While it’s fun to be grossed out by this stuff, you really shouldn’t try this at home, says Melissa Lockwood, a podiatrist at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates.
If you have an ingrown toenail, don’t pick at it—it could cause an infection, she says. If it’s causing you pain, she recommends soaking your toe in warm water with Epsom salts for 10 minutes and then trying to gently pull the edge of the skin away from the nail.
“Oftentimes what happens is the skin is taking over the nail area,” she explains. That may do the trick, but it might not.
If you weren’t able to tackle it on your own or have pus (which could signal a bacterial infection), it’s time to call a podiatrist. At the office, the doctor will numb your toe and then use a small instrument to loosen up the nail edge before cutting it down to the nail root.
“It’s almost impossible to do this at home without a lot of pain,” Lockwood says.
So, if you’ve got an ingrown toenail, it’s really best to leave treatment to the professionals. Still, Lockwood gets why people are into this.
“People are just curious and want to see how it’s done,” she says.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US