Rivet nail: help and causes

Rivet nail: help and causes

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Rivet / What to do with a rivet?

In the field of cosmetics, a small rip in the cuticle of the finger is referred to as a rivet nail (also called a nail), which means that it sticks out in the form of a small, dry piece of skin. This not only looks unattractive, but can be very uncomfortable for those affected, since the rivets can quickly cause inflammation and severe pain. Accordingly, it is important to treat the small cracks accordingly and prevent them with effective home remedies and proper care.

How is a rivet nail created on the finger?

The term “rivet nail” is usually used to describe a lateral tear in the cuticle (cuticle), which is usually very painful and can quickly lead to inflammation. The cuticle describes the fold of skin that overlaps the nail and covers the nail root (matrix), thereby protecting it from dirt and bacteria. A rivet nail is usually caused when the cuticle sits too tightly on the nail plate when the fingernail grows out and does not come off but is instead pulled along. There is an increased tension, which finally tears the cuticles and then sticks out in small hardened scraps.

However, the small cracks and scraps of skin are not just a cosmetic problem. Rather, severe pain and inflammation often arise, since viruses and bacteria can penetrate the body more quickly through the small "entry gates". In addition, the unsightly spots on the fingernails often worsen because the dry scraps of skin on the side nail bed are constantly caught like small "barbs" in fabrics, pearly tights or hair, causing the skin to tear even more.

Causes of torn cuticles

In general, the risk is increased if the cuticles are very dry and therefore tear more quickly. Even those who e.g. stress or inner turmoil on his fingers or chewing on the nails runs the risk of small dry skin patches forming quickly. If plucking or gnawing is continued, the situation often worsens and painful inflammation can occur. Another cause of a rivet nail can be the constant contact of the hands with water or cleaning agents, as this softens the cuticles more and consequently makes them more sensitive.

Remove and treat the rivet

Simple creams are usually not sufficient for treatment. Instead, it is necessary to periodically push the cuticle back to detach it from the nail plate and thereby relieve the tension. Various aids are available for this, however, in any case, absolute caution should be exercised to avoid further injuries to the cuticles or the nail bed. For people who want to treat their hands for the first time, a cuticle pusher or cleaner made of rubber, which is very soft and can also be used with sensitive nails, could be useful. However, since this is usually less sharp than e.g. Devices made of wood, it can also happen here that the skin cannot be removed sufficiently. The most precise way to work with a stainless steel slider is because it not only allows you to carefully push back the cuticles, but also to remove small pieces of skin on the nail plate.

In addition to this, the small protruding skin scraps should also be removed for treatment, in order to prevent the cracks from worsening due to constant snagging etc. Here, however, sharp scissors should be avoided, because on the one hand this increases the risk of injury and on the other hand quickly tears the cuticles too far. A so-called “cuticle nipper” is more suitable, with which the excess “barbs” can be snapped off thoroughly and without injuries. As it is much easier to push back soft or elastic skin, it is also advisable to carry out the treatment immediately after bathing or showering or to incorporate a nail balm or special cuticle softener. In general, pushing back the skin is never painful and the tool should only be used carefully and in small steps so as not to damage the cuticle, bed or nail root and to avoid unpleasant consequences such as growth problems or brittle nails.

If inflammation has already arisen from a rivet nail, it is advisable to treat the cuticles with particular care over the next few days, with various home remedies being available to support the treatment. However, if it is a purulent inflammation with swollen skin and / or pain, the general practitioner should always be consulted as a precaution.

Home remedies

With a rivet nail there are a number of natural home remedies that can support the healing effectively on a plant basis. If inflammation has developed, a tincture from the marigold, for example, comes into consideration, which, due to its anti-inflammatory and pus-inhibiting effect, is suitable for almost any skin complaint. The production of such a tincture is usually relatively simple and does not require any special equipment or ingredients; instead, only fresh or dried marigold flowers, some schnapps with an alcohol content of at least 40 to 45 vol.% (Doppelkorn, Vodka or similar), a glass with screw cap, filter bags and a dark bottle needed.

The flowers are first poured into the screw-top jar until it is about half full, then pour at least enough alcohol over it that it is completely covered, but it is still possible to shake the tincture. Now the jar is closed and placed in a quiet place for two to three weeks, whereby this must be shaken well at least once a day. After the rest period, the tincture is carefully filtered, then the flowers are removed and the liquid is filled into a dark bottle using a funnel.

In addition to marigold, tea tree oil is also suitable for treating inflamed cracks in the cuticles. However, it should be noted here that this can dry out the skin even more and lead to irritation and redness. Accordingly, the oil should always be used very carefully, especially for sensitive skin and best mixed with a so-called "carrier oil" (e.g. sunflower or sesame oil) in a ratio of 5 drops of essential oil to 10 ml of carrier oil.

How can I prevent rivets on my fingers?

The prevention of rivets is usually easier than expected, because there are some tricks and measures that can effectively prevent the formation of small cracks. The most important thing here is not to pluck off or chew off protruding small edges or flakes of skin. Instead, the care of the hands should always be done with the appropriate manicure tool or by a professional beautician to avoid injuries.

If chewing your fingernails is a constant or recurring problem in certain situations, e.g. bitter-tasting tinctures, creams or varnishes from the pharmacy can be used. Since chewing is triggered in most cases by inner restlessness and tension, relaxation exercises and stress reduction procedures such as e.g. Autogenic training, hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation or yoga are very helpful.

If you are generally prone to dry, cracked cuticles, you should also wear gloves when washing, cleaning and doing other household and garden work to protect your hands from aggressive substances or the softening of the skin through constant contact with water. In addition, it is generally advisable to only use products that do not contain any chemicals. Instead, natural substances such as vinegar or lemon juice have proven their worth in many areas of the household by also cleaning them thoroughly, but without posing any danger to the nails.

For washing hands, it is recommended to use a mild washing lotion (e.g. for babies) and then apply a rich cream or oil (e.g. almond, jojoba oil, cocoa butter) to hands, fingers and fingernails to provide them with sufficient moisture. It can also be helpful here to thoroughly massage the care products into nails and cuticles right before going to bed so that the valuable ingredients can work overnight. It is practical to put on thin gloves made of cotton so that the cream does not smear, and the heat also favors the effect of the care on the skin.

In cold weather, care should be taken to provide adequate protection for the hands, as this can dry out the skin to a great extent and thus cause cracked, sensitive nails and cuticles. Accordingly, it is advisable to always wear gloves at cold temperatures in the fresh air and to apply hands and fingers regularly. In addition, it is generally recommended not to use nail polish remover with alcohol or acetone, as these substances attack the nails and additionally remove moisture from them. The hands should not be washed excessively and preferably only with lukewarm water, as too hot water and soap can soften the surface of the skin and damage the natural protective acid mantle of the skin.

In order to keep your hands and fingers healthy and beautiful in the long term, a regular professional manicure can also be very useful. However, you should be very careful when choosing a nail care professional so that you do not experience any nasty surprises such as poor hygiene, poor advice, rough procedures, etc. during treatment. (No)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Social Science Nina Reese


  • Anke Niederau: The big book of nail diseases: cause, podiatric diagnosis, therapy, prophylaxis, Neuer Merkur Verlag, 3rd edition, 2016
  • H. Zaun, D. Dill: Pathological changes in the nail, spitta Verlag, 10th edition, 2013
  • Martin Röcken, Martin Schaller, Elke Sattler, Walter Burgdorf: Taschenatlas Dermatologie, Thieme Verlag, 1st edition, 2010

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