Hangnails are unattractive, painful, pesky, and can make you wince. Many people do not notice a hangnail unless it has fully developed, and then they feel pain due to inflammation or roughness around their nails.
Hangnails are not something rare as they can happen to everyone. Even though hangnails are small, they can hurt like hell and worsen, particularly in winters. In this article, we will share the reasons, treatment, and some of the best ways to avoid hangnails.
Some people consider hangnails a part of the nail, which is not true; they are made of the skin cells that form tiny, tag-like swelling near the fingernail. They occur as a result of skin separation from the surface but remain attached at the base.
It occurs more frequently with the people who have dry skin since skin dryness makes your skin more defenseless to damage from elements like water or cold weather, which can stimulate the separation of skin. The location of the hangnails is the reason why they hurt so much.
Hangnails can become irritating and cause a notable amount of discomfort. The skin composition and location of the hangnail makes it unbelievably painful. They occur on the sides or at the nail base, where blood vessels and nerve endings abound. Once the hangnail becomes swollen and inflamed, it applies pressure on the nerve ending and ultimately increases the pain and discomfort.
Some of the symptoms of hangnails include:
- Visible, jutting piece of skin
- Tenderness, pain, or discomfort
- Redness along the bottom or side of the nail bed
If you notice a pus-filled abscess and a sensation of warmth, it indicates infected hangnails.
How to Treat Hangnails
Knowing what you must not do is as crucial as knowing what you must do when it comes to hangnail treatment. Do not give in to temptation and try to bite or rip off hangnail as it will tear the skin attached to the nailbed. Once open, it can cause bleeding and make your skin susceptible to infections from fungi or bacteria.
We have come up with the following steps that will help you to safely and effectively remove a hangnail.
- Wash your hands to prevent germs from spreading to the area and use soapy and warm water to soften the hangnail. You can also use petroleum jelly or mineral oil. Apply it gently and in a circular motion to the area and leave the hangnail for around ten minutes to get soft.
- Always cut off the hangnail with a sanitized cuticle scissor or nail clipper. Having hangnails on the dominant hand can make this step hard to do. In case of not being able to do it yourself, you can ask someone else to help you.
- Make sure not to cut off the living skin underneath the nail, only cut the jutted part of the hangnail. Try not to leave any jutted dead skin from your nailbed.
- In case if you cut too closely by accident and it starts to bleed, no need to get panic; you can rinse with water and cover with antibacterial cream and wear a bandage until it completely heals. And if there is no bleeding, moisturize the area generously.
How to Prevent and Avoid Hangnails
We do not pay particular attention to the health of our hands until we get a painful hangnail. Most men do not pay attention to their hands or particularly to nail care. However, nail care for men is as crucial as it is for women. Men can also use the following ways for preventing hangnails:
Clip the Skin Around the Nails
Clipping is the best option for you if you are tempted to pick/bite your skin. Soak your affected hangnail in a bowl of warm water as it will make it easy for cuticle cutters or nail clippers to cut it properly. Avoid clipping too close to the skin to prevent cutting off the normal living skin around your nails.
Healthy cuticles are the key to prevent hangnails. Cuticles are the skin segments that are visible over the top of your nail close to the knuckle. Moreover, do not let your cuticles get too dry, and the ideal way is to keep them hydrated. Apply cuticle oil or any other regular hand cream or moisturizer for this purpose.
Applying cuticle oil every day can make a substantial difference to your cuticles’ health, even if used for once.
Clean Up Stray Nail Polish
If you are a nail paint lover and like to paint your nails more often, then make sure to remove the excess nail polish that is making its way onto the skin around your nails. As the nail polish dries out the skin, it is crucial to wash it off carefully; do not pick at it.
It applies to both the base coat and the topcoat. Try not to use the acetone-based nail polish removers as they dry the skin around your nails as well.
Avoid Picking the Skin
We all know how tempting it may be, but it is vital to stop picking at your skin. Stop chewing or biting your nails since picking at the hangnails makes them worse and leads to increased infections.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
It sounds obvious, but many people do not wash their hands properly and often neglect it. The crucial part of caring for your nails and hands and keeping them free from infections is to clean them regularly with water and soap. Use soaps that do not dry out the skin.
Gloves prevent the skin from getting too dry, so wear your gloves when you are doing dishes, in cold weather, and when submerging your hands in warm water. The key to prevent those pesky hangnails is keeping your skin hydrated. The health of your hands matters a lot.
Do Not Over-File
Another reason that can cause hangnail is over-filing the sides of your nails. To stop yourself from filing your nails frequently, keep them painted. It will prevent the creation of more hangnails.
When to See a Doctor
It is very crucial to treat an infected hangnail as quickly as possible, as it can cause many complications if left untreated. You can treat infected hangnail with topical antibiotic ointment at home. And if you do not see any betterment or it does not clean up in a week, you must make an appointment with a doctor.
There is a possibility that the hangnail infection can spread to the other body parts, but it is rare. They can also cause the discoloration of the nail. A doctor will determine the suitable treatment for the hangnail infection you have.
Hangnails Need Attention
Nail care for men and women is very crucial to prevent various complicated conditions, such as hangnails. Therefore, hand and nail care must be a part of the daily care routine. Following a few fundamental steps mentioned above can save you from irritation and pain that you can face due to negligence.