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November 26, 2013
By the Editors of MangoBoss
You’ve experienced them before. Those annoying pieces of skin that
grow along side your nail. You can barely touch it without brief jolts of
pain. Getting rid of them can be an even more irritating task. Well what
are these annoying bits of skin that surface on one of the most used
body parts? The common term for them is a "hangnail". Well you may
have wondered what exactly cause hangnails and what you can do
differently in order to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of them. This
article proposes a few suggestions.
What Exactly is a Hangnail?
A hangnail is a piece of torn skin located at the root of a fingernail.
They usually hang off the cuticle area of the fingernail and can cause
discomfort if touched, brushed against, or removed. They are attached
to living skin underneath which is why they hurt when touched.
What Causes Hangnails?
A number of things can cause hangnails ranging from a bad
manicure to routine submersion in water. However, one of the most
common ways to experience a hangnail is through dry skin. Cold dry
winters, harsh detergents and repeated submersion in water are all
factors that can reduce moisture in your skin and thus cause hangnails
to form. However be careful there are other more subtle ways for
hangnails to form. Manicurist who push back cuticles too much or nail
biters who weaken the nail bed by constant biting can also contribute
to the formation of hangnails.
Who Gets Hangnails?
If you have fingernails and toe nails then you are, of course, at risk
for developing hangnails; men, women, nor children are safe. However,
individuals who are constantly exposed to harsh detergents and liquids
such as cleaners, dishwashers, swimmers, and those who work outside
in cold temperatures all run a higher risk of developing dreaded
The Serious Side
Hangnails may seem trivial but they can be quite dangerous if
developed too frequently or cared for improperly. In 2011 The U.S.
National Library of Medicine reported that hangnails can cause
"paronychia", a nail infection, if the skin tears off and is left open to
bacteria. If left unattended it can spread into the tissues in the skin and
may require antibiotics or perhaps even surgery.
For this reason, you should never bite hangnails. The bacteria in your
mouth can infect the hangnail and make it worse. You also should
never ever pull off a hangnail because you can tear the skin and , again,
make it more susceptible to infection.
How To Remedy Hangnails- Naturally
Here are a few ideas for remedying and preventing those painful
1. Keep your hands moisturized
Daily activities can take oil and moisture from your skin, so routine use
of hand moisturizer can help to reduce the occurrence of hangnails and
help soothe hangnails after they are formed.
2. Nail Soaks
Periodically soaking your nails in oil and water solutions can help to
soften hangnails before clippings. About 2 capfuls of oil in warm water
for about 15 minutes should do the trick.
3. Antibacterial Ointment
Using antibacterial ointment also helps to reduce the possibility of
infections while keeping the area soothed and moisturized.
There are also a few non-conventional natural remedies that have some
4. Almond Hand Mask
Mix almond meal and two egg yolks until a paste is formed. Then
rub into hands especially around cuticle areas.
According to a book developed by a group of doctors called “The
Doctors Book of Home Remedies,” the solid fat in shortening helps to
soften hangnails and seal moisture in.
6. Emollient Creams
Rub emollient cream on the affected area then wrap in plastic
overnight. This helps not only to reduce pain but also to reduce
7. Oatmeal Scrub
Oatmeal helps to remove the rough top layer of skin. Rubbing a cup
of dry ground oats over hands and cuticles then washing hands
thoroughly will soften the hard hangnails.
Remember always use sterile nail clippers before clipping nails and
disinfect hands before and after clipping hangnails. Try a few of the
above remedies to soften the hangnail before clipping in order to
reduce pain and sensitivity. Perhaps using a bandage would be helpful
to prevent open cuts from becoming infected.
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