Overgrown toenail cuticles hamper nail growth, plus they are just plain unattractive. After a long, cold season of socks and tennis shoes, some cuticle maintenance is in order. Constant moisturizing and a few simple steps are the keys to healthy-looking toenails perfect for sandal weather.
Apply a cuticle remover to your toenail cuticles. Relax for a few minutes to allow time for the cuticles to soften. Toenail cuticles often are drier and thicker than those on fingernails, so give the remover some time to work its magic.
Use an orange stick or a metal cuticle pusher to push the cuticles back at the base and on the sides of the nails. Be gentle; hold the tool at an angle and push back carefully and gradually.
Move the tool in small circles at the base of the nail to remove dead skin. Clean off the white residue with a tissue or cotton ball. Repeat on each toenail until all of the dead skin is gone.
Trim hangnails using a cuticle nipper, then moisturize liberally so maintenance will be easier the next time you trim.
Every time you shower, take a few seconds to push your toenail cuticles back with a washcloth. Rub almond or vitamin E oil, lotion (even hand lotion will do) or petroleum jelly onto your cuticles after your shower to beat dryness. Before going to bed, apply a generous amount of lotion to your toes-you might as well moisturize the rest of your feet while you're at it-then put on a pair of socks. When you wake up, your cuticles will be healthy and ready for maintenance, if need be.
Do not cut your cuticles. Cuticles are there for a reason: they repel bacteria, fungi and water from the nail bed.