How To Get Rid Of Hangnails: A Step-By-Step Tutorial And Tips

Written by Esha Saxena

A hangnail can get very painful. That is why it is important to learn how to get rid of hangnails safely and painlessly. Healthy, well-maintained nails can make you appear more professional and polished. But, during the winter, your skin and cuticles may get abnormally dry, resulting in hangnails. A hangnail is a portion of skin wrapped around the nail’s root. They are most commonly found on the fingers rather than the toes. Pulling the hangnail out to remove it can rip away the healthy part of the skin as well, causing bleeding and agony. Since it can become contaminated when exposed to fungus and bacteria, this will only worsen the condition. Thankfully, we have some remedies for you if you are stuck with the excruciating discomfort of a hangnail. Check them out below!

What Is A Hangnail?

A hangnail refers to that tiny piece of skin which separates from your cuticle. A hangnail is especially painful when it’s still attached to your nail bed or the live portion of your skin.

What Causes Hangnails?

Have you noticed that hangnails tend to occur more frequently during the cold winter months? If you have dry skin, you are even more susceptible to these pesky little suckers. This is because dry skin is more vulnerable to damage caused by harsh soaps, water, and low temperature.

How To Get Rid Of Hangnails


If you notice a hangnail, DO NOT rip it off. This is essential if you want to get rid of it without putting yourself at a higher risk of infection. Here’s what you need to do instead!

What You Need
  1. A large bowl
  2. Warm water
  3. Vitamin E oil/olive oil
  4. Cuticle nipper
  5. Antibacterial ointment

Step By Step Tutorial

Step 1: Fill a large bowl with warm water and soak your fingers in it for 10 to 15 minutes. If you want to moisturize them, add a few drops of olive oil or vitamin E oil to the water.
Step 2: Dry your hand and use a sterilized and sharp cuticle nipper to cut off the base of the hangnail. This will prevent your hangnail from getting caught on things. However, make sure you don’t cut off more skin than required – this can be painful too.
Step 3: Apply an antibacterial ointment to the area to prevent infection. If your hangnail was embedded a little too deep, now is a good time to wrap a band-aid around it.
Step 4: Moisturize the hangnail area with some vitamin E oil multiple times a day until it fully heals. This step is crucial especially after washing your hands. You can also use petroleum jelly, coconut oil or olive oil to moisturize the area and combat dryness.

Hangnails are a pain to deal with. However, there are a few simple things that you can do to ensure you don’t get them in the first place. Just follow the tips given below and you’ll be set!

How To Prevent Hangnails

  • Keep Your Nail Beds Moisturized

Dry skin is an invitation for hangnails. It’s important to keep your hands and nail beds moisturized by using either a hand cream or vitamin E oil regularly. It’s a good idea to wear a pair of rubber gloves while washing your dishes to protect your hands from harsh soaps and detergents.

  • Cut Off Hangnails While They Are Short

Instead of ripping your skin off or picking on it, use a cuticle nipper to cut off a hangnail as soon as you spot it. The more you wait, the worse it gets. It is also advisable to trim your nails frequently and to get a manicure regularly. This will prevent hangnail development to a great extent.

  • Stop Biting Your Nails

Biting your nails is a straight-up terrible habit. It damages your nails and the area that surrounds them. This increases your chances of developing hangnails.

  • Get Rid Of Acetone

Nail polish removers that contain high amounts of acetone significantly dry out your hands and nail beds. Chuck them out and try something milder. Use a remover that contains moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and vitamin E.

  • Eat Nutritious Food

Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial for maintaining your overall health (not just to prevent hangnails). Eat foods that are rich in iron and calcium. If you don’t get enough vitamins through your daily diet, consider taking vitamin and biotin supplements.

We can only wish if we knew how to get rid of hangnails sooner. Gosh, how painful were they! And not only were they worrisome, but they also made our hands look unhealthy. But “better late than never”, so make the most of our tips mentioned above and say goodbye to those pesky hangnails. Also, do not forget that adopting a healthy diet will work wonders. So, follow our preventive measures religiously and give the love to your body that it deserves.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get rid of hangnails without nail clippers?

If you can’t get your hands on a nail clipper, simply put a band-aid over the hangnail until you get one. It’s the safest and most efficient removal technique. Don’t pick on it or trim it with scissors – it’s not advisable.

How to get rid of an infected hangnail?

Identifying an infected hangnail is easy. It is swollen, red, painful, warm, and may have a pus-filled abscess at the edge of the nail. To get rid of it, soak your hands in warm water for 15 minutes, trim the hangnail, and apply an antibiotic cream to speed up recovery. If you still don’t see any improvement or if the condition worsens, consult a doctor.

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