How to Prevent Ingrown Nails

· August 14, 2017
Although ingrown nails are more common on toenails, it can also happen to fingernails. It's essential to cut them straight to prevent problems.

Ingrown nails are very painful and can turn a normal day into a nightmare if we have to walk or wear tight shoes.

Although ingrown toenails are quite common, we can also get ingrown fingernails that stop us picking up objects easily.

In this article, we will tell you how to prevent ingrown nails.

Ingrown nails: why they happen

Nails play an important role as a barrier to prevent bacteria entering the body.

As well as cutting them for aesthetic reasons, keeping them in good condition is essential for our health and hygiene.

It is therefore very important to know that a poorly cut nail can cause many problems (including ingrown nails).

If we add wearing tight or pointy shoes, the problem gets worse and can become so painful that we can’t think about anything else.

Ingrown nails are not only painful but also cause reddening and inflammation of the finger or toe area because of the pressure. In more extreme cases, pus can also appear.

See also: 10 Signs You have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

Cut your nails correctly so that they don’t become ingrown

If we are prone to ingrown nails then we should pay a lot of attention when we cut our nails.

We can turn to a professional or be very careful when cutting them ourselves to avoid additional pain.

Take advantage of an afternoon at home to give your nails a complete treatment.


What you need

  • Exfoliating soap
  • Cuticle remover
  • Straight nail clippers
  • Cardboard nail file
  • Toothpick

What you should do

  • Before you start, we recommend you soak your feet in tepid water. You can add lavender flowers, eucalyptus, Epsom salts or whatever comes to mind.

Soak your feet for around 15 minutes so that the nails soften and it becomes easier to cut them.

  • Secondly, exfoliate your feet well (emphasizing the heels) and give them a massage. Don’t forget to rinse them and dry them well with a soft towel.
  • Next, apply the cuticle remover to soften the area and remove excess skin with the toothpick.
  • Cut your nails straight so that they are square. You can use the nail file to help.

Don’t cut your nails too short at the corners, because this increases the chances of them becoming ingrown.

The cotton wool ball technique for ingrown nails

When we suffer from ingrown nails and can’t go to a podiatrist, there are some home remedies that can really help. For example, the cotton wool ball method.

First, you need to soak your feet well in water that is as hot as you can bear with a handful of Epsom salts for at least 15 minutes.

As well as softening the nails, this also helps to prevent infections.

What you need

  • A cotton wool ball
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Antibacterial salve
  • A bandage

What you should do

  • Cut the nails in a straight line without sharp points near the edges of the nail.
  • With the tweezers, gently lift up the ingrown nail and place the small cotton wool ball underneath.
  • Press on it lightly so that it doesn’t come out and cut off the excess cotton wool that extends beyond the toe.
  • Apply the salve or cream to prevent infections and apply the bandage as tight as possible.
  • Try not to use very tight shoes or socks for the next few days.
  • Change the cotton wool every day or every other day.

Home remedies for ingrown nails

As well as cutting your nails correctly or using the cotton wool ball method, there are other very effective home remedies that can help you with this problem:

Water with iodine solution

Every day when you get home from work, take off your shoes and soak your feet in a bowl of tepid water with a measure of povidone-iodine.

This medication is a powerful antimicrobial that fights fungi and other infections and prevents pus from appearing in the ingrown nail.

Slice of lemon

The acid of this citrus fruit fights infections and can help to prepare the nails for cutting.

  • Cut a slice of lemon and place it on the affected nail.
  • Wrap it in a bandage and leave it overnight.

Essential oils

Oils are good for hydrating and softening skin, as well as for reducing the pressure of the nail on the flesh when wearing certain types of shoes.

  • We recommend tea tree oil (antibacterial and antifungal) and baby oil (which also has a nice scent).

Band-aids or plasters

You can reduce the pressure that the nail exerts on the skin by pulling the nail back using an adhesive strip or a band-aid. When the area is less reddened and the inflammation goes down, you can proceed to cut the nail.

We recommend you read: 5 Beauty Treatments for Your Most Common Skin Problems Using Sugar

How to prevent ingrown nails

Caring for your nails is always essential, not just if we are prone to ingrown nails.

Maintaining them in good condition is not a complicated task and doesn’t cost a lot of money. If we are consistent we can do it ourselves at home.

It is very important to have the right tools and to be very careful.

We also recommend that you always keep your nails short and straight to prevent them from getting embedded. You should cut them approximately every 3 weeks, or once a month.

Remember not to give yourself a pedicure when you have an ingrown nail because you can make it worse. First, reduce the swelling and the infection.

During the time it takes to cure it, use wide shoes to avoid pain and to prevent the nail getting more ingrown.

Only wear shoes when you need to. At home, go barefoot or use footwear that leaves your toes uncovered.

Main image from © wikiHow.com