Why Cutting Your Cuticles Is Riskier Than You Think

There is nothing like a fresh manicure. The whole process of prepping the nails, massaging the hands, and applying a glossy coat of polish can leave us feeling rejuvenated. But whether you're used to doing manicures on your own or you're used to getting them done by a professional, it's time to be aware of one step in the process that's riskier than you think. 

According to University of Utah Health, cutting your cuticles can leave the skin around your nails more exposed to bacteria. Erika Summers, M.D., a dermatologist at University of Utah Health, explains, "Some people like the way trimmed cuticles look, but cutting this protective layer of skin increases your risk for infection."

And you may be surprised at how seriously the discouragement of cutting cuticles is taken in some parts of the country. Some states (including New York) have made it illegal to perform this service at salons, and consider it a "surgical act," states STYLECASTER.

Try to avoid trimming or biting your cuticles

Summers goes into detail with University of Utah Health describing other ways a cuticle can be damaged and what can ensue after. "When the skin around our nails is traumatized by biting or trimming cuticles, or picking at hangnails, bacteria or fungi can enter into the wound. This can cause an infection of the skin around the nail that typically presents with redness, swelling, pain and sometimes pus," she says.

Ok, so we definitely don't want to increase our chance of pain (or pus), but how can we avoid cuticle overgrowth if we shouldn't cut them? Celebrity manicurist Lisa Jachno tells STYLECASTER how you should maintain your cuticles. "You don't want the skin and hangnails tearing, which hurts and can cause infection. You are less likely to have cuticle overgrowth and loose skin/hangnails when you have your cuticles regularly pushed back and exfoliated by rubbing in a circular motion with a towel after the shower and keeping them hydrated," she says. 

Thankfully, you can still look forward to manicures. Just consider having your cuticles pushed back instead of cut, so you're less likely to have problems.