How To Treat An Ingrown Nail: A Dermatologist’s Advice

how to treat an ingrown nail: advice from a dermatologist

No one wants to end up in a doctor’s office for an ingrown nail.  Dermatologist Dr. Jo Herzog shares 3 things to try at home to treat an ingrown nail before it becomes infected.

Dr. Jo Herzog

Dr. Jo Herzog dermatologist Family SavvyAn ingrown fingernail or toenail is a nail that is growing into the surrounding skin. This causes pain and might be a set up for infection. A nail can become ingrown as a result of nail biting, improper clipping or trimming, or simply because some people have nails that are naturally misshapen and don’t grow as they should.

You will become aware of an ingrown nail when it begins to be uncomfortable. This can happen from just physical pressure on the surrounding skin or because the skin has become infected. If the skin is red, hot, or oozing discharge or pus, you should see your doctor for an anitibiotic. If you have mild pain with no sign of infection, you can try to clear this up yourself by attempting some of the following.

When you notice that a nail is becoming ingrown, soak it for about twenty minutes in a bleach bath. Take a 32 oz. bottle, and add one capful of clorox (bleach); fill the rest with warm water. Shake well, and use what you need to soak the nail. You can keep the leftover unused solution for later.

After removing the nail from the bleach bath, dry it with a towel.  Gently lift up the corner of the nail, and stuff a little piece of cotton under it. Do this daily for several days, as this is encouraging the nail to change its direction of growth.

Finally, you can try adding antibiotic ointment over the nail.  OTC ointments such as polysporin or neosporin are inexpensive and more than likely already in your medicine cabinet. You can also take an anti-inflammatory for any swelling and discomfort.

If this does not help after a few days, or if you see discharge or other signs of  infection, see your doctor. He or she might put you on an antibiotic and can also do a minor surgical procedure (clip out a piece) to fix the problem.

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  1. This is very helpful as I’ve always suffered from ingrown toenails especially I wear high heels a lot of times. I didn’t know that bleach could be used for anything other cleaning and disinfecting things. Could I still go about wearing high heeled shoes while going through this treatment?

  2. your suggestion is good. but i have this problem in hand nails and toe nails.suffering a lot as the nails are growing into the skin and not even able to trim

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