Have you ever had a piece of skin at the edge of your nail tear, and maybe bleed a little? That's called a hangnail. It's kind of a funny name, because it's really your skin that tears, not the nail. Hangnails are really common. But they still can hurt. And, if germs get in there, the skin can get infected.

If you get a hangnail:

  • Don't  try to rip it off!  That will hurt and make it worse.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Cut off the extra skin with a clean nail clipper or small nail scissors. You might want to have your mom or dad do this.
  • Put on a little antibiotic cream (you can buy this at the store) if the area is red or sore  and cover it with a bandage for a day or two to protect it from germs.  

                A hangnail being trimmedA hangnail being trimmed.
  • Have your parents take you to a skin doctor (dermatologist) if it doesn't look better or still hurts after a few days.

Next: Caring for nail infections.