Hangnails may be small-ish wounds, but they can definitely ruin your mood (or even your whole day). Why do those darned things happen? Why do they hurt so much? And, most importantly, what how can we prevent them?
Despite what the name implies, hangnails aren’t really part of a ripped nail trying desperately to hold on to their homes. They’re actually slivers of skin that hang off your finger on the sides of your nails. While it might seem like they just pop up out of nowhere, hangnails tend to occur when the skin around your nails gets weak.
Weak nails happen for a bunch of different reasons: biting your nails, getting a less-than-stellar manicure, having dry skin, washing with harsh soap, enduring cold temps, and more. If you spend time in a pool or scrub your bathroom with chemicals, that could certainly lead to increased hangnail incidents. And, unless the weather where you live is always perfect, most folks tend to have more winter-time hangnail troubles.
The reason they can be so painful, in spite of how small they may seem, is because of all the nerve endings & blood vessels in your fingertips. The more inflamed a hangnail gets, the more it can affect those nerves.
You can’t really avoid washing your hands (or winter), but you can use hand lotion regularly to help keep things moisturized. Rubber gloves are also a good idea whenever you do the dishes or use chemicals to clean. And, whenever you clip your nails, try not to cut the cuticles, which some folks do since it can make nails look neat & well-manicured (but it can also weaken your nail beds against bacteria…not good).
You just have to decide what’s more important to you: fabulous nails, or fewer hangnails.
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