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A hangnail is a small, torn piece of skin, more specifically eponychium or paronychium, next to a fingernail or toenail.[1]

Hangnail
Synonyms Agnail
Hangnail on left hand pinkie 01.jpg
The bottom finger has a hangnail.

Contents

Prevention and treatmentEdit

Daily use of hand lotion or hand cream may help prevent the formation of hangnails.[2][3]

For home treatment, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing the hands, clipping the loose piece of skin with a clean nail clipper or nail scissors, and applying over-the-counter antibiotic ointment if the area appears inflamed. Persistent hangnails should be evaluated by a physician.[4]

ComplicationsEdit

Hangnails can become infected and cause paronychia, a type of skin infection that occurs around the nails. Treatments for paronychia vary with severity, but may include soaking in hot salty water, the use of oral antibiotic medication, or clinical lancing. Paronychia itself rarely results in further complications but can lead to abscess, permanent changes to the shape of the nail or the spread of infection.[5]

Popular Culture ReferencesEdit

Shel Silverstein's poem, "Sick" includes reference to a hangnail. [6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hangnail, The Free Dictionary
  2. ^ Treating a Hangnail - Topic Overview, WebMD
  3. ^ Thomas P. Habif; M. Shane Chapman; James G. H. Dinulos; Kathryn A. Zug (4 September 2017). Skin Disease E-Book: Diagnosis and Treatment. Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 978-0-323-44223-7.
  4. ^ Hangnails, American Academy of Dermatology
  5. ^ Paronychia, MedLine Plus
  6. ^ Sick, By Shel Silverstein, Poets.org