Hangnails are those dry, protruding bits of skin around the cuticle that are screaming to be pulled, picked or nibbled. DON'T. Here's why:
Prevention is key
"Avoid touching hangnails at all costs" says nail authority and celeb manicurist Michelle Humphrey. It's a common nail "condition," but she says, "biting or pulling them off can lead to bleeding and potential infection." Yikes.
Michelle says you can prevent hangnails by keeping your cuticles nourished. Use a cuticle oil or balm to keep your nail bed hydrated.
Freelance nail technician Loui-Marie Ebanks agrees that hydration is key to prevention. "It's important to regularly apply cuticle oil to keep your nails nourished and hydrated."
How to reduce swelling and pain
Prevention's all well and good, but when you've got a painful hangnail—and know you shouldn't pick at it—what do you do?
Carefully trim it back with cuticle nippers and try this hack: Dip your finger in warm salted water. It will reduce swelling and the risk of infection. Keep the area super clean until it heals and then you can begin your daily cuticle oiling ritual.
High fives to happy, healthy nails, yes?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.