An Expert Offers Painless Tips To Prevent And Treat Hangnails

You treated your nails to a "rich girl" manicure or some festive nail art, but now a hangnail has popped up, wrecking your design. Hangnails can instantly make your nails and fingertips look sloppy, and they can be painful to boot. According to Healthline, these nail nuisances are actually formed by the skin surrounding the nails, rather than the nails themselves. They're often caused by dryness, trauma to the finger (such as a cut), and nail picking. Hangnails are also extremely common, especially among people who expose their hands to rough conditions or regular washing at work.

Even if hangnails are a (totally annoying) part of life for most of us, there are ways to stop them from forming — and ways to deal with them if they do. Glam spoke to Daniella Quagliara, founder and inventor of Nail Diva, for her advice on dealing with hangnails. Here are her expert tips on how to keep the skin around your nails smooth and free of damage.

Moisturizer can put an end to nasty hangnails

Dryness is enemy number one for your nails and skin, and fingernails that are routinely dry and dehydrated are more likely to suffer from hangnails. That's why hangnails are particularly common during the winter months when low-humidity air and cold winds zap the moisture from your skin.

No matter your environment, though, Daniella Quagliara says that a proper moisturizing routine can stop hangnails in their tracks. "Moisturize your cuticles," she tells Glam. "This is so, so important and the number one cause of hangnails." Quagliara notes that cuticles and nails should be moisturized every day during dry and cold months, though you may need to apply moisture daily throughout the year if you regularly work with your hands. As for which products to use, "Cuticle oils are great, including coconut oil, olive oil, and any moisturizer you have at home."

Then, cover up your hands to retain as much moisture as possible. "If you're cleaning and washing things a lot, wear gloves to protect your skin and nails from drying out and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize," Quagliara advises.

If you get a hangnail, don't pick or pull

According to Daniella Quagliara, proper nail maintenance can help prevent hangnails, especially as your nails continue to grow. "A routine of cutting and filing them to make sure there are no sharp edges will help keep the skin around your nails from being snagged," she explains. This tip applies to hangnails that have already emerged too. These pesky slivers of skin should be carefully cut away using clean clippers or cuticle scissors.

Never pick or pull at hangnails, which may cause further damage to the skin. In serious cases, ripping off a hangnail can even lead to infection. If you need help removing a hangnail, ask a friend to help snip it away, or point it out to your manicurist during your next appointment. And if you notice any unusual symptoms associated with your hangnail — like a blister or a change in nail color — be sure to visit a doctor, who may treat the area for infection.