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The Hurtful Hangnail: How to Treat It and How to Prevent It


The dreaded hangnail—at some point or another, you’re bound to experience one. Hangnails are frustrating because they not only ruin a manicure, they can also be pretty painful. Next time you find yourself suffering from an irritated and inflamed cuticle, try a few of these tips to ease the pain and prevent hangnails from happening in the future.

Treatment

  1. Many people tend to focus a lot of their nervous energy into their fingernails. For example, they might bite their nails down to a nub, pick at their cuticles, or peel off their nail polish. When you notice a hangnail, you might pull it off without even thinking about it. However, doing this can cause the skin around your nail to become raw and irritated, and in some cases, it may even begin to bleed. This bad habit can set you up for infections and hangnails in the future. Instead, take a pair of cuticle scissors or nail clippers and gently cut at the base of the hangnail.
  2. Apply a small amount of antibacterial cream or petroleum jelly to the affected area and cover with a bandaid to let any irritation heal. Once the hangnail is gone and the area is healed, take preventative measures to stop future hangnails in their tracks.

Prevention

  1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. A major cause of hangnails is dry skin, so a good way to keep them from popping up is to keep your hands and fingernails well nourished. Use lotion or a hand salve daily, especially after spending time in cold weather or in water (that includes washing the dishes or giving the dog a bath!). Another way to promote nail bed health is with an oil soak. As needed, soak your nails in a bit of olive or vegetable oil for about ten to fifteen minutes. The oil will penetrate to your nail bed, allowing it some much-needed moisture.
  2. Stop cutting your cuticles. A popular manicure trend is to trim the cuticles around the nail, but the cuticle acts as a protective barrier for the nail itself. Cutting it leaves the nail exposed and vulnerable, which can lead to infection and hangnails. If you really can’t stand the way your cuticles look, gently pushing them back with an orange stick is a much safer alternative. The exception to this rule is, of course, hangnails, which should be trimmed to the base of the hangnail as previously mentioned.

Hangnails can be painful, and above all else, a nuisance that makes it difficult to complete everyday tasks. By following the steps mentioned above, you can promote hand health by keeping your hangnails at bay.

If you’re dealing with a hand condition a little more serious than a hangnail, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your hand health is our priority—and it should be yours as well! We’ll work with you to find a personalized treatment plan so you can get back to doing the things you love most. To stay up-to-date on everything happening at HSST, make sure to follow us on Facebook! Our hands heal yours!

 

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