How Does a Hangnail Occur?

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How Does a Hangnail Occur?
How Does a Hangnail Occur? (Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org)

Introduction

Hangnails are painful occurrences that can affect your ability to use your fingers until the problem is taken care of. A hangnail is one of the most common nail-related problems a person can experience. They can occur at anytime, but are avoidable by using a few preventive tips.

What is a Hangnail?

A hangnail is a condition in which your fingers produce extra skin. The skin then finds a way to detach itself from the nail, causing a painful flap of skin to hang from the finger. Until the skin is taken care of and removed, it can continue to peel back, affecting the skin around it.

How it Occurs

A hangnail has to do with your cuticles around your fingernails and toenails. When the cuticle drys out too much, pieces of skin can start to pull away from the cuticle edge. This process continues until the flesh underneath is exposed, causing the body's pain sensors to be open to the air. The more the skin is played with or pulled back, the more painful the hangnail will become.

Prevention

Hangnails can be prevented by keeping your cuticles hydrated. Cuticle oils are available on the market that are specifically formulated to keep the cuticle from drying out. Using a hand moisturizer can also help keep your cuticles from drying out. If the cuticles stay hydrated they will stay attached to the nail, and you will have no issues with hangnails.

Treatment

If you are experiencing a hangnail there is a simple method to relieve the problem. Take a pair of manicure scissors and cut the hangnail as close to the base as you can. Hangnails can easily get caught on clothing and rip open further. The more the hangnail is pulled, the more possibilities there are for infection. Cutting the cuticle at the base will keep the hangnail from expanding. Once you have cut the cuticle, wash the remaining sore thoroughly with an antibacterial soap, and wrap with a bandage. This will keep the sore from getting infected.

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