The Dos and Don'ts of Hangnails
When cold weather strikes, exposed hands and nails can fall prey to dryness (and the resulting cracked textures) just as much as other areas of your body. And when your nails become brittle, the consequential nail conditions can be just plain bothersome. Take hangnails, that vexing nail condition that’s all-too common during the wintertime. Before you try to tackle those pesky hangnails yourself, we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts of handling hangnails.
WHAT ARE HANGANILS?
First thing’s first—what are hangnails? Believe it or not, a hangnail isn’t a part of your nail at all. Rather, a hangnail is a piece of skin at the edge of your nail that tears and which may occasionally bleed. They’re very common, and while they’re not particularly concerning, they can still be painful. Additionally, should germs enter the openness left by the hangnail, this could result in an infection, something everyone should work to avoid. But like every problem, there is a solution to how you can prevent and address hangnails. We get into each one of them that you should follow (and a few you shouldn’t), next.
THE DOS AND DON’TS OF HANGNAILS
Here’s a full list of dos and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of and preventing hangnails.
DO APPLY A CREAM
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends applying an antibiotic cream to alleviate any soreness the hangnail may be causing. Regularly applying moisturizer can also help keep hangnails (as well as other nail issues) at bay. We recommend using the CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream, which helps to conjointly repair, restore, and protect skin with the help of ceramides, ninacinamde, and hyaluronic acid.
DON’T PULL THEM OFF
According to the Mayo Clinic, resisting the temptation to rip your hangnails off is one of the basics of nail care. If you aggressively rip a hangnail from your nail, your run the risk of damaging the live tissue it’s surrounded by. Any aggressive trauma creates a way for bacteria to enter and infect your body. Be gentle.
DO CLIP OFF HANGNAILS
Clipping off the hangnail gives its removal more precision and serves as a better alternative to simply tearing it off. Make sure that the nail clipper or scissor you’re using is sharp (and sterile, of course). Be sure to wash them afterwards as well to avoid infection.
DON’T FORGO NAIL HYGIENE
Fingernails may be often overlooked when it comes to hygiene because of their obscurity in relation to other areas of your body. However, this is no excuse not to clean them on a regular basis. Hygiene also includes toning down any bad habits you may have when it comes to your nails, including biting your nails or picking at your cuticles.
DO INVEST IN PROTECTIVE NAIL PRODUCTS
DON’T OVEREXPOSE YOUR HANDS
If you happen to live in colder climates, take care to wear gloves to shield both your hands and nails from the elements. Otherwise, the colder climates could dry out skin and cause hangnails to pop up. Be sure to also keep your hands out of water for too long. Too much contact with water can soften your nails and cause them to split. Try wearing gloves while you’re washing dishes or cleaning to prevent any type of damage to the nails around your skin.