While fairly harmless, ingrown toenails are downright painful. The skin around the big toe becomes red, irritated and swollen — making even the slightest bump inside a toe box an excruciating experience.
Typically caused by improper trimming or wearing ill-fitting footwear, an ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of a toenail cuts into the surrounding skin. When this happens, bacteria can enter the wound and occasionally cause infection.
It’s best to visit a doctor if you notice discharge or pus in the area (two common signs of infection), however there are a few over-the-counter remedies you can try at home if your symptoms are less severe. To help you get effective relief, we’ve rounded up the best products for fixing and preventing future ingrowns.
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1. Harperton Nippit Toenail Clipper
This precision clipper cuts the nail straight across to remove a jagged edge and prevent future ingrown toenails from forming.
Pros: Features a large grip handle for easy use. Includes sharp blades, great for cutting very thick nails. Designed to be held at natural clipping angle, allowing you to see where you’re cutting to prevent nicks and cuts. Also works as a cuticle trimmer.
Cons: May be harder to use on smaller toenails since the blade is thicker than that of traditional clippers.
2. ZenToes Gel Toe Cap and Protector
These toe protectors help shield the inflamed skin from contact, and feature a gel material to moisturize and soften the nail bed to promote healing.
Pros: Comes as a pack of six. Materials are latex-free to prevent irritation. Available in two sizes to fit big or small toes; tubes can be cut and customized to the length of your toe. Also provides relief for corns, blisters and hammertoes. Machine washable for repeated use.
Cons: Toe caps may start to lose their shape over time and be too bulky for certain shoe styles.
3. CurveCorrect Ingrown Toenail Home Treatment
This handy kit features 10 plastic braces that can be glued to the top of the nail to help train the nail to grow straight out — rather than curve and cut into the surrounding skin.
Pros: Can help straighten toenail significantly in two just weeks. Each bond can last four weeks or more.
Cons: Results aren’t as fast with very thick toenails, as they can create extra resistance against the brace. On the more expensive end, but the set’s quality design and long lasting results make it well worth the splurge.