A hangnail is basically a small piece of torn cuticle that tends to be painful and annoying, especially when it rubs against your clothing. Oftentimes, it becomes red and swollen, too.
Hangnails usually develop during the winter months because of dryness. Apart from the dry, winter climate, there are certain other factors that contribute in causing this problem.
For instance, hangnails can be caused when the hands are exposed to excessive moisture (working in water for a long time), or harsh chemicals like the ones present in detergents.
In addition, nail biting tends to increase the chances of developing this condition as it causes damage to the cuticles. Moreover, it can give rise to hangnail infection, also called paronychia.
Besides, bad manicures can also cause hangnails when the nails are cut along the edge of the cuticles. At times, manicurists push back the cuticles too aggressively, thereby leading to hangnails.
How to Get Rid of Hangnails
The most effective way to get rid of hangnails is to dip your fingers in warm water for about 5-10 minutes to soften and moisten a hangnail. You can also add a few drops of a bath oil or olive oil in this warm water.
Next, clip the hangnail with a pair of sharp and sterile cuticle scissors; do not pull it out, just cut it at the base. To make the scissors sterile, clean them with a little alcohol.
After clipping away the hangnail, you can apply an antibacterial ointment. Cover the area with a bandage if the hangnail was deep.
Otherwise, just massage a hand lotion or vitamin E cream on the affected area two to three times in a day, especially after washing your hands.
When dealing with infected hangnails, dip your fingers in warm water mixed with Epsom salt a few times in a day to reduce the redness.
Here are a few more suggestions that you can follow to keep your hands and nails moisturized.
- Petroleum Jelly
- Warm Massage Oil
- Vitamin E Oil
- Almond and Egg Yolk Hand Mask
- Avocado Hand Moisturizer
- Homemade Cuticle Softener Recipe
- Apply petroleum jelly on your nail beds and leave it overnight. The fats in the jelly can penetrate through the layers of the skin to moisturize it. In addition, it creates a film on the surface of the skin that prevents the drying of skin due to air. You can even apply a lip balm on your fingers.
- For warm massage oil, heat some olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, almond oil, vitamin E oil, or any nail oil in a microwave for about 20 seconds. Drench your fingers in this oil for 15-20 minutes. Finally, take your hands off the bowl, wipe off the excess oil and leave the rest on your fingers for several hours, preferably overnight. Furthermore, you can soak your nails in a solution of oil and warm water regularly for about 15 minutes.
- Applying organic honey on the affected area can keep the torn cuticle soft and help avoid hangnail infection. If you want to dry it out instead of clipping, you may soak the hangnail daily in a solution of apple cider vinegar and warm water for about 15-20 minutes. Dipping your hands in plain yogurt (with active cultures) is also considered good for dealing with this problem. To reduce the pain and inflammation, you may place an ice cube on the affected area.
- After trimming your nails, apply pure vitamin E oil on the nail beds as vitamin E speeds up the process of healing skin. Moreover, when dealing with hangnails, applying vitamin E oil can help soften the piece of torn cuticle so that you can trim it.
- Soak a handful of almonds in water overnight. In the morning, peel their skin and grind the almonds. Mix a beaten egg yolk, apple cider vinegar, and a little honey in this paste. Smear this mixture on your hands and nails to nourish dry hands and prevent hangnails. Wear cotton gloves and leave this paste on your hands overnight.