Dry Cuticles: What Causes It and How Can I Fix It?

Dry Cuticles: What Causes It and How Can I Fix It?

Taking care of your nails requires a comprehensive approach that includes more than just the nail’s surface. That’s why manicures focus on protecting your cuticles and nail beds, and why it can be helpful to keep your hands moisturized and well-cared for, even on days when you can’t touch up your look.  

Nailboo is here to help you get salon-quality styles without the time or cost, but in addition to smooth and shiny looks, we also want to ensure that your nails remain strong and healthy for a long time to come. That’s why we’re sharing information on how you can protect your nails and cuticles and treat conditions like dry cuticles at home. 

What Causes Dry Cuticles? 

We’ve all experienced dry cuticles on occasion. They can be itchy, stiff, and irritating, and may cause pain or cracking when not properly addressed. While dry cuticles aren’t usually a sign of more serious medical conditions, dry and cracked skin can become vulnerable to infections and inflammation so it’s important to care for them as quickly and effectively as possible. 

To begin managing the effects of your dry cuticles, it’s important to know why they’re developing. This will help you treat beyond the symptom, to the root cause, so you can prevent your cuticle dryness from returning. Here are some of the most common reasons you may be experiencing cuticle dryness. 

You’re Washing Your Hands a Lot 

It’s really important to protect yourself from germs and hand washing is an essential step in keeping yourself safe. That said, washing your hands a lot can cause your skin to become dry and cracked over time and may lead to cuticle irritation, especially if the soap doesn’t contain any lotion. 

If you’ve noticed that you’re experiencing dryness out of the blue, it may be due to your other hygiene practices. Find a good balance to keep yourself protected. 

It’s Cold Outside 

The cold air can wreak havoc on our skin if we’re not protected. We often feel the effects of extreme temperatures on the skin of our face first, but winter weather can dry out the skin on our hands, as well, causing cuticle dryness and cracking. It’s important to keep your hands protected from the elements with gloves and mittens. 

It’s Hot Outside 

You’re more likely to burn on your back, arms, and legs than your hands, but it’s certainly not impossible. Sunburns on the back of the hand can be painful and itchy, considering how thin the skin is, and they can also lead to dryness around the nails and cuticles. 

You’re Using a Lot of Hand Sanitizer 

Like washing your hands, using hand sanitizer is really important when it comes to keeping your body safe and protected against outside germs and bacteria. Many hand sanitizers are made with alcohol, however, which causes dryness and itching when used in excess. 

Nail Polish Remover and Acetone Exposure

Here at Nailboo, we provide easy-to-use nail dip kits that allow you to get smooth, creative manicures that really last. They’re safer on the nail than other non-polish options, and you can remove them at home with an acetone application.

Acetone is relatively harmless, especially since you don’t need to use a ton to remove your dip polish, but it also contains drying ingredients the same way hand sanitizer does and can remove the moisture from your skin over time. 

Nail polish is more gentle than undiluted acetone but often includes acetone as one of its core ingredients. Removing your nail polish often may be contributing to your dry cuticles. 

Pre-Existing Conditions and Medications 

Cuticle dryness may be the result of a pre-existing medical condition like eczema. If you are already managing the effects of dry skin conditions, they may affect the cuticles around your nail, as well. 

Certain medications may also contribute to dryness of the cuticle and on other parts of the body. Random, unexpected dryness may be a side effect of new medications or medical treatments. 

Your Nail Has Suffered Damage 

We use our hands and fingers for everything throughout the course of the day. That makes us vulnerable to damage from movements and activities, which often can’t be helped. If your cuticles do become dry or cracked from exposure, the important thing is to allow them to heal properly and watch for any signs of infection or irritation. 

You Bite Your Nails

We often don’t realize if we’re biting or picking at our nails, but it can cause more than a little inflammation or irritation. Picking and biting at cuticles can cause lasting damage and make our nails vulnerable to infections and bacteria that get below the surface of the skin and cause more health complications down the line. 

When we bite at our dry nails, we also don’t allow the damaged cuticle a chance to heal, which means it remains dry and irritated for longer. 

How Can I Fix Dry Cuticles? 

Knowing the root cause of cuticle dryness is an important step in managing the symptoms and protecting your overall health and wellness. While it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor if you’re worried about serious medical conditions, here are a few simple steps you can take to manage the effects of cuticle dryness at home. 

Stay Hydrated 

We often don’t drink enough water throughout the day, and that can result in many side effects like headache, fatigue, and even a weakened immune system. Another side effect of not drinking enough water is that your skin can become dry and may even feel tight or flakey over time. 

The skin around our nails can be especially vulnerable since it’s already exposed to so many elements throughout the day. Drinking enough water has many benefits for our overall health and wellness. It can also be very helpful for reducing the appearance of dry cuticles and for preventing itchiness and irritation. 

Get the Right Nutrients 

Proper nail care starts in the kitchen. When you get the right amount of vitamins and nutrients throughout the course of the day, your nails will be stronger and healthier, and the skin around them will be as well. Proper nutrition can help to keep your nail beds in strong shape and can give you the energy to stay active and engaged all day long. 

Use Lotion 

You can moisturize your skin from the inside and the outside. There are many different hand creams and lotions to pick from, so find a good moisturizer for managing the effects of dry cuticles and get the relief you deserve. 

Use Cuticle Oil 

Lotion and moisturizer are helpful for protecting the skin on your hands and around your nails, but you can take it to the next level with an oil designed for your cuticles. Cuticle oil helps to hydrate and rejuvenate the cuticle, rather than simply treating the symptom, but it can also reduce the effects of peeling and splitting, so you’re less likely to suffer damage or irritation around the cuticles. 

Pick the Right Products 

Many soaps and hand sanitizers can cause your skin to dry out and become irritated over time, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can find great soap and sanitizer products that are designed to protect your skin from damage no matter how often you use them. Look for gentle sanitizers and soaps made with lotion to keep your hands protected while you protect your overall health and wellness. 

You also want to ensure you’re using the right nail tools and materials for the job when you perform at-home manicures. 

Use Sunscreen 

There are so many reasons why it’s important to practice proper sun protection, and keeping your cuticles healthy is just one of them. When you apply your sunscreen on the next beach trip or day at the ballgame, don’t forget your hands!

Wear Protective Coverings 

Winter weather can be extremely harsh on the hands, especially if your skin is already prone to dryness and damage. While it’s especially important to moisturize your hands throughout the course of the cold season, you also want to be sure that you’re protecting yourself against extreme weather conditions with mittens and gloves. 

Leave Time Between Manicures 

Nail dip manicures are long-lasting and can work to protect your nails against damage. No matter what kind of manicure you get, however, you always want to let your nails breathe before applying the next new look. Not only will this give your fingernails a chance to strengthen, but it will also reduce the need for acetone and nail polish remover. 

Avoid Picking or Biting 

Picking at your cuticles can be a difficult habit to break, but it can have lasting effects and cause further dryness and irritation. Explore resources and tools for reducing cuticle-picking throughout the day. 

It can be helpful to exercise and remain active, which reduces the amount of excess energy that is often channeled into nail picking or nail-biting. A fidget spinner or craft that helps to keep your hands busy are also effective options for protecting your cuticles as they heal. 

Keep Your Nails Short 

There are many reasons you may want to consider a short nail style. Not only does it require a lot less maintenance and upkeep than other nail styles and shapes, but when you have shorter nails, you’re less tempted to pick at or irritate your dry cuticles. If you’re struggling with cuticle-picking, keeping your nails short can be an excellent way to cut down on fidgeting and keep your nails and cuticles healthy and safe. 

Get Regular Manicures 

While you want to make sure that you leave enough time between manicures for your nails to breathe, regular manicures are a great way to keep your nails healthy and your cuticles well-moisturized. 

In addition to picking out your favorite colors and nail designs, it’s important to get your hands moisturized and treated, so they can remain smooth, comfortable, and healthy until it’s time for the next great manicure. 




Here at Nailboo, we believe achieving high-quality manicures should be affordable and accessible. That’s why we carry easy-to-use dip kits and many different nail color options, so you can create a beautiful new look for your next event or favorite outfit. It’s also why we’re sharing tools and resources for trying out new nail designs and getting a manicure you won’t want to wait to show off. 

Our role goes even further. Manicures are a great way to keep your nails and skin healthy and happy, and taking that extra time to protect your nail beds and cuticles can make all the difference. When cuticles become dry, they can cause irritation, pain, and itching, and keeping our nails healthy and safe can support your overall wellness into the future. 

There are many reasons you may be experiencing cuticle dryness, and getting down to the bottom of the cause makes it easier to find the relief you need. Dryness can be caused by exposure, dehydration, damage, and drying products. 

You can combat dryness by always protecting your skin against the elements, using the right products for the job, and avoiding biting or picking at your nails. 

Nailboo is here to help every step of the way. Whether you’re on the search for plain nail styles or healthy cuticles, we have the tools and resources you need. Explore our library to get started.  



How Much Water Should You Drink? | Harvard Health Publishing 

12 Best Cuticle Oils to Heal Dry Skin and Hangnails According to Nail Experts | Good Housekeeping 

How to Stop Biting Your Nails | American Academy of Dermatology Association 

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