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Time to Tidy Up Your Dry Cuticles And Never Mess Up Your Mani Again

Count this among the list of beauty myths that need to be squashed once and for all: Battling dry skin is strictly a wintertime sport. The truth is that our skin can dry and crack any time of year — and that includes the often-neglected skin around your fingernails. “Even with frequent hand washing, the nails and cuticles can dry out,” notes dermatologist and nail expert Chris Adigun, MD, FAAD.

Dry, flaky fingertips aren’t just uncomfortable: When nails, cuticles, and the surrounding skin lose moisture, the small cracks that form can put the nail at risk for secondary bacterial and yeast infections. “Bacterial infections can cause painful paronychia (in which the skin becomes red, swollen, and even pus-filled), and yeast infections can cause the nail plate to ‘lift up’ and surrounding skin to become swollen and tender,” Dr Adigun says. “Eventually, the nail plate can thicken and yellow as it becomes infected, too.” It’s a hell of a domino effect.

The key to nursing the nails and their surrounding skin back to health? Hydrating the cuticles so they’re healthy enough to their job, which is to maintain moisture in and around the nails. That means regularly applying humectant-based and lipid-rich lotions during the day (look for those with lactic acid, glycerin, or ceramides), using emollient-rich creams and oils before bedtime (formulations with beeswax, white petrolatum, and dimethicone make the grade, according to Dr. Adigun), and otherwise leaving cuticles well enough alone. “Patients need to tell their manicurists to not push or trim their cuticles to maintain the health of their cuticles and nails,” Dr. Adigun advises.

Ahead, see the pro’s tips for bringing skin and nails back from the brink, because the only thing decorating your digits should be a fresh manicure.

Lanolips 101 Ointment
Lanolips 101 Ointment
When the skin around the nails starts to crack, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Before bed, Dr Adigun suggests briefly rinsing your hands with lukewarm water. Then, with hands still damp, apply a heavy emollient (like this one) followed by cotton gloves. By morning, hands, nails, and cuticles will show improvement. 

Eve Lom Time Retreat Hand Treatment
Eve Lom Time Retreat Hand Treatment
This luxe hand lotion incorporates the same hydrating ingredients as a thick cream — including vitamin E, niacinamide, and lactic acid, along with extracts of calendula oil, olive oil, and shea butter — but absorbs in a snap. 

Marin Bee Honey Butter
Marin Bee Honey Butter
This shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, and California wildflower honey-packed hydrator is a win-win: It restores parched skin and helps the brand’s own Planet Bee Foundation, which offers backyard beekeeping workshops and education to schools and community groups.
 

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
“If the skin is cracked, added fragrances can be more irritating and worsen the condition,” Dr Adigun warns. This fragrance-free riff on a classic helps soothe compromised skin with glycerin, which works to attract water to the outer layer of the skin.
 

Uka Nail Oil 24:45
Uka Nail Oil 24:45
This nail oil smells so good, it almost feels like a guilty pleasure. But thanks to sweet almond, jojoba, and wheat germ oils, it goes a long way in preventing dry, cracked tips.

Burt's Bees® Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
Burt’s Bees® Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
This beeswax-based salve is loaded with candelilla wax, vitamin E, and a cocktail of oils to help hydrate skin and nails.
Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Oil Stick
Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Oil Stick
Coconut oil isn’t exactly known for holding up on-the-go, but this stick manages to stay solid no matter how hot it gets — and packs shea butter and beeswax (along with its namesake moisturiser) to help heal dry skin on hands, cuticles, face, or body.

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm
This hand treatment, which absorbs to a matte finish, taps hydrators like shea butter and glycerin, along with a copper, zinc, and maganese compound to help calm irritation.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
Another ingredient Dr Adigun likes to mend cracked skin around nails: ceramides, or lipids that are similar to those that are naturally found in our own skin. This ceramide-rich cream is a twofer — it can be used to hydrate facial skin and does a bang-up job of fixing cracked skin near the nails, too.

Credit: Original article published here.

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