Hangnails are those small pieces of torn skin that appear around your nails and hang off the cuticles of your nails. They are usually painful.
Factors that could increase the likelihood of having hangnails include; bad manicures, dry weather especially during the winter months, and exposure of your nails to harsh chemicals such as detergents.
Some hangnails are not only painful but could get infected by fungi or bacteria infection which could lead to pus, redness, and inflammation.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, if you have hangnails;
- Do not pull off or bite off the hangnails.
- You could wear vinyl gloves while washing with detergents.
- Avoid using synthetic detergents.
- Strive not to over-expose your hands to water as such could increase the tendency of your hands getting dry.
- Strive to keep your nail beds and cuticles moisturized as often as possible.
- Ensure you eat well-balanced diets that are rich in iron, calcium, and vitamin B.
Below are natural treatments and home remedies for treating hangnails;
A ripe avocado possesses large amounts of vitamin E which helps to heal and nourish your skin. Furthermore, avocado contains healthy fats which aid in combating dry skin condition. When combined with coconut oil, it forms a great moisturizer. To get rid of those annoying hangnails, mash an avocado and mix with some coconut oil. Apply the paste as a hand moisturizer and leave it overnight. In the morning, wash off with mild soap and water. Use this remedy for at least one month.
2. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate which is an effective skin exfoliator. Furthermore, Epsom salt has potent antibacterial properties that prevent the infection of hangnails. Simply dissolve half a cup of Epsom salt in a cup of water and then soak your fingers for 10-15 minutes. For quick results, use this saline solution 1-2 times a day.
3. Homemade Cuticle Softener
A cuticle softener can save you a lot of money in the long-run. One important ingredient used in this remedy is olive oil which is praised for its moisturizing and antioxidant properties. Another ingredient is glycerin which works as a natural humectant.
To make the cuticle softener, mix equal portions of eucalyptus, jojoba, olive, and tea tree oil. Rub the mixture on the cuticles and let it sit for several hours. Alternatively, you can heat 2-3 spoonfuls of olive oil, then, add one tablespoon of coconut oil and some glycerin. Massage your nails with the mixture, especially on the cuticles and let it stay overnight.
Manuka honey is a natural moisturizing agent with unique anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It’s often used to treat skin conditions like eczema. To remedy hangnails, dab some raw honey on your finger and cover with a clean cloth for 1-2 hours. Rinse with warm soapy water.
5. Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E is a natural emollient that moistens the cuticles of fingernails and toenails. Vitamin E also helps in cell generation making your skin healthier. Before you use this remedy, soak the affected nail in warm water for 5-10 minutes. Then, apply some generous amount of vitamin E oil on the hangnail that surrounds the cuticle. Since the oil is likely to soak into the skin, you should wipe away any excess oil. Alternatively, you can mix vitamin E oil with any carrier oil (jojoba oil, castor oil, olive oil) and apply to the affected area. Reapply this remedy 2-3 times a day to get rid of hangnails.
6. Almond Hand Mask
Almonds are packed with essential fatty acids and vitamin E. They help to reduce swelling and inflammation. First, you should soak some almonds in water for 8-10 hours to peel the skin. Then, grind them and mix with an egg yolk to form a paste. Apply the resultant mixture around your nails and leave it on for a couple of hours. Wash it off the following morning with soapy water. You’ll see some noticeable results after 1-2 weeks.
7. Beeswax Balm
Beeswax works as a natural humectant. It moisturizes, softens, and strengthens your nails. When combined with carrier oils, such as coconut or olive oil, it forms a layer that protects your skin from tearing. To make the balm, mix equal amounts of almond, coconut, or olive oil, then, add 1-2 tablespoons of Beeswax. Apply the mixture on the cuticles and leave it overnight. You can also use the balm to moisturize your body.
8. Aloe Vera Gel
An aloe gel contains skin-friendly minerals and vitamins. In addition to that, aloe vera has unique antibiotic, astringent, and analgesic properties which promote wound healing. To treat hangnails condition, extract the gel from a fresh aloe plant and spread on the cuticles. Alternatively, you can mix one tablespoon of aloe gel with some turmeric powder and apply on the problem area. Rinse off with warm water after 30-45 minutes.
9. White Clay
White clay supplies essential minerals that prevent re-occurrence of hangnails and works as an excellent skin exfoliant. To make a paste, mix one tablespoon of white clay with 2-3 drops of olive oil. Use it to massage your hands and then wash off after 20-30 minutes. Any person with dry and sensitive skin can use white clay.
Yogurt has potent anti-inflammatory properties which help to soothe painful hangnails. Simply apply some natural yogurt on the cuticles and wash off after 2-3 hours. This remedy gives fast results compared to most skin care products.
11. Water And Oil Soak
Oil and water help to moisturize and soften the skin. For this remedy, soak the affected nails in warm water mixed with a natural oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, for 10-15 minutes to drain out any pus. After that, clip out the hangnail. Make sure you moisturize the affected area with your favorite cream thereafter. A few drops of lemon juice can also be added to the water-oil soak to help kill germs. An oil soak is better compared to clipping the hangnail when it’s still dry since doing such can cause bleeding.
12. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly contains fats that permeate the inner part of the skin keeping the nails well moisturized. To treat hangnail condition, mix the petroleum jelly with sesame oil. Apply the two ingredients to your nails before going to bed. This hydrating blend will not only relieve dry cuticles but also change their appearance.
13. Oatmeal Scrub
Oatmeal scrub works by eliminating the dead skin, especially around the cuticles. Apart from being used as an exfoliating scrub, it’s a great source of polysaccharides, natural fat, and vitamins. These nutrients help to heal and moisturize the skin. Just crush some oats and use the paste to scrub your palms including the cuticles. After that, wash your hands and apply your favorite moisturizer.
Turmeric is a household spice with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which help to remove hangnails. Not only that, turmeric helps to eliminate any infection that may have arisen due to the hangnails. For this remedy, mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder with mustard oil and apply on the edges of your nails. Clean the paste off after one hour.
15. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil has powerful antimicrobial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. To fix hangnails, add 2-3 drops of lavender oil in a cup of water, then, pour the water on the cuticles. You may also consider making a toner by mixing chamomile oil and lavender oil. Use this lavender essential oil remedy up to 3 times a day.
Calendula is a potent herb with excellent antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It’s ideal for healing wounds, hangnails, piercings, and irritating rashes. To use this remedy, mix calendula oil and almond oil, then, put the mixture in a container. After that, store in a dark place for 15 days. Then, apply the mixture to the nails and the cuticles. You can also mix two cups of calendula tea with some aloe vera gel. Massage the area with the mixture 2 times a day.
17. Olive Oil
Olive oil possesses large amounts of fatty acids which cures the hangnails by moisturizing them. Furthermore, olive oil contains polyphenols making it a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. If you want to keep hangnails at bay, add 2-3 drops of olive oil in a cup of water and moisturize the cuticles. Allow the oil to stay for 30-45 minutes before washing off.
18. Emollient Cream
An emollient cream will keep the cuticles moisturized. First, soak your fingernails in warm water for 15-20 minutes for easy clipping. Then, apply the cream on the cuticles and cover with a plastic bag to preserve the moisture. Let the cream do its magic overnight.
19. Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay has anti-inflammatory properties that help to relieve painful hangnail. Bentonite clay is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat wounds. Preliminary studies have also shown the clay can help to draw out the toxins from the body. Simply prepare some paste by mixing Bentonite clay with water and then apply around the cuticles. Wash with mild soap and water after 45 minutes. Since the clay is non-irritant, you can use it even if you have a sensitive skin.
20. Pure Glycerin
Pure glycerin improves the moisture level of the affected area. Moreover, glycerin traps moisture from the air through osmosis. To treat hangnails, take the contents from a vitamin E capsule and mix with glycerin. Apply this viscous mixture on the nails and the cuticles. Wash off the mask after 20-30 minutes. Regular use of glycerin would prevent the occurrence of hangnails in future.
21. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide will help to treat hangnails thanks to its antiseptic properties. Hydrogen peroxide also removes perky warts from the skin. To prepare the solution, mix one part of hydrogen peroxide with two parts of water. Soak the fingers and toenails in the mixture for 20 minutes, then, apply some coconut oil to soothe the cuticles.
22. Castor Oil
Since an ordinary lotion may not be effective in treating hangnail, you should consider castor oil as an alternative moisturizer. Castor oil contains essential nutrients that help to repair the damaged skin. Additionally, castor oil is rich in vitamin C which helps to reduce inflammation. Just drench the affected fingers with the oil for 15-20 minutes, wipe out the excess oil, and leave the rest do its work.
Apart from echinacea’s unmatched ability to heal colds and flu, the herb can also treat hangnails. When combined with garlic, it forms a powerful antibiotic. For quick results, mash fresh garlic, add Echinacea tincture and apply on the hangnails. Wash with plain water after 15-20 minutes.
Goldenseal is a perennial herb with potent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and laxative properties. Goldenseal also kills bacteria. For this remedy, apply goldenseal extract on the hangnails and cover with a cotton cloth. Rinse off after 20-30 minutes.
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