just inviting infection in.

3. Gently push your folds back everyday.  After applying a cuticle balm gently use an orange stick to push the back - never, ever push a tool underneath the nail fold.  If you don't like the look of your (actual) cuticle, you can purchase a remover, but only use this if your cuticles are particularly built up.  Remember - the nail fold and cuticle serve a purpose!

So tell us beauties - do you put the cute in cuticles by looking after your nail folds?  Or are they simply something you forget about and neglect?  

Get chatting below!


Labelled nail images via Pinterest.

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I'm a bit of a shocker when it comes to looking after my cuticles - new years resolution maybe lol

I normally do when just out the shower as skin is softer and easier to push back gently causing less damage, which is why they soak your hands first in a manicure or so the beauty therapist told me last time I had my nails done. Interesting read

I always use hand creams and cuticle oil but I don't push my nail folds back everyday - just ummm once a month at the nail salon.

I know you are supposed to push back your cuticles but I just don't. I am a regular user of handcream and cuticle oil and think that does the job. They don't look terrible to me I can live with it.

Only thing I do is cut my nails and put hand cream on. I need to push my nail folds lol.

my cuticles are ok, it's the Sidewall hangnails that do my head in!

No I'm terrible at looking after them.

I really do need to spend more time on my hands and nails. Very interesting article, never knew there was to know about our nails.

I try my best to look after my cuticles by using hand creams but I don’t often have to push my folds back

Oops... I've definitely been attacking the wrong part of my nail beds. Thought I was caring for cuticles but sounds like I've been damaging my nail folds! Thanks so much for this informative post.

I don't actually give my cuticles much attention. I still need to get something to push back the cuticles.

Mine grow and are quite sticky I push them back but they come back quite soon they need to be trimmed as well more often

Interesting! I go overboard by picking at my proximal nail fold oops... No wonder my nails always seem so dry and brittle! I'm going to leave them alone and kick up the cuticle oil.

Goodness me that is scientific. Have to admit I don't pay much attention to my cuticles until it rips and hurts. Thanks for the info - will have to start looking after them a bit more.

I do look after my nails - I used to be a cuticle chewer rather than cutting a hangnail off nicely and got my hands into a mess. I always do cuticle oil and hand cream at night at bedtime, and sometimes use a cuticle balm too.... when I so my nails I always push back cuticles (once a week).... I don't have the longest nails but they tend to look nice and tidy thanks to my little routine


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