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To trim or not to trim (what do you do with overgrown cuticles)

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#1 Jalee85

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:16 PM

Hey well I was just wondering is it common to get infection in the cuticle area? I have really long cuticles and last two days every morning when I wake a finger tears at the cuticle. I showed my primary and she said that I should trim my cuticles because they are getting infected from the tears, but the truth be told my nail fold area was already red and inflamed and that is why I am afraid to trim my cuticle. Then when I mentioned that the rheumatologist did the nailfold capillascopy and she said it was abnormal for scleroderma and she seemed to change her tune.

So now I don't know what to do. Do I try and push my cuticles back and not let them grow out and risk possibly getting an infection from doing that or do I just let them grow out and tear on their own and then get the infection? Ugh.

Jalee

#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 07:12 PM

Hi Jalee,

That's a good question. If you aren't adept at doing your nails and cuticles, it might be time for you to consider seeing a professional manicurist.

If you do, be sure to select an excellent nail salon that is very good at sterilizing equipment, and see only a very experienced manicurist, not someone who just got out of beauty school. You wouldn't need the fanciest nail treatments, just a regular manicure which in most areas might cost around $8 to $12.

Observe how they are caring for your nails and cuticles and see if its something you can do yourself. (Entirely bandage any infected finger before you go there if necessary and keep it out of all the dips and lotions. They cannot take you if you have an open, unprotected sore.)

You can get no polish or clear polish if you don't want your nails colored. That's not what matters. What matters is either learning from the professionals how to care for cuticles without damaging them, or lacking that getting regular professional manicures, probably about once a month, and maybe a bit more often in the beginning, while your nails are healing. Then don't even think of touching them in the meantime, except to add cuticle oil every day.

I just get my nails done every month, sometimes twice if my cuticles are getting too thick or ragged. Putting a few drops of cuticle oil (or almond oil) on each day also helps keep them soft. Also, wear gloves for anything that might damage your nails or skin or dry them out.

With a little care and a bit of precaution, you should be able to enjoy lovely nails and uninfected cuticles, no matter what scleroderma might bring your way. Also see our section on Scleroderma and Fingernails, Cuticles and Nailbeds.
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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#3 miocean

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 09:55 PM

Hi Jalee,

I do not have the same thick cuticle problem you do but I do get weekly manicures. I started years ago because I am a chronic nail bitter, and not only that, I have a compulsion to use the ragged edges of the nails and pick on things.

This goes back to childhood when I would drive my mother crazy because I would pick the bindings off my blankets and she would have to sew them back on. I have destroyed many a skirt picking the hem out of it. I also am unable to apply polish myself anymore.

Since my kidney transplant I am no longer allowed to use the common items in the salon due to infection or fungus. They keep a box for me that has all my own tools and polishes which I provide. This is a common practice in some areas.

Where my sister lives most salons have boxes with their client's names on them.I am not one for change and use the same color for a long time.
Right now my nails are silver and have been for months.

I also NEVER allow anyone to cut my cuticles, they are just pushed back. Cuticles serve a purpose and cutting them increases the risk of infection.
Again, I don't know what you are dealing with. :emoticon-dont-know:

My nail tech is very gentle and understands how sensitive my hands are.

I am not allowed to have pedicures. If you do a search on the dangers of pedicures you will understand why. Since I can't have pedicures I just have a toe polish change, must less expensive and keeps those beach toes looking good!

I would suggest you talk with friends who get manicures and get a good recommendation. For the small additional investment, I would also ask what tools are needed and provide them yourself. I only need a cuticle pusher, file, and the tool that cleans under your nails.

If the salon won't keep them, you can bring them with you. Instead of polish, which would show the growth of your nail if you are not able to go frequently, your nails can be gently buffed (you would need the right buffer for this.) The salon may also work out something special price wise if you just want to have your cuticles pushed back and your nails filed.

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#4 judyt

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 01:14 AM

Hi Jalee,

I am sorry you are having pain from torn cuticles, I just hate it when they get like that. I have tried all the usual creams and oils and in the end
did what Shelley has suggested and started having a manicure regularly. That has really worked. As Shelley suggested I have a cuticle trim and usually a hand massage too which is lovely. They have lovely sharp instruments (and clean) and can do a much better job than I can. Occasionally I get colour too but not always.

Best of luck dealing with a really annoying problem.

Judy T

#5 Jalee85

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 08:11 AM

Thank you all, for the wonderful advice! I bandgaded up my two fingers that had the tears already last night with some neosporin. Maybe that will help them heal a bit quicker. I don't recall ever having cuticle issues before so I didn't even know it was a problem until someone told me it was.

The job that I was working was causing me to take large rag and dip into pretty hot water and then I would clean off tables at elementary school lunchroom. I have a sneaking suspicion as to why my hands have been drying out. I've had long cuticles since last fall but they never cracked and peeled like they just did.

I have quit that job and hopefully they dryness issue as well. I think I will go back to the salon where I had a manicure last year. She seemed to be really nice and even though I didn't know what was wrong with me last year we were chatting about my health so she does know a little bit.

Thanks Again. I feel like I know what direction to go in now.. It's only a little issue but it actually is very annoying.

Jalee

#6 Joelf

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 12:02 PM

Hi Jalee,

I do sympathise; the torn cuticles and little splits around the nails are so painful! You're quite right when you say it's a small but very annoying problem.

One of the little bonuses I've found from the Calcium and Vitamin D medication I take to combat some of the effects of the steroids is that for the first time in my life I have long fingernails to die for!! :emoticons-yes: Also because my hands aren't constantly in wet damp conditions as they were when I had my horses, the skin around my fingers looks a lot healthier.

If you can find a manicurist in whom you can have confidence and who is also aware of the health problems you're having with your cuticles then a good manicure sounds a really good idea. :VeryHappy:

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#7 debonair susie

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 03:48 PM

Hi Jalee,

If anyone wre to see my hands and then read waht I'm going to add here, they would say I'm "talking out of school" Posted Image

HowEVER... I would think that cuticles can be conditioned/softened and brought back to where they should be. As you
mentioned, having done the work that you have done, can be SO hard on the hands/skin, as well as very drying. I would
say that if you work (faithfully) on lotioning your hands and find out what cream would condition your cuticles, I
believe that it would soften your cuticles, thereby eliminate infection. In other words, once your cuticles become
softer, they would also become more pliable, more workable, thereby being able to push them slowly down wehre they should be.

I must say that I'm NOT an advocate for trimming cuticles (and I may be all wet), but I really believe it can only exacerbate
the problem, thereby defeating what you are really wanting and that is: infection-free cuticles/fingers. It would make them tougher,
thicker and they are supposed to protect the fingernail bed; trimmed, I would think they would actually pull away, making that area
(more)susceptible to infection.

Let us know how this all goes, please?
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#8 Chopper

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 01:40 PM

It's such a good question and I ask it ALL the time! For me my most bothersome cuticles are my thumbs where I seem to have thicker skin above the nails that peels alot. However, on my other fingers, on the sides of the nails, the skin gets thick and builds up. If I don't trim those sides down with cuticle nippers, I'll get painful hangnails that sometimes turn into an inflamed fingertip. For me, in that case, I find it necessary. However, I do believe that I overuse my cuticle nippers, but I can't seem to stop. The best my nails looked was a few months ago; I had a shellac french manicure and had it done 3 times (lasts almost 3 weeks). I think why my cuticles looked so good is because I wasn't bothering them as much! I still had to do some trimming, but only what I HAD to do. I was low on cash and decided not to get them redone. When they took the shellac off, I had telangiectasias that were never there before! I don't know if it was coincidence or if what I had done cause them to surface? So I'm torn, I'm back to picking more at my cuticles, my buffed nails are growing out so it's back to ugly ridges, but I'm almost afraid to try shellac again. I think I like the idea given here to go get a simple manicure and polish once a week, watch what they do, get their recommendations and see how they look in 1-2 months and if I can try to do it on my own. Now that winter is on it's way...sigh. I hope you find something that works well for you!
Limited Scleroderma, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Celiac, Gastroparesis, GERD, and Gastritis.

#9 Snowbird

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:33 PM

Hi everybody

I've got a question...not quite for the cuticles but for the nail.

Does anybody get a minor soreness and a bit of redness directly underneath the nail itself yet deep inside the actual fingertip? I have one finger which does that sometimes. It gets irritated somehow and looks like a little red line just behind the white at the tip of the nail. It actually feels like a wee split in the skin way underneath there. I find it odd because of where it happens but can't figure out what might be the cause of it since I'm not creating that problem by sticking a nail file in there or anything like that? It's certainly no biggie by any definition, this thread must reminded me of it.
Sending good wishes your way!

#10 Buttons

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 11:51 PM

I have horrible ragged cuticles and have had manicures in the past to try to get them looking better but each time I've had them done my nailbeds have become very sore and inflamed, even though they softened them and then just pushed the cuticle back. So I've tended to take off the worst of the raggedness with a cuticle trimmer and just put on hand and nail lotion. My nails themselves are very dry and have dreadful ridges in them but can't seem to get them buffed up like they do in the salon.

Buttons

#11 Jalee85

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 11:35 AM

I have a lot of deep ridges as well and now I have horizontal dents on top of that, ugh.

I guess I had a urinary tract infection that went up into my kidneys! I didn't even know I was sick. I had 4+ protein in my urine. So I'm on antibiotics but whenever I get horizontal dents in my nails they don't grow in. It's something to do with my swelling of the nail bed. I know something is not right.

Jalee

#12 Chopper

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:24 PM

Snowbird - I can identify with that.


Since we're talking about ridges, after I was first diagnosed with celiac by my GI doctor, I went back to my family doctor for some reason. When the nurse was weighing me in and updating my file, she said, oh you're celiac, I am too, do you have ridges on your nails like I do? I said yes. She said she hasn't seen a celiac who didn't have ridges. Celiac is an autoimmune disease, so I've often wondered if ridges on the nails are typically seen with autoimmune diseases. There must be a logical reason, if this is indeed true. Interesting.

Chopper
Limited Scleroderma, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Celiac, Gastroparesis, GERD, and Gastritis.