Why do my cuticles crack and bleed?

Answer

Cracked, bleeding cuticles are caused by dryness, according to More Nature. Dryness can be caused by a multitude of factors, including cold weather, frequent hand washing, dehydration and manual labor.

Cuticles are an essential part of the skin, and serve as a protective barrier for the nail. Therefore, they should be treated with care to prevent cracking and bleeding. "A good moisturizer for the cuticles is important, just like for dry skin," says Richard Scher, M.D., dermatology professor at Cornell University. Dermatologists recommend using vitamin E oil or shea butter cream to treat cracking or bleeding cuticles, according to Oprah.com.

Cutting damaged cuticles is not recommended. "If you remove the cuticle, that space is wide open, and anything can get in there," says Scher, according to WebMD. In addition to increasing the likelihood of bacterial infection, cutting cuticles can also lead to other nail problems like white lines, white spots, or ridges across the nail bed. Moreover, cuticles that are cut become hardened and dry, making them more likely to crack and split, creating a never-ending cycle of re-cutting to maintain a neat appearance. Instead, dermatologists recommend gently pushing cuticles back with a cuticle stick. Regularly moisturizing hands, wearing gloves when doing chores or washing dishes and regular manicures are other effective ways to prevent dry, cracked cuticles.

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