What Can I Use to Soften Skin Around Cuticles?

It's important to soften the cuticles during a manicure or pedicure.

Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

If you’re having problems growing or maintaining your nails, overgrowth of cuticles over the nail bed could be part of the problem. Your cuticles grow regularly around the base of your nails and protect your nails from infections. However, pushing them back (not cutting or biting them away) regularly is good for your overall nail health. In order to push back your cuticles, you have to soften the skin around them first.

Lotion or Cuticle Cream

If you want to soften the skin around your cuticles, one option is to use lotion, which you probably have somewhere around the house already. Just as the lotion softens the skin at other places in your body, it also softens the cuticle skin. Use the thickest, creamiest moisturizing lotion you can find. Take the time to massage the lotion into the skin. Another option is to use a cuticle cream, which you’ll find at your local pharmacy or beauty shop.

Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is useful for more than tackling dry crackly lips. It’s also an effective cuticle softener. Petroleum jelly is made from mineral oil, which nourishes the skin, and paraffin wax, which softens the skin. All you need is a bit around the cuticles to prepare them for a manicure.

Olive Oil

Another natural choice for softening your nail cuticles is extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is one of those wonderful foods that nourish you on both the inside and outside. It is nutrient-rich and also has antioxidants that make your skin glow. It absorbs into the skin around your nails to make the cuticles soft enough to push back.


It's so important that the cuticles are soft before you try to move them, otherwise you might break the skin. After you soften your nails using the product of your choice, use a wooden orange stick (find these in a standard manicure kit) to push the cuticle back. After that, apply a bit more olive oil to the nail bed before applying your first coat of nail polish. Continue to add a softener to the cuticles daily and take a biotin vitamin supplement regularly for ongoing nail health. Always talk to your doctor before adding any supplement.

Related Videos


Add to this Article



Just for you

What type are you?

Choose your Skin Type
or Register
Beauty School iPad App


How would you like to register?

Register with Facebook
  • It's fast, easy and hassle-free
  • One-click log-in and commenting
Register with typeF.com
  • Use your email to create your account