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How to remove pesky hangnails

By Jennie Waeland, September 21 2021

If you’ve ever had a hangnail, you’ll know what a pain they can be to your everyday life (literally). 

What is a hangnail?

These jagged, hard pieces of skin poke out loosely from the side of your fingernails, often catching on material and ripping further. 

They often come about during winter, when your skin is more prone to drying out and cracking. Despite their size, these hangnails can actually become quite painful and uncomfortable. Symptoms include tenderness, pain, swelling and redness running along the side or below the nailed. 

Those who bite their fingernails or trim their cuticles too close to their nail bed are more prone to getting hangnails. 

Most importantly, this exposed skin between the nail and the hangnail is a real risk for infection. If infected, it may become warm and filled with pus.

It is important that you don’t rip or bite it off, no matter how tempting it may be, as this will be very painful and further open the wound to infection.

So, how can we treat them?

  1. Wash your hands to prevent the spread of any germs.
  2. Soften the area. You can submerge the nail in warm, soapy water or even apply vaseline in a circular motion around the area. Leave this to soften for roughly 10 minutes. 
  3. Use sterilised cuticle scissors or nail clippers to remove the hangnail. If it is on your dominant hand, you may want to ask someone else to do this for you. Be sure to only cut the loose skin and not the skin underneath, and cut off as much of the poking out skin as possible. 
  4. Once removed, apply a generous amount of moisturiser to the area. 

If you have drawn blood, rinse the area immediately with water, apply an antibacterial product and cover the nail up with a plaster.

Let’s get rid of these annoying hangnails!

Jennie Waeland

Jennie Waeland

Jennie is LeSalon’s Social and Content Executive, covering everything from beauty, lifestyle and, of course, manicures. She graduated from the University of Roehampton with a degree in film and has since used her skills to produce various content and illustrational pieces.


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