Nails » How to Get Rid of Hangnails and Prevent Them

How to Get Rid of Hangnails and Prevent Them

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One simple fact you should know is that hangnails can cause paronychia, a condition in which the area around the nail is infected. Before you ask how to get rid of hangnails, you should know what they are and why they appear on your hands.

How to Get Rid of Hangnails: Hangnail Treatments

Hangnails are infected areas around the nails that are swollen, red and painful. And they do injustice to your well-manicured nails and beautiful fingers.

How do you get rid of such infections and have a flawless, beautiful appearance always?

We give you a piggyback on the topic. How to get rid of hangnails? That one is for those who have it already. But for those who haven’t and don’t want, we will explain the prevention. You know, prevention, it is said, is better than cure.

How to Get Rid of Hangnails: Contents

What Are Hangnails and What Are Their Symptoms?

If we guess right, the parts of the nails you call nails are actually the nail plate. The flesh below and on the side of the nail plate is prone to split or tear under certain conditions like dryness or harsh weather. These areas are where you have some tear of flesh called hangnails.

Hangnails are a tiny, very thin shred of flesh that hangs at the side of the nails after the nails have been exposed to some conditions (which we will explain). This results in jagged and torn flesh at the side of the nails. And that tiny flesh can be painful and prone to infection.

Don’t confuse hangnails with ingrown nails or infected nails. They are tears in the flesh around the nails. They aren’t the nail plate either.

Hangnails can be the starting pointing that leads to infected nails. When infected, areas around the nails can show:

• Redness

• Swelling

• Build-up of yellowish-greenish tint around the nails

• Warm sensation around the root of the nails

• Wounds around the nails

• Pain

• Or worse, you can get pus-filled blisters

How to Treat Hangnails: Hangnail Treatments

Those are the symptoms of infected hangnails. When the hangnails are infected by bacteria, the symptoms are faster to notice, but fungal infection could take more time to show symptoms.

What Are the Common Causes of Hangnails?

The causes of hangnails are:

• Dryness or lack of moisture around the nails is the main cause of hangnails.

• Harsh weather conditions. Winter is such a time to experience hangnails regularly.

• Having your hands in water for too long.

• Injury.

• Untreated wounds.

• Biting the nails.

• Dryness of the cuticles.

• Cut on the cuticles.

• Exposure to sun.

• Exposure to chemicals such as chlorine, or products that can affect the sensitive skin around the nails.

• Washing or the exposure to detergents and synthetic soaps.

• Putting the hands in water for too long.

The root of the nails is made of flesh. You can keep it healthy and expects no experience of hangnails.

How to Get Rid of Hangnails?

Nutrition is important. The food you should eat that helps you grow healthier nails should have nutrients like,

• Calcium
• Iron
• Vitamin B
• Potassium
• Seafood
• Dairy products
• Soy
• Celeries (aromatic herbs)

What Are Hangnails? Causes & Symptoms

We don’t underestimate the importance of nutrition to look healthy, because good food has a good impact on the overall well-being of your health. But good food alone will not get rid of hangnails. You have to do something else.

• One of the solutions is to cut the hangnails off. You will need a cuticle cutter to nip the hangnails off your fingers. The situation could get worse if you don’t. Hangnails could tear the skin and cause so much pain.

• Trim the hangnails with cuticle nipper, nail clipper or small scissors – don’t cut your cuticle as it sounds. Gently and carefully trim the hangnails with a cuticle nipper.

• And before you cut the hangnails, you can make them softer for cutting by soaking your fingers in warm water for a few minutes. You may decide to use cuticle oil. Even after cutting the hangnails, you should use cuticle oils to prevent hangnails in future.

• However, if your cuticles are bleeding from the injury caused by hangnails, ensure they are bandaged to stop the blood.

• Apply anti-bacterial ointments. This should be after trimming the hangnails.

• And make sure you use the band-aid after the ointment has been applied.

• Soak the fingers, cut the hangnails, apply ointment, use band-aid – repeat these four steps for a few days to get the desired result.

• Drink water regularly. Lack of body fluid can contribute to the development of hangnails. Stay hydrated.

• Eat well. We have said it and we would say it again – eat well.

Other Notes to Keep in Mind

• Paronychia is a term used in describing when the infection gets severe. Depending on the individual, the process and symptoms can differ. When the infection is getting worse – it is filled with blisters or pus, no improvement after trying the steps above, discoloration, separation of nails from the nail bed, you have diabetes – then, you might want to see a doctor.

• Do not cut hangnails off without moisturizing your nails.

• Instead of soaking with just water, you can apply some moisturizing oils like olive oil.

• Take care of your cuticles, and you might not have to worry about hangnails. Use a cuticle remover and push them back with an orangewood stick. Apply cuticle oils regularly.

Home Remedies to Treat Hangnails

Some home remedies work in helping to get rid of hangnails. They are:

Vitamin E Oil

This will bring moisture to your nails. Moisturized nails are cured of damages they might have experienced. Buy some vitamin E oil, apply directly around the nails, repeat this daily and you will see changes.


This has probiotics, a component that has anti-inflammatory properties. This means it can cure inflamed nails as well as hangnails. Apply some plain yoghurt on the areas, leave for some time and wash off. And repeat the process daily.


Moisturizing your nails will also work. Honey is a natural humectant; it has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. You will protect the nails and prevent inflammation. Apply the honey on the areas with hangnails and leave for some hours to allow its penetration. Do this daily.

How to Prevent Hangnails: Hangnail Treatments

Oatmeal Scrub

This could get you hangnail-free fingers. It helps to remove dryness, flaky and dead skin layers. The scrub can be simply prepared by grinding some rolled oat. Apply it on the back of the palm, the affected areas, your cuticles, and between your fingers. Wait for some minutes and wash it off. You can then use moisturizing hand creams.

White Clay

This is recommended for sensitive and dry skin. But it doesn’t work alone to treat hangnails. You need to add some essential oils in this ratio: a spoon of olive oil, three spoons of lavender oil, and some clay. Mix them to become a paste and rub on the areas. Wait for 15- 20 minutes before you wash it off. You should repeat the process daily.


This is a rich remedy for hangnails. It has vitamin E and healthy fats, along with other nutrients that could benefit your nails. It is also a humectant. You will grind and mash ¼ of avocado pulp with a fork, then, add three tablespoons of coconut oil. Mix the two till you have a paste. Apply it on your nails when it is time to go to sleep. Wash it off the next morning.

Epsom Salt

It is used as bath salts because it detoxifies the skin and reduces inflammation and swelling. Pour some of this salt into warm water. Soak the fingers that have been affected by hangnails in the water for 15 minutes, withdraw, and apply anti-bacterial ointments. Bandage the fingers for some time. Repeat the process once a day for four days.

Beeswax Balm

The balm is made to strengthen your nails. It is also protective, as it forms a thin layer over the nails that prevent tearing of the cuticle. To make your own beeswax balm, mix two tablespoons of coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, add them to three tablespoons of honey and three tablespoons of beeswax.

Water and Oil Soak

Put a little water in a small bowl, and add moisturizing oil. Add some lemon drops if you wish. Soak your fingers in this mixture for 10-15 minutes. Wash it off and dry your hands with a piece of cloth. The hangnails would have softened now, so you can cut them off and apply moisturizing oils.


Heat some turmeric and mustard oil together. While still warm, apply some on your nail edges and wait for at least an hour. Turmeric has a wondrous effect especially if you cover the nails in a bandage, with the nail soaked in it, overnight.


Do you have the hangnails peeled off? Add alum into a moisturizer and apply to those areas.

Use an Emollient Cream

Emollient creams would nourish the nails and make them healthy. Buy some; massage it into your nails and cuticles. Cover your nails with a plastic wrap through the night, and you should be fine.

How to Prevent Hangnails?

We have had all the details about removing hangnails. What about disallowing them to happen in the first place?

Home Remedies to Treat Hangnails

We looked closely at the causes of hangnails, and with some inquiries, this is what you should do:

• Don’t bite your nails. It is as simple as that.

• Trim and groom your nails regularly.

• Try to use protective gloves when using chemicals. Some of the chemicals can be avoided totally. You can find alternative ways to remove nail polishes instead of using acetone or don’t let it stay for too long on your nails. Be careful about the type of hand sanitizers you use, they could contain alcohol.

• Use hand creams or cuticle oils or cuticle balms – or anything that could moisturize your hands and nails – daily. They could help prevent future occurrences of hangnails.

• Use vitamin E. Not only when you have hangnails should you use vitamin E. You should add it to your hangnail prevention etiquette.

• Don’t cut your cuticles. Instead, apply cuticle removers and push them back to groom them.

• Toe hangnails aren’t as common as those of hands, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Good hygiene and healthy foods can prevent them.

Photos via @id_nails_space, @fashionablykay, @thestylevisitor, @leoniehanne, @jammin_beauty