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How to Get Rid Of and Prevent Hangnails

May 25, 2023 by VitalSkin Dermatology

The woman is cutting her nails with small scissors by herself in close up photo on white background. View from above. Manicure at home

Hangnails can be incredibly annoying and painful, causing discomfort and sometimes leading to infections. These small strips of torn skin near the edges of your nails can occur due to various reasons, including dryness, trauma, or improper nail care. Fortunately, there are several simple and effective ways to get rid of hangnails and prevent them from recurring. In this article, we will discuss practical tips and techniques to keep your hands healthy and free from hangnails.

Keep Your Hands Hydrated

Proper hydration is essential to maintain healthy nails and prevent hangnails. Dry hands and cuticles are more prone to developing hangnails. Ensure that you drink an adequate amount of water each day to keep your body hydrated. Additionally, apply a moisturizing hand cream or oil regularly to nourish your hands and prevent dryness.

Avoid Picking or Biting Your Nails

One of the primary causes of hangnails is picking or biting your nails. This habit not only damages the nails but also leaves the surrounding skin vulnerable to tearing. Break the cycle by finding healthier alternatives, such as chewing gum or keeping your hands busy with a stress ball or fidget toy. You can also try applying a bitter-tasting nail polish to discourage nail biting.

Trim Your Nails Properly

Trimming your nails regularly and correctly can significantly reduce the risk of hangnails. Use a sharp, clean nail clipper and cut your nails straight across, avoiding curved edges that can lead to hangnails. Be careful not to trim them too short, as this can also cause nail damage and subsequent hangnails.

Moisturize Your Cuticles

Dry cuticles are more prone to developing hangnails. Gently push back your cuticles after a warm shower or bath using a cuticle pusher or a soft towel. Apply cuticle oil or moisturizing cream to keep the cuticles hydrated and prevent them from becoming dry and cracked.

Protect Your Hands

Exposing your hands to harsh chemicals, such as cleaning agents or solvents, can strip away natural oils and moisture, making your skin more susceptible to hangnails. Whenever you engage in activities that may harm your hands, such as cleaning or gardening, wear protective gloves to shield your skin and nails from damage.

Avoid Overexposure to Water

Frequent and prolonged exposure to water can weaken your nails and increase the likelihood of hangnails. Wear waterproof gloves while washing dishes or doing other chores that involve water immersion. Additionally, apply hand cream or oil after washing your hands to replenish lost moisture.

Use a Good-quality Nail Strengthener

Applying a nail strengthener can help improve the overall health and resilience of your nails, reducing the likelihood of hangnails. Look for a product that contains ingredients like biotin, keratin, or calcium, which promote nail strength and growth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and use it regularly for the best results.

Maintain a Balanced Diet

A well-balanced diet plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy nails and cuticles. Include foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids in your diet. Opt for foods like eggs, spinach, salmon, almonds, and sweet potatoes, as they contain nutrients that promote nail health. Consider taking a multivitamin or biotin supplement after consulting with a healthcare professional.

Removing a Hangnail

Dealing with an existing hangnail can be uncomfortable and potentially lead to further complications if not handled properly. If you find yourself with a hangnail, it’s important to resist the temptation to rip or tear it off, as this can cause pain and increase the risk of infection. Instead, the best way to handle a hangnail is to follow these steps:

  1. Cleanse the area: Start by washing your hands with warm water and mild soap. This helps remove any bacteria or dirt from the affected area, reducing the risk of infection.
  2. Soften the hangnail: Soak your hand in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften the hangnail and make it easier to manage.
  3. Trim with care: Using a clean pair of nail clippers or cuticle scissors, gently trim the hangnail as close to the base as possible. Be cautious not to cut too close or pull forcefully, as this can cause further irritation.
  4. Apply an antiseptic: After trimming the hangnail, cleanse the area with an antiseptic solution or apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
  5. Protect and moisturize: To promote healing and prevent further hangnails, apply a moisturizing cream or cuticle oil to keep the area hydrated. You can also cover the affected finger with a bandage or adhesive strip to protect it from further damage.

If the hangnail becomes red, swollen, or excessively painful, it’s advisable to seek medical attention, as it may indicate an infection. Remember, it’s always better to prevent hangnails by following proper nail care practices, but if you do encounter one, treating it with care and maintaining good hygiene will help it heal quickly and minimize discomfort.

Talk with a Dermatologist

Taking care of your nails and preventing hangnails is essential for maintaining healthy hands and promoting overall well-being. By implementing the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can minimize the occurrence of hangnails and enjoy healthier, more resilient nails. However, if you have any specific questions or concerns about your skincare routine or need personalized advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at VitalSkin Dermatology. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal skin health and are always ready to provide guidance tailored to your unique needs. Remember, healthy hands are within your reach, so take the necessary steps today for beautiful and hangnail-free nails tomorrow.

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