June 9, 2023

What Exactly Causes Hangnails to Form and What Can Be Done?

Hangnails are a common occurrence that most people have experienced. They can be annoying and painful, and they ruin the look of your manicured nails. Removing them properly can sometimes be tricky, but picking at them can usually make things worse. Why exactly does a hangnail occur, and what can be done about it?

What Exactly Are Hangnails?

Despite its name, a hangnail isn’t a nail plate that’s hanging loose. It’s a portion of the cuticle that separated and started to harden. Cuticles cover up the edges between the nail and the finger, creating a type of seal that protects from dirt and infections. Sometimes, a cuticle detaches from the nail bed and creates a hangnail. It’s not dangerous, but it can be annoying, so having them properly removed is the best course of action.

The Causes

Hangnails can be caused by several things. If your hands are generally very dry, that’s likely to lead to a hangnail or two. Another cause could be picking at your nails too often. Professional nail technicians are trained to remove cuticles properly, so it’s best to let an expert handle the process. This way, no cuticle portions will be left to harden and create a hangnail.

If you wash your hands too much, that could also dry out your skin and make you more prone to getting a hangnail. Although it’s the least likely cause, a hangnail could be caused by a protein deficiency. However, it’s best not to jump to that conclusion without other symptoms or a chat with your doctor.

Removing and Preventing the Issue

It’s crucial not to pick or bite hangnails, so as not to make the problem worse or hurt your finger. It’s best to swab the area with a bit of alcohol, use cuticle clippers to cut the hangnail off at the base, and then apply a mild ointment. Proper skin and nail care can help prevent a hangnail from forming. Use cuticle oil on your nails and moisturize your hands regularly.

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