By Marianne Mychaskiw
Updated Apr 03, 2016 @ 5:30 pm
Hand Model Lead 2
Credit: Serena Becker

The problem with having a hangnail is that treating the problem, or even noticing it for that matter, doesn't become an immediate need until you have a frayed piece of nail sticking out that hurts every time something comes in contact with it.

"Hangnails are caused by infrequent moisturizing," says France Liang, lead manicurist at New York City's TenOverTen nail salon. "You can prevent them by being conscious about moisturizing, and having them professionally cleaned up from time to time." When you get a hangnail, the most obvious solution to the issue is to simply lop it off with a pair of nail scissors or clippers, but what happens if you don't have access to either?

First things first, resist the urge to yank it out on your own. "The biggest mistake people make is trying to chew it off. That tears the skin and causes bigger problems," Liang tells us. "Instead, rinse your hands in water for a few seconds, and apply a generous amount of hand lotion or oil to the area."

Doing this should help smooth over the hangnail until you can get home and properly cut it off. If your patience got the better of you and you ended up pulling it out (hey, no judgment here), you'll want to clean the affected area immediately after, especially if the skin is opened. Apply a dollop of Neosporin, then seal it up with a Band-Aid to prevent infection.