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Are metal cuticle pushers safe?

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Metal cuticle pushers

Question:

I have a question about metal cuticle pushers. I would like to know how dangerous it is to use a metal pusher vs a rubber pusher with cuticle remover. I’m really slow with a rubber pusher and cuticle remover since I am as thorough as possible. I want good adhesion, but I am concerned about how much damage pushers could cause. Is it OK to use a metal pusher if you’re super careful and gentle or should they be avoided entirely?

Answer:

Implements used to remove dead cuticle tissue from the nail plate can be made from metal, rubber, or wood. Any of these can be used without creating damage and any of these can create damage when used too aggressively. So, each of them should be used with care and caution. I don’t think “pushers” is the right name.  They should not be used for pushing the proximal nail fold, which is the proper name for the living tissue at the base of the nail plate. This living skin is part of a protective seal that prevents infections of the matrix and surrounding tissues. 

You are correct to be concerned about damaging the lunula area where the nail plate is the thinnest and softest. I also agree that it is important to remove all of this dead tissue in order to ensure good adhesion. As long, of course, as the proper precautions are used. Any type of cuticle remover can be used safely when properly applied. However, one downside to the removers with an alkaline pH is that they can be difficult to remove completely from the skin. When not completely removed, residues can irritate and even severely damage living tissue. 

Another approach is to use a high-quality nail oil to soften this thin layer so that it can be gently removed. Of course, any residuals of these oils must be cleaned from the nail plate. Otherwise, the removers themselves can block the adhesion of nail coatings.

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