Are you often troubled by that small piece of torn skin around your nails waiting to snag on your clothing or cause immense pain while running your fingers through your hair? This annoying problem is called a hangnail.
Hangnails are basically small bits of skin that hang off the cuticles of your nails. They are usually caused by dryness (especially during the winter months), exposure to harsh chemicals (like those present in detergents), and bad manicures. People who bite their nails or have nutritional deficiencies are more prone to this problem.
Apart from marring the beauty of your nails, hangnails can be painful and can even become infected with bacteria or fungi, causing swelling and redness.
The most common way to get rid of this problem is to apply petroleum jelly or lip balm on the affected nail bed and leave it on overnight to moisturize it.
You can also soak your nails in warm oil or water for about 15 minutes daily, and eventually trim the hangnail with a pair of cuticle scissors. There are several other natural cures for this problem.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for hangnails.
1. Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil is one of the most effective remedies for hangnails as it softens and moistens the nail beds. Plus, vitamin E facilitates healing of the skin tear.
- Apply pure vitamin E oil on the problem area and leave it on until it is absorbed completely. Reapply several times a day until you get rid of your hangnails.
- Another option is to combine vitamin E oil with another oil like olive, castor or jojoba oil and apply it daily.
- To prevent hangnails, put a drop of vitamin E oil on your nail beds after clipping your nails.
The best way to prevent as well as treat hangnails is to keep your nail beds moisturized so the skin around your nails remains supple. Honey works as a great moisturizing agent. Being a natural humectant, it attracts and retains moisture.
Plus, it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight infection and reduce inflammation. Manuka honey, in particular, has potent antimicrobial properties.
- Dab raw or manuka honey on the affected area and leave it on for several hours to soften the cuticles. Do this daily until you get rid of the problem.
- You can also apply honey on a regular basis to prevent hangnails.
Avocado is rich in vitamin E, healthy fats and other nutrients that help nourish and heal your skin. It also acts as a humectant for your skin.
- Scoop out the pulp of half an avocado and mash it with a fork.
- Mix in two tablespoons of coconut oil.
- Apply this homemade hand moisturizer on your nails.
- Leave it on overnight, and then wash it off in the morning.
- Do this daily or three or four times a week on a regular basis.
4. Homemade Cuticle Softener
Another useful remedy for this problem is to use a homemade cuticle softener to soften and moisturize your nail beds.
- Mix together two drops each of jojoba oil and eucalyptus oil, one drop of tea tree oil and two tablespoons of warm olive oil. Rub this cuticle softener onto your nails and cuticles, and leave it on overnight.
- Heat two or three tablespoons of olive oil in a microwave or double boiler. Mix in one tablespoon of coconut oil or cocoa butter and glycerin. Heat the mixture again. Stir in two or three drops of an essential oil like eucalyptus or lavender oil. Massage the mixture onto your nails and cuticles, and leave it on overnight.
For best results, soak your hands in warm water for a few minutes before applying the softener. Use the remedy daily until the problem is resolved.
Almonds are good for healing hangnails due to their high vitamin E content. They also contain essential fatty acids that help reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Soak a handful of almonds in water overnight.
- The next day, peel the skin and grind the almonds.
- Mix in one beaten egg yolk and a little honey.
- Before going to bed, apply the mixture on your hands and nails and put on cotton gloves.
- Leave it on overnight, and rinse it off the next morning.
- Do this a few times a week on a regular basis.
6. Beeswax Balm
Beeswax helps soften and moisturize as well as strengthen your nails. When combined with oils, it forms a soothing and protective layer on the skin to keep it from tearing.
- Mix together one and one-half to two teaspoons each of coconut oil, almond oil and olive oil, three teaspoons of honey and three tablespoons of beeswax.
- Melt the mixture in a microwave or double boiler.
- Remove from heat and stir in a few drops of essential oils like tea tree, lavender, plantain or peppermint oil.
- Apply it on your nails and cuticles and leave it on overnight.
- Repeat daily on a regular basis.