A hangnail, also known as an agnail or stepmother’s blessing, is an irritating and painful condition in which a skin tear or a small sliver of abnormal skin irritates the cuticle, which is the skin immediately surrounding your fingernails or toenails. When left untreated, hangnails can lead to paronychia, a bacterial infection that causes painful swelling and redness along the cuticle area.They generally affect the fingernails, but they can sometimes appear around the toenails, as well.
Generally caused by extreme dryness, excessive exposure to cold weather, harsh chemicals like acetone polish remover, and/or nail biting, hangnails are easy to treat at home. Most DIY remedies employ extreme hydration with natural ingredients that not only treat current hangnails but also prevent new hangnails from forming.
Avocado is chock-full of healthy fats, natural oils and vitamins that help combat skin dryness. The best way to use it for hangnails is to make a homemade mask by mashing a small amount of avocado flesh with extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil and applying directly to the cuticles of the affect fingernails or toenails, being sure to focus on the cuticle area of the nails. Leave on for several hours and then rinse with mild soap and water. You can repeat this as needed, but the recommended time period is daily for one month to rid your hands of chronic hangnails.
Aloe vera is a powerful home remedy hack that can cure a number of ailments, including hangnails. Filled with skin-friendly vitamins, minerals and enzymes, the clear liquid from an aloe leaf not only moisturizes damaged skin but also has natural analgesic and antibiotic properties that help reduce pain and clear up swollen paronychia infections that often accompany hangnails. You can repeat application to the cuticles as needed until your hangnail condition clears up and seems healed.
Vitamin E Oil
Applying a vitamin E oil mask is one of the most effective, if not the most effective, home remedies for hangnails. The natural emollient soaks into the skin and provides extreme moisturizing benefits and healing powers. Start by first soaking the affected nail in warm water for five to 10 minutes. Dry the area with a soft towel and then apply a generous amount of vitamin E oil to the hangnail and surrounding cuticle. You can leave it on indefinitely, as the oil will most likely soak into your skin. Otherwise, you can try wearing socks or disposable gloves over the oil and then rinsing your feet or hands after 30 minutes. You can repeat this method as needed, but the recommended time period for chronic hangnails is daily for three weeks.
Honey is often a go-to natural moisturizer for cracked, infected and dry skin. Often used for conditions like eczema, it can also be used to moisturize the skin and cuticles around fingernails and toenails to help in the treatment and prevention of hangnails. Just dab pure honey on the nails and leave on for three to four hours (cover with disposable gloves if you’re worried about making a mess). Repeat this as often as necessary until your hangnail condition clears.
Glycerin can be an effective way to rid hangnails, as it softens the skin by the process of osmosis — attracting moisture from the atmosphere and transferring said moisture into the skin on the affected fingernail or toenail area. Glycerin is best applied when mixed with a small amount of extra virgin coconut oil or vitamin E oil. Leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse of with soap and warm water. Repeat as desired or until your hangnail condition clears up and heals.