Jul 08, 2015 8:00 AM

Author: Office of Public Affairs


When you get a manicure—or give yourself one—should you cut your cuticles? “Some people like the way trimmed cuticles look, but cutting this protective layer of skin increases your risk for infection,” says Erika Summers, MD, a dermatologist at University of Utah Health. Here, she explains why: 

“When the skin around our nails is traumatized by biting or trimming cuticles, or picking at hangnails, bacteria or fungi can enter into the wound. This can cause an infection of the skin around the nail that typically presents with redness, swelling, pain and sometimes pus,” Summers says. 

If you prefer the look of trimmed cuticles, a safer option is to gently push them back with an orange stick. “But even better, leave your cuticles alone,” Summers says. Are you planning to get a pedicure? Here are some precautions to further reduce your risk for infection at the nail salon.

How to care for your cuticles

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