Spotting a hangnail wreaking havoc on your otherwise flawless manicure is a beauty SOS moment in an of itself, but add a nasty infection to the equation, and you’ll be Googling furiously for a quick solution. According to Leigh Winters, MS, a neuroscientist and former fellow at Columbia University’s Spirituality Mind Body Institute, you don’t need to look any further than your essential oils collection to get the sweet relief you so desire.
“Nature provides us with a lot of really safe and powerful antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal plants that are distilled into even more potent essential oils that we can use to treat infected hangnails,” says Winters, adding that this particular dilemma calls for applying more potent oils directly onto the skin irritation without a carrier oil like jojoba. “I recommend applying 2 to 3 drops of high-quality tea tree essential oil directly onto the hangnail and inflamed fingertip,” she instructs.
“I recommend applying 2 to 3 drops of high-quality tea tree essential oil directly onto the hangnail and inflamed fingertip.” – Leigh Winters, MS
If you don’t happen to have tea tree in your beauty shelf yet, 1. consider adding it, stat, and 2. fear not, because Winters says there are oh-so-many other oil varieties that will work in its place. “Reach instead for roman chamomile, helichrysum, eucalyptus, thyme, clove, or vetiver. They should all do the trick and have your finger back to functioning in no time,” the oil pro says.
To heal your hand as quickly as possible, Winters recommends repeating this process 2 to 3 times a day in tandem with applying a saltwater compress, which will help the puss (ick!) inside the infection come to the surface and drain. And, of course, if the DIY approach doesn’t seem to be easing your pain, it’s likely time to take your aching finger to the doctor’s office.
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