Hangnail is another very common and sometimes painful issue that nearly everyone experiences during lifetime. Hangnails are those dry, sometimes brittle triangular-shaped tags of skin around your fingernails, usually at the cuticle, that can tear off and be annoying as much as an unattractive and painful as well. Tearing it off can become a disturbing habit.
This usually happens because the skin is dry or because a person bites his nails. Hangnail has nothing to do with ingrown nail; hangnail is not a problem of the nail itself.
When the skin around your fingernails tears off, it opens the door to infection, especially when you consider all the bacteria your hands are exposed to every day, not to mention dishwater, cold weather and all the other things that dry out your hands in the first place. Fortunately, there are quick and easy ways to prevent hangnails that range from moisturizing often to pampering your hands with cuticle soaks and manicures.
Remember that hangnails that aren’t properly cared for can result in an infection called paronychia. There are three types of paronychia infection: bacterial, Candida and fungal infection in the skin around your fingernail can be red, swollen and painful, and it may even emit pus.
Common causes of hangnails
- Dry skin
- Cold, dry winter climate
- Overexposure to harsh chemicals
- Frequently immersing your unprotected hands in water
- Nail biter
- Bad Manicure with frequent cutting of the cuticles
HOW TO AVOID HANGNAILS?
- Moisturize Your Hands – Keeping your hands moisturized with oils, lotions and creams at all times ensures it does not become dry. As you know, dryness is a primary cause of hangnails. Therefore, keeping hands moisturized with a good hand cream, especially during dry weather is beneficial.
- Wash your hands daily with a mild soap.
- Avoid Biting Nails – If you are a nail biter, you should try and avoid this habit as you are more at risk of developing hangnails than others. In addition, the risk of infection is also higher. If you have already developed hangnails with an infection, there are various antifungal and antibiotic medications just for this purpose.
- Trim Nails Regularly – Keeping the nails trimmed and not overly long can help prevent hangnail development. Regular manicures can also be good for your nail health, just remember that pushing cuticles back with an orangewood stick is healthier than cutting them.
- Use Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover / polish with non-irritating ingredients . Acetone-based nail polish remover dries out hands and nails. Also, use polishes that do not contain drying ingredients such as formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and toluene.
- Use Petroleum Jelly – This is an excellent moisturizer. Petroleum jelly contains fats that penetrate into the deep layers of the skin. The application of petroleum jelly is one of the best ways you can prevent the hands from drying excessively.
- Consider your diet – If you have brittle or problem nails, it could be the result of a vitamin deficiency that can make you more prone to dryness that causes hangnails. A diet rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin B to promote nail strength. Moreover, drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body and skin hydrated.
Treating hangnails should not involve ripping, biting or cutting the affected area.
Steps to follow:
- Disinfect a pair of cuticle scissors in alcohol to reduce the chance of accidental infection.
- Soften the area by soaking fingers in warm water.
- Clip the hangnail with the cuticle scissors to prevent jagged edges.
- Once this is done, massage lotion to the nail bed and continue to do so for some weeks. You can also consider the application of antibacterial lotion and covering the affected area with a bandage. If the infection has set in, try soaking the fingers in hot water for a few days. If this does not work, consult your doctor.
Hangnails do not have to ruin your fingers and cause problems. If you care for your nails properly and avoid the causes of hangnail development, you ensure healthy nails.
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