Q&A

Is there a product that would help with the swollen and irritated cuticles for my nail biter client?

Q.

I have a client who was an intense nail biter who has (thankfully) stopped her habit going on three weeks now. She is concerned that her cuticle area is still swollen and irritated. Will it just take time or is there a product out there that would help with the swollen and irritated cuticles?

A.

The best thing your client can do is keep her hands and, in particular, the nails and cuticles, well-lubricated with a good hand cream. She should rub in the moisturizer every time she removes her hands from water, applying it after drying the hands. Keeping the nail lubricated will allow her to grow new cuticles that in time will return to normal.

Once things are back to normal, the tech should be careful with the cuticles, never dissolving them away with removers or cutting them. Gently push the cuticles back very little after softening the skin with a moisturizer. Push back only slightly because you want to have an intact rim of cuticle all around the base of the nail. Water or irritants won’t get into the skin under the proximal nail fold because the cuticle has “sealed” the nail fold. In time things should return to normal — probably two months or so. — Dr. Paul Kechijian is a dermatologist in private practice in Great Neck, N.Y.

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