The hyponychium is an indispensable part of your finger and toenails. It refers to the area between the cuticle and the tip of your nail, which can be difficult to see with the naked eye. Hyponychium plays a critical role in maintaining the health of your fingernails by protecting them from germs and bacteria, providing a smooth surface for the nails to grow against, and helping to prevent infection whenever you break a nail.
Despite its critical role, hyponychium is a sensitive nail part that is easily damaged when not well maintained. One of the most common problems with fingernails is overgrown hyponychium. The hyponychium is made up of thin, delicate skin that can tear easily if damaged. When this happens, bacteria can get into the wound and cause an infection in your nail bed.
The overgrown hyponychium is a nuisance to handle. Not only does it get infected and smelly, but it also causes pain and makes it difficult to walk or run. When left untreated for long, overgrown hyponychium may also cause cracked and bleeding cuticles. So, what’s the best way to get rid of overgrown hyponychium? Continue reading to find out.
How to Identify an Overgrown Hyponychium
It’s unfortunate to note that many people cannot differentiate an overgrown hyponychium from a normal one. Some of the signs that indicate an overgrown hyponychium include;
● Pain when trimming your nails
● A growing hyponychium that’s attached to the nail
● Thick and pale under nail skin
Dangers of Overgrown Hyponychium
Before looking at how to overcome this problem, it’s vital to understand its causes and the dangers associated with it. The hyponychium is an essential body part that helps with flexibility, movement, and protecting the nail bed.
The overgrown hyponychium is a condition in which the skin on the tip of the nail is overgrown, resulting in a thick and uneven appearance. When this part becomes overgrown, it ceases to function as expected and results in the following problems;
Painful Ingrown Nails That are Difficult to Treat
Ingrown nails occur when the edge of your nails grows into the skin around it, causing pain and inflammation. This is most common in people with overgrown hyponychium because they have more skin around their nails than normal.
Your hyponychium is the clear layer of skin that protects your nails from germs and bacteria. If this area becomes damaged or infected, it can cause problems with your fingernails, particularly if the infection is left untreated.
An overgrown hyponychium can trap moisture between your nail plate and skin which makes it easier for fungus to grow there. This can lead to painful infections such as athletes’ feet or nail bed fungus. An overgrown hyponychium also makes it difficult for air to get into your nails, increasing the risk of fungal infection.
What Causes Overgrown Hyponychium?
There are various causes of this problem as follows;
Nail Biting– Nail biting can cause an overgrown of your nail plate, which will make your nails look thicker than normal. This also creates a higher risk of developing infections in your nail bed.
Using Acrylics or Artificial Nails– Artificial nails and acrylics can cause damage to your natural nail bed which can lead to an overgrown hyponychium. If you have acrylics on for too long, you may notice that your nails feel sore or tender when you remove them. This is because they have been damaged by the chemicals in the fake nail polish, causing them to grow back at a slower rate than normal.
As you get older, your nail beds will begin to recede. This causes your nails to grow longer than normal. If you do not cut your nails often enough, they can begin growing into hyponychium. This will cause a bump or ridge in your nail bed that can be unsightly and painful when it comes into contact with certain surfaces.
Psoriasis is a common cause of overgrown hyponychium. Psoriasis refers to a condition where the skin cells grow too fast. When this happens on the nail bed and hyponychium, it results in the buildup that makes the skin underneath your nail look thick and discolored.
Pterygium Inversum Unguis (PIU)
Pterygium Inversum Unguis is a rare condition that causes overgrown hyponychium. PIU is characterized by the hyponychium attaching to the underside of the nail instead of growing outwards. This condition can result from certain diseases such as leprosy and neurofibromatosis.
Pterygium Inversum unguis can also emanate from nail trauma, use of nail hardeners and acrylic nails, and nail contact dermatitis.
Fungal infection is another common cause of overgrown hyponychium. Infection on your nail bed leads to thickening of the area and deformed nail shape.
How To Get Rid of Overgrown Hyponychium?
If you have an overgrown hyponychium, there are several things that you can do to help alleviate the problem, as discussed below;
Cut Your Nails Regularly
The easiest way to prevent an overgrown hyponychium is by cutting your nails regularly-at least once every two weeks. This will prevent your nails from growing too long and causing problems for you later on down the road.
Use a File Instead of a Nail Clipper
Using a nail clipper can cause your cuticle to tear or break off completely, which will lead to infection and further damage to your hands and fingers in general. Instead, use a file so that you can easily file away at your nails without damaging your skin or causing any further problems than what has already occurred because of having an overgrown hyponychium in the first place.
Avoid Biting Your Nails or Picking at them – this can damage the hyponychium and allow bacteria to enter your nail bed.
Maintain High Levels of Hygiene to Avoid Fungal Infection
Fungal infection is a major cause of overgrown hyponychium. One of the surest ways to therefore fight this monster is to avoid fungal infection by maintaining high levels of hygiene. This requires that you cut your nails regularly and stay away from any activity that may lead to the infection.
For instance, make an effort to wear gloves when engaging in activities that can cause damage to your hands and fingers, such as gardening or housework. Again, if you have a hangnail or other minor cut on your finger, cover it with a bandage until it heals.
Stay Away from Procedures That Are Accelerating the Condition
Though beneficial, certain procedures such as gel manicures and prolonged use of acrylic nails are known to cause overgrown hyponychium. One of the best ways to deal with this condition is to therefore avoid these procedures and stick with regular manicures and natural nails. If you must use acrylic nails, wear them for a limited number of days to avoid PIU.
Overgrown hyponychium creates an awful appearance that’s disgusting to imagine, leave alone look at. If you have ever battled this condition, you know the pain, discomfort, and embarrassment that comes with it. But lucky for you, overgrown hyponychium is now manageable and only requires a little effort to prevent.
Above, we have outlined some of the best ways to handle this monster. Why then don’t you go ahead and have the best nails without the worry of overgrown hyponychium using the above tips?