How does cuticle remover work?

by Gio

how cuticle removers work

I never remove cuticles. I know they “ruin” an otherwise perfectly polished manicure, BUT, those cuticles are there for a reason. They prevent bacteria and other nasty stuff from entering our nails. Kind of a good reason to keep them there, don’t you agree?

Maybe not. Doesn’t matter. I’m not gonna jump on my soapbox and start preaching against cuticle removers. Instead, I’ll just tell you how cuticle removers work, ok?

There are two types of cuticle removers. Neither of them is particularly good for the nails, but one is way worse than the other. Let’s take a look:

The Harsh Kind

What it contains: potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide.

How it works: these ingredients are very alkaline (ie, have a high ph) and caustic, so they can soften and break down the dead skin around the nails, allowing you to quickly remove it with a nail knife or orange wood stick.

Side effects: can cause irritations and dryness.

The Mild Kind

What it contains: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), a group of exfoliants derived from fruit and milk sugars.

How it works: AHAs dissolve the glue that hold skin cells together, so they can be pushed away.

Side effects: can cause irritations, if you have sensitive skin.

Which one is better?

The mild kind, obviously. It may not work as quickly, but is much gentler on the skin and nails.

Do you use a cuticle remover? If so, which type do you prefer?

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10 comments

Nikki October 30, 2009 - 4:55 pm

I do use cuticle remover once in a while, lets say once a month, I just push them and cut extras..I do make sure to wash my hands right after 🙂

Reply
Dee October 30, 2009 - 6:05 pm

I’ve always wondered how these work. I haven’t found one that worked well for my cuticles. Is there one that you would recommend Gio?
.-= Dee´s last blog ..S’pore Is Where To Be =-.

Reply
Dao October 30, 2009 - 6:29 pm

I don’t use cuticle remover, they never seem to remove all the gunk and I am not really patient to wait either. I just manual remove it by using a cuticle remover stick and a nipper once in a while.
.-= Dao´s last blog ..Tweety FOTD: My 2009 Halloween Look =-.

Reply
Rebecca October 31, 2009 - 11:16 pm

I’ve never actually used a cuticle remover myself, but when I get manicures the manicurist always uses one. They sound a little scary, what with the harsh chemicals and all, but I haven’t had any bad experiences. Knock on wood!
.-= Rebecca´s last blog ..October Lust List (and Happy Halloween!) =-.

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beautifulwithbrains November 1, 2009 - 7:32 pm

Nikki, like you, I don’t use them too often and wash hands afterwards. Otherwise, they would irritate and dry even more my already dry hands.

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beautifulwithbrains November 2, 2009 - 1:28 pm

Dee, personally I like Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover. It works well and fast, but it contains Potassium Hydroxide so you have to wash your hands carefully afterwards.

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beautifulwithbrains November 2, 2009 - 1:33 pm

Dao, I know what you mean. It’s hard to find one that works really well. I’m too scared to use a nipper though, looks painful.

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beautifulwithbrains November 2, 2009 - 1:36 pm

Rebecca, the chemicals sound scary, but if don’t use them too often and wash your hands afterwards you’ll be fine and they won’t irritate your skin. And if a professional does it for you, then you’re probably in very good hands, so don’t worry about it 😉

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tgz November 4, 2009 - 4:00 pm

I never ever removed my cuticles. Sometimes I push them with the cuticle spatula (?) and that’s it. My cuticles are naturally nice looking and I don’t want to ruin them. I do apply hand cream over them to make them soft prior to pushing them, but that’s it.

I am lucky to have naturally pretty fingernails and cuticles. On the other hand, my toenails are very small and not so pretty (no fungus infection, fortunately, knock on wood, just toenails with a less pretty shape, naturally very curved and prone to ingrown nails).

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beautifulwithbrains November 4, 2009 - 6:33 pm

Tgz, lucky you! I’m jealous ehehe I wish I had good fingernails and cuticles too but my nails are very fragile and break easily and my cuticles look horrible 🙁

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