If you have nails, no matter how short or long, they have broken. It is an unavoidable reality for us all. So how do you treat a broken nail. We’ll provide you with some valuable tips that will help you deal with a break, but first let’s look at why nails break in the first place.
There are many factors that can lead to nail breakage, and they can all be prevented:
The treatment of a nail break is similar for natural and artificial nails. Here’s how it works:
Because natural nails are, well, natural, they are more vulnerable to breaks. Unlike artificial nails, which are covered with a strong gel or acrylic, our natural nails are made of a protein called keratin. The aforementioned factors above, more specifically poor diet, can lead to breaks.
But whether a break occurs with your natural nail or artificial nail, you should tend to it as soon as possible to prevent further damage—an untreated break can cause the nail to break unevenly and a tear to occur further into the nail, at times resulting in the flesh underneath it to be exposed. This can lead to bleeding and perhaps infection if bacteria come into contact with the area.
So, let’s first say what to do if you have a minor break. In this instance, you will want to use a pair of nail clippers to safely cut away the area that is broken. Then, use a nail file to make the nail leveled and to shape and smooth it out—rough edges can get caught on fabrics and surfaces that can rip them. But with all of this, did you know that there is a proper way to file? When you file your nails, file them towards the center. We often think that filing our nails back and forth is the way to do it, but to the contrary, this causes friction that impairs the nails.
If you have a major break, say the break occurs toward the center of the nail, you will want to take certain steps depending on whether the flesh is exposed or not. If the flesh is not exposed, but still the break is in the center, you will want to remove any polish with a polish remover. Be carefully during this step as the cotton ball you use to take off the polish can snag the nail. Once this is done, you will apply a substantial amount of nail glue to the tear and the area surrounding it. This will help the broken halves bond together. Let the glue dry for between 10 to 20 seconds. As a further bonding aid, after those seconds have passed, take a cuticle stick and apply light pressure to the cracked area for at least 30 seconds, but no longer than two minutes. Next, buff and smooth the nail. When this is complete, apply a base and top coat. Viola!
If your flesh is exposed, you will want to thoroughly cleanse the nail to prevent infection, then apply a Band-Aid, but not too tightly because you don’t want to cut off circulation or cause moisture to build, which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Let the Band-Aid stay covering the nail for a few days. Our bodies have a miraculous way of healing itself. Once the fleshy area has completely healed and the nail has had time to recover and grow, follow the steps above.
What to do in a pinch: We understand that you don’t always have immediate access to a nail file, clippers, nail glue, etc. So, when you find yourself in a bind, place a Band-Aid over the break, or, if you are really roughing it, place a piece of Scotch tape over it. If you choose to use Scotch tape, apply it lightly—tape has a sticky surface that you don’t want to adhere completely to nail and pull upon removal.
Hangnails are aggravating when they occur. Your first thought may be to bite it or pull at it with great force. Neither of these tips are recommended as they may cause trauma, leading to bleeding and infection. And even more, you may not remove the hangnail completely, leaving you with the same problem you sought to fix, only it’s now more painful and irritated.
Instead, when you have a hangnail, soften it by soaking your hands in warm, soapy water for approximately five minutes. After this period, it is recommended that you clean your hands thoroughly with an antibacterial soap in preparation for the next step: cutting the hangnail off from the base using a nail or cuticle clipper. Lastly, to further help prevent infection, apply an antibacterial ointment to the nail and cover it with a Band-Aid for at least a day or until the area has healed.
Persons who are active or who have had an accident/injury, may experience the loss of a nail. It is recommended that you see your primary care physician for proper care to prevent an infection and control pain. However, you may follow these steps in the meantime.
In all of these instances, except for the case of losing a nail all together, a visit to our nail salon is a solution. Our experienced nail technicians deal with breaks every day and help you not only fix a break, but prevent one.