Nail care

What Causes Hangnails

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 16, 2017
What Causes Hangnails

Who in the world does not long for long, shaped nails to show off, but hangnails may ruin the appearance of your beautiful hands. Although hangnails are benign and do not cause much problem, they can be irritating, ugly, and force you to pull them off. When you do that, your nail beds may become infected, and cause a lot of pain, redness and inflammation. Here at, let us discuss about what causes hangnails, how to prevent them, and how to get rid of them.

You may also be interested in: What Is Cuticle Oil Manicure?


  1. What hangnails are
  2. Causes of hangnails
  3. How to prevent hangnails
  4. How to get rid of hangnails

What hangnails are

A hangnail is a torn skin that may come sticking out form the side of your toenail or fingernail. It is not a part of your nail, but consists of dried skin made up of keratin, a fibrous protein. Sometimes, it may or may not involve a small part of the nail surrounding it. Click here to know how to care for fingernails properly

Causes of hangnails

So what causes hangnails? Skin dryness is the major cause of hangnails. Other causes may include the following:

  • Cutting the cuticles very closely to the skin
  • Frequent nail biting
  • Previous injury to a nail
  • Hangnails may also be caused due to deficiency of protein, folic acid, zinc or vitamin C in your body.

Therefore, before you find out how to prevent hangnails, you need to address the cause first.

What Causes Hangnails - Causes of hangnails

How to prevent hangnails

Keeping your nail beds moisturized is the best way to prevent hangnails. There are special creams and cuticle oils that are designed to keep your nails supple. Never pick at the cuticles, and nick the hangnails off when they are still short. Don’t use an acetone based nail polish remover, as it will dry out your nails and hands, thus making way for hangnails. Keep your nails trimmed, so that they remain neat on all sides. If you have a habit of chewing or biting your nails, kick it off as soon as possible. These will prevent hangnails the the causes of hangnails are those specified above. If you have a food deficiency you should treat it accordingly.

What Causes Hangnails - How to prevent hangnails

How to get rid of hangnails

Now that you could not prevent hangnails, and they have already come, the first thing you have to do is to soften them. Soak your fingers in warm water for 10 minutes, clip the hangnails using cuticle scissors, and massage some moisturizers into your nail beds. You may have to do this 2-3 times in a day, until your hangnails heal completely. If it is too deep, you may have to apply a bandage to it so that it can heal completely. If your hangnails have become infected, then you will have to consult a physician, who will prescribe some antibiotics or anti-fungal medicines to treat your condition.

What Causes Hangnails - How to get rid of hangnails

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What Causes Hangnails