Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Nails: Help for Hangnails

What is a hangnail?

A hangnail is simply dead skin that has pulled away from the fingernail area. If you’ve never experienced these annoying yet painful skin irritations, you are one in a million. I am sure you have found that if you pull the dead skin off, it leaves a little tear in the skin, and these tiny little pieces of skin really can hurt when they are tearing off from the finger. Sodon’t pull the skin offbut do cut it with nail clippers, and get as close to the surface as possible without cutting your finger. And if it still hurts, and to ensure infection doesn’t set in, put a tiny drop of an essential oil (preferably lavender, which is very soothing) on the area then put a Band-Aid® on it until it heals.

How can I best take care of the skin around my fingernails? I get lots of hangnails, and they hurt! Please tell me what I can do (or not do) to stop them from happening.

Frequently washing your hands throughout the day can create an environment for problems with the skin around your nails as well as the nails themselves. The absorption and subsequent drying of water on your hands (through washing dishes, baths, and even simply washing your hands in soap and water) can cause brittle nails and skin that tends to create hangnails. Wearing rubber gloves whenever possible is always a good idea. It may seem like a nuisance at first, but once you are used to wearing gloves, your hands will reflect this new type of care.

Putting a healing oil on your cuticles can help to keep hangnails away. Because hangnails are dead skin gone bad, keeping that skin soft and flexible will help to keep those painful tears from happening. After bathing or taking a shower is a good time to push the skin of the cuticle back, which helps to keep that tissue from tearing. Nighttime is the best time for this application. The oil will stay put longer, and that’s when everything regenerates anyway!

Finally, getting regular manicures, even if you don’t have long nails, is another good way to keep hangnails away and just keep up with overall maintenance of your hands. I don’t have any nails since I have to keep them short for my work, but I love to get manicures. It keeps my nailbeds in good shape, and I love the massaging that comes with a professional manicure. Treat yourself even now and then or on a regular basis and hangnails can be a thing of the past.

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