Hangnail--prevent-and-treat-them-in-7-simple-steps

Hangnail- prevent and treat them in 7 simple steps (Dermatocare’s nails guide)

Written By Dr Surbhi, MD Skin

Last updated: 18/12/16

Hangnails are the piece of thick skin (and not nails) that strips off form the roots of fingernails. Hangnail is a very common problem; patients often come to us when they have a super-added infection on the hangnail. To keep them away, you need to avoid the causative factors that favour their development like dry skin, harsh chemicals/irritants, biting of nails. Here is the step-to-step guide to prevent and treat hangnails:


 

Step 1: Protect your nails from harsh chemicals

Common offenders are indeed the part of your nail care regimes like nail remover, UV rays lamps, driers, etc. Besides this, make a habit of wearing gloves while doing a household job or occupational work that involves exposure to water, detergent or chemicals; this will save not only your nails but also your hands.

Step 2: Avoid biting your nail

Had it been so easy, you could have already quit it! Try putting nail paint on your nail and once you see your nail paint go haywire, it will remind you to stop biting your nails, besides the taste and smell of nail paint might be another put-down.

Step 3: Do not cut your cuticle

The cuticle is a thick fold of skin that lies at the base of nails. It is tightly sealed at the base of your nail and protects your nail matrix from germs. The practice of removing the cuticle or pushing it off from the nail plate should be avoided; it triggers not only infections in nail fold but also hangnails.

Step 4: Moisturise your nails

Dry skin is a major factor that triggers hangnail; a good habit is to apply moisturiser each time you feel a stretch in your hands. You can use coconut oil, petrolatum jelly, bland, cold cream or specialised hand cream for moisturising; keep small bottles of moisturiser, not only in your bathroom but also in your kitchen, purse, workplace, etc.

Step 5: Do not pull but cut the hangnails

However annoying they look, do not give way to the impulse of pulling your hangnail. Instead, take scissors and cut them gently at the base without pulling them.

Step 6: Oil soaks

Dip your nails in coconut or sunflower oil for few minutes and wrap them in a towel soaked in warm water. Dry your nails thoroughly and put moisturiser.

Step 7: Recognise and treat the infection

If the hangnails are getting red and painful, then it is a sign of impending bacterial infection that manifests with swelling, pus discharge and sometimes fever. Use OTC antibiotic ointment on red hangnails and keep them covered with a bandage. If this does not help in 2-3 days see your dermatologist.

 


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