Beauty Tip: Remove that Gnarly Bit of Skin with a Nail File

Are you thinking, gee I wonder what sort of “gnarly bit of skin” she’s talking about? First of all, if you’ve stumbled upon this blog post in hopes that I’ll be able to tell you how to remove whatever gnarly bits of skin you have, I hope you’re thinking about your hands because I don’t have anything for you if that bit of skin is … somewhere else. :P

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the beauty tip, shall we?

Before we get started, I’m going to be showing you an embarrassing part of my body that, for a beauty blogger, is bloody embarrassing to have. It’s not particularly gross; it’s just dry skin but it can look rather disgusting especially if you have buttery smooth skin (I hate you already if you do).

Nail file and Maine Beach Organic Lingurian Honey Hand and Nail Creme

Okay, this is not an uncommon problem but it can be an embarrassing one especially if you have dry skin on your hands. I’m not talking about an overall dryness to the hands that can be temporarily fixed with hand cream. This is a problem I’ve been tackling for years and it’s the bits of dry skin that sticks peels and sticks out. Whenever I’m anxious or nervous about something, I subsconsciously pick at the skin on my hands. Many a time, I don’t even realise that I’ve done it until the ordeal is over, I look at my hands and woah! I’ve peeled quite a chunk off! Sometimes, it even bleeds. :(

Gnarly Skin On Hands Before

It’s not a pretty sight and definitely doesn’t feel good. When the skin isn’t picked at, it continues to peel, dry up, peel some more, dry up and in the end, you’re stuck with gnarly bits of skin that pokes you. If the problem is not addressed, the skin can be very rough (holding hands will definitely scratch your loved one). Friction on the skin can aggravate the issue further and there’s the temptation to peel the skin off which can cause infection.

The problem with this, well, problem is that no amount of hand cream can smoothen this peeling and often hardened bit of skin out. What the hand cream does is that it temporarily seals the gnarly bits back down but when the hands are no longer moist from the hand cream, the area feels hard and peely again.

What I have here is a quick fix. It may not be an ideal fix but it works. It works just like using a pumice or foot file on your dry and cracked heels to “shave” off the dry and dead skin. You can do the same with the peely skin on your hands too. I highly discourage the use of pumice on your hands because it’s too harsh and rough. What you can use instead is a nail file.

Beauty Tip: Remove that Gnarly Bit of Skin with a Nail File

Use the finest part of the nail file (not the coarse side) and gently file the peely bits off, like how you would do with your nails. You’ll notice a lot of white bits coming off (dead skin). Keep filing until the peely bits are removed and that the hardened bit of callus is not so hard any more. Remember, this is not to be done on broken skin.

After filing, wash your hands thoroughly and immediately apply hand cream. Just like a pedicure, you’ll notice an instant improvement to your hands. The callus will be smoothened and suddenly, from poking bits of hard skin, you’ll have instantly smooth hands. Keep up with your hand creams after this and don’t rely on this method as a long term solution. It’s just a quick fix.

Gnarly Skin On Hands After

I hope you’ve found this tip useful. I find that during festive seasons like this, you meet and greet a lot of people with hugs and handshakes. I would be embarrassed to shake someone’s hand if they saw the peely bits of my hand (or worse, if those hard bits scratches their hand). This quick fix allows me to use my hands freely without needing to hide the callus bits.

Do you suffer from this problem too? What’s your solution to hard and peely bits of skin on your hands like? Do you subconsciously do something to yourself when you’re anxious about something?

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12 comments… add one

  1. Rebecca

    I have the same problem. Unfortunately I haven’t come up with a foolproof solution to stop picking at it, but keeping it moisturized does help a little. Thanks for the tip!
    Rebecca recently posted..How I’ll Be Stuffing My Boyfriend’s Stocking This ChristmasMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Me neither. It’s a subconscious thing I do. I often don’t know it’s picked dry until the anxiety levels have come down and then I look down at my hands …. eeuuuwww. This isn’t a long term solution but it does get rid of the dry bits to start the moisturisation going on and hopefully it continues to stay moisturised.

  2. Norlin

    First, can I just say…ewww…but hey, you’re not alone because I totally get what you mean. I’ve got dry skin on my feet. FUGLY! And I think I might use this method too…you know smooth those rough edges. I won’t tell you too much where on my feet because…it’ know…EWWWWW!
    Norlin recently posted..Friday’s Favourites: Face Mask Without The Fuss, John Legend, A Y.A Book That Tugs At The HeartstringsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I know! Eeeuuuww indeed. Something I’ve always been ashamed of. When my skin is particularly grotty, I don’t wear nail polish at all. Why draw attention to the dry bits? *shudder*

  3. Jane

    I have exacty the same problem and have also discovered the nail file solution – it’s the only thing that works (other than stop picking which I can’t do). I find that it works even better if I do the filing while the skin is slightly damp.
    I absolutely love your blog, by the way!

    1. Tine

      Aww thanks Jane! :) x

      Yeah I know what you mean. STUPID ITCHY HANDS THAT CAN’T STOP PICKING! (yes caps are needed :P)

  4. BebeTaian

    You may find that covering it with a triple antibiotic cream helps seal it in with Vaseline-like moisturizers, while keeping the area clean and protected from certain types of infections picked up from common activity. Working in a restaurant, that stuff has been our best friend, especially with how often we get little tiny burns that leave the skin kind of raw-feeling and sometimes peely. Dry skin is a huge problem with us too, so the more intense the dryness, the better the moisturizer.

    Do you have Co-Q10 + Vitamin E moisturizers there that aren’t just cheap mineral oil? Cera Ve with E works pretty well here, since I take Co-Q10 and E vitamins as it is, but it’s heavy enough to withstand just about anything if you’re prone to dry patches. If you have a thin pair of cotton gloves, wear those over the dry patches too after filing them. Sometimes it helps keep the skin from drying too much for a little while.
    BebeTaian recently posted..Book Review: Kickboxing Geishas, by Veronica ChambersMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Good tip! Vitamin E + CoQ10 moisturisers will certainly help my problem (and readers with the same problem). I’ll definitely give your suggestion a go. I have a pair of thin socks for the dry cracked heels but not thin gloves yet. Can’t picture myself wearing those in hot weather. It’s 40C today :(

  5. Sabine

    I get hangnails a lot and it is a small miracle if I manage enough discipline NOT to pull them off, because it always ends up in tears and bleeding. Ughhhh. I haven’t found a way to eliminate them either so I’m stuck with them!!

    The nail file for dry skin is genius – for me it’s my elbows that are dry, and unless I moisturise them every night with body lotion + skin food they get rough again within a day! I’m going to file at them tonight and see what happens :)
    Sabine recently posted..Get to know the Ionmax Ion70 humidifier!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Don’t pull hangnails off! I used to have that habit. They bleed and are very prone to infections. I used to do that with my … teeth. DISGUSTING habit, I know. A good idea is to keep a pair of cuticle scissors with you in your bag. You can just snip them off (not too close to the skin) without peeling or bleeding. Also any friction won’t cause it to hurt either.

      As for dry elbows, every time I’m back in Malaysia, one of the first few things my mum does is feel my elbows. For some reason, she just loves to say “tsk tsk rough elbows! Someone hasn’t been moisturising that area!” :P

  6. Chaitra

    Thanks ! Thanks! I have been suffering this exact thing for 25 years now :P So many times when i pick at it, it starts bleeding :( And it is not a pretty sight! I am going to try this. Thanks tine!
    Chaitra recently posted..Lush’s Christmas Kisses *_*My Profile

    1. Tine

      No worries Chaitra! Hope it works for you :D

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