Working on a Client Who has a Cuticle Infection

Take care when a client with a cuticle infection comes into your salon. Be sure you, your salon, other clients and her nails are protected. Even if a client has a cuticle infection, you can still perform services for them but use special, gentle care. When a cuticle is damaged, it allows bacteria or fungi to enter into the skin. This causes redness, swelling, pain and pus. Paronychia is the medical term for an infected cuticle. There are two types; acute and chronic.

If your client is complaining that she is in pain due to an infected cuticle, do not apply product to that nail. Suggest giving her a simple manicure and you will apply polish when she is healed. If you do perform a service and the cuticle infection is starting to hurt or the seal is broken, clean the area and do not apply polish. Keep the area dry and free of scented lotions, as this will irritate the cuticle infection more.

Another thing that can cause a cuticle infection is improper manicuring. When client’s cuticles are moist and soft, that invites bacteria in; also, non-sterilized implements and cutting of cuticles can contribute to this. Cuticles are what protect the nails from infection. Use caution when working with cuticles, especially when you’re working with an infected cuticle.

If a client comes in with a severely infected cuticle, it is okay to turn her away. Take the approach of making it all about her getting better and healed. Suggest she see a doctor or try some at-home remedies. She won’t be offended. Tell her when she is healed, you’d love for her to come back in for a manicure or pedicure.

Educate Your Clients

  • If you can determine that your client does in fact have a cuticle infection, educate them on how to take care of it when they go home or educate them on how to prevent cuticle infections in the future.
  • They should soak their nails and infected cuticles in warm water and then to keep the area dry.
  • If they choose to perform their own maintenance, encourage them to push back their cuticles with a damp washcloth to prevent cuticle infections.
  • Suggest they see a dermatologist who can provide them with creams or ointments to cure the cuticle infection.
  • If you have nail biters who come to your salon, be sure to let them know they need to stop biting their nails and cuticles. Cuticles should never be cut or trimmed.