As Men’s Health explains, “They occur when the skin separates from the surface, but still remains anchored at the base.”
You probably already know that, but some folks aren’t as swift. Still, no matter your level of hangnail knowledge, you do the same stupid stuff to them everyone else does. In terms of hangnails, we’re all in the same “But this’ll make ‘em better” boat.
HOLD ON, HANGNAILS...
What to do? Before giving in and letting them fester further, it’s time to nailthis problem so you look better and don’t open yourself up to infection. Those who’ve experienced swelling, soreness, tenderness, and toughness know that it’s a rare day that hangnails heal on their own.
Don’t lose your patience and try to get rid of them by trying to snag them with your dirty fingernails or ripping them to shreds with your stapler remover. There are far better (and more hygenic) options that will actually work.
First and foremost, lay off the damn things. Wash the area and keep it clean. When the skin starts to pull away, any small crack is an open invitation for dirt and debris to weasel in, and bacteria can find a “bedroom.” Infections are the ultimate “Oh no!,” so let’s not do anything to help that along.
When your fingers are moistened with warm water, use a small, clean nail clipper and snip. Not too close to the base, but just enough to nip that jagged edge off so you aren’t inclined to do something rash (and regrettable). Clean again and cover it up with a band-aid if need be.
Already have an infection or look like one’s brewing? Clean it with rubbing alcohol and use an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. If that doesn’t solve the issue, seek medical attention. It may seem inconsequential, but if that thing spreads, you’re screwed. Ask any dermatologist.
Stop future ones from forming by keeping your nails trim and clean. Moisturize with hand cream or lotion all the time to soften and smooth. Heck, if you haven’t done so yet, go for a manicure. Bring a friend to make it a chill self-care session. Be sure they don’t skimp on the cuticle oil for extra moisturizing.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Hangnails are a signal that you don’t have the best hygiene habits, which is a turn off.