How to treat a hangnail using home remedies

Updated February 21, 2017

A hangnail is just a little piece of dry skin that appears when the skin around your nails does not get a good enough supply of oil. Hangnails are more common in women but anyone who has their hands in water a lot, or people who bite their nails on a regular basis, can get hangnails. Anyone who does work that leaves their hands dry a lot will get a hangnail or two. People who sort mail all day often get hangnails. There are ways to avoid hangnails and ways to treat them easily.

Soak your fingernails in an oil and water solution for 10 to 15 minutes. Take 4 caps of bath oil and mix it with one pint of warm water and let your fingernails soak. This will help soften your fingernails up to make it easy to clip the hangnail without causing any painful damage, and it will help prevent any future hangnails. Once you soak your hands in the oil and water solution, it will be easier and much less painful to clip the hangnail. It is better to clip a hangnail after it is soft than to clip it while it is hard, because clipping a hard hangnail can cause bleeding and possibly infection.

Rub emollient cream on the affected area where the hangnail is and wrap it with cling film. Keep it on over night because the plastic will secure the moisture and keep it in all night. Make sure to take the cling film off in the morning. The emollient cream will keep the hangnail from getting infected and make it easier to clip.

Moisturise your hands as often as necessary to avoid hangnails in the first place. Keeping your hands moisturised will prevent the skin around your nails from drying and forming into a hangnail.

Use vinyl or cotton gloves when working with your hands. If you have your hands in water a lot, perhaps because you are washing dishes, wear vinyl gloves to keep the hangnail from getting any kind of chemicals in it and therefore infecting it. If you find yourself working in a dry area, wear cotton gloves to protect your hands from anything that can cause the hangnail to become infected.

Apply an antibacterial ointment to your hands or just to the area where the hangnail is to keep it from getting infected. This will also help keep your hands and the area where the hangnail is moisturised.


Apply vitamin E cream to the hangnail to ease the pain and soften the hangnail. Make sure to sterilise the fingernail clippers, tweezers, or small scissors before you use them to clip the hangnail or it could cause an infection. Make moisturising a habit. Keeping your hands moisturised will prevent hangnails in the first place.


Do not clip the hangnail while it is dry or hard because this will cause the hangnail to bleed and become infected, not to mention it is painful. Do not trim your cuticles because this can lead to an infected hangnail. Do not rip or chew the hangnail off because doing so can lead to an even bigger tear in the skin and cause the hangnail to bleed and become infected. If the hangnail does become infected and there is pus around it, go see a doctor to have the hangnail removed.

Things You'll Need

  • Oil
  • Water
  • Emollient cream or ointment
  • Cling film
  • Moisturiser
  • Vinyl and/or cotton gloves
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Vitamin E cream
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About the Author

Marissa Wilson has been writing articles for various websites since 2008. She attended Buckeye Local High School and plans to expand her education soon.