Cuticle Trouble? Perhaps You Should Invest in a Cuticle Remover!
Manicures are not all about the color, having a nice, healthy nail bed to work with is important too! You may be familiar with the term, cuticle pusher- they are a tool used to gently push back your cuticle (the little bit of skin that grows at the bottom of your nail)- this not only helps to encourage stronger nail growth, it also makes the nail appear longer and more presentable! Okay so that’s all nice and dandy, but what is a cuticle remover?
First Things First- Understanding the Cuticle
Before we start talking about the actual cuticle remover itself, it’s important to know exactly what the cuticle is! The cuticle is the layer of dead skin on the back of your nail plate. Together with the eponychium, the two create a protective seal which helps to prevent bacteria from entering the inside of your nails. Remember, the cuticle is not the round-shaped living tissue at the base of your nails! You do not want to touch the layer of living tissue!
What is a Cuticle Remover?
A cuticle remover is often used alongside a cuticle pusher to help remove excess cuticle. (Remember, removing excess cuticle means healthier nail beds!) Cuticle removers (which are often a liquid or cream), contain chemicals which help to break down the cuticle- this makes removal of the cuticle a whole lot easier. To sum it all up again, cuticle removers are used to soften the cuticle, this enables easy removal of overgrown cuticles with a cuticle pusher. Despite its name, a cuticle remover will not directly remove your cuticles!
Are Cuticle Removers Safe to Use?
The two most common ingredients in cuticle remover are Potassium Hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide. While these two chemicals are effective at removing cuticle, they can also cause irritation and dryness if left on your skin for too long. (I mean, surely something caustic enough to get rid of dead skin wouldn’t be good for living skin either, right?) So! In order to prevent this, it is super important for you to wash your hands off thoroughly with water after using it!
?TLDR: Yes, cuticle removers are safe, just make sure to rinse the product off with water afterwards!
How Do I Use a Cuticle Remover?
Using a cuticle remover is actually pretty simple and straightforward! As always, you would want to start with freshly, cleaned nails.
1.) Using the brush, apply one layer of cuticle remover around the contour of your nail
2.) Leave the cuticle remover on for ~3o seconds (depending on your product)
3.) Wash away the remover immediately with warm water and soap
4.) With the cuticle softened, you may now gently push away the excess with a cuticle pusher ☺️
⚠️ Remember, cuticle removers are irritating and drying to the skin! It might be a good idea to apply some cuticle oil/cream to your skin afterwards to help soothe and calm the area.
Types of Cuticle Remover
There are two general types of cuticle remover available, those containing hydroxides and those containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). You may be asking, “Well what’s the difference between the two?!” Allow me to explain. ?
Cuticle Remover Containing Hydroxides
Hydroxide-containing cuticle removers are often viewed as the “harsher” of the two versions; this is due to the alkaline and caustic natures of sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide (the two hydroxides which are most commonly used). These chemicals help to dissolve the dead skin (AKA- cuticle) so that it may easily be removed from the nail plate by a cuticle pusher. Despite their harsher chemical nature, hydroxides are typically safe to use as cuticle removers.
Cuticle Remover Containing AHA
On the other hand, AHA-containing cuticle removers are known to be “milder” of the two versions. Derived from milk and plant products, AHA is a much gentler alternative to hydroxides- it is also often used in exfoliating skincare products. AHA works as a cuticle remover by gently removing the “glue-like” substance that holds your skin together.
So Which Cuticle Remover Should I Use?
While hydroxide-containing and AHA-containing cuticle removers are both safe and effective, there are a few questions that you might want to ask yourself before deciding on which to purchase. For example, do you prefer a liquid? Or a cream? Cuticle removers are available in different formulations, pick the one you’re most comfortable with using!