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The sensitive skin around your nails can be affected by dry, cold weather. Here are some tips from experts to help keep your nails healthy.

One of the secrets to good-looking nails is to have well-tended cuticles. It’s becoming more difficult to maintain them in top shape as the weather changes.

“Cuticles can get even dryer than normal skin because of the hyaluronic acids in our skin,” stated Neera R. Nathan, a dermatologist surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital. The cuticle does not have this second layer.

Your nails are affected by how your cuticles move. You may notice white lines on your nails, which could indicate that your cuticles are dry. This causes nails to break more often.

Even worse, damaged cuticles could pose a risk to your health. “When your cuticles become damaged, the nail as a whole is prone to infection,” dermatologic surgeon Dendy Engelman said. “Open cuticle wounds and peeling skin aren’t able to properly protect against infection-causing bacteria that can enter the nails. It is important to maintain a healthy, clean and moisturized nail area.”

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Stop snacking on cuticles and put down the scissors

Stop being so harsh on your cuticles. Engelman stated, “It’s not easy to do, but stop picking at your nails and cuticles, and the surrounding skin.” It can make the skin more sensitive and can lead to infection.

Are you tempted to grab a pair of cuticle scissors. You should stop. “Many people choose trimming, but it’s not the best choice,” nail stylist Vanessa Sanchez McCullough said. “Because the cuticle is made up of two different types of skin, both dead and live tissue, trimming can escalate problems instead of stopping them. You should first care for your skin before you let a manicurist trim your cuticles. It will make a big difference.”

No-fuss cuticle maintenance

Here’s a simple two-for-one moisturizer suggestion from Michelle Wong. She has a Ph.D in Chemistry and founded Lab Muffin Beauty Science. Also, you might consider starting from the inside. “Since our cuticles and nails reflect our overall health and nutrition, I recommend taking a daily multivitamin with biotin, zinc and vitamin D,” dermatologist Brandon Kirsch said.

It is also important to be punctual. You should moisturize the area immediately after you have finished washing your hands. “The key is to moisturize frequently with a cream or ointment-based hydrating moisturizer, and to apply it while the skin is still somewhat damp,” said dermatologist Cula Svidzinski, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai. “This will make your cuticles look great.”

You can boost your nighttime routine by wearing gloves. They will lock in moisture while you sleep. Our nail artist Natalie Minerva said that “I think overnight gloves can really help quite a lot. To lock in moisture, use a moisturizer or Vaseline.”

Make sure the overnight glove is made of cotton or another breathable material. Kirsch stated that too much moisture can cause damage to skin and make it more difficult to breathe.

Experts’ favorite ways to show your cuticles some love

Vaseline and cotton gloves

Nathan stated that petrolatum oil ointment (also known as petroleum jelly) is her favorite. It can be used alone or under cotton gloves. It’s cheap and generic brands work well too.

nivea creme on green surface

Get Vaseline 100% pure petroleum jelly from Amazon for $4.88.

Get five pairs of cotton gloves from Amazon for $5.99.

Aquaphor healing ointment

Minerva stated that if you need something more intense or if you’re using overnight gloves with cream, this is the product to use.

Get it from Amazon for $9.58.

Aesop Fabulous Hand Balm and Face Oil

Minerva stated that the face oil was her favorite product. “It’s usually used as a night cream for the face. But, I also use it on my hands because it has a nice oil finish and smells amazing. Aesop’s hand balm is also something I use on my clients.”

Get Aesop Fabulous Face Oil on Amazon for $57.
Get Aesop Hand Balm from Aesop for $30.

CND Cuticle Away, CND SolarOil

McCullough stated that the two products can be referred to as a “cuticle cocktail” because they work together. Cuticle Away, an alpha-hydroxy-based product that exfoliates dead skin cells to remove them from the nail plate and cuticle areas. After exfoliation, you should use SolarOil to moisturize the skin. Your cuticles will look invisible if you keep using them. They will be healthy and strong.

Amazon offers CND Cuticle Away for $16.74.

CND SolarOil on Amazon starting at $8.50

Isdin SiNails cuticle serum and nail strengthener

Engelman stated, “I love the one-click applicator pen that is easy to use. I keep one at work and use it to apply the nail bed and surrounding areas. This serum contains cationic Hyaluronic Acid to deeply moisturize both the cuticle and the nail bed. It also helps to moisturize the entire nail structure. It keeps nails flexible and supple, and promotes ideal moisture levels in the cuticles.”

Get it from Amazon for $32.

L’Occitane nail and cuticle oil

Minerva stated, “This is my cuticle oil pen that I use when on the move, It is small in size, easy to use and has no spills.”

You can get it on Amazon for $19.50

Hand cream Neutrogena Norwegian Formula by Neutrogena

Both Kirsch and Svidzinski cited this brand as their top choice for cuticle moisturizing. It is a concentrated, long-lasting, glycerin rich, fragrance-free product.

Amazon offers a 3-pack for just $14.88

A Canopy humidifier

Engelman stated that the environment has a significant impact on skin and nail health. Dry air can quickly dry out skin making it look flaky and dull. An evaporative humidifier such as this one is recommended.

It costs $48.47 on Amazon