How to Get Rid of Ingrown Toenails

Three Methods:Cotton BallUnverified Home RemediesGeneral Tips for Preventing Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail can be painful and unpleasant. Here is a method that will allow your toenail to stop growing into your skin, along with some general pointers. It may even prevent you from having to get surgery to remove the ingrown toenail!

Method 1
Cotton Ball

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    Soak your foot in a mixture of hot (or as hot as you can stand it) water and Epsom salt. Do this for 15-30 minutes at least twice daily. The goal here is twofold: to soften the toenail and prevent the ingrown nail from becoming infected.
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    Gather your tools and get ready. Get a cotton round or a cotton ball ready, a pair of tweezers along with something pointy (like a tool that helps you remove cuticles, for example).
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    Trim your toenail, taking extra care around the ingrown section. Make sure your toenail is cut perfectly straight without any pointed parts near the edges. Toenails that are rounded off have an increased likelihood of growing into the skin, causing ingrown nails.
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    Keep your toenail slightly raised. Putting a small piece of cotton between your toenail and the skin should keep the ingrown toenail from coming back.[1]
    • From either the cotton round or the cotton ball, remove a small piece of cotton with the tweezers.
    • Hold the bit of cotton in the tweezers by the corner of the toenail that is ingrown.
    • Use something pointy to push the cotton under your toenail into the corner. Don't push too hard or you will hurt yourself! The piece of cotton should form a little ball under your toenail in the corner. It doesn't have to be so big that it sticks out from the top of your toenail, but make sure it is not too small either. If you firmly but gently pack as much cotton as is comfortable, you will have the right amount of cotton to do the job..[2]
    • Remove cotton daily to cleanse area and replace with new cotton to reduce risk of infection.
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    Stop infection. Apply infection-preventing ointment to the site and keep it bandaged. Neosporin works fine for these purposes.
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    Give your toe some air! Don't wear socks or shoes when you're at home.
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    Check back. If you keep the cotton in place and treat your feet well, your ingrown toenail should grow back out within a few weeks.
    • Replace the cotton every day to keep the toe from becoming infected. If the toenail is painful, replace the cotton every other day, checking daily for infection.

Method 2
Unverified Home Remedies

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    Soak your foot in a warm water that's been treated with a povidone-iodine solution. Put one or two capfuls of povidone-iodine into warm soaking water instead of Epsom salts. Povidone-iodine is an antimicrobial that fights infection and fungus, forming a layer of protection until the solution is washed away.[3]
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    Wrap the toe with a slice of lemon and bandage the toe overnight. Tie a thin slice of lemon on the toe with gauze and leave overnight. The acidity of the lemon helps fight infection overnight.
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    Use oils to soften the skin around the toenail. Oils applied to the toenails can help moisturize and soften the skin, reducing the pressure put on the toenail when you have to wear shoes. Try the following oils for fast relief:
    • Tea tree oil: this essential oil is both an antibacterial and an anti-fungal agent that smells great.
    • Baby oil: another great-smelling mineral oil, this doesn't have the antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil, but works great for softening the skin.
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    Try a soak of potassium permanganate. Potassium permanganate soaks are common home treatments for athlete's foot. For 2 to 3 weeks, place 0.04% potassium permanganate in water and let your feet soak for 15 to 20 minutes, once a day. Your feet will turn slightly brown, but the permanganate is a natural disinfectant and will help keep your toes and nails exceptionally clean.
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    Decrease pressure and increase drainage with a band-aid. Secure a band-aid to the bottom of your toe and pull the skin away from the location where the nail is cutting into the nailbed. The trick is to move the skin away from the offending nail with the help of a band-aid. This can decrease pressure in the area, and if done properly, promote drainage and drying.

Method 3
General Tips for Preventing Ingrown Toenails

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    Keep toenails at a moderate length and trim them straight across. Nails that are rounded have a higher chance of growing into the skin around the toes, creating problems.
    • Use toenail clippers or nail scissors to trim toes. Ordinary nail clippers are small enough that they tend to leave sharp edges near the corner of the toenail.
    • Optimally, try to cut your toenails once every 2-3 weeks. Unless your toenails grow extremely fast, cutting your toenails often won't give them a good chance to become ingrown.
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    Avoid getting pedicures while your ingrown toenail is still bothering you. Pedicures can aggravate the skin underneath the nail; pedicure instruments can be less than sanitary, worsening or causing an infection.
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    Make sure your shoes are the right size. Shoes that are too small and press on your toenails can easily cause them to become ingrown. Opt for roomier, bigger shoes instead of smaller, cozier ones.
    • Try to wear open-toed shoes to prevent pressure on your toe. Since your toe should also be covered, use bandages or wear socks with sandals. Although this is unfashionable, it is better than having to get surgery.
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    Be on the lookout if you regularly get ingrown toenails. If you get an ingrown toenail once, you are likely to get it again, so take steps to prevent that from happening.
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    Apply antibiotic cream to your feet twice a day. After you get out of the shower in the morning, and once before going to bed, apply antibiotic cream to your entire foot, not just your toe. Antibiotic cream will help reduce the risk of infection, which can lead to complications and increased pain.[4]
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    Soak your feet in warm, soapy water for 45 minutes. Put Neosporin in the corner of your toe, by the ingrown toenail. Wrap a band-aid around the toe. Leave in place until the nail improves, then cut free.


  • Try to refrain from painting your toenails while they are ingrown. Unnecessary chemicals near the site may cause infection.
  • Trim or pick off any dry skin off to the side of the nail. This feels very nice, and helps open up the area to air.
  • Trimming the part of the nail cover by skin feels good for a while, but only makes the process longer.
  • Just squeeze the pus out then get a wet tissue and wipe any more puss away. Leave it with open air, do not put a plaster or bandaid on as it will take longer to heal.
  • Soak your toenail in raspberry water for an even faster healing process.[citation needed]
  • Keep your feet covered to prevent infection. Wear socks! However, don't wear colored socks; when your feet sweat, the dye might run and the harsh chemicals will place you at greater risk of getting an infection. Wear fresh clean, undyed socks.
  • Focus on getting rid of the ingrown toenail instead of waiting and watching as it becomes more painful.
  • If the pus from the ingrown toenail is yellow, green, tan . Go See your doctor immediately. Do not try to pop it open.
  • Use tweezers to get the skin out and lift the toenail up every day it worked for me it could work for you.
  • Forgo the doctor, weeks of antibiotics and all the messing around from the above article and get yourself to a podiatrist who will fix the root cause of the problem once and for all.


  • If your ingrown toenail is really swollen or has pus around it, it is most likely infected. See your doctor for some antibiotics before you insert the cotton. Be aware that antibiotics simply reduce the infection and don't get the nail to grow back out, so the cotton method should always be applied along with the antibiotics.
  • Your toenail is very susceptible to infection when it is ingrown, so do your best to keep it covered and clean to avoid serious consequences.
  • If the cotton method along with antibiotics does not work, see your doctor or podiatrist because you may need to have the nail surgically removed.
  • Do not remove the cuticles from your toenails because that irritates them and makes them more likely to become ingrown.

Things You'll Need

  • Hot water bath
  • Soothing additives
  • Cotton round or cotton ball
  • Tweezers
  • Something pointy, such as a nail cuticle remover tool
  • Ointment
  • Bandages

Article Info

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