Cuticle Care Is The Key To Longer Nails - Here's Why

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You only have to get on Instagram or TikTok to marvel at the wonders of long nails. And while nail extensions have their own appeal, there is also a sense of accomplishment that comes with growing your own nails to the length you want them to be. Add to that the many beautiful ways in which you can paint them with nail art, and you're talking a whole new look to go with your sense of style. 

Did you know that your cuticles have a lot do with maintaining healthy and long nails that won't chip off? Cuticles are the skin that surrounds the very inside edge of your nails where your nail meets your fingers. If yours are chapped and dry, you may see them often, but if they're behaving as they ought to, you probably don't even notice your cuticles every day. That is until you visit your manicurist and you're wondering if you should push your cuticles back or not before starting the procedure. While there is an ongoing debate between doing that and cutting your cuticles off in the nail world (and most experts would tell you to leave your cuticles alone), there are some things you can be doing for your cuticles in order to support nail growth. 

Here's what you need to know. 

Why are healthy cuticles important for longer nails?

As board-certified dermatologist Dana Stern told Byrdie, "The cuticle is the nail's protective seal. It's like the grout in between the tiles in your shower, keeping water, moisture, and microorganisms out of the nail unit." Your cuticles serve a key function of keeping infections away when new nail growth happens. Unhealthy cuticles also make your nails look bad. 

Have you ever noticed how washing your hands several times a day dries out your skin? It turns out your cuticles are susceptible to dryness and irritation because of extensive hand-washing and environmental factors like weather, too. You are also prone to developing hangnails as a result of dry cuticles that crack and we all know how painful those can become, especially if you try removing them the wrong way (think biting or pulling them off). 

Dry, irritated, or cracked cuticles basically mean a weak nail bed, and a poorly nourished cuticle isn't the best environment to sustain longer nails.   

Care for your cuticles by moisturizing them

You may think that slathering some lotion on your hands is all you have to do when they're dry, but skincare experts would recommend using cuticle oil for dedicated care of this part of your nail bed. Hydrating the cuticle area promotes stronger and more flexible nails that won't break off. 

Nail expert Tina Wang shared with Byrdie that incorporating cuticle care into your daily skincare routine might involve some key adjustments like placing the oil next to your hand wash in the bathroom. This way you won't forget to do it. Put on the cuticle oil when your skin is still moist so you can lock in more hydration. According to professional nail technician Anna Renata who shared cuticle care tips in a YouTube video, it is important that you follow the oiling procedure — just a little bit of it would do — every time you wash your hands. Once a day won't suffice. 

For longer and stronger nails, spend a few seconds and massage the oil into your nail bed. "This makes a significant difference in product absorption, allowing all of the vitamins and nutrients in the formula [to better penetrate] the targeted areas," explained Wang to Byrdie. A cuticle oil you can try for good results is the Cuccio Naturale Revitalizing Cuticle Oil. If you want a more holistic oil that's good for hair, skin, and nails, check out the Cliganic USDA Organic Jojoba Oil.