Ingrown toenails are one of the most common feet problems people have to deal with. It can affect you regardless of your age and sex, even though some people have bigger predispositions to develop ingrown toenails. Once it happens, depending on the degree of the problem, you can feel discomfort taking every step or even feel excruciating pain, no matter what position you are in.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOnychocryptosis, as ingrown toenails are referred to in medical terms, is a condition that causes the corner or the side of the toenail grow into the flesh on both sides of the nail bed. When untreated, ingrown toenails can lead to a serious inflammation and may require a surgery. That's why you should deal with the problem as soon as you notice first symptoms of ingrown toenails.\r\nCauses Of Ingrown Nails\r\nThere are many factors that can influence the occurrence of ingrown nails. You are more prone to onychocryptosis if you wear tight shoes that put pressure on your toes if you use an improper technique to cut the nails and don't cut it straight across or if you don't groom your feet properly and let the excessive sweat cause bacterial and fungal infections. Maintaining your feet clean and dry is especially important when you are a teenager and your feet naturally perspire more.\r\n\r\nOlder people also tend to have more problems with ingrown toenails because with time the toenail get thicker and it's easier for them to cut into the soft skin on the sides of the nail bed. Some factors causing ingrown toenails are related to genetics, like the shape of the toenail or susceptibility to onychocryptosis. Others may result from overall health problems, e.g. diabetes, problems with blood circulation or thyroid.\r\nSymptoms Of Ingrown Nails\r\nWhoever suffered from an ingrown toenail knows the pain it can cause. At the beginning, it only occurs when you walk, but the deeper the toenail gets in, the more often the pain bothers you. Ultimately, you feel the toenail cutting into your flesh even when you lie down. Visual symptoms of ingrown toenails range from redness and swelling on the skin around the nail bed to discharge containing pus or blood. It most commonly affects the big toe, but can also occur in other toes or even fingers.\r\nHome Remedies For Ingrown Toenail\r\nIn the initial stages, an ingrown toenail can be cured at home with some simple home remedies. They give best results when you use two or three different treatments interchangeably in order to fight the problem and prevent the reoccurrence at the same time.\r\nAntibacterial Soap and Epsom Salt\r\n\r\nThe most important step you should take when you're trying to get rid of ingrown toenails is to keep your feet clean and dry to avoid the development of fungus and bacteria. That's why it's a good idea to soak the feet every day in warm water with some magnesium sulphate, commonly called Epsom salt. Add a handful of the salt into a basin filled with water and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes. Then dry them well with a clean towel. After you soak the feet, you can try to draw out the ingrown nail. It will be much easier to do it once the nail is softened with water and Epsom salt.\r\nIf you don't have time to soak your feet every day, at least wash your feet with antibacterial soap twice a day. You can also apply some antibacterial ointment on the affected area.\r\nApple Cider Vinegar\r\n\r\nYou can try soaking your feet in warm water with a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar to kill the bacteria and prevent infections. This solution also softens the toenail and slightly soothes the pain. In more advanced stages of the condition, you can also apply diluted apple cider vinegar directly onto the affected toe and wrap it with a clean bandage. Wear it overnight, or during the day \u2013 of you're comfortable enough with it \u2013 then remove it, wash your feet with an antibacterial soap, dry them well and let the nail and the toe breathe for a few hours before you repeat the treatment.\r\nHydrogen Peroxide\r\n\r\nAnother way to maintain the area of ingrown nail bacteria-free and to make it softer is the application of hydrogen peroxide directly onto it. If you have very sensitive skin, you can dilute the hydrogen peroxide with water and apply it with a cotton ball. Alternatively, you can soak your feet for 20 minutes daily in a solution of half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with five cups of warm water. Dry your feet well afterwards and intend to wear open shoes in order to let the skin breathe and to not put pressure on the toenails.\r\nDental Floss\r\n\r\nWeird as it may seem, dental floss can be of a great help when you deal with the problem of ingrown toenails. After you soak and dry your feet, take a small piece of dental floss and insert it gently between the corner of the nail and the skin. Try to push it as deep as you can, but don't force it too much so that you don't hurt the sensitive skin. Make sure the dental floss you use in this method is not flavoured as it may irritate the skin. Leave the floss under the nail until the next time you soak or wash your feet, which you should be doing twice a day. The idea is to push the toenail to grow into the right direction. Since the nail may take up to two or three weeks to grow out, depending on the person, it might be a bit bothersome to keep going with this treatment, but it can give very good results. Don't get pushed off at the beginning by the discomfort the dental floss under your nail can cause. After two or three days of the treatment, you won't notice its presence and it will be helping you heal your toe 24 hours a day.\r\nVicks VapoRub\r\n\r\nAnother unusual product that can be used to cure ingrown toenails is Vicks VapoRub. It's based on menthol, which brings relief in pain and has antibacterial properties. Apply the ointment directly onto the affected toenail and the skin around it, then secure it with a clean bandage. It's best to to leave it to work overnight as the bandage might cause discomfort during the day, when you chave to walk. Also, there will be a smaller chance it will slip off when you rest than when you are active. Repeat the treatment every day for at least two weeks to reduce the pain and inflammation and to soften the toenail.\r\nEssential Oils\r\n\r\nThere is a wide variety of essential oils may also bring relief when you have an ingrown toenail. You just need to know which ones to choose and how to apply them properly. The most efficient essential oils for the treatment of ingrown toenails are the ones the have antibacterial and softening properties.\r\n\r\n\u2022 White flower oil \u2013 a combination of several oils, obtained from eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint leaves. Apply a few drops of white flower oil around the affected area. It kills the bacteria, prevents the infection from developing and soften the skin and the toenail so that it's easier to cut it out.\r\n\u2022 Tea tree oil \u2013 known for its strong antibacterial properties. It should be diluted before the application. Mix a three to four drops of tea tree oil with a teaspoon of jojoba oil or almond oil. Apply the mixture around the ingrown nail with a cotton bud. Repeat the process twice a day.\r\n\u2022 Oregano essential oil \u2013 with the antibacterial and antiseptic properties, it makes a perfect product to heal the inflamed area of the ingrown toenail. If you don't have sensitive skin, you can apply a few drops directly onto the skin around the ingrown toenail. Those with sensitive skin should dilute oregano oil with another carrier oil, e.g. jojoba or olive oil. Apply it three times a day for best results.\r\nIf you plan on wearing closed shoes after the application of essential oils, you should protect the treated area with a plaster or clean bandage.\r\nLemon\r\n\r\nAll citrus fruits have antibacterial properties and lemon additionally helps soften the skin. You can either use lemon juice in the treatment of ingrown toenails or take a thin slice of lemon, put it on the area of the toe where the toenail is growing in and secure it with a bandage. For obvious reasons, the latter solution is best to use overnight. When you start the lemon treatment, leave the slice on only for two hours and check if it hasn't caused any irritation on the skin. If not, you can leave it on for longer. Repeat this every evening for two weeks and you will feel a great relief from the pain caused by ingrown toenail.\r\nHomemade Ointment\r\n\r\nIf you are looking for an easy, practical and effective solution for the problem of ingrown toenails because you don't have time for complicated treatments every day, you can invest some time into making your own, homemade ointment for ingrown toenails and then just apply it twice a day. This ointment is very effective and has versatile properties. Mix 5 drops of eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil, add one drop of oregano oil and two drops of peppermint oil and mix with a teaspoon of aloe vera gel and a teaspoon of coconut oil.\r\n\r\nOnce all the ingredients blend together well, rub a small amount of the ointment into the toenail and the area around it. Wear open shoes or secure the area with a clean bandage after the application. Repeat the process twice a day. You can keep the ointment in a closed jar for up to three weeks, so you can double or triple the amounts of the ingredients to make more of it at a time.\r\nHow To Prevent Ingrown Toenails?\r\nAlmost 50 percent of people who managed to get rid of an ingrown toenail claim that the problem reoccurred after some time. It's because we forget that toenails are growing all the time and if we don't look after them properly once we finish the treatment, they can start growing in again. It's much easier to prevent this problem than to deal with it later on. That's why you should follow these steps:\r\n\r\ntry to wear open shoes whenever you can or at least go for loose-fitting shoes in order to avoid putting pressure on the toenails, avoid high-heels or at least reduce the number of times you wear them, wear clean socks every day and make sure they are made of breathable fabrics, like cotton, maintain your feet clean and dry at all times. If need be, wash them three to four times a day, cut your toenail straight across, otherwise, you'll just make it grow back even harder.\r\nHow To Cut An Ingrown Toenail?\r\nIn order to prevent and get rid of the ingrown toenail, you need to know what technique to use when cutting it. First and foremost, never try to cut your toenails when they are dry and hard. Soften them by soaking your feet in warm water with Epsom salt or antibacterial soap. Softer toenails are easier to cut and let you be more precise. Also, warm water soothes the pain and reduce the swelling caused by ingrown nails so the whole process will cause less discomfort if you prepare yourself well beforehand.\r\n\r\nVery gently push the skin away and cut the toenail in a straight line. Don't be tempted to cut the sides of the nail because it will just strengthen the toenail and it will cause more pain when it grows back. Disinfect the area with hydrogen peroxide and dry the area. Put a piece of cotton or dental floss between the nail and the skin to help the toenail grow in the right direction. Once the toenail gets back to the healthy shape and stops growing into the skin, keep cutting it the same way, otherwise, you may have to face the problem again.