What can I do for a client who has a lot of cuticle growth but doesn’t like to have her cuticles trimmed?
People often mistake the cuticle for the eponychium. The true cuticle is the dead skin that rides on top of the nail plate as it grows. The eponychium is the living tissue that creates the border at the nail plate, near the lunula. Your client is right, living tissue (eponychium) should never be trimmed or cut. This part of the fingernail serves as a barrier against infection. Cutting may lead to serious infection and result in permanent damage to the nail growth matrix and nail plate. It can also increase the chances of adverse skin reactions to nail products. Daily cuticle conditioning can help keep the eponychium healthy and free of hangnails. The cuticle should be gently pushed back or lightly removed with an implement designed for this purpose. Even though the cuticle is dead skin, it creates a tight seal between the nail plate and the eponychium. If this seal is broken, bacteria may gain entry to the matrix or surrounding tissue and cause infection. Care must be taken not to injure this important area by over-manicuring or cutting. – Doug Schoon
There are many products, both creams and oils, within the industry that are made to soften and remove excess cuticle. Products with alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) have shown good results in this process. Educating the client and getting her to use the product at home are critical. Advise the client that what you are recommending will promote healthy nails. A client who understands that excessive cuticle overgrowth is more likely to crack and split, thus allowing infections to occur, will have more incentive to follow instructions. – Godfrey Mix, D.P.M.