Why Do Hangnails Hurt? (Reason)

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You may think that having hangnails isn’t a big deal and of course shouldn’t call for concern not until you have them and then you begin to wish for them to go away because the pains and discomfort that comes with it is second to none.

It hurts, really bad and when I mean it hurt, I’m speaking from experience but Why Do Hangnails Hurt That Much? Well, here’s the thing.

Hangnails hurt so bad because they happen to be in an area with lots of sensitive blood vessels and nerves endings and as such when they occur, they ripped some of them along causing you pains.

Hangnails also hurt because they make your skin inflamed. Once your skin is inflamed, the swellings exert and upset the correct functioning of the nerves endings and cause you to feel more pain.

Simply put, each time you have a hangnail, what happens is that there’s a separation of your skin cells from that of the nail cuticle which often than not is accompanied with severe pains.

Knowing how to combat it plus keeping your hands safe is a function of how much you understand what hangnails really is. Continue reading to learn more about hangnails, causes and possible preventions.

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What Are Hangnails?

When tiny small pieces of skin get ripped out near the cuticles of your fingernails or toenails, such tear is referred to as hangnails.

Hangnails don’t just occur, they happen when the skin around our nails are dried and they happen often during the winter season because of the dryness that accompanies winter.

Hangnails, on the other hand, are not in any way part of our nails but rather, a tiny skin that lies beside the sides of our cuticle.

Most people won’t notice that they have hangnails not until they begin to feel some sort of roughness or pains around the sides of their nails and this only happens when hangnails have fully developed.

Why Do We Have Hangnails And How To Soothe Them?

You may have hangnails for a number of reasons. Watch the below video to know why we have hangnails plus how to soothe it.

 Causes Of Hangnails

Hangnails itself is another name for pains and like as I said earlier, they don’t just happen so if you find out that you have them, then the below might just be the cause of your hangnails.

1. Dry Skin

They may be several causes of hangnails but having dry skin is often the most common causes of hangnails among many people, today.

Why Do Hangnails Hurt

Your skin can become drier during the colder weather than in hotter season. It can also become dry as a result of using harsh chemicals, hand sanitizers or repeated washing of hands.

When you constantly wash your hands without making provisions to get them moisturized with a moisturizer, you’re likely going to suffer from hangnails.

2. Nail Biting

I know you may be wondering why I mentioned this in the first place but the truth is, I’ve seen people especially nail biters who pick on their nails and areas, surrounding the nails.

This act alone can also cause one to have hangnails. In fact, reports have it that people who constantly pick on their nails are more likely to suffer from hangnails than does who do not pick on their nails.

3. During Manicure

There’s also the possibility of you getting hangnails during manicure especially during the process of pushing your cuticles back.

Also, using glue alongside with nail extensions can as well irritate the skin around your nails and causes them to peel.

4. Protein Deficiency

Lack of specific proteins can as well cause your skin to dry out and then begins to tear sideways. Since our skin and nails are generally made up of protein, a little lack may results in hangnails as well.

5. Nail Clipping

Clipping your nails too short can as well lead to hangnails. When you clip way too short, there is the possibility of you cutting some parts of your skin in the process. Using scissors to trim your nails will also cause you to have hangnails.

6. Hand Sucking

Sucking hand may not be that common but it’s another way one can have hangnails. Sucking takes away the sebum out of your nails making them look pale and dried. This can also cause you to have hangnails.

7. Cuticle Trimming

I’ve heard cases of a manicurist who goes around trimming their client’s nails for a number of reasons.

Why Do Hangnails Hurt

While this might not necessarily call for alarm, this single act can somewhat irritate the skin around your nails and cause them to peel especially if not properly done.

Symptoms Of Hangnails

For hangnails to occur, there must be symptoms that go with. Usually, they ain’t much of a big deal, after all, they’re only just a tiny piece of torn skin which can be easily detected and trimmed.

But once they’re infected, the symptoms may worsen and may lead to a medical condition called Paronychia.

Continue reading to know some of the symptoms that accompany infected hangnails

  • Pain: This usually starts as mild at the initial stage then as time goes on, it metamorphoses to an unbearable one.
  • Redness: An infected hangnails may begin as unbearable pain at first and then begin to show signs of redness.
  • Swelling: This is the second to last stage of an infected hangnail characterised by swelling tips.
  • Pus: As the infection spreads over the tips of your nails, they may become filled with a blister-like substance known as pus. The presence of pus can also make the tips of the nails to become warmer as well.

Note: The bacteria in an infected hangnails doesn’t end at the tips of your nails alone, they can as well spread over to other parts of your body if they’re not treated on time. So it’s best that you seek the help of a medical professional for possible prescriptions.

Now that you know what hangnails are, causes and their symptoms, let’s quickly go through how to get rid or avoid them.

How To Get Rid Of Hangnails

Why it is easy to tame hangnails, care must be taken not to over do things in other not to worsen the situation. Below are some few ways to go about getting rid of them.

1. Start With A Soak

The first step to take to successfully clip that hangnail of yours is to start with a soak. Soaking the affected finger in warm, soapy water will help soften the skin around your finger and it will make it easier for you to trim them off.

2. Clip Gently

Once the hangnails have taking in enough moisture, you can then clip them away using either a sharp nail clipper or with scissors. Be sure to clip only the visible jutting part and not the entire skin per se.

Also, in the case of accidental cuts while trying to trim the hangnail, rinse the affected area first with water, apply some antibacterial ointment then seal with a bandage.

3. Keep Fingers Moisturized

Ok, let’s assume you’ve successfully trimmed the hangnails, what next? Well, the next thing you should do is to apply some good moisturizers on the affected area or skin of your nails to prevent future occurrence.

Applying moisturiser on the skin of your nails does not only help soothe the skin but also helps to prevent future hangnails.

Also, it’s not enough to apply just about any type of cream on your nails, be sure you’re using cream of high quality.

If you’re looking for a cream specifically designed for hangnails then you should check this (best cuticle cream for hangnails) out.

You can as well use quality coconut oil on them as well. The key thing to note here is to start with a gentle massage and then walk your hands through and it should be consistent as well.

In case you don’t have coconut oil, below are other great moisturizers you can rely on for your nails;

  • Jojoba Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Vitamin E Oil etc.

Note: Applying antibiotic cream in the case of an infection can help speed up the recovering rate of your hangnails.

4. Stay Hydrated

Often times, skin becomes dry due to dehydration so taking lots of water (at least 2 litres) every day will keep your skin hydrated and prevent them from becoming dried unnecessarily.

5. Eat Healthily

Eating a chunk of a healthy diet does not only benefits your body, but it also has a positive impact on your nails. You may not know this but taking foods rich in vitamins, minerals, calcium, iron etc helps your nails to grow out better and less likely to peel at the sides.

Now you know just about how to get rid of them. Now let’s look at some actionable ways to prevent them but before that here’s when to see a doctor.

When To See A Doctor

Most cases of hangnails are a bit mild and often times doesn’t call for alarm but once you find out that yours has been infected and it’s now beginning to bring out pus, then you need to see a doctor at once.

As attempting to drain the pus yourself at home may lead to more complications and may cause the condition of your hangnail to worsen.

How To Prevent Hangnails

There are some things you can live with, in life but certainly not hangnails because the pains that accompany it can be unbearable.

Why you wouldn’t want to have anything to do with it, there are preventive measures you can put in place to avoid it. Continue reading to learn how you can successfully deal with it and prevent them for good.

1. Limit How You Use Harsh Chemicals

Generally, our nails and harsh chemicals don’t go down well and using these chemicals (like acetone polish remover) usually takes away the moisture out of them and making them dry out.

Now it’s understandable that you do need acetone but here’s the right way to go about it. Don’t leave them on the nails and also, moisturize them as soon as possible.

Apart from acetone, other chemicals can as well stripe the moisture out of your nails. Even the detergents you’re using to wash your dishes can as well cause your nails to get dried.

But no matter the chemical, just be sure to be at the top of your game by constantly keeping them moisturised. That way, you’ll be free from hangnails for good.

2. Limit The Use Of Hand Sanitizers

Like acetone, using hand sanitizers constantly can as well dry out the moisture out of your nails as the majority of them have alcohol in them.

I’m not saying it’s bad to keep a bottle of hand sanitizers by your side, what I’m saying is that don’t overuse it and if you must use them, be sure to go after sanitizers with moisturizing agents.

You can get them at your local drug store or at the clinics and don’t forget to keep your hands moisturised after using them.

3. Avoid Biting Your Nails

There’s nothing as bad as biting one’s nails. If you’re a habitual nail biter, then you should stop right away.

Why Do Hangnails Hurt

Picking at your nails and skin around your cuticle do not only damage your nails but also cause your cuticle and skin to bleed.

That’s not all, biting the skin can as well cause you to hang hangnail and the worst of all, your hangnails might become infected in the process.

Trust me, I know how hard it is to quit. It may be hard but not impossible. If you are serious about giving it a quit, Here’s an article for you on how you can stop biting your nails in 9 minutes.

4. Keep Your Nails Groomed

It’s easy to prevent hangnails if you keep your nails well-groomed. It shouldn’t be a daily something but keeping them trimmed once a week will go a long way.

It doesn’t just end at trimming them, also try to file away rough edges especially from the sides as this is potential hangnails.

On the other hand, if you feel there’s a need for you to cut your cuticle simple because they’ve overgrown, then I’ll advise you not to do so as this can as well be a contributing factor.

What you need to do at this point in time is to push them back a little bit. Wondering how to go about that without hurting yourself? Here’s an article for you on how you can push your cuticles back with or without cuticle pusher.

5. Wear Gloves Often

Waterlogged hands can cause your skin to dry as well coupled with the detergent you’re using to wash your dishes. So to prevent this, always wear rubber gloves when doing the dishes. Also, learn to keep your hands covered with gloves during the winter season.

Frequently Asked Questions On Why Do Hangnails Hurt

How Do You Stop A Hangnail From Hurting?

It’s easy to stop a hurting hangnail if you know what you’re doing. To stop a hangnail from hurting too much, first, soften the hangnails using warm soapy water after which you can then clip them off.

After clipping, apply a little bit of antibiotics ointment on the surface which will then help to soothe the pains and prevent further infection.

What Is The Cause Of Hangnails?

Nail biting, nail clipping, dry skin, hand sucking, clipping of cuticles and protein deficiency are some of the possible causes of hangnails.

Why Are Hangnails So Painful?

Hangnails are so painful because of their location. They are located in an area with lots of nerve endings and blood vessels which make the pain they cause unbearable.

Are Hangnails A Sign Of Vitamin Deficiency?

Although hangnails may seem normal when you constantly have them, it could be that you’re lacking either zinc or vitamins in your diet.

So lack of certain vitamins, minerals Or Iron in your diet may cause one’s nails not to grow out well and the possibility of you having hangnails will be high.

How Do You Pop A Hangnail?

I know how tempting it can be but the truth is, it is not advisable for you to drain a hangnail that has been infected with pus. Rather, allow a certified medical practitioner to do this for you.

To drain an infected hangnail, the doctor will numb the pus, drain them out, wash the affected area thoroughly then apply some antibacterial ointment on them before lacing it up with a bandage.

How Do You Get Rid Of Hangnails Without Nail Clippers?

Aside from nail clippers, you can trim out those annoying hangnails either by using a pair of sharp scissors or a cuticle clipper. Both of them will work great for you.

Do Hangnails Go Away?

Yes. They can go away easily on their own because the majority of them are usually caused by weather and overexposure of hands in water making your hands dry.

Also, even if you require medical treatments for your infected hangnails, the symptoms will go away within a few days.

Where Does Hangnails Come From?

Hangnails are actually part of your skin and they are usually located very close to your fingertip. So they came from the sides of your fingernails.

What’s The Difference Between Hangnails And An Ingrown Nails?

A hangnail is that jagged, tiny skin near the root of your finger which usually appears torn why a nail is said to be ingrown if it grows and then start digging deep into the skin.

Although both have other differences, if there’s anything that is common with them, then it’s in the pains. Both are known to be very painful and often times may lead to serious infections.

Wrapping Up On Why Do Hangnails Hurt

It’s easy to tame hangnails and save yourself the pains that comes with it once you know how to prevent them.

Preventing them is as good as avoiding them and some of the ways I’ve found to be pretty effective over the years is to;

  • Avoid biting your nails
  • Keep nails groomed
  • Avoid harsh chemicals
  • Limit Hand Exposure
  • And wear gloves often.

If you can keep up with this, then you’re good to go. Also, in the case of an infected hangnail, you can go through my procedures above to learn how you can successfully wave goodbye to that annoying hangnails for good.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have any more questions regarding this article, please let me know below as I’ll be happy to reply to them all.

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