What Causes Damaged Nail Cuticles & How to Treat it?

What is a Nail Cuticle & What is its Function?

The nail cuticle actually comes from the bottom of the eponychium, where this residing tissue presses in opposition to the newly forming nail plate. Apparently, the cuticle is one of the stickiest tissues in the entire body. The nail cuticle tissue is so sticky that it bonds tightly to the nail plate and is tough to get rid of. Because the natural nail plate keeps developing, it pulls off a thin layer of skin, detaching it from the bottom of the eponychium and dragging it away. In other words, the detached useless nail tissue hitches a ride on the nail plate. That’s why it appears to grow from below the living skin. This thin layer of colourless nail tissue is known as the cuticle. The nail cuticle creates a critical barrier to block pathogens and assist prevent infections inside the nail matrix area; wherein, the nail plate is made. Infections of the nail matrix can lead to deformity or loss of the nail plate or even bone infections, so nail specialists ought to always be careful in the nail cuticle area to prevent injury and avoid breaking this vital seal. Careful managment of the eponychium and nail cuticle is very essential in preventing nail infections and maintaining nail plate health.

What is Damaged Nail Cuticles?

What is Damaged Nail Cuticles?

Your nail cuticles are a crucial part of your overall nail health. These small folds of skin promote and maintain healthy and strong nails. When reduced or damaged, the nail cuticles could grow to be painful and lead to nail infection. But, there are easy methods to take care of a damaged nail cuticle. The nail cuticle’s major purpose is to protect your nails from fungus, bacteria, and yeast. The normal function of nail cuticles is to preserve your nail health and prevent infection. Also referred to as the eponychium, a nail cuticle is essentially a waterproof, protective seal that serves as part of your body’s natural defense system. It’s made up of dead skin cells and is located between the nail and the edge of your skin on each finger and toe.

What Causes Damaged Nail Cuticles?

Damaged nail cuticles reasons are as diversified as the appearance of damaged nail cuticles; which could look dry and ragged, crack, split, peel, flake, or even get sore (painful). Some of the top causes of damaged cuticles are as follows…

  • Nail biting and picking and inappropriate nail trimming or pedicures are common causes for damaged nail cuticle. These cause injury to the nail cuticle that can ultimately result in a nasty infection, bacterial or fungal growth.
  • Over-exposure to water can also cause nail cuticle damage. Professionals who need to handle water on a regular basis, such as plumbers are exposed to nail cuticle damage.
  • The same can occur due to at home chores such as gardening and dishwashing.
  • Prolonged use of nail polish remover, especially those with acetone can cause nail cuticle damage.
  • Dietary deficiencies can also show up as nail and nail cuticle problems, which include cracking and peeling.
  • Trauma: whether or not from carrying out rough work or a difficult blow on the nail cuticles; disturbing damage can take place, resulting in nail cuticle injury or infections.

How to Treat Damaged Nail Cuticles?

The remedy for a damaged nail cuticle depends on the severity of the damage. You can heal peeling or cracked nail cuticles by moisturizing them several times a day till the situation improves. Jojoba and vitamin E oils are additional useful resources on the restoration of nail cuticles. If the nail cuticle becomes inflamed, you may need to apply an antibacterial or antifungal cream for five to seven days. However, when you have pain in the nail or if the condition worsens, then you need to consult your doctor.


The nails indicate one’s health status over a period of six months, throughout which time new nail growth appears. Many factors decide changes in the colour, texture, and shape of the nails; from trauma, heredity, and systemic sicknesses, to dietary imbalances and the inability of the body to absorb essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Excessive exposure to extreme temperatures and weather conditions can cause nail cuticle damage. An excessive amount of dryness will cause nails to emerge as too hard, brittle and crumbly; whereas, an excessive amount of moisture will bring about infections and weak spot of the nails. The strength of the nails must be balanced with certain amount of flexibility. A healthy and properly-balanced diet should contain the essential vitamins and minerals to preserve a healthy mind and body, together with good enough water intake, exercising, stress reduction, sleep, fresh air and removal of waste products from the body and retention of precious nutrients; all of which can contribute to healthy nail cuticles. Overall better diet and hydration can have a positive effect on your nail cuticles over time.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 19, 2019

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