If you are reading this blog, I assume you have some motivation for obtaining better looking fingers. If your motivation is running low, at the very least if you do nothing else, please moisturize. This is one of the best ways to get rid of hang nails, prevent breaks, peels, and many many nail problems.
In my opinion there is no right moisture delivery system, but here is a good list of possibilities:
1. Lotion (body, hand, thick, thin, rich or whatever)
2. Butters (body butters, lemon butter, cocoa butters, hand salves)
3. Oil (olive, Vitamin E, almond, specialty mix)
4. Brand name cuticle cream
Only you know your skins moisture level and it can be trial and error until you find something just right. Some people don't like a heavy greasy feeling while others love it. The only real rule is to use them! A lot, or at least twice a day on the cuticle area.
If in doubt start with something you already have at home and then venture out. Most likely you already own Olive oil, so get to it!
Check the ingredients!
Make sure that the first couple of ingredients listed on your cuticle moisturizer of choice actually participate in the moisturizing process and is not just a filler. The ingredients listed first are of highest concentration in the formulation.
EXAMPLE: Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula with Vit. E
Ingredients: Cocoa Extract, Mineral Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Cocoa Seed Butter, Dimethicone, Fragrance, Vitamin E, Benzyl Alcohol, Carotene
1. Cocoa Extract - Skin softener, antioxidant. Some say the cocoa molecule is too big to penetrate the skin so it's unclear if it can properly moisturize.
2. Mineral Oil and Wax - Does not provide moisture but rather helps seal it in.
3. Cocoa Seed Butter - The ingredient that provides the moisturizing, since it can penetrate skin.
4. Dimethicone - Skin protectant, conditioner and antimicrobial
5. Benzyl Alcohol - most likely a solvent, (i.e. helps mix all the ingredients)
6. Carotene - a natural (plant based) color additive
This is a decent cuticle cream, but I would use it in addition to an oil or butter. The reason being is that the first three ingredients include Mineral Oil and Wax which are better at holding in moisture rather than providing it.
Once you get one what do you do with it?
Work in your moisturizer of choice into the cuticle area and underneath the nail tip. I would concentrate for at least 20 seconds on each finger. (remember at least 2x a day)
Why so long you say????
Well this message will help stimulate the blood flow to your cuticle. Lots of blood flow can stimulate nail growth. I am not promising miracles, but moisturizing + massaging this area will help.
There is much more to cuticle care than this, but this is a great start. I will post more in the future about how you can improve your nail bed length (yes you can lengthen your nail beds!), clean up cuticles and prepare them for polish.
It's November and on the east coast its getting pretty chilly, so during the winter months you might want to step up your moisturizing levels as needed and always wear gloves as much as possible.
Next post: Moisture in a pinch!
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