The cuticle on your nails are meant to protect your nail bed from bacteria, fungus and infection. What happens, though, when the cuticle itself gets infected? A cuticle infection can be ugly and painful, and it should be taken care of as soon as possible. If you notice discoloration and abnormalities around and on your cuticle, you may have a cuticle infection.
Signs of a Cuticle Infection
Take a good look at your cuticles. Are they red and blistered? Are they painful? Signs of a cuticle infection include discoloration and atypical nail shape. The medical term for a cuticle infection is paronychia. However, you may actually have a nail infection called onychomycosis.
Nail infections often have the same type of symptoms as cuticle infections because they begin in the cuticle and spread over time. If left untreated, cuticle infections can spread to your bones and blood, causing severe health complications. Cuticle infections occur in the toenails more often than in fingernails.
Causes Of Cuticle Infection
Damaged cuticles are the perfect breeding ground for a cuticle infection. When a cuticle has been cut away or is dry and cracked, bacteria and fungus can seep into the tissue. The two most common types of fungal infections that affect cuticles are dermatophyte and yeast infections. Dermatophyte is usually found in toenails and yeast infections are most often found in fingernails. The main cause for a cuticle infection is poor cuticle care.
Care and Maintenance Of Cuticles
Visit your doctor right away if you think you have a cuticle infection. You may be prescribed topical fungal medication or oral antibiotics to clear up the infection. To prevent a cuticle infection in the future, practice routine cuticle care. If you’re hands are in water often, your cuticles may weaken and become porous enough to let in bacteria. Wear gloves when washing dishes and try not to submerge your hands in water for prolonged periods of time. One of the worst tips that many manicurists recommend is to cut back your cuticles. However, contrary to what many professionals believe, removing your cuticles is bad for you because it allows harmful bacteria to get into your nail bed. Instead, regularly moisturize your cuticles to keep them looking healthy.
Even if you’ll never be the person who gets bi-weekly manicures, you still can’t ignore the health of your cuticles. Both men and women need to take care of their nails to prevent problems. Make sure to follow a cuticle maintenance schedule to ensure that you won’t ever have to deal with another painful cuticle infection again.