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How to get rid of those ugly hangnails

 Photo: Courtesy

Hang nails are the little bits of skin that peel off and appear on the sides of your nails. They occur when the skin around the nails lack oil supply due to use of harsh soaps or detergents when you bite your nails or if you have a vitamin deficiency. Sometimes hang nails can be quite painful, especially when they get infected.

The number one rule of handling hangnails is to never try to pull or bite them off. This leads to inflammation, swelling and general misery. Hangnails do not always result in pain - most of the time they just make your hands appear unkempt.

Here are some remedies to keep your hands looking their best.

Water and oil soak

If you have hangnails, soak your hands in warm water mixed with olive or castor oil for a few minutes. This will soften the hangnail and allow you to cut it off using cuticles cutters or a nail cutter. Avoid biting hangnails as this may lead to tearing of the skin or cause an infection.

Finish off by massaging some oil into your hands, and do this several times a day to keep your hands and nails moisturized. If the hangnail is deep, cover it in a bandage until it has healed. To reduce inflammation and swelling, add a teaspoon of epsom salts into the warm water instead of oil, and soak for 15 minutes. Alternatively you can use regular salt water to soak, or add some drops of lavender oil, avocado oil, olive oil or vitamin E essential oil for their soothing antiseptic properties.

Use a good moisturizer

Use a heavy duty moisturizer such as a hand cream, natural oil or body butter. Ordinary lotion may not be sufficient to prevent hangnails. Rub the oil into the nail bed while lightly massaging your cuticles. Be gentle with your nails, and use moisturizers such as shea butter, petroleum jelly or aqueous cream. Paraffin wax treatments which are available in some nail spas can provide intensive moisture to your fingernails.

Ensure that you consume plenty of water and healthy fats in order to moisturize from within. When working in water for prolonged periods of time, always wear gloves. Also, place some moisturizer beside each sink in your home, and carry some in your purse to use when you are away from the house.

This will reinforce the habit of always moisturizing your hands after touching water. Lastly, remember to apply a thick coating of cream or oil on your hands as you go to bed. This should minimize the occurrence of hang nails.




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