Peeling cuticles and their causes
Excessive use of soaps and sanitizers is the reason behind peeling cuticle

You might have gone through the pain of trying to pull off those tiny pieces of skin hanging out from the nails, at least once. Because why not? It is not only painful otherwise, but also looks unappealing to many. However, have you ever wondered where it comes from and what are its causes? Not many must have given this a thought, or two.

Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, tells you that the skin hanging out from the nails basically happens when there is extreme dryness of the cuticles or because of nail infection or vitamin deficiency or even due to thyroid problems.

“Nowadays, this problem is rising because the pandemic has made us obsessed with the excessive use of soaps, hand washes, and sanitizers that strip the skin of the natural barrier, and even the natural oils which the skin secretes in order to protect itself. When these are lost, the skin dries and tends to peel off around the nails. Hence, this is often a result of repeated hand washing. Also, some people tend to wear powdered gloves, which can also be one of the causes behind the peeling skin,” explains Kapoor.

The only way to prevent it is to minimize the use of soap and sanitizers and keep your hands hydrated at all times. “This can be prevented by washing hands and using sanitizers only when required. Use milder hand washes, moisturize hands after washing them so that the skin stays hydrated,” suggests Kapoor.

While usually, it is only the skin that peels off with a little pain, sometimes you may also see red and swollen cuticles. This can be due to an infection. “If the cuticles are red, swollen, and painful, most of the time they can heal on their own when you reduce the use of soap and sanitizer. However, there can be a time when these may turn into bacterial and fungal infections and, if not treated at the right time, it may even cost you your nail,” opines Kapoor.

Hence, if you are suffering from this problem and it’s a repeated concern then it’s better to see a dermatologist who will suggest the right kind of treatment. “You may need antibiotics, antifungals, and protective lotions so that the nail and the cuticle heals quickly and get back into its original form,” says Kapoor.

Kapoor has a piece of advice for all those who swear by those relaxing and soothing manicures. “Pushing the cuticle back is a common practice during manicures and pedicures. This is not a good practice and if not done properly it can lead to nail infections. The cuticle is a natural protective barrier given to the nails so that the space between the nail plate and the external surface of the skin is sealed. If you are touching the cuticles repeatedly or using something to soften cuticles and push them back then that space gets compromised and infection, bacteria, and fungi can penetrate through it. While going for a manicure, just get the nails cleaned and don’t go for cuticle removal at all,” advises Kapoor.



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