We all hope to achieve nail health but more often than not, nails are prone to different unwanted conditions. One among the many problems associated with nails is hangnail. Read below to know all about this condition, including its cause, symptoms, and prevention.
What is a hangnail?
A hangnail is a condition where there are small slivers of detached skin at the side of the nail. Normally, a hangnail involves dry skin at the cuticles where a narrow piece of the nail can be split away, but remaining attached to the base. They are extremely annoying and painful. Usually, they start out small and sometimes painless, but begin to become a concern when you pick at them or they happen to catch in something like your clothing or your hair.
How Hangnails occur
There are multiple factors that are likely to trigger hangnail, but the main reason for this condition is dry skin. This is why you will notice hangnails occurring more frequent in winter as cold weather make human skin dry. Anything that will dry out the skin like harsh chemicals, or frequent immersion in water will definitely cause hangnail. Other than that, a bad manicure will most often cause a hangnail, particularly if the manicurist works on the cuticle more aggressively by cutting the edge of the cuticle with the scissor. Chlorine and the sun will definitely make your nails brittle, so excessive swimming during summer month can also lead to hangnails. In children, this condition is most common due to nail biting habit. Nail biters are very much prone of hangnails since a nail bite causes weaker nail bed, the skin right underneath the actual fingernail which will most often trigger hangnail growth.
Symptoms of hangnails
A detached small skin right next to a toenail or the fingernail typically characterizes hangnails. They aren’t much of a serious problem, but they are definitely very painful, especially when caught with clothing or anything you touch. Cosmetically, they are very unpleasant which is why many people are looking for different ways to get rid of them.
Quit biting your nail
Biting your nails damages the nails as well as the skin surrounding your nail, which increases chances of developing hangnail not to mention increases chances of infection due to the different bacteria that might be present in your mouth. Make an effort to stop this habit.
Keep the nails bed moisturized
As noted, dryness is the primary cause of hangnails, the American academy of dermatology recommends that you keep your hand moistened using deep penetrating lotion or oil to your hand. You do not have to spend a lot on moisturizing cream, in fact, most of them have a potentially harmful chemical that can create a much bigger problem. Simple oil like coconut oil can make magic in moisturizing your hand not to mention can lead to healthier and longer nails.
Trim your nail more often
Keeping your nail groomed is the first step toward preventing hangnails. Just use a pair of nail clippers to trim them and keep them off from growing too long. Make sure you have an orange manicure stick to softly push the cuticles back and to keep them from growing onto the nails. Instead of trimming your nail normally, consider trimming them when they are softer by soaking them in warm water. This makes cutting through them much easier.
Protect your hand
When using detergents with water you might want to consider protecting your hands with rubber gloves. This added precaution helps protect your hands from drying out, thereby minimizing the risk of hangnails. Working with household chemical makes your prone to hangnails but not with added protection. As a savvy swimmer, make sure you have hand cream as chlorine with the sun is another combination that can be troublesome to the skin around your nails.
Avoid acetone nail polish
As effective as it might be, it significantly dries your hands and nail. Since dryness is the main cause of hangnails, you might want to steer clear from any drying product. Consider using acetone-free formula if you have to use a nail polish remover.
Remember nails requires nutrient and care for proper growth and nourishment, so you might want to follow a proper diet to prevent this problem. Right diet will keep your cuticles healthy hence prevent the development of this uncomfortable condition. There are other hangnail prevention methods you can try.