By Cody Frank
It’s windy outside, the air is dry, and your fingers and toes seem to always be throbbing from the cold. When you repetitively put on gloves and washing your hands you may feel a sharp sting in your fingertips. The source of this pain could be a hangnail. A hangnail occurs when the skin surrounding the sidewalls of your nails or the cuticle is picked at. Picking can happen from biting, using nail polish remover too much, or just having too dry of skin. Once you’ve discovered you do have a hangnail, how do you treat it?
For starters, you can hydrate it immediately with vitamin E oil. Do this several times a day to keep the cuticle hydrated. Oil is absorbed quickly and will increase the healing process. Next soak the area in 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 cup of Epsom salt for around 5 minutes. This will assist in bringing out the bacteria. Pat it dry and repeat soaking the area in the solution until it is healed. Once dry, place an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin on the area and protect it with a bandage. If needed once the hangnail is softened you can trim it down a bit. Do not pick or pull on your hangnail. This could increase the risk of infection.
To prevent hangnails the best treatment is moisturizing. Hydrate your cuticles with the vitamin E oil and lotion. Moisturize your hands and feet after any washing is done. Do not bite your nails or your skin. When polishing your nails, remove any excess nail polish on the skin immediately to prevent further drying out. The winter is a tough time for your skin so take extra precautions to keep it moisturized. Show yourself some extra love this month since Valentine’s Day just finished. Love isn’t one day a year, it’s a daily act.