You can prevent hangnails!
If you are like us, you are likely doubting that hangnails are indeed avoidable. Even as we put this article together, we feel the skepticism, considering we even experts like us still get them. But, calmer heads and thoughts always prevail, and we admit we may have slacked off on our cuticle care.
While cuticles are often neglected, they play a very important role in keeping your nails healthy. Cuticles are the skin at the base of each of your fingernails. They provide a barrier so that dirt and debris do not get under the skin and nail. Hangnails are actually dry pieces of cuticles, and boy, can those dry pieces of cuticles hurt when they form! The reason for the pain is the area where hangnails occur. That part of the nail has many blood vessels and nerve endings, and once a hangnail forms and swells, it adds pressure on those nerve endings which causes the pain.
Hangnail prevention starts with Cuticle Care. Here are some tips.
Keep your cuticles moist. Dryness causes more cuticle problems than anything else, including those dreaded hangnails. Simply massage cuticle oil or a moisturizing hand cream into the cuticles on a regular basis. Don't just apply – massage! Making this part of your nail care routine is a powerful way to prevent hangnails. Using nail polish and other lacquers more than once a week can speed up cuticle dryness, so please keep aware and give your cuticles a much-needed rest if dryness symptoms persist.
Stop Biting Cuticles. We know, you probably don't do this but we have to warn you just in case you do. Biting them, nervously picking at them, or any other mistreatment will make the skin around them dry up and peel, leaving the fingers highly vulnerable to infection.
Groom your Cuticles. A high quality cuticle pusher paired with a sharp pair of cuticle scissors purchased through Zamberg will allow you to gently push back cuticles and remove any dead skin that flakes off or builds up. You can also make the grooming easier by softening up the cuticles before any treatment. Massage a small amount of warmed up olive oil into the cuticles, or mix two drops of Eucalyptus and Jojoba oil softener. Either will help make cuticle care more manageable.
Avoid Infection. Red, swollen, or itchy/irritated cuticles could mean an allergic reaction to some nail treatment you are using, or chemical cleaning products that come into contact with your fingers. Wearing gloves when doing housework can help, but it is best to try and identify the cause and stop using that product. If you ever feel your cuticles have become severely inflamed or infected, we recommend you visit a dermatologist. Do not leave cuticle infection untreated, as serious problems could occur.
If you do get a hangnail, here's how you get rid of it.
Getting rid of hangnails 101 starts, and ends, by saying NEVER EVER try to rip or bite it off. This will cause extreme pain and will likely pull off additional skin which could lead to infection.
We recommend soaking your affected hand for about 10 minutes in warm soapy water. After drying your hand, use a sharp, high quality nail clipper to clip off the hangnail as close as you can to the skin (without damaging any other skin). This is the easiest, and safest, way to remove a hangnail. Afterward, apply antibacterial lotion or moisturizer to the affected area.
Please do not use a scissor to remove the hangnail. If you do not have a sanitized, quality nail clipper available, bandage the finger and hangnail until you have access to the clipper.
Fortunately, most hangnails happen to fingernails and not toenails. If this ever happens, carefully follow the same process as above for removing hangnails.