Cuticle oil is used to moisturize the cuticle, skin and nail area. It can protect the cuticle and nail against damage and improve the health and appearance of the cuticles and nails. Cuticle oil should not be used as a first-line of defense against dryness, but rather to fix extremely dry, cracked nails. Made of natural, rapidly absorbing vegetable oils, cuticle oil can also contain vitamins and citric acid.
Protect and Repair
Cuticle oil can help protect and repair damage to the cuticles. When cuticles are exposed to excessive cold, sun, chlorination, salty or soap water or other environmental conditions that lead to dry, chapped skin, the cuticles can be also become dry, chapped, and damaged. Similarly, picking at the cuticles, typing, folding laundry, brushing hair and cooking can all cause damage.
Moisturize and Pamper
The main purpose of cuticle oil is to deeply moisturize not only the cuticle, but also the skin and surrounding nail area. Cuticle oil helps increase circulation in the nail bed and can stimulate new nail growth. When cuticles or the surrounding nail are extremely dry and cracked, to the point of separation of the nail area from the cuticle, the oil provides quick repair and protection. The oil deeply moisturizes the area, repairs the nail, stops the cracking and eventually allows the nail to reattach.
Dos and Don'ts
Before using cuticle oil, regular skin moisturizing creams should be used. If you apply the oil too often, your cuticles can become dry and cracked when you discontinue use. Cuticle oils should be used only when the nails are extremely dry.
Common Infusions and Ingredients
Cuticle oils must absorb quickly and should be thin, not thick. Common cuticle oils include any one or a combination of flaxseed oil, wheat germ oil, apricot oil, safflower oils, lavender oils and jojoba oils. Some of these oils may be infused with citric acids and vitamins. The citric acids make the oils absorb quickly. Other ingredients may include vitamins, such as vitamin E, which is an anti-oxidant.
How to Apply
Only a small amount of cuticle oil is necessary. Cuticle oils are potent and small quantities can provide the deep moisturizing necessary. Cuticle oils can be brushed on, similarly to nail polish, or they can come in pen-like applicators. Pens provide a neater application.
Robin Wasserman has been writing and prosecuting biochemical patents since 1998. She has served as a biochemical patent agent and a research scientist for a gene-therapy company. Wasserman earned her Doctor of Philosophy in biochemistry and molecular biology, graduating from Harvard University in 1995.