Cuticles appear as hardened areas of skin that accumulate at the sides and base of fingernails. A hangnail occurs when a piece of hardened skin separates from the rest of the cuticle. Hangnails are not only an annoyance, but can also be painful. If not promptly treated or further irritated, an infection can also develop. Learn what causes hangnails and how to banish these unsightly skin tags for good.

1. Dry Nails

Dry nail beds are one of the most common causes of hangnails, especially during winter months. Easily soften the nail beds by submerging your fingernails in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep your nails moisturized with a cuticle oil or cream.

Trimming cuticles

2. Untrimmed Cuticles

The longer you let your cuticles grow, the bigger the risk of developing a hangnail. Snip off the cuticles as soon as you notice them, using a quality pair of nail scissors. If you’re not comfortable snipping them yourself, visit a local nail salon.

3. Nail Polish Remover

If you frequently use an acetone-based nail polish remover, you may be damaging your skin. The acetone can significantly dry out the skin surrounding the nail, increasing the odds of getting a hangnail. Switch to a non-acetone-based product.

4. Bad Habits

Do you have a habit of chewing, biting, or picking at your nails or cuticles? By stopping this bad habit, you can drastically reduce the number of hangnails you get. Place band aids over your nails until you kick your bad habit.

5. Unhealthy Exposure

Various environmental factors can cause hangnails, such as too much sun and chlorine exposure. When outdoors, wear sunscreen to protect your skin from becoming dry or damaged. Also moisturize the skin after each swim in the pool.

Hangnails are not a serious condition, but can become red, swollen, and painful if not properly treated. If you suffer from hangnails, try out these simple solutions for healthy nails.