What happened to my pretty manicure?!?!?! If you are anything like me, motherhood has brought on many unexpected changes to your body…one of the many is my new motherly mitts! These days when I have a few precious moments to myself and actually look down at my hands, I hardly recognize them. Gone are my youthful, moisturized, manicured hands! Now I have cracked, bleeding, peeling cuticles that need some major TLC! My mommy friends and I were all mourning the loss of our pretty paws the other day and started the following list of ways to regain our healthy cuticles. That discussion grew into what you see below. It’s a mix of products we love, homespun treatments and our favorite cuticle care tips. Let us know which ones you try and how they work out for you:
- Max’s Crack Cream – Developed by a pharmacist over 60 years ago for cement workers who complained of dry, cracked skin on their hands and feet. This oil formula features Arnica Flower Extract and Myrcia Oil and is one of our all-time favorite products to heal cuticles. It also works wonders on cracked feet! It’s made by Zim’s and today they have a full line of products so you want to look for the Original Liquid Formula. Best product on the market for healing dry cuticles.
- Antibacterial Ointment – For long-time cracked cuticle sufferers it’s especially recommended if you have had cracking and bleeding. Cover the cuticles with Band-Aids each night after applying the ointment and you should see amazing results in 2 weeks! Then use any of these other ideas for maintenance!
- DIY Cuticle Salve – Mix together 1 tsp honey+1 tsp aloe vera gel or juice +1 tsp olive oil and apply to your cuticles a few times a week to heal them, and then follow up with a regular olive or coconut oil application for moisture.
- Shea Butter – An easy moisturizer for maintenance, put it on right before bed (after you plug in your phone) and wear some old socks on your hands to help lock in the moisture.
- Aquaphor – Great product to use before bed, same idea with the socks or moisturizing gloves.
- Coconut Oil, Coconut Oil, Coconut Oil, and more Coconut Oil!!! It seems that lately cocoa nut oil is the answer to everything, am I right? I was even told to use it to clean the hard water stains out of my black ceramic sink, I kid you not, but I digress…, anyhow, yes, it’s awesome for any part of your body that is dry and cracked and needs natural moisture.
- Olive Oil – Another awesome, natural moisturizer. I’m not opposed to applying a bit while waiting for my stir fry to cook. Hey, gotta care for myself when I can!
- Beeswax – According to a very dear friend…once you try Beeswax as a moisturizer you will never go back This I haven’t tried personally and it seems like it would be sticky. But so does everything else, thus, the gloves or socks at night.
- Petroleum Jelly – A good, old fashioned home remedy, for just about everything, including cuticles!
- Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream – Highly recommend for keeping in your purse! It’s a small, round portable container and not gooey so you can easily apply while out in the world.
- Carmex – Soothes and cools while moisturizing so a great option for the worst, painful cuticles.
- Butter – Yup, the real thing made from cow’s milk. One Mom had the brilliant idea to use butter on her cuticles! She was camping and didn’t have a moisturizer to soothe and it worked like a charm! Doubles as extra flavor when also eating popcorn.
- Hair Conditioner – Just before you rinse the conditioner out of your hair give your cuticles (and your scalp) a little massage. You can even use a dab of conditioner right on your cuticles for a deep moisturizer.
- Cold is Drying – Your skin may be more sensitive to chilly air than you realized!! During winter (or year-round if your cuticles are in really bad shape) you can wear gloves and protect your cuticles from cold.
- Soaps are Drying – Detergents during dish washing and hand washing will dry out even the most healthy cuticles. Be mindful to rinse soapy water away for longer than you thought (about 13 seconds) and remember to moisturize afterwards.
- Pick Not – Protect your cuticles from picking (I am sooooo guilty of this especially when I’m meeting someone new!). If you can realize that you’re fiddling with your fingers, STOP and apply some moisture instead it’s totally possible to heal those cuticles.
- Bite Not – Keep those fingers out of your mouth. There was much discussion about things you can do to help make your fingers taste bad in order to keep them out of your mouth. This deserved its own blog post altogether, trust me.
- Cut Not – If you haven’t already heard, please never cut your cuticles. If you’ve had a long history of torn cuticles it can take some time but once you commit to only pushing them back (instead of trimming) you’re on the path to healing them!
- Acetone Free – The acetone in nail polish remover is and irritant that will keep you from breaking the skin perpetuating the cycle. Look for an Acetone free polish removed and go easy on your cuticles.
- Thyroid Health Evaluation – Many people with severely cracked cuticles are actually struggling with their thyroid. Consult your physician and get your T4 checked for peace of mind. I am not a doctor, but there was a nurse in the group who reminded us all of this. So much leads back to the thyroid doesn’t it?
If you’ve lived with cracked, painful cuticles I’m here to tell you that with a bit of diligence you can turn it around. Take any one of these tips and end the discomfort. Plus, your fingers will be pretty again! Please add your tips in the comments below! Thanks for sharing!
Hi! I do clip my cuticles if I see one starting to tear, only because I am trying to prevent it from tearing further. I tend to use a pair of baby nail clippers (yes, I have a 17 year old son!, but I saved the clippers for the reason above!), and they keep the cuticles at bay. I’ve tried Aquaphor, vaseline, Eucerin, you name it, to keep my hands and cuticles from drying out. I even have one that you haven’t mentioned, Lemon Flutter, from Lush, for my cuticles and hands. I bookmarked this page of your blog for future reference for ideas on the cuticles. I do plan to order some of the Mack’s Crack Cream this weekend. And, I have used coconut oil for moisturizing my hands and hair, and for oil pulling (mouth cleansing!). Thanks for the great ideas, I am forever trying to keep my hands and cuticles moisturized! I’m a RN and I wash my hands frequent at work at night!
Thanks for sharing! I know EXACTLY what you mean! I often have little tears and I debate whether or not to just clip them off to avoid further cracking. Since I wrote this article I’ve been not trimming them to see what happens. My hope is that the little pieces will just dry out and fall away. But I’m keeping them moist and putting band aids on the fingers that do have little tears. I’m SO SO tired of torn cuticles and determined to heal them for good this time. I hope you love the Max’s as much as I do!! I also use it on my cracked heels and am really pleased with the results. It’s an oil but it doesn’t leave my fingers feeling oily. Look forward to hearing more from you!!
Recently I took a look at my cuticles and was astounded, and not in a good way. I am printing your blog and posting it prominently to make amends ASAP. Thanks for the info.
I always had problems with my cuticles, but no more! I make a beeswax salve product that works wonders on all types of skin conditions. My customers use it for just about everything skin related that you can think of. Check is out on FB: Stassels’ Moisturizing Beeswax Salve.
Hi Julie, that homemade salve sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing the link!