Why It’s So Important to Pay Attention to Your Cuticles Right Now, According to the Experts

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Louisville, KY dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD has been busy recently, posting pandemic-related, skin-focused educational videos on her social media.

One of her most popular posts: The topic of nail health, which she says is just one crucial part of staying healthy in the current climate.

“We want our nails to be trimmed short,” she stresses. “When our nails are longer, germs—specifically bacteria and viruses—can hang out and live underneath them. Then, as we already know, when we touch our faces, it allows for a portal of entry to get into our bodies.”

“Stay safe, stay home and keep your nails short.”

In addition to also recommending short nails right now, Brittney Boyce, consulting nail artist for ORLY, is pushing a “gel break” to her clients.

“With what’s happening now, it seems like it’s safer, since official hand-washing guidelines say to wash under your finger nails,” she says. “I would suggest cutting down the natural nail and filing it in a round shape. Round-shaped nails are stronger and less likely to break than square-shaped nails. Use lots of cuticle oils and hand creams to keep your nails and hands hydrated. If you’re looking to rehab your nails more, use a treatment polish like ORLY’s Nailtrition.”

Wilmington, NC dermatologist Kendall Egan, MD is also pro cuticle oil and recommends applying it, or Vaseline, at bedtime. “Nails are made of keratin and can dry out like your hair with washing,” she explains. “Healthy cuticles will decrease the risk of bacteria and fungal nail infections.”

“And avoid biting your nails! Nail biting often increases with an increase in stress and anxiety! Try hard to resist biting and avoid touching your face.”

As Oklahoma City dermatologist Kimberly Jerdan, MD points out, in general, it’s preferred that someone have short, clean nails if they work in healthcare—since there’s a whole slew of things that can be harbored under the nail plate. 

“With the current COVID climate, I have seen many patients with concern how to treat nails that had gel or dip manicures,” she says. “I believe in supporting local business and have found many local nail salons selling kits to take off these difficult-to-remove nails. It’s genius.”

Plus, Boyce says, some at-home nail care or a DIY manicure might provide a nice distraction at the moment. “If you’re looking for colors, I think bright shades look great on short nails and it’s something easy you can do at home.”

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