Q&A

Is there any way to treat cuticle overgrowth combined with cracked nails and skin?

Q.

I have a client with an overgrowth of cuticle, and very cracked skin on her sidewalls. And her nails keep splitting. I have been giving her manicures for more than a year, keeping her nails short mostly because they won’t grow. Is there anything that I can do to treat this?

A.

This is a combination of dry skin or mild eczema associated with brittle nails. The skin must be kept well moisturized. It is best to push the cuticle back not with metal or wooden instruments, but with a moist towel or washcloth, after soaking for about 10 minutes to soften the cuticles. This will cause less damage in patients with very dry skin. Sometimes if the dry skin becomes severe enough, a cortisone cream may be required to heal the cracked skin. An over-the-counter cortisone cream is satisfactory but should only be used intermittently when the cracking is fairly severe. Keeping the nails short is actually a good idea because when they are shorter they are less subject to trauma, which increases the splitting of the nails. It is not true that nails do not grow. They always grow, although in some people they grow more slowly than in others, particularly in older age groups. It may appear that the client’s nails do not grow, but they are just growing at a much slower rate.

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