Nail Problems: Understanding What is Exactly is Hangnail

If we think of it, hangnails are undoubtedly one of the most annoying nail problems. In my opinion, there are only a few nail problems that are as annoying as this one. They're painful, and if you mess with it, you'll end up with a bloody mess on your nail bed. Trust me, don't ever mess with a hangnail. 

But wait, what exactly is a hangnail? Don't worry. I will lay everything you need to know about this particular nail problem, so continue reading below. 

What is a Hangnail?

Do you see that jagged piece/s of skin that are stiff sticking out on the sides of your nails? Girls, those are hangnails. Aren't they annoying? If you take a closer look, hangnails aren't part of the nail. 

It may look like a small problem, but the pain and irritation you'd felt can't be unbearable sometimes (depending on the severity). 

What is the cause?

Hangnails have several causes. However, there's one culprit that is so common – dryness. People are more susceptible to hangnails during the winter season, where most of our skin is quite dry. 

Frequent hand washing can also cause this problem, especially if you use soap leaves your skin dry. Hangnails can sometimes be caused by trauma and excessive nail picking. People who have a bad habit of picking their nails will likely have this problem compared to those who don't.

So, if you frequently have hangnails, then you are highly susceptible to cuticle infections. How? If the staggered skin isn't properly removed, it will leave an open wound near your cuticle, thus compromises your cuticle.

What should you do if you have one?

You should never, ever, rip or pull your hangnails. Why? When you pull it, there's a huge possibility that you would rip additional skin. 

That's gotta be painful. 

It will also leave your skin open for bacteria, thus causing irritation or infection. If I were you, I'd think twice ripping hangnails. 

So here's what you should do. Carefully wash your hands and let it dry. Then, use a clean nail clipper or nipper to cut away the hangnail. If you're having a hard time removing them, you should let someone do it for you. This will reduce the risk of doing it wrong. 

Once that's done, put some antibiotic cream where the hangnail is. This will help prevent infection and irritation in the area. 

When should you go to the doctor?

If it's just an ordinary hangnail, then there's no need for you to visit your doctor. Do contact your doctor if;

  • the affected area doesn't heal within a week
  • blisters start showing around the area
  • the infection spreads to your nail bed
  • there's discoloration on your nail
  • you have diabetes 

No need to Worry

You don't have to worry about it. Hangnails are absolutely common. Just bear in mind the dos and don'ts if you happen to have it on any of your fingers. Always remember that they're treatable, and there's no reason for you to panic about it. 

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