A hangnail is a tiny piece of dry skin around a nail, and is formed when the surrounding skin does not get an adequate supply of moisturizer / oil. By and large, hangnails are common in women, but anyone who has their hands in water a lot, or those who tend to bite their nails on a regular basis, can develop hangnails.
The chief cause of hangnails is dryness of the cuticles. The cuticle is the area of skin that surrounds the nail. When the cuticle becomes dry, it partially departs from the nail region and becomes a little bothersome. Characteristically, a hang nail occurs on the side of the nail; what’s more, they can also become infected if not cared for properly.
You should always trim a hang nail with a pair of nail scissors; do not pull, pick or bite at a hang nail, this triggers infection.
Home Remedies To Cure An Infected Hangnail
- First and foremost clean your feet and toenails thoroughly. Add gentle body wash to a bucket of water and soak your feet for 5 minutes.
- Then, soak your toes in an oil and water solution. Fill a bucket half with water, and add 10 spoons of avocado oil or olive oil and let your toes soak for 15 minutes. This will help soften the nails, thus making it easier to clip the hangnail without causing any painful damage. Clipping a hard hangnail results in bleeding and infection.
- Trim the hang nail off with a pair of nail scissors. Trim the hang nail as closely as possible to the nail bed, but do not attempt to remove any skin underneath the nail bed.
- Rub a moisturizing cream in to the nail and leave on overnight; this makes it easier to clip off the hang nail.
- Moisturize your feet daily. This helps prevent the skin around the nails from drying out and forming into a hangnail.
- Tea tree is the most effective home remedy for an infected hangnail. Apply neat tea tree essential oil to the affected region and bandage it and leave overnight. Tea tree promises to battle the infection completely.
- Jojoba oil is an excellent emollient for the nails and cuticles. Blend 10 drops of jojoba with 2 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil and use it for the nails and cuticles on a daily basis; it keeps them well moisturized and healthy.
- Apply an anti-bacterial cream or powder to the feet. Cover the affected area with a sterile bandage and leave for at least 2 hours. Make sure the bandage stays clean and dry. This will help fight off the infection effectively.
- Do not wear shoes and socks for about 15 days in case of a painful and infected hangnail. Wear open slippers and keep the toes and nails clean.
- Never pull off a hang nail. Doing so, tears the skin underneath the nail and greatly raises your chance of developing an infection. This is probably the most vital thing that you need to remember when caring for a hang nail.
- In case the infection fails to heal within a week’s time, you need to confer with your doctor. It is particularly vital especially if the area turns red, swollen and painful. Talk to your doctor, he may advise an oral antibiotic as well.