There’s nothing more annoying than a hangnail. Not only does it take tremendous willpower to avoid peeling or ripping off the skin, a single hangnail can make even freshly-painted tips look ragged. So how do you get rid of this mani mishap? Read on to discover the proper way to kick hangnails to the curb.
The Cause: The first step to eliminating hangnails is to understand what causes them. Hangnails are tiny pieces of torn skin around your nail. Typically, hangnails are caused by dryness or frequent biting or picking at the nail. Though they may be small, hangnails can actually be pretty painful, as they often get stuck on clothing, jewelry, etc. Though it may be tempting to peel or rip off the skin—don’t! Doing so can result in a bacterial infection called paronychia.
The Treatment: So how do you properly treat hangnails? Begin by soaking your hand in warm water, then use a sanitized cuticle nipper or nail clipper to gently cut off the dead skin. Apply an antibacterial ointment, such as Neosporin, to prevent infection, then cover the area with a bandage for a few hours, but allows the skin to breathe while you sleep in order to help the area heal. If the hangnail appears infected (i.e. it looks very red and is extremely painful), remove the dead skin, then consult with your doctor to find out the proper treatment.
The Prevention: Though hangnails are relatively easy to treat, it’s best to prevent them from appearing in the first place. The secret to bidding farewell to hangnails for good? Moisture, moisture, moisture! Get into the habit of applying cuticle oil and hand lotion multiple times a day, especially after hand-washing. Avoid biting and picking at your nails, and take preventative measures to limit your hands’ exposure to water or harsh removers (i.e wear gloves when washing the dishes, opt for nail wraps rather than soaking nails in acetone for gel polish removal, etc.).