Having an ingrown nail can be frustrating and painful. If any finger is tender due to the nail, it can be challenging to complete your daily tasks like button your shirt or typing. Most of the time, you can learn how to remove it at home through simple steps. If your nail is a recurring issue or causes major discomfort, you may need to consult a medical professional for advice on how to get rid of it.

Part 1: Signs and Causes of Ingrown Fingernail



Although the signs can vary slightly, the following list shows the most common signs of ingrown nails:

  • A bulge underneath the skin

  • Pus forming by the skin

  • Discoloration

  • Swelling

  • Redness

  • Sensitive skin



Most of the time, an ingrown nail will be due to trimming the nail incorrectly. In other cases, however, this issue may be caused by:

● Wearing shoes that fit poorly

● Injuring the skin surrounding your nail or the nail itself

● Heredity

There is also an increased risk of developing ingrown nails if your nails are large and curve naturally more than average.

Part 2: How to Remove Ingrown Fingernail with 4 Steps


What You Need

You will need the following supplies:

  • Antibiotic cream

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen

  • Cotton

  • Warm Water


Steps to Get Rid of It

Step 1: Begin by soaking your finger in some warm water 2 to 3 times each day, leaving it in the water 15 to 20 minutes at a time. This should reduce swelling. Always make sure you thoroughly dry the finger after soaking.

Step 2: Right after you soak the nail, take a tiny piece of cotton and wedge it underneath the nail's edge. This will lift the nail away from your skin. Repeat this process for several days and monitor your results.

Step 3: If you need to, take some over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Also apply an antibiotic cream as this can fight infection. If you notice pus or redness, schedule a doctor's visit as the ingrown fingernail may already be infected.

Step 4: If you treat the nail at home and don't see improvement after 3 to 4 days, visit your doctor whether or not you notice an infection. Your doctor may trim the ingrown portion of the nail or in extreme cases, remove a larger area of your nail and nail bed.

Part 3: Home Remedies for Ingrown Fingernail


Use Vinegar and Water

  • How it helps: This will help to soothe the inflamed skin.

  • How to apply: Start by soaking the affected nail in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove your finger (or toe) from the water, drying it with a towel. Do this 3 to 4 times daily. If your nail and the skin around it become soft following the soaking, you are ready to clip off your ingrown nail.


Soak in Epsom Salt

  • How it helps: Epsom salt will help relieve some of the tenderness and pain associated with an ingrown nail and reduce an infection.

  • How to apply: Mix1 or 2 quarts of warm water with 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt per quart. Soak your nail in the solution for 20 to 25 minutes before drying off with a towel. Repeat this 2 to 4 times each day.


Prevent Infection with Lemon

  • How it helps: Lemon contains acid that can help fight infections.

  • How to apply: Place a lemon wedge on top of the ingrown nail, wrapping it in place with a bandage. Leave the lemon in place overnight to prevent infection and the nail from digging into the skin.


Try Hydrogen Peroxide

  • How it helps: Hydrogen peroxide is a natural disinfectant and is actually created in small quantities by our immune system. This should soften the skin surrounding the nail and relieve infection and pain.

  • How to apply: Mix a cup of hydrogen peroxide in a ½ bucket of water. Soak your hand or foot for 15 to 20 minutes and then dry thoroughly.


Apply Tea Tree Oil

  • How it helps: Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can provide relief by softening the ingrown fingernail.

  • How to apply: Add 2 to 4 drops tea tree oil to warm water. Soak your nail in this mixture for 15 to 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a day then dry your nail thoroughly. Alternatively, you can mix 2 to 4 drops of the same oil with a tablespoon olive oil and use it to massage your ingrown nail.


Find Baby Oil

  • How it helps: Baby oil softens your skin, making it much easier to clip away the nail.

  • How to apply: Massage your finger at the place the ingrown nail grows using the baby oil. Repeat for several days until your skin and nail are soft enough to safely trim the area.


Blend Essential Oils

  • How it helps: Many essential oils can relieve pain and are disinfectant and/or antiseptic. Melaleuca oil relieves pain and is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Clove oil has numbing, disinfecting, and pain relieving properties. Lavender oil relieves irritation. Rosemary oil is anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and a disinfectant. Tea tree oil is antifungal and antibacterial.

  • How to apply: Mix together one drop of each of one or more of the above oils. You can dilute it using olive oil or leave it. Apply the mixture to your nail and then wrap a bandage around it. Do this two to four times daily for two to four days. You should notice a reduction in swelling, redness, and pain.


Soak in Potassium Permanganate

  • How it helps: This natural disinfectant works as an antiseptic, treating fungal infections.

  • How to apply: Mix ¼ teaspoon (or less) potassium permanganate in a gallon of water. Soak your limb in this for 15 to 20 minutes then dry off thoroughly. Repeat this twice daily for 2 or 3 weeks.

  • Always remember to clean and dry your nails daily.
  • Work to file and cut the nails frequently and moisturize them to prevent ingrown fingernails.
  • You can further avoid the issue by avoiding nail biting, not damaging the cuticles, and always being careful when cutting hangnails.
  • Also consult your doctor if you don't notice an improvement after several days of home treatment, even without signs of infection.
  • If you have diabetes, poor circulation or other issues with your hands or feet, don't attempt to remove the ingrown nail yourself. Instead, visit your doctor.

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