The cuticle is the protective layer of skin that surrounds your nails. It helps keep moisture in and bacteria out. However, if your cuticles are thick, they can cause problems such as infection and fungus. Fortunately, there are several ways to soften them so they aren’t an issue for you any longer.
In this article, we will examine different ways to soften cuticles using natural remedies that are effective.
Why You Should Soften the Cuticles of Your Toenails
1. Softening cuticles protect the skin around your nails
Softening your cuticles is important because the skin around your nails helps to protect them from cracking. The cuticle is a thin layer of dead skin that protects the base of the nail. It also prevents infection, as it keeps bacteria from entering and causing damage or infection to the nail bed.
If you want to keep your nails healthy and avoid problems such as cracked toenails, you should soften your cuticles regularly.
2. Softening cuticles can help prevent infections
If you soften your cuticles, it can help prevent infections. This is because the skin around your nails is more likely to be damaged and vulnerable to bacteria when it’s dry and brittle. If a cuticle becomes infected, it will be difficult for you to remove any debris from under it without breaking open the nail bed. In addition, an infection will cause your nails to become discolored and thickened over time.
3. Softening cuticles can help prevent ingrown toenails
If you’re at risk of developing ingrown toenails, softening your cuticles can help prevent the problem. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is a hard or tight cuticle pushing down on the nail bed and causing it to grow into your skin. By keeping your cuticles soft, you can reduce the likelihood that this will happen.
4. Softening cuticles can help prevent fungus
When it comes to fungus, your toenails are at risk. In fact, the most common cause of nail infections is fungal growth. This can be a complicated condition that requires medical attention if it’s not treated in time. Fortunately, softening cuticles on your feet can help prevent this issue from becoming a problem by keeping your nails healthy and clean.
Different Ways to Soften Cuticles on Toenails
1. Soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salts
In this step, you’ll need to soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salts. A lot of people like to add a little bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar for an extra exfoliant boost.
While your feet are soaking, get out a pumice stone and start gently rubbing the dead skin off your cuticles. Then use a cuticle remover tool if you have one on hand; this is helpful because it’s designed to reach all the way down into those tiny crevices where dirt gets trapped and makes them look gross.
After that, grab a buffing block (this is just like sandpaper) and start rubbing vigorously on the tips of each toe until all traces of dead skin are gone. Finally, you can use any foot scrub that has coarse ingredients in it to rub off whatever remains.
2. Apply a cuticle softening cream to your feet
You can also apply a cuticle-softening cream to your feet. Cuticle softening creams contain lactic acid, which helps break down the keratin that makes up the hard outer layer of your nails. Once the keratin is broken down, it’s easier to push back so you won’t have to clip your cuticles during manicures as often.
It’s best to leave this cream on for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water and drying off with a clean towel. You should use this product every day until you see results; however, some people find that they don’t need it anymore after just a few weeks of regular use.
3. Rub lemon juice into your toenails
While the thought of rubbing lemon juice onto your nails might make you cringe, it’s actually one of the most effective ways to soften cuticles and remove dead skin. Lemon juice contains citric acid, which can help break down hard layers of skin on your nails. To soften cuticles with lemon juice:
- Cut a lemon into slices and rub them over your toenails. You can also use a cotton ball soaked in fresh-squeezed lemon juice or massage oil infused with the fruit’s juices.
- Let it sit until dry before washing it off with warm water, this will prevent you from accidentally getting any citrus residue on your clothing or other fabrics. If using an oil base (such as olive), just allow it time to soak into the nail before rinsing away excess liquid gently with warm water and patting it dry gently using a towel.
4. Soak your nails in vinegar
If you’re looking for a natural way to soften your cuticles, look no further than vinegar. Vinegar is a natural antiseptic solution that can be used for many ailments, including fungal infections and nail fungus. By applying vinegar directly to the cuticle area, you will help prevent infections from entering the toe area, which can cause much more serious problems later on.
Vinegar is inexpensive and easy to find in most grocery stores around town, so there really aren’t any excuses not to try this method.
5. Massage coconut oil onto your toenails
To soften your cuticles, massage coconut oil onto your toenails. Spread the oil over each nail until all of the nails are covered, then slide a cotton swab underneath each nail to remove any excess oil. Repeat this process every night before going to bed and within a few weeks, you will notice that your cuticles have become softer and easier to push back.
Effects of Hardened Cuticles on Your Nails
1. It can cause infections
If you’re noticing that your cuticles are hardened, it’s important to take care of them immediately. Hardened cuticles can cause cuts in the skin around the nail, which then gets infected.
Aside from being painful and unattractive, these infections can be difficult to get rid of because they’re located in places where you don’t have easy access to them. If left untreated, they could lead to more serious problems like cellulitis or fungal infections.
2. If the cuticle is too thick it can cause ingrown nails
If your cuticles are too thick, it can cause ingrown toenails. This is when the nail grows into the skin and causes pain and discomfort. While there are different causes for ingrown toenails, thick cuticles are one of them.
Ingrown toenails can be treated by trimming the skin around your nails regularly and gently pushing back your cuticle with a metal or plastic tool called an orange stick.
3. It can cause inflammation
Your hardened cuticles can also cause inflammation, which is painful. The nail bed and surrounding skin are highly vascularized and thus sensitive to irritation. As the cuticle grows, it gets trapped between your nail plate and fingertip creating a callus or corn. This trapped skin rubs against your nail plate causing friction that makes the area inflamed.
Toenail fungus thrives in warm, moist conditions like those found in an infected cuticle. Moisture causes fungi to grow faster than they would otherwise, which means you need to get rid of that extra moisture as soon as possible if you want to prevent fungal infections from taking hold of your toes.
4. It can cause fungus
Fungus is a fairly common problem that can affect your toenails, fingernails, and skin. It’s caused by an overgrowth of yeast or mold spores in the warm and moist environment under your nails. The fungus can also be caused by hardened cuticles.
5. It can cause thick, discolored nails
Thick cuticles can also cause thick, discolored nails. This is because it removes the protective layer around your nail that keeps moisture in and bacteria out. The cuticle acts as a barrier against surface bacteria, but when this skin covering is hard, you’re opening yourself up to possible infection by these microbes.
How Do I Get Rid of Thick Cuticles on My Toes?
1. Use a cuticle remover
The first thing you can do to soften your cuticles has used a product designed to soften them. One common method is to apply a cuticle remover, which contains ingredients that loosen the skin around your nails in order to make it easier for you to push back your cuticles with a manicure tool.
2. Remove the dead skin on top of your nails with an emery board or pumice stone
The next step after softening the skin on the underside of your nail beds is removing any extra pieces of dead skin at the tips of your toes and fingers so that they aren’t hanging over into places where they shouldn’t be and getting caught in socks as well as causing discomfort when touching certain surfaces like hardwood floors or fabrics.
3. Moisturize with an oil-based product such as Vaseline or shea butter
These types are more likely than lotion-based remedies such as balms, which don’t have enough moisturizing power on their own but work well when paired with other products. Just remember: If you’re using something other than Vaseline then make sure there’s nothing else in there before applying.
The good news is that there are many ways to soften cuticles on your toes. You can do it yourself at home with a few simple steps, or you can ask your doctor for advice on how to take care of them.