ZocdocAnswersHow do you prevent hangnails?

Question

How do you prevent hangnails?

I get hangnails all of the time and they are very painful. The ends of my fingers are puffy and red almost all of the time. How can I make this stop? Is there some kind of lotion I can use on my skin that will make hangnails go away?

Answer

Hang nails although benign, tend to be a nagging and annoying ongoing problem for a lot of people. Hang nails are also a cause of a lot of pain. A hang nail is usually torn skin around the fingernail or toenail. A hang nail is not a part of the nail itself and consists of dry skin made of a fibrous protein known as keratin and may or may not include a small portion of the nail. There are numerous causes for why hang nails can occur. Dry skin is a major cause of hang nails. Other reasons include frequent nail biting, cutting a cuticle too closely or from previous injury to the nail. Therefore in order to prevent hang nails, depending on your situation, it is important to address the cause. It is important to keep the nail hydrated to prevent cuticles and nails from becoming dry and brittle during the summer months. It is also important to avoid biting the nails. In addition, it is useful to avoid cutting the cuticles with a cuticle tool to push back the cuticle. Furthermore, if your work involves heavy labor or work with chemical products, wear gloves to prevent dry nails. Please make an appointment with your primary care physician to determine why this is happening to you, and what exactly needs to be done to treat the underlying issue properly.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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