Surprising Benefits & Uses of Cuticle Oil

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Cuticle oil provides many benefits for the health of your nail cuticles and the skin of your hands and fingers. This oil may provide a level of protection against cracked skin, split nails, potential infections, and the inevitable wounds that occur to people who bite or pick at their nails, leading to unbearable pain at times. It may help in treating nail psoriasis and also in preventing the infections that cause swelling in the nail bed.

What is Cuticle Oil?

Cuticle oil is an oil made from a combination of common oils, essential oils, and various butter, all of which are used to moisturize the cuticles and the skin around the nails. It helps in overall nail care and treats nail problems like excess cuticle, dryness around the nails, fungal infection, cracked nails, and even ingrown nails.

Why use Cuticle Oil?

The oils and butters in cuticle oil help improve the health and appearance of the nails owing to the presence of nail-enriching properties in them.

Protect and Repair: Cuticle oil is able to stimulate blood flow to the fingers, which will promote the growth of new cells, while also healing any injuries, inflammation or irritation on those tender areas of skin. Use of cuticle oil boosts the health of the nails and cuticles and prevents breaking, bruising, and scrapes.

Moisturize: The heavy use of our hands and fingers can cause dehydration and dryness in those areas. If nails are beginning to pull away from the cuticle, or the area is becoming tender or prone to cracking, regular application of cuticle oil can also help repair this damage. Cuticle oil reduces the dryness around the nails and deeply moisturizes them. [1]

Ingredients in Cuticle Oil

The best cuticle oils contain elements like jojoba oil, coconut oil, vitamin E oil, almond oil, avocado oil, aloe vera gel, olive oil, tea tree oil, cocoa butter, lemon juice, and sesame oil. In addition to these potential ingredients, many cuticle oil products also contain essential oils to add fragrance or further boost the therapeutic value of this remedy. If you are making your own cuticle oil at home, it is best to understand some of the health benefits of these common ingredients. [2]

Jojoba Oil

A woman applying cuticle oil to her manicured fingernails

Cuticle oil is a moisturizing product for your nails and cuticles. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This oil is acquired from the seeds of the jojoba plant and is well-known for its emollient and moisturizing properties. It is included in many cosmetic products and is a popular addition to any cuticle oil. [3]

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is very powerful and only a small amount is needed in a recipe of cuticle oil. This plant-based oil is rich in antioxidants, particularly the active ingredient sesamol. It helps remove free radicals from that area of the body, which can prevent oxidative stress and promote the growth of new cells. [4]

Almond Oil

One of the most popular bases for cuticle oil is almond oil, which has proven moisturizing qualities, while also helping protect the skin from infection and irritation. This oil may work as a shield for the nail beds and is important if the skin is cracked or broken. [5]

Tea Tree Oil

The potentially anti-fungal, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties of tea tree oil, along with its healing properties, make it a popular ingredient in cuticle oil. This oil can also help strengthen nails and make them less brittle, preventing accidental breakage. [6]

Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat germ oil is rich in vitamin E, which is probably one of the best antioxidant vitamins for your skin. It can heal inflammation and stimulate blood flow to the nail bed, which can increase the growth of your nails and prevent brittle nails.

Vitamin E Oil

Pure vitamin E oil is a great addition to any cuticle oil recipe, as tocopherols are famed for their effect on skin health. Not only can they moisturize dry, chapped, or broken skin, but also improve the smoothness and appearance of the cuticles and fingers, while curing certain nail infections. [7]

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is ideal for your skin as it is a natural moisturizer. It may melt at room temperature and is easy to blend in while making cuticle oil.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil may protect your nails as it has potential anti-fungal properties that prevent nail fungus and other infections. It also moisturizes and strengthens the nails and makes them healthier, stronger, and shinier. Adding it to your cuticle oil is the best way to reduce the chances of brittleness.

Aloe Vera Gel

For inflammation or redness on the cuticles or beneath the nails, adding some aloe vera gel to your cuticle oil is a very good choice. Again, this is a potent oil, so only a small amount is required within your cuticle oil preparation. [8]

Lemon Juice

The astringent and vitamin-rich nature of lemon juice may make it ideal for healing cracked, cut or broken cuticles, as well as softening the nail. It speeds up healing and repair while preventing breakage of the nail. [9]

How to Use Cuticle Oil?

Cuticle oil is very effective, but it works best on clean skin and nails. Only a small amount is necessary for the oil to have an effect, so use in moderation. Following these simple steps outlined below will ensure that your cuticle oil will be as effective as possible. [10]

Step 1 – Remove all the nail polish from your nails or the oil will not be able to penetrate the nail polish, and will simply sit on top of your nail until it is eventually wiped off.

Step 2 – Thoroughly wash your hands with warm soap and water. This will open up the pores in your nail bed and make your skin more receptive to the nourishing components of the oil.

Step 3 – Applying to one hand at a time, lay your hand on a towel, with your nails facing up.

Step 4 – Shake the cuticle oil to ensure that none of the ingredients have separated or settled. Then, remove the brush and begin applying a coat of the oil to your fingernails and the cuticle area.

Step 5 – A single layer of the oil on each target area should be enough. Re-apply the oil as it dries (every 2-3 fingers).

Step 6 – Once the oil has been applied, gently rub the oil deeper into the corner and under the tip of your nails. The oil should absorb into the skin relatively quickly.

Quick Tips

  • You can wear gloves and let the oil stay overnight, to achieve maximum benefit out of this technique.
  • For best effect, you should use cuticle oil every night for 1-2 weeks in order to fully rejuvenate and moisturize the areas around the nails.

Word of Caution: Use of cuticle oil may cause skin irritation if you are allergic to it. Also, depending on the composition of cuticle oil that you purchase or make at home, it may contain powerful chemicals and compounds that should not be ingested. Therefore, if you tend to bite your nails or nervously chew on your cuticles, use this oil with caution. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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