A hangnail is a small piece of torn skin that can cause a lot of pain and irritation. It usually appears at the sides of the nails and can be very annoying. They can be caused by a variety of reasons like dry skin, biting your nails, or using harsh chemicals on your hands.
If you’re plagued by hangnails, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with them, but there are ways to prevent them from forming. In this article, we’ll discuss how to banish hangnails for good!
What Causes Hangnails?
The main causes of hangnails include:
- Dry skin: This is one of the most common causes of hangnails. When your skin is dry, it cracks, and you’re likely to experience hangnails.
- Biting your nails: Biting your nails can cause small cuts around the nails, leading to hangnails.
- Harsh chemicals: Using harsh chemicals on your hands can also cause hangnails. Make sure to wear gloves while using chemicals or wash your hands frequently to prevent them.
- Malnutrition: If your body lacks essential vitamins and minerals, it can lead to skin problems, including hangnails.
How to Prevent Hangnails?
1. Moisturize Often
Keeping your skin moisturized is key to preventing hangnails. You should apply a moisturizer at least twice a day, especially after washing your hands or doing dishes. A thick cream or lotion is the best choice as it provides deep hydration to your skin.
2. Avoid Biting Your Nails
Biting your nails is a bad habit that can cause hangnails as well as other nail problems. Make it a point to stop biting your nails as soon as possible. If you’re having a hard time quitting the habit, try keeping your nails short or using a nail biting deterrent.
3. Use Gloves While Cleaning or Working With Chemicals
When you’re cleaning or working with chemicals, wear gloves to protect your hands. This will not only prevent hangnails but also protect your hands from harsh chemicals or detergents.
4. Avoid Cutting Your Cuticles
The cuticle is a protective layer of skin at the base of your nails. Cutting or pushing back your cuticles can damage them, causing hangnails to form. Instead, use a cuticle remover or a cuticle pusher to push them back gently.
5. Keep Your Nails Trimmed and Filed
Keeping your nails trimmed and filed can help prevent hangnails as they reduce the risk of snagging on anything. Be sure to file in one direction only and avoid using metal files as they can damage your nails.
6. Improve Your Diet
A healthy diet is key to preventing hangnails. Your body needs essential vitamins and minerals to keep your skin healthy. Make sure to include foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in your diet to keep your skin healthy.
How to Treat Hangnails?
If you already have a hangnail, don’t worry. Here are some ways to treat them:
1. Soak Your Hands in Warm Water
Soaking your hands in warm water can help soften the skin and make it easier to remove the hangnail. Add a few drops of essential oil or Epsom salt to the water for added benefits.
2. Trim the Hangnail
Using sterilized nail clippers, carefully trim the hangnail, making sure to avoid cutting your skin. If the hangnail is painful or infected, you can use a sterile needle to prick the blister and drain the fluid.
3. Apply an Antibiotic Ointment
After trimming the hangnail, apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area. This will help prevent infection and speed up the healing process.
4. Cover it Up
If the hangnail is painful or persistent, cover it up with a bandage to protect it from further damage. Make sure to change the bandage daily and keep the area clean and dry.
Hangnails can be annoying and painful, but there are ways to prevent and treat them. Keeping your skin moisturized, avoiding biting your nails, and wearing gloves while cleaning or working with chemicals can help prevent them from forming. If you already have a hangnail, you can trim it, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover it up with a bandage to protect it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can hangnails cause infections?
A: Yes, hangnails can cause infections. If the hangnail is red, swollen, or painful, it may be infected. Make sure to apply an antibiotic ointment and cover it up with a bandage to prevent further damage.
Q: How can I tell if a hangnail is infected?
A: An infected hangnail may be red, swollen, and painful. You may also experience pus or discharge from the affected area. If you suspect an infection, seek medical attention immediately.
Q: Can hangnails be a sign of a more serious condition?
A: Hangnails are usually harmless, but if you have persistent hangnails, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Make sure to consult your doctor if you’re experiencing persistent hangnails.
Q: How often should I moisturize my hands to prevent hangnails?
A: You should moisturize your hands at least twice a day, especially after washing your hands or doing dishes. If you have dry skin, you may need to moisturize more often.