woman-watching-her-nailsA hangnail is the term that is used to describe the peeling of dry skin that occurs around the nails and hangs from the cuticle region. It is often the result of low oil supply in the skin surrounding the nail bed.

Anyone can get hangnails, but they are pretty common for those whose hands spend a lot of time in water as is the case with frequent washing and cleaning. Hangnails are also a common occurrence in people who bite their nails.

While they do not pose a health risk, hangnails are a great source of discomfort and make the nails look untidy. Left unattended, hangnails may get bacterial infections that lead to pus accumulation, swelling around the nail and inflammation.

The good thing is that there are several home remedies that you can use to manage hangnail pain. Generally, you get to avoid hangnails by ensuring that your skin, especially on the hands, is well hydrated. This is very important if you are predisposed to activities that cause your hands to dry. Below are some of the handy remedies available for the treatment of hangnail pain.

1. Prepare a Cuticle Softener:

Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 2 Drops of olive oil, 2 teaspoons each of coconut oil and glycerin, 2 drops of lavender oil, warm bath and some warm water in a hand basin.
Difficulty: Easy


As mentioned above, hangnails project from the cuticle area around the nail. One of the ways to prevent the skin from peeling is to prepare a homemade cuticle softener. The purpose of this softener is to ensure that the skin remains hydrated as well as to moisturize the nail beds. The requirements of this remedy are a host of oils that add natural moisturization to the skin and reduce the drying. You will need a warm bath to heat the oils indirectly; direct heat application destroys the structure of the different oils.

NOTE: For best results, it is advisable to soak your hands in warm water prior to the application of this home remedy. This ensures the skin is softer, and therefore causes less trauma to the skin around the nail.


  1.  Soak your hands in the warm water for 5 minutes before using this remedy.
  2.  Once soaked, place the olive oil in a shallow container and put it in the warm bath.
  3.  Add the coconut oil and glycerin and stir to mix well.
  4.  Allow the mixture to heat gently before adding the lavender oil.
  5. Apply this mixture to the affected nails and allow the remedy to remain on overnight
  6.  Use this remedy daily, preferabyl until the problem is resolved.


2. Raw Honey:

Time Required: 5 Min prep  and 2 hours for application.
What You Need: Raw honey (preferably if you can get Manuka honey) and warm water.
Difficulty: Easy


One of the most effective ways to treat hangnail pain is to apply raw honey. Best known for its moisturization and healing properties, raw honey makes for an excellent remedy. In addition to this, the application of honey ensures that the skin remains soft and supple, reducing the likelihood of peeling skin from the cuticle region.

Manuka honey (sourced from New Zealand) is preferred thanks to its potent healing properties that help keep infections at bay. Apply honey regularly to prevent hangnails from forming, especially if your hands are constantly exposed to water and harsh chemicals.


  1. Take some of the honey and apply it on the affected nails while gently massaging it in circular motions. Be careful not to apply the honey too aggressively.
  2. Let the honey remain on the cuticles for 2 hours.
  3. Use this remedy on a daily basis until the hangnails are dealt with effectively.


3. Homemade Balm Using Beeswax:

Time Required: 15 Min prep and overnight application
What You Need: 2 Teaspoons each of the following: coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil, 4 teaspoons of raw honey, 6 teaspoons of beeswax, a water bath and choice essential oil (peppermint and lavender oil are good options).
Difficulty: Easy


Beeswax is a reliable home remedy for the treatment of hangnails, thanks to its excellent moisturization properties. The wax not only softens the skin around the nails, it also strengthens the nails. The oils are added to soothe the skin.

The balm made from the ingredients listed above also forms a protective layer, reducing the chances of getting hangnails. Honey is used for its aforementioned benefits. The essential oils are added for their soothing effect. You will need a warm bath to melt the wax and allow it to mix well with the oils. Follow the directions below to prepare the balm.


  1. Mix the almond, olive and coconut oils with the honey and beeswax in a bowl before placing in the water bath. This is done to melt the wax.
  2. Once completely melted and warm to touch, remove from the water bath.
  3. Stir in the essential oil of choice to mix it well with the wax mixture. Peppermint oil has a refreshing effect on the skin while tea tree oil protects the nails from infections.
  4. Allow the balm to cool for 3 minutes so that it attains a semi-solid state which is then easy to use.
  5. Apply the balm on the nails and cuticles and let is stay overnight for best results.
  6. Use this balm everyday to get rid of hangnails.
  7. You may prepare the balm in bulk by simply increasing the amounts of the ingredients proportionately.


4. Avocado Pulp:

Time Required: 20 Min prep and overnight application.
What You Need: 1 small-sized ripe avocado, a spoon, a bowl, 4 teaspoons of coconut oil, warm soapy water and skin moisturizer. Gloves (optional).
Difficulty: Easy


Avocado is a delicious fruit, best known for its taste as well as amazing health benefits for the skin. The latter is what makes it ideal for treating hangnails. Avocado is packed with natural oils that act as a humectant. A humectant is a substance that helps retain moisture.

When applied on the cuticles and the skin around the nails, the oils help moisturize the skin and therefore prevent the skin from drying and forming hangnails. Coconut oil is added or this purpose. Warm soapy water is included to wash off the avocado puree the next morning.


  1. Wash the avocado well before cutting in half – do this lengthwise.
  2. Scoop out the avocado pulp using a spoon and place in a bowl.
  3. Mash the avocado well until it has a smooth consistency before adding the coconut oil.
  4. Pound some more to mix in the coconut oil before applying it on the cuticles and nails. The best time to do this is at bedtime so as to allow the remedy to work overnight. To avoid creating a mess, you may sleep in gloves.
  5. Wash your hands the next day and proceed to apply a skin moisturizer. This locks in the healing effects of the avocado puree mixture.
  6. Use this remedy daily for at least 4 weeks to ease the condition and get rid of hangnails.


5. Vitamin E Nail Mask:

Time Required: 45 Min
What You Need: A bowl of warm water, a soft towel, Vitamin E oil, disposable plastic gloves, warm soapy water and skin moisturizer.
Difficulty: Easy


Hangnails can progress from plain annoyance to sheer pain in a very short while. This is what makes it important to address the condition immediately. One of the simplest but most effective ways to do this is to use a Vitamin E nail mask. Vitamin E nourishes, softens and moisturizes the skin around the nail. This natural treatment works best when used on a regular basis. disposable plastic gloves are added to this remedy as they make the cleanup process far easier. Use the directions below to make the best of this nail mask.


  1. Soak your hands in warm water for 5 minutes in order to open up the skin pores.
  2. Dry your hands using the towel, making sure you do not aggravate the condition and make worse the hangnails.
  3. Apply a generous amount of the Vitamin E oil on the nails, and massage gently to improve absorption.
  4. Wear the plastic gloves to lock in the warmth and moisture.
  5. Leave the mask on for half an hour before washing your hands with warm water and soap.
  6. Lastly, apply a moisturizing agent to prevent the skin from drying.
  7. Use this Vitamin E nail mask daily for a month or until you notice an improvement.


6. Pure Petroleum Jelly:

Time Required: 10 Min prep and overnight application.
What You Need: Warm soapy water and petroleum jelly. Sesame oil (optional).
Difficulty: Easy


Petroleum jelly has long been used for the management of different skin conditions, thanks to its superb moisturizing properties. All you need to do to treat hangnails is warm water and a generous amount of petroleum jelly used by following the directions below. Sesame oil is added for its ability to nourish the skin. The remedy is best used overnight for quick healing.


  1. Wash your hands with warm soapy water in order to open up the skin pores as well as soften it.
  2. Dry your hands well.
  3. Add 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil to 1/4 teaspoon of petroleum jelly and mix well.
  4. Apply the mixture on the nails and cuticles at bedtime and allow the remedy to stay overnight.
  5. Wash your hands the next morning and apply more petroleum jelly.
  6. Use this remedy daily to eliminate those painful hangnails.


7. Aloe Vera Gel:

Time Required: 45 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of fresh aloe vera gel, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, cotton wool, disposable plastic gloves and warm water.
Difficulty: Easy


If you get painful hangnails regularly, whether due to your occupation or as a result of house chores, aloe vera gel should be your go-to remedy. When it comes to dry skin conditions, this herbal remedy is a gem. With its numerous healing properties, the gel not only soothes the skin, it also nourishes and moisturizes it, all properties which come in handy in treating the condition.

Turmeric is added because it is an excellent anti-inflammatory, and goes a long way in keeping potential infections away. You will need the gloves because turmeric has a rich orange color which makes it easy to cause stains. Gloves will help prevent this mess.


  1.  Mix the aloe vera gel (preferably freshly squeezed from the leaf) with turmeric powder until the gel has the powder’s orange color.
  2. Apply the gel mixture on the affected nails and massage gently.
  3. Let the mixture stay on for half an hour before rinsing using warm water.
  4. Use this remedy twice daily for best results.
  5. In the absence of fresh aloe vera gel, you can always use commercial aloe vera juice as a substitute in the steps above.


8. Oatmeal Skin Scrub:

Time Required: 40 Min
What You Need: 1 Cup rolled oats, a blender, bowl, warm water and skin moisturizer.
Difficulty: Easy


Getting an oatmeal skin scrub is a simple remedy for the natural treatment of hangnails. The oats scrub the skin, effectively getting rid of the dead dry skin around the nails, and allowing new skin cells to come to the surface. This process of exfoliation also helps eliminate the rough skin that has been exposed to a myriad of substances. For it to be beneficial, you will need to use the scrub on a regular basis. Below is the procedure for using the rolled oats to get rid of hangnails.


  1. Place 1 cup of rolled oats in the blender and crush for 1 minute.
  2. Transfer the blended oats to a clean bowl before putting your hands in and massaging the affected fingers. Make sure you massage the palms of your hands and the cuticle area that surrounds each of the nails.
  3. Do this for some 25 minutes before washing your hands using warm water.
  4. Lastly, apply a moisturizing cream that is gentle to your skin.
  5. Use this remedy at least once daily for best results.


9. Epsom Salts:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of Epsom salts, 2 cups of warm water in a bowl, 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel, clean towel and moisturizing cream.
Difficulty: Easy


Epsom salts are a popular remedy globally for the treatment of varied conditions. In healing hangnails, the salts are preferred for their anti-inflammatory properties which work effectively for painful hangnails. This reduces the pain while the use of aloe vera gel both soothes and moisturizes the skin. Use this remedy once daily.


  1. Dissolve the Epsom salts in the water and stir well.
  2. Soak your hands in the warm salts bath for 10 minutes before drying well using a towel.
  3. Apply the aloe vera gel on the affected fingers and moisturizing cream for the rest of the hands.
  4. Repeat this procedure everyday until you are able to get rid of hangnails.


10. Pure Glycerin:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Pure glycerin, 1 soft gel Vitamin E capsule, warm water and moisturizing cream.
Difficulty: Easy


Pure glycerin, just like honey, is an excellent humectant which is what makes it perfect for treating hangnails. Glycerin, just like honey, helps the skin absorb moisture from the environment. This infuses much-needed moisture to the skin and hydrates the area around the nails. Vitamin E from the capsule is added because it nourishes and speeds up the healing process from the condition. Use this remedy daily until you get rid of the hangnails.


  1. Press the Vitamin E capsule to release its contents onto a shallow bowl.
  2. Mix the oil with the pure glycerin; you will get a viscous mixture.
  3. Apply the mixture on the nails and cuticles and leave on for 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse the water using warm water and follow up with the application of a gentle skin moisturizer.


Additional Tips For The Treatment of Hangnails Include:


  1. Always use gloves when carrying out chores that require the use of harsh chemicals and/or detergents.
  2. Get regular manicures to take care of your nails.
  3. Use high quality nail products only; this cuts down on the amount of toxicity your nails are exposed to.
  4. Use nail scissors to carefully cut off the hangnail without causing additional trauma to the affected finger.
  5. Avoid tugging at the hangnails as this causes the skin to tear and bleed.
  6. Always moisturize your hands after coming into contact with water.