You’ve probably never heard the term “paronychia” before, but you’ve heard the horror stories. Pus-filled cuticles after a manicure appointment gone wrong. An achy, red toe after being punctured during your pedicure. These are all signs of a nail infection (a.k.a. paronychia). You can also get this ailment from biting your nails and pulling on hangnails. Once you’ve identified the problem, you can begin an easy remedy that requires no medical intervention. But if you wait too long, the consequences could ruin your future nail art fantasies.
What does it look like: The skin around the nail will start to get red and painful to touch. There could also be a bubble of pus near the nail bed. In the most extreme cases, the nail plate could begin to fall off.
How do you treat it: The first DIY stage is hot water soaks. Boil enough water to dip your hand, and let the liquid cool to a tolerable temperature (it should be as hot as you can stand). The hot water increases blood circulation to the area, which will help dilute the bacteria infection. Aim to soak at least three or four times a day for at least 15 minutes. If the hot water isn’t helping, it’s time to see a professional. A dermatologist can create a small incision to drain any blisters and prescribe an antibiotic to clear things out.