When it comes to caring for your hands and nails, your cuticles are most often neglected, which is a very wrong hygiene practice. You should know that your cuticles play an important role in the health of your nails.
Keeping your cuticles unkempt can make your nails appear dry, crusty, and prone to infections- you definitely don’t want that.
If you’ve just got a fresh manicure, you may notice that your cuticles are itchy, red, or even inflamed. That is a sign that you need to address the situation immediately.
Lucky for you to come across this article as we will be discussing why itchy cuticles happen. We will also share tips on how to relieve itchy cuticles. Stay with us.
What are Cuticles Designed to do for your Nails?
The cuticle is the thin outer layer of skin surrounding the fingernails and toenails. The function of the cuticle is to protect new nails from bacteria, germs, and dirt when they grow out from the nail root. They consist of dead skin cells filled with keratins, giving your nails strength and flexibility.
The skin surrounding the cuticle is delicate. They can get dry, itchy, or cracked easily and must be adequately cared for. The easiest way to care for them is to soak them in warm water for a few minutes to help soften and keep them clean.
In addition, you can also apply your preferred cuticle oil and massage moisturizing cream regularly to prevent dryness or cracking.
Why do Cuticles Itch after Getting Nails Done?
Furthermore, cuticle itching is a common issue for many. Your itchy cuticles after getting your nails done could mean several things. Below we highlight a few reasons why this occurs.
1. Excessive Trimming
For one, it is normal to nip the cuticles during your manicure process to help your nail polish stay longer. However, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) warns against such practice.
When you cut your cuticles, it’s easier for bacteria and germs to get inside, which can lead to infection. So excessive trimming of your cuticles could be one of the several reasons.
2. Allergic Reaction to Chemical Components
Other causes could be allergic reactions to gel polish, fake nails, the chemical components of acrylics (liquid monomer and powder polymer), or other nail products.
With respect to acrylic nails and gel manicures, if there isn’t enough time for the chemical components to evaporate before cuticle oil or hand lotion is applied, it can stay on your cuticles and cause them to itch.
3. Poor Hygiene Techniques
Also, if the tools used at the nail salons are not disinfected or sterilized, they can affect your nails when they make skin contact.
So whether you get your nails professionally done at the nail salon or DIY at home, your cuticles are still exposed to various products, tools, or chemicals.
If the tools used are not properly cleaned and disposed of, they can cause issues for your cuticles.
4. Nail Biting
Nail biting, pulling, and picking bits of skin at the edge of your nails makes it easier for nail or fungal infections to seep through the cracks that have been opened up.
5. Other Underlining Skin Conditions
Finally, your cuticles may be infected from another source other than those listed above. It could be a symptom of underlying skin conditions. Regardless, without healthy cuticles and nails, you put yourself at risk of other nail diseases.
Is It Normal to have Irritated Cuticles after a Manicure?
No, it is not normal for you to have irritated cuticles after a manicure. If you notice, swellings, bumps, redness, or itchiness around your cuticle area, you can be sure that something went wrong.
Skin irritation can result from two reasons- an infection or allergic reactions.
An infection, also called Paronychia, occurs when fungi or bacteria get under the surrounding skin of the cuticles.
Depending on the cause of the infection, it can be acute (the mild form that can be treated easily with home remedies) or chronic (which is recurring and can last a long time.)
If your hands are constantly wet, there is a high chance of developing this infection.
Again allergic reactions could result from applying acrylic nails, gel polish, false nails, or other artificial nail products. Your nails can also react to the poor hygiene techniques used by your nail technician.
These products will likely cause itching and irritation if you have sensitive skin. The good news is that there are solutions to resolve itchy cuticles.
Symptoms of Irritated Cuticles
Furthermore, the symptoms of irritated cuticles depend on whether it is an allergic reaction or an infection.
According to Healthline, if you have a fungal infection around your cuticles, here are common symptoms you may experience:
- Redness of the skin around the nail
- Nail detachment from the nail plate
- Sensitivity or tenderness around the nails and cuticles
- Pus-filled blisters
- Changes in nail shape, color, or texture
The symptoms you experience for allergic reactions start shortly after exposure to the irritant. The most common symptoms are uncontrollable itching, dry nails, redness, or swelling. Your nail beds may also feel warm for an extended period of time.
These symptoms usually develop a few hours, days, or even months after the polish is applied. They usually appear where the nail meets the skin- the nail bed and cuticle.
It is important to state that some symptoms you may experience may not only be nail related. For example, direct exposure to irritants or harsh chemicals in gel polish formulas or acrylic nails can cause an itchy rash, lip rash, dark circles, or skin contact dermatitis (a skin irritation akin to acne or rashes.)
These chemical reactions can occur when chemical allergens come in contact with your skin. You inadvertently touch your body multiple times in a day. If you have sensitive skin, especially in the eye area, skin allergy to nail products can occur.
Why are My Fingers Swollen and Itchy after Acrylic Nails?
Acrylic nails are made out of a combination of liquid monomer and polymer acrylic powder mixed to form a malleable bead. When placed on your real nails, the mixture cures and adheres immediately to your nail beds.
Unfortunately, most people are susceptible to inflammations and itchiness from wearing acrylic nail products. Itching on your fingers and cuticle areas can be uncomfortable. If you are wondering why your fingers itch, the answer is simple.
When acrylic chemicals come in contact with your cuticles or sensitive part of your skin, swelling or itchiness can occur. The itch you feel is usually a simpler case of contact dermatitis or skin contact allergy that starts shortly after acrylic nail application and fades away when the nail chemicals are no longer present.
Therefore, if you have a low tolerance for the methacrylate chemicals of acrylic powder or all the liquid products like bonder, dehydrator, primer, or acrylic liquid used in the application process, your fingers may itch or swell up.
Do Gel Nails Make your Cuticles Itchy?
Many people report that they experience itching after getting gel manicures. It is possible that a gel manicure can inflame and make your cuticles itchy.
The methacrylate chemicals found in gel polish can cause severe itchy rash not just around your gel fingernails, but also on other body parts. Reactions can often occur when these artificial nails are applied at home or by untrained nail techs.
To avoid itching, ensure your nails are properly hydrated before the gel application. You can massage a moisturizer or cuticle oil into your skin to increase circulation and promote health. It is also best to dry completely all the liquid products used on your natural nails’ surface.
Using the wrong UV lamp could mean the gel polish does not cure completely. Thus, it can increase your chance of any allergic reaction.
If you experience itchiness after getting gel nails, you may try a different brand or product. You can also get recommendations or advice from professional nail technicians.
Is It a Bad Idea to Use Cuticle Remover Products?
Many find that the secret to healthy-looking cuticles is cuticle remover products. A cuticle remover is a special tool containing softening components and active chemicals to remove skin areas around the nail plates gently. They can help break down excess tissue that can ruin your manicure’s aesthetics.
The remover contains chemicals that make this process quick and easy. They are available as a liquid, gel, or light cream. The benefit of using these products is that they are safe and gentle, and the risk of infection is low.
However, as helpful as they can be, many find that these products can irritate the skin and cause long-term damage to your natural nail.
Before using them, you must be aware of their potential risks. For one, substances in the cuticle softeners can cause itching, redness, or swelling.
Also, some of its chemical compositions can damage your nail plate. Therefore, spare yourself the risk by using only high-quality products and trusted brands.
Do Toe Cuticles Itch?
Yes, toe cuticles can itch. You could have infections or reactions when you get your pedicures. Toenails itch for several reasons, including dry skin, fungal infection, and allergic reactions to nail extensions. People who are allergic to nail polish, creams, or nail instruments may also experience an allergic reaction.
Unfortunately, itchy toenails can be uncomfortable and irritating. Knowing the exact cause helps determine the best way to treat it. You may have an ingrown nail, a hangnail, or a cut on your toenails.
Most of the time, you can treat this issue at home by soaking in warm soapy water for a few minutes every day to ensure healthy nails.
You can also apply cuticle oil on a regular basis to prevent dryness and cracking. Additionally, if your itchy cuticles result from infection, you can apply antibiotic ointment to relieve the symptoms.
However, to determine the cause of itchy toe cuticles, it’s best to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Easy Ways to Stop Itchy Cuticles After Gel Nails
Whether you have an allergic reaction or infection after gel nails, maintaining good nail hygiene is the best way to stop itching. Home remedies are the practical option if your case isn’t severe.
Below are easy ways to stop gel nails from itching.
- Soak your hands in saline solution for a few minutes to help soften the skin and relieve the itchiness.
- Gently massage your cuticles with a cotton swab dipped in saline solution.
- Apply a cuticle cream or moisturizer to your hands and nails to help hydrate the skin.
- Trim your nails short and file them into a rounded shape to help reduce irritation from nail polish and adhesives. Long nails are prone to breaking and cracking, so keep them short.
- Use an orange stick to gently push back your cuticles, which can help eliminate the itching sensation.
- Avoid using nail polish or gel nails for a few days to prevent further skin irritation around your nails.
- Avoid acetone-based removers when removing gel polish to reduce irritation. You prevent further damage by minimizing contact with potentially irritating ingredients around your cuticles.
- Avoid biting off and nail peeling excess bits of skin at the edges because this could lead to inflammation and increase the chances of Paronychia near that area.
- If you are still experiencing discomfort and itchiness around your cuticles, speak with a dermatologist to recommend creams to relieve the itching.
How to Stop Itchy Cuticles After Acrylic Nails
As already established, acrylic nails itch, but you can stop the itchy fingers with the right nail treatment. Here are workable methods to help stop itching.
Soak your Hands in Warm Water
Like relieving gel itching, soak your hands in warm soapy water for 10mins every day. You can add drops of natural oils or salt and allow it to dry. You can also use a small heated fan to speed up the drying process.
Moisturize your Cuticles
Moisturizing your cuticles will keep them from getting cracked and dry. Use cuticle oil, petroleum jelly, or hand cream. You can wear gloves to seal the moisture to prevent further drying. Furthermore, if you have nail treatments, you can also apply them on the affected cuticles.
Trim your Nails
Trim, shape, or cut your nails regularly. This will continue to ensure healthy nail growth. Regularly tending the length and shape of your nail will help prevent it from breaking and getting an infection.
Avoid Biting your Nails
Don’t bite your nails! Trading this habit for healthy habits will save you in the long run.
Gently Push Back on Your Cuticles
Cutting or trimming your cuticles is not always necessary. Instead, soften your cuticles in warm water and gently push them back with a wooden orange stick to avoid overgrown cuticles.
Having acrylic nails applied requires proper maintenance. If you constantly clean or wash dishes, we advise you to wear gloves instead. The less contact with hot water and harsh chemicals, the better. This will keep your acrylic manicure pristine and long-lasting.
Use Strengthening Nail Treatment
Apply a nail-strengthening treatment on your itchy cuticles. This will help protect your nail and cuticles from breaking and drying out. Plus, they are great for people who want to grow healthy nails.
How To Prevent Cuticle Pain and Hangnails?
For those who don’t know, a hangnail is a tiny torn piece of skin next to your fingernails. They are caused by dry skin, nail biting, or nail trauma.
Keeping your cuticles healthy is essential for preventing cuticle pain and hangnails. However, these steps will help you in preventing this issue.
Wash your Hands
Ensure your fingernails are clean by washing your hands and cuticles properly. Soften up your hands by putting them in warm, soapy water. This will prevent dirt from collecting under them, which can lead to inflammation or infection.
Moisturize your hands after drying your hands. Massage petroleum jelly, cuticle oil, or other moisturizers onto your hands, focusing on the hangnail and cuticle pain areas. This will reduce the possibility of getting painful hangnails in the future.
Gently Clip the Hangnail
Use a pair of sterile nail clippers or cuticle cutters to clip the hangnail off gently. Try not to press too deep, as that can cause bleeding. You can also visit your nail tech for regular manicures to exfoliate dead skin cells while pushing back on your cuticles.
Your cuticles are the thin layer of skin surrounding your nails’ base. To prevent infections, skin contact dermatitis, allergies, inflammations, etc., your cuticles must be adequately cared for and not neglected.
Unfortunately, cuticle itching is a common issue for many. They are uncomfortable and annoying to deal with. Thankfully, we have equipped you with solutions to help stop itching after your manicure.
In addition to the above, we recommend you go for regular maintenance. You don’t have to wait up to three weeks. From two weeks, you are due for fill-in and upkeep. So prioritize your cuticle health today- don’t wait till it’s too late.