While cuticle trimming may be normalized in many salon practices, messing with your cuticles can lead to some serious damage, Bowe explains. “You can get warts, infections, or permanent dystrophy, meaning a dent in the nail that will last,” she notes.
Now, many nail salons do cut the cuticles with a sanitized metal trimmer, while other professionals choose to push the cuticle back with a metal, rounded tool instead. According to Bowe, gently pushing the cuticles back during a manicure is OK, but peeling or completely removing them is dangerous. In fact, it’s something she would never do after working as a dermatologist for over 10 years. Sure, you may create more surface area for a cute nail art design, but the potential complications outweigh the aesthetics every time.
Remember: Your cuticles have a purpose. That tiny layer of skin rims the base of the nail bed and creates a barrier for your growing nails—so the vulnerable, new spots aren’t exposed to any bacteria as they grow. So if you remove that protective layer of skin, aggressors can sneak their way in and put you at risk of infection, even if the cuticle trimmers themselves are sanitized.