When a small silver skin gets torn on the side of your finger or toe nail it is described colloquially as a hangnail. Hangnails occur when the skin around the nail bed peels away or there is a nail biting tendency or drying up of the skin around the nail area.
When exposed to water or other liquid substances these hangnails can turn out to be quite painful. Large hangnails are more prone to infection.
Causes of Hangnails
People with a nail biting tendency as well as those who tend to wet their hands quite often apart from women are more prone to hangnails. Hangnails may also appear on the hands of people who are mostly engaged in work that may dry up their hands.
Sorting mails throughout the day can also result in the formation of hangnails, which is why most people working in the post offices and mail delivery centers are seen to suffer from hangnails. People who bite their nails more are more likely to get hangnails than those who don’t indulge in this bad habit.
Symptoms of Hangnails
The symptoms of hangnails include a severe swelling of the cuticle area on the middle finger. I have experienced this on myself as my middle finger used to resemble a big toe due to the hangnails. The area developed a yellowish greenish tint. This must have been the blister as it seemed to be really painful. The infected area was under much pressure and caused an unbearable pain.
Types OF Hangnails
There can be different categories or degrees of hangnails, based on the kind of damage that the skin has undergone. Basically it is small or large. There are times, when only a small portion of the nail has been chipped off or is hanging. In such cases, the home treatments suffice. But if the problem of the nail hanging is much larger in scale, it can bring on risks of infections.
Home Remedies For Hangnails
Oil And Water Soak
Make a solution of 4 caps of bathing oil and one pint of warm water and soak your fingernails into it for 10 to 15 minutes. You will find that clipping your hangnails will be far more painless as your fingernails will get softened through this treatment. Apart from this it will also prevent the occurrence of hangnails on your fingernails in the future. Hangnails are much easier and painless to clip when they are soft rather than when they are dry and hard. Attempting to clip hangnails that are hard can cause infection and bleeding on the affected areas.
Almond Hand Mask
Author Barbara Griggs has shared in her book “The Green Witch Herbal,” a recipe for whitening and soothing hand and nail infections. This recipe is believed to be 500 years old. To prepare the mask, grind together a few almond pieces till they turn into fine consistency or take almond meal and mix it with rosewater. In the absence of rosewater, you can make use of almond oil or milk to make the ground almonds soft. Add the wet and softened almonds to a beaten egg yolk and make a paste.
Apple cider vinegar and honey can also be added to this mixture as they have healing properties that can be beneficial for this treatment. Apply this paste gently on the hangnails and rub it on both of your hands. Leave this mix on your hands overnight and protect them by wearing a pair of gloves till you wash them off next day.
Warm Oil Massage
There are many experts who also recommend massaging your hands with warm oil before going to bed in order to treat hangnails. To prepare this treatment, take a small bottle and put 1 ½ oz. almond or olive oil into it. Now add 25 drops of essential oil good for skin-healing. chamomile, lavender and benzoin oil are some of the essential oils that you can use.
You can also squash a Vitamin E capsule and add it in this mixture for best results. The massage oil can be heated gently at night by putting it under running warm water. This oil must be massaged into the cracked and chapped skin on your hands and nail area. Remove the excess oil with a towel. Let your hands soak in the rest of the oil overnight. To retain the oil on your skin wear gloves through the night.
The rough and dead top layer of the skin on your hands and nail area can be taken off my oatmeal as it has exfoliating properties. A scrub with oatmeal will also give your rough hands a soothing effect. To prepare the scrub, use a blender to grind 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats.
Once grinded put the mix in a shallow bowl and dip your hands into it. Rub your palms from the back as well as the cuticle region and rinse. End off by applying a moisturizer on the affected area of your hands and nails.
Along with the above, it is suggested that one goes for regular manicures or pedicures at home if they have a problem of persistent hang nails. Basically a home manicure doesn’t require much effort. Soak the nail an antibiotic solution.
Then push the cuticles with the help of a cream and cut the nails in a shapely manner. Finally massage with cream or oil. This hardly takes 20 minutes and should be done at least once in a fortnight to get effective results and freedom from recurring hangnails.
Other Ways To Treat Hangnails
The hangnails can be treated by rubbing an emollient cream on them followed by a protection cover with a plastic wrap. To prevent the moisture from escaping, apply the cream at night and leave it on overnight wrapped in a plastic. The plastic can be taken off next morning.
Prevent the hangnails from getting prone to infection and make them simpler to clip with the emollient cream treatment. To control and restrict the occurrence of hangnails and the drying up of your nail skins that leads to it, keep moisturizing your hands on a regular basis.