First impressions count, and healthy nails make the lasting impression. Every now and then even perfectly groomed hands do come across pesky looking hangnails, which make our hands looking untidy and painful especially when it rubs against fabrics or hair strands. Discovering an obnoxious looking hangnail is exactly like spotting a pimple in the morning. You know you are in for a trouble. They hurt they’re distracting, and they lead to infections and subsequent swollen fingers if you are not careful with them.
Hangnails, as the name suggests, has nothing to do with fingernails, they essentially are a problem related to the cuticle. In fact, hangnails are dry; brittle triangle shaped pieces of skin that have broken free from your nail bed and are quite literally hanging from cuticles of your nails. It takes literally every ounce of self-control not to fixate on them and make the situation, let’s say peskier. But we need to get to the root cause of why hangnails happen so that remedies can be suggested accordingly.
Causes Of Hangnails:
There are safe, effective ways to get rid of hangnails! But first, it’s important to know what causes hangnails and how to prevent them before they can begin. Anyone can have a hangnail even one who follows meticulous nail grooming regime. Few of the causes are
- Winter season causes dryness
- Bad manicures(cutting cuticles down too far)
- Contact with cleaning detergent and chemicals
- Nail biting which makes the nail bed weak.
- Overexposure to water
- Vitamin deficiencies
How to Get Rid of Hangnails?
The cuticles are like protective seals around your bathtub. If you cut them back too far or push them around too aggressively, you damage them. The one upside of hangnails is that they’re preventable. Before they turn into bigger chronic skin problems, a little tender loving care aka (TLC) for your hands and nails can go a long way. So if you wondering how to get rid of hangnails painlessly, you have come to the right place. Let’s deal with this pesky problem step by step
1. Do Not Rip Hangnails:
Do not and I repeat do not rip your hangnails. And we mean it. Why? Ripping can leave an open wound and introduce bacteria, which can result in an infection called paronychia. And you probably know that throbbing as well as agonizing feeling that comes with the raw, red territory after you’ve accidentally pulled off a hangnail.
2. Warm Water Soak:
Start by soaking the nail in warm water for 15 minutes up to 4 times a day. Take some warm water in a bowl and add to it a tablespoon of pure almond oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Remove your hands from water and pat dry with a soft towel. The hot water and almond oil will help to soften your hand and make it less prone to dryness and chapping. This increases blood flow and cleanses the area.
If you are dealing with hangnails more often than you believe you should, then try to soak your fingers at least once a week in natural, rich oil like olive or coconut oil. After soaking them, wrap your hands in a hot towel to lock in that healthy moisture. Remove the towel after 10 minutes and continue with your day. You can also add some tea tree or eucalyptus oil to the water for antibacterial effects.
3. Moisturize, Moisturize and Moisturize:
Just as a moisturizer is a key to the healthy, supple and radiant skin, similarly it’s essential in keeping hangnails at bay too. If you notice hangnails occur in winters, that clearly is an indication of nails begging for more moisture.
Think of your cuticles like the protective caulking around a bathtub. If you cut them back too far or push them around too aggressively, you damage them. That, in turn, leaves your nail bed open to infection. As part of regular nail care to maintain healthy nails, it is imperative to moisturize cuticles and not to push them back or trimming them at all, even during a professional manicure.
We always wonder why our cuticles and nails seem dry, it’s because we don’t treat them properly. So make sure to slather your hands with moisturizing lotion every time you wash your hands. Some of the best moisturizers that are effective in moisturizing the skin around the fingernails include the following.
- Petroleum jelly
- Vitamin E oil
- Massage oil
- Hand lotion
- Olive oil
4. Remove Excess Cuticles:
Instead of cutting into your cuticle, use cuticle removing gel or apply cuticle oil. Apply this directly onto your nail beds and let sit for at least 15 seconds.
After applying a cuticle-removing cream, gently push them back with a cuticle pusher. This will keep nails looking clean while avoiding irritation and eventual hangnails. Because your nails are soaked and have been gelled up, this process will be a breeze. Try moving the stick in circles to nix some of the dead skin the gel was removed.
5. Getting Rid Of Hangnails:
Now here comes the challenging task and this task is made easier by the nifty tool, a hangnail remover. If you are using cuticle scissors, dip them in sterile water or rubbing alcohol. Carefully snip them off. Be sure to only remove dead pieces of skin. That way you will ensure that it doesn’t get caught up on something.
Cutting too close to the flesh can worsen the problem and even lead to infections, if not just deep, painful hangnails. With hangnail remover, you just need to slide your hangnail in between the prongs of this remover, and your hangnail will be instantly chopped off.
6. Use A Disinfectant:
Tea tree oil offers disinfectant, antibacterial and antifungal properties. You just need to add a few drops to warm water and soak your hands in it two or three times a day. The cuticle is meant to protect the root of the nail from invasion by bacteria, fungus, and viruses.”
- Oil Soak:
Afterward when you have applied disinfectant, just dry your hands and apply hand cream any moisturizer. Or best idea is to give your hands the spa treatment with an at-home nail soak using coconut oil. This will provide intense moisturization while softening the cuticles. Wrap hands in hot towels after, then be sure to moisturize with lotion or cream.
- Cuticle Cream:
Cuticle cream is crucial for keeping your nails and your nail beds moisturized, which helps to create a protective barrier around your nail, keeping it healthy and strong. It is not only amazingly nourishing for your cuticles but it aids in the overall health of your nail.
7. Band aid-It
After it has been removed, apply a liquid bandage product over the area. They provide an antibiotic and protective seal all in one. Keeping the area covered while it’s healing will prevent infection.
8. Intense Hydration:
For an extra dose of healing hydration, apply argon oil or an oil rich in vitamin E directly to the cuticles before sleep to soften and hydrate nail beds. You can also reapply throughout the day when hands are feeling dry or you feel a hangnail beginning to rear its ugly head. Once the hangnail has softened, you can carefully snip away, again being sure not to cut too close to the skin.
This technique should rid you of your hangnails without pain and ward off infection! But prevention is the key. Make sure to keep your cuticles moisturized with nail oil and lotions to prevent further hangnails.
Preventive measures to avoid hangnails:
With proper care and attention, you can prevent hangnails from forming in the first place. As they say, prevention is always better than cure! Here are some ways you can potentially prevent hangnails from coming back.
- Stop Biting Your Nails:
Many people bite or chew their nails, but this bad habit can actually cause more hangnails. Nibbling on your nails can damage your nail bed permanently and cause your hangnails to bleed and get infected.
- Wear Gloves:
If you work in water or with harsh chemicals, you should be advised to wear gloves. Overexposure to water (especially soapy water) can dry out your skin fast, especially around your nails. This layer of protection will keep your cuticles healthy.
- Keep it Moisturized, Winter or no Winter:
Make sure to keep your nail beds moisturized at all times. A regular old hand lotion around your nails will do the trick, and your cuticles will stay moisturized right up until the warmer summer months.
- Take care of your cuticles:
Every week, take a few minutes to push your cuticles back from the nail beds. First, soak your hands in warm water to soften the cuticles. Do this right after your shower, when your cuticles have been doused with water.
- Right Supplements Intake:
Keep your vitamin intaken regular basis to avoid breakage of nails in general and preventing hangnails in particular.
To end it here, one needs to understand that hangnails are totally preventable if taken care of properly.