Allure gets expert advice on cuticle work from Richard K. Scher, professor emeritus of dermatology at Columbia University, and May P. Lupo, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane School of Medicine in New Orleans. To prevent infection, Scher suggests soaking nails in warm water and pushing cuticles back with a damp washcloth. Skin that needs to be trimmed should be done very carefully. Lupo recommends washing with an antibacterial soap before trimming cuticles. Sterile clippers should be used, and should also be wiped with alcohol before each use. The skin should be nipped, not pulled, and then dabbed with an antibiotic ointment afterwards.