There are many people across the world who suffer from the unsightly condition of hangnails. This condition, which is characterized by the presence of small pieces of dead skin that hang out loosely from the nail bed, can definitely turn out to be quite an annoying one.
Hangnails are seen to occur in the regions of both the fingers and toes. Insufficient oil production by the sebaceous glands that are present in the skin surrounding the nails is considered to be the major reason behind the development of this condition. You can also develop this condition if you have the habit of biting your nails or if your nails are constantly exposed to soapy water.
If not taken care of in time, then the condition of hangnails can pave way for the development of subsequent infections of the nails and hands. To deal with this painful and troublesome condition, all you need to do is to follow a few remedial measures. Listed below are the step by step methods that one can adopt in order to treat hangnails.
Soften The Hangnail
As the first step in treating a hangnail, you will have to soften it in an effective manner. This is done so as to reduce the pain that may occur while removing the hangnail. For softening the hangnail, you can soak it in a bowl of warm water to which 3 to 4 tablespoons of salt has been added.
You can also make an effective soak by combining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 cups of warm water. Another recipe for a softening soak suggests the mixing of equal quantities of apple cider vinegar and warm water. You should dip the hangnails in the softening soaks for about 20 minutes and then dry them thoroughly using a clean towel.
Trim The Hangnail
After the hangnails have been soaked and dried, you can move on forward with the trimming step. Trimming of hangnails should be done with a pair of properly cleaned cuticle scissors or nail clippers. You can rub the scissors and nail clippers with alcohol in order to sterilize them and to prevent the occurrence of infections.
Do see to it that you trim the hangnails as close to your skin as possible. While trimming, take care not to remove the live skin beneath the hangnails, as it can lead to bleeding. After this, apply an antibiotic ointment, cover the area with a clean bandage and leave it overnight. Remove this dressing in the morning and replace it with a fresh batch of ointment and bandage. This process is to be repeated until the hangnails have healed completely.
The After Care Process
Following the treatment, it is necessary that you follow a strict after care regime, in order to prevent the further formation of hangnails. You should take care to always keep your cuticles moisturized and hydrated. For this purpose, you can apply honey onto the cuticles daily. Applying cuticle oil and a moisturizing hand lotion also helps in preventing hangnail formation.
While engaging in activities like dish washing, do wear suitable protective gloves in order to safeguard your hands and nails from the action of harsh chemicals. Also, to improve the health of your nails, you should have food items that are rich in calcium, iron, potassium and Vitamin E. Thus, by strictly following the above said methods, you will be able to treat hangnails in an effective manner.