Ever had an ingrown toenail? They’re the worst, right? So painful, so unsightly, so likely to have your mum attacking your feet with her clippers when she finds out… Ouch.

In a bid to end this pain and suffering, we asked Emma Stevenson – a podiatrist from The College Of Podiatry – for her advice on treating and avoiding ingrown toenails. Bonus: it’s probably a great excuse to buy some new shoes.

What exactly is an ingrown toenail?

“An ingrowing toenail is a nail that pierces the flesh of the toe. It can feel as if you have a splinter, be inflamed, or infected. Ingrowing toenails most commonly affect the big toe, but can affect the other toes as well.”

What are the most common causes?

“There are many genetic factors which can make you prone to ingrowing toenails, including posture and the way you walk. Toenails may also have a natural tendency to splay or curl out instead of growing straight, encouraging nails to grow outwards or inwards into the flesh. One of the most common causes, however, is cutting toenails too short. Other causes include tight fitting footwear and excessive moisture.”

Are they dangerous?

“Not usually, but they can be very uncomfortable and in severe cases – if left untreated – can lead to infection. It is best to see a podiatrist early and not to try and remove it yourself, which can cause more damage, and risk infection.”

How should they be treated? Can I do it myself at home?

“Our advice is to see a podiatrist as soon as you think you have an ingrowing toenail. Podiatrists have special nail clippers that can easily clip this bit of nail off for you. If you leave it too long though, and it becomes badly ingrown and infected, you may need a small operation just to remove the spike of nail. Your podiatrist can give you anaesthetic to take away the pain while they trim the nail back for you. They can show you how to avoid it happening again in the future and you should have no more problems. To relieve discomfort at home, you can bathe your foot in salt water, which can help to prevent infection. A sterile dressing can then be applied. Resting your foot as much as possible can also help.”

Is there any way to get rid of them for good?

“Cutting your nails properly will almost certainly help. It’s best to use nail nippers, rather than nail cutters, because they have a smaller cutting blade and a longer handle. Cut your nails straight across and don’t cut too low at the edge or down the side. The corner of the nail should be visible above the skin. It is better to cut your nails after a bath or shower when they are much softer. Good hygiene can go a long way to preventing ingrowing toenails. Avoid moist, soggy feet by rotating your footwear so each pair has a chance to dry out thoroughly. Avoid man-made materials (synthetics) and wear socks and shoes made of natural fibre, which fit properly. Keep your feet clean and dry, and in the summer try to wear open-toed sandals to let air get to your toes as much as possible.”

 

Image: Katie Edmunds

For more information about foot health and to find a podiatrist near you, visit www.feetforlife.org.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

There is nothing in the whole world as satisfying as cleaning your ears out with cotton buds.

Yes, I understand that I am not supposed to. I understand that it actually just pushes the earwax further down my ear drum. I understand that cotton buds themselves even urge you not to clean your ears with their product.

I even understand that I might be damaging my ears, one cotton-tipped stick at a time (the NHS website pretty clearly tells me I am).

But.

In my defence, IT FEELS SO GOOD.

When I get out of the shower, I like to have a rummage around my ear. I have a very particular technique. I start with my outer ear (I like to collect whatever tube grime, conditioner and general city muck that might have found its way into the ridges). Obviously, the more gunk I collect, the more satisfied I feel. Like blowing your nose or cutting your nails, quantity is key.

Then, when I’m satisfied, I flip the bud to use the clean end and start in on my inner ear. This is where the real enjoyment lies. This is the nirvana of the ear-cleaning process. Because our ears are full of sensitive nerve endings, it feels like you’ve had an hour long massage in the space of two seconds.

To me, cleaning my ears feels better than coming home, taking my hair out of a particularly tight pony tail, slipping off my shoes and unclipping my bra – which is obviously the holy trifecta of relaxation. Even better than that.

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If you wondering how I enjoy something I know is bad for me, I say to you: have you eaten so much you feel sick? Like, you know you should stop eating because you’re almost definitely going to spend the next hour clutching your tummy and groaning but, well… the food is delicious and surely one (ok, five) more bites won’t make it that much worse, right?

Or, have you ever stayed up too late watching TV or reading a book? (If you’ve ever watched Pretty Little Liars or read The Hunger Games, I know the answer to this is yes). You know you’re going to be tired in the morning. You know that when your alarm goes off you are going to immediately be filled with regret. And yet, you start the next chapter. You click the tempting, ‘play next episode.’

Sometimes humans are short-sighted and decide to do the thing that might make us feel crappy later, but feels oh so good right now.

That is exactly how I feel about cleaning out my ears. Yes, I might get an ear infection. Yes, I know the wax is meant to be there. I know all of these things… but oh, it feels so damn good at the time.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty

There is a rule, written somewhere in the Unfair Laws of the Universe, that says two of the first three weeks of September have to be unbearably hot. This is frustrating for a variety reasons.

Firstly, school has gone back. Which means that summer holidays are over and there is no way to harness the heat into a day trip to the beach or another peanut butter Magnum opportunity. On its own this might just be bearable (at least there’s everyone’s back-to-school hair experiments to distract you), but then they insist that you have to do PE.

Now of course, exercise itself isn’t the problem. In fact, it’s pretty damn excellent; it helps boost your mood, reduces stress, does wonders for your skin and helps you live to 112.

No, the problem is that they make you run around a field when it’s a million degrees outside. Or they make you do sit-ups and pull-ups and push-ups when literally nothing about your body wants to be ‘up’. In fact, in wants to be down. As in, lying down. Preferably on a beach, or on the floor of a deeply air-conditioned room listening to a soundtrack of a beach.

But teachers can be cruel, as can September. So allow us to present: your post-PE survival guide (summer edition), to make those endless, sweaty games of netball a little more bearable.

You go, you future Olympian, you.

1. Water bottle

Sure this one seems obvious, but when half of your class are lining up for the water fountain with red faces and dry mouths, you’ll be the smug one sitting in the shade, drinking deeply from your water bottle without a care in the world. Aside from your heart rate.

Happy Jackson’s H2Awesome Water Bottle, £7.96

Copy of Waterbottle

2. Braids – Dutch, French, Pigtail, whatever you fancy 

Pre-PE, pop your hair in braids. If you think people who can braid their own hair are sorcerers (you’re not alone in this), see if you can find someone who can braid them for you and save your arms the pain (after all we’re in the business of making PE less, not more traumatic). This way, when you take your hair out after PE you’ll have skipped the dreaded kink and given yourself beachy waves.

Also, look how weirdly happy this girl about the braid in her hair! Oh wait, that’s me. I’m the weirdly happy girl in the photo. Carry on.

(£0, obv)

Copy of Braids

3. Wipes

Let’s be honest, people should carry wipes around in the same way they carry around tissues. They are useful in pretty much all situations. Spilled some sauce on your top? A wipe can fix that. Need to blow your nose? A wipe can handle that situation whilst also cleansing your skin. Had double PE and your body is now ¾ sweat and ¼ skin? A wipe has your back. And your front.

These ones from Wilkos have the benefit of being both gloriously cheap and great for sensitive skin. Plus, cleaning your face after exercising can help keep spots at bay #winning.

Skin therapy Fragrance Free Wipes for Sensitive Skin, 50p   

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4. BB cream

BB cream is like the superhero of the make up bag. On the outside it looks like a regular moisturiser, but in reality, it’s full of secret powers. This one from La Roche-Posay has SPF 20, so it will protect you from the sun. It’s tinted, so if you’re all red and blotchy after PE, it will give your skin a nice, even tone. Plus, it’s made for oily skin, so it can help mop up that post-hockey shine.

Pop a thin layer on after wiping down with your wipes. It might not be as cool as invisibility or flight, but hey, we’ll take whatever super power we can get.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur Mousse, £14

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5. Dry Shampoo  

Braids can do many things – like make you look like Princess Leia or a member of the Von Trapp family – but they draw the line at keeping your hair grease-free. Enter our BFF (barnet fixer forever) when your hair is less ‘beachy waves’ and more ‘it looks like I’ve been swimming in a frying pan.’ Batiste have a range of scents (our fave is blush) and they even come in travel sizes, so you don’t have to sacrifice your geography homework for bag space. Shame.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Blush Floral and Flirty, £2.99

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6. Socks

We know it sounds like something your mum would say, but a spare pair of socks really go a long way in bringing down the pong factor. Sure, some schools have regulation socks that are all boring and navy or whatever but this pair is awesome and we wanted you to see them.

But seriously, pack a spare pair of socks that you can change into after PE – your feet and your classmates will thank you. Manufacturers of athlete’s foot treatments will not.

ASOS Pug On Heel Ankle Socks, £3 

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7. Body Spray

Watermelon Body freakin’ Oil Spray. Do I really need to say more? No, seriously, do I? This is a moisturizing body spray that smells like watermelon. Spritz some of this around you (neck, wrists, hair) to leave you smelling fresh even after you’ve played an hour of field hockey.

Original Source Skin Quench Watermelon Body Oil Spray, £6.99 

Copy of Body Spray

 

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Clueless