Here Are Some Ways To Stop Nail Biting Once And For All
Are you prone to biting your nails when stressed, anxious or bored? Unfortunately, you are not the only one. Interestingly, the habit is shared between 20 and 30% of the population. However, this seemingly harmless behavior can lead to serious health problems. Chronic nail-biting, if left untreated, can cause a host of health issues, including infections, and may even lead to permanent damage to your nails.
If you are one of those people who cannot help but nibble on their nails all day, you know it can be a difficult habit to break. But, there are ways to stop this urge from happening. Here are the top expert-approved tips for ending nail-biting and getting strong, healthy nails without being incessantly gnawed.
Keep A List Of Your Urges
You can monitor your nail-biting triggers by keeping a physical record of how often you bite your nails. Although it sounds overwhelming, this may help you break your bad habit.
McMackin says that self-monitoring can help reduce destructive behavior. For example, it’s hard to write, type, and bite your nails simultaneously. You can log your nail-biting behavior and then reflect on it. Many people find that they can stop biting their nails at a specific time and change their behavior.
The Taste Is Strong But Not Overwhelming
I’m not going to lie, the bitter flavor is pretty gross and really strong at first, but that’s what makes it so effective. Thankfully, it doesn’t linger in your mouth for too long and can usually be washed away with a few sips of water.
The brand recommends that you apply it every two weeks, but I found that the taste usually fades altogether after just a few days. When it wasn’t as strong, I was more likely to go back to biting, so I’ve been applying a new coat every four to five days.
Some reviewers note that the flavor can transfer onto your food when cooking and eating. As someone who uses my hands a lot in the kitchen, I’ve never noticed the taste in any of the meals that I’ve prepared. I will say, though, you can definitely taste it when you eat with your hands. As a result, I’ve started eating some of my go-to finger foods like fruit or small bites with utensils. Which, with all the focus on proper hand hygiene right now is probably more sanitary anyway.
Read Also: Tips For Putting On Color Street Nails
The First Step: Understanding The Problem
Imogen Rehm, a clinical psychologist who has done research into repetitive grooming behaviours, says that there isn’t a really robust understanding of why people bite their nails. But we do know that there are many factors that can contribute.
“There’s research that suggests it runs in families,” Dr Rehm says.
“And can also have a predisposition to difficulties with tolerating stress, frustration and anxiety.”
How Did I Stop Biting My Fingers And Nails
At least, I dont remember ever looking at my fingers even as a tiny child when the nails werent stubs, the skin gnawed. At times my hands have been scabbed to the second knuckle on each finger. My fingertips have been too swollen and injured to bend, and too painful to pull on clothes or hold a pencil.
Don’t Miss: Remove Nail Ridges
Create A New Healthier Habit
Like every habit, nail biting is a tough one to quit, so replacing it with a healthy one can be a good tactic!
Try introducing regular snacks of crunchy carrot, cucumber and apple sticks as they can replicate the crunch they get when biting their nails.
A small stress ball or some silly putty can work in the same way, giving your child something else to focus on when theyre feeling fidgety or worried.
And Enlist The Help Of A Loved One:
“My boyfriend used to not say anything about then one day he told me it was nasty, which it is, but he knew it upset me so he dropped it. What really helped was when I told him I was ready to stop if he ever saw me subconsciously pick.”
Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
You May Like: Will Acetone Kill Bed Bugs
Signs Of Emotional Or Mental Stress
People who tend to bite their nails engage in this behavior when they are under stress, which suggests that this condition is not strictly due to nervous habits.
Nail biting is associated with stress because the act of biting one’s nails has been known to reduce stress and tension. People who bite their nails on a regular basis do this when they feel nervous, stressed, or even hungry.
Care For Your Nails And Fingers
One important aspect not to forego is the maintenance of your cuticles! In case you didnt know , the cuticle is a thin piece of skin that connects and covers your growing nails. A healthy cuticle will prevent bacteria from getting under your skin, which could damage new nails.
This simple fact blew my mind: if your cuticles arent kept moisturized and healthy, your nails pretty much have no chance of being strong right from their start!
I began using this cuticle oil by Cuccio right away! The results arent as obvious at first, but strong nails need to start somewhere and that somewhere is under the cuticle. Protecting and moisturizing the cuticles keeps your nails healthy and strong from the beginning so that they can grow longer and healthier down the line.
And please, dont even dare to pick your cuticles!!
Are you ready to stop biting your nails once and for all? Following the outlined plan and tips above will ensure your success!
Dont be afraid of setbacks they will come along. However, the steps taken afterward are what will lead to your ultimate triumph! And, trust me nothing feels better than that moment when you look down at your long, strong nails, and realize just how far youve come.
For so long, people would say to me, Stop biting your nails, and I would retort, I wish! However, once I found the correct process to nix my habit, now I can say, with confidence, to you: Stop biting your nails!
Recommended Reading: How To Get Dip Nails Off At Home Without Acetone
Pick Up A Habit That Keeps Your Hands Busy Like Knitting:
“I was a chronic nail biter for 26 years. I initially starting biting my nails due to anxiety, but it ended up being a habit that was so automatic I didnt even realize when I was doing it. What helped me the most doing hobbies that kept my hands and mind busy like cross stitching and knitting. I would become immersed in finishing a project that had such instant gratification. Before I knew it, I couldnt remember the last time I bit my nails.”
How To Stop Biting Your Nails
How to stop biting your nails
Nail biting typically begins in childhood and can continue through adulthood, and the side effects can be more than cosmetic. Repeated nail biting can make the skin around your nails feel sore, and it can damage the tissue that makes nails grow, resulting in abnormal-looking nails. To help you stop biting your nails, dermatologists recommend following these tips.
Nail biting typically begins in childhood and can continue through adulthood, and the side effects can be more than cosmetic. Repeated nail biting can make the skin around your nails feel sore, and it can damage the tissue that makes nails grow, resulting in abnormal-looking nails. Chronic nail biting can also leave you vulnerable to infection as you pass harmful bacteria and viruses from your mouth to your fingers and from your nails to your face and mouth.
To help you stop biting your nails, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
Keep your nails trimmed short. Having less nail provides less to bite and is less tempting.
Apply bitter-tasting nail polish to your nails. Available over-the-counter, this safe, but awful-tasting formula discourages many people from biting their nails.
Get regular manicures. Spending money to keep your nails looking attractive may make you less likely to bite them. Alternatively, you can also cover your nails with tape or stickers or wear gloves to prevent biting.
Related AAD resources
You May Like: Easy Way To Remove Contacts
Most Importantly Be Positive
Making a big deal out of your childs nail biting, shouting at them or punishing them might cause your child to bite their nails even more.
Skip the its gross lecture – shaming them wont make it better. Instead, try and get your child on board using rewards, an encouraging attitude, etc. and be patient.
Its hard enough for adults to kick a habit, so a child may find it even harder.
Just keep at it and find a way that suits you and your child in helping them give up nail biting once and for all!
Try A Bit Of Bitter Gourd
Bitter gourd is a vegetable commonly used in Asian cuisine hailed for its naturally bitter taste.
Also known as bitter squash or bitter melon, this vegetable is very potent when used on its own.
Its bitter taste is sure to put you off biting your nails, leaving a gag-worthy taste in your mouth if you choose to get nibbling.
You can either crush bitter gourd, apply the juices on your nails and leave to dry, or find a pre-prepared bitter gourd nail-biting treatment in the shops.
Read Also: Self Employed Nail Technician Salary
Or Simpler Reusable Press
These’ll be especially great for the initial stages of your anti-nail biting journey when you’re simply trying to break yourself out of the habit. If you do like the polish or the press-ons, then these could also help reinforce those protections.
Promising review: “I bought this to avoid biting my nails and it works perfectly. You can keep doing everything including using your phones screen. My daughter was also delighted with these since shes an esthetician and they are awesome for her while working on extractions and facials.”
Get them from Amazon for $5.19+ .
When To See A Doctor
Red, sore, or swollen skin around your nails due to excessive nail-biting can be a sign of infection. Seek medical examination and treatment right away.
- How can I control/stop this urge to bite my nails?
- Can nail biting lead to other serious health issues?
- What are the signs of nail infection that I should be wary of?
- Do you have any kind of stress?
- Is anyone else in your immediate family a compulsive nail biter?
Also Check: How To Prep Your Nails
Q: Whats Behind Chewed
A: For most people, nail biting is an occasional thing. When people cant stop the behavior on their own, doctors consider it a type of body-focused repetitive behavior . We refer to chronic nail biting as onychophagia and we dont fully understand the cause . We do know that people with these conditions often have onychophagia as well:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder : Hyperactivity and impulsiveness, plus difficulty paying attention.
- Oppositional defiant disorder: Defiance and disobedience toward people of authority.
- Excessive anxiety when separated from particular people or pets.
- Tourette syndrome: Involuntary movements and sounds.
- Other BFRBs: Chronic skin picking, hair pulling, cheek biting and grinding teeth.
Is There A Cure For Nail Biting
In most cases, nail biting seems to be only a cosmetic issue, and no treatment is required. But, in severe cases, untreated nail biting can result in a host of complications such as severe damage to the cuticles and nails, paronychia and secondary bacterial infection, dental problems, and temporomandibular dysfunction.
You May Like: How Do You Get Contacts Out With Long Nails
Chat With A Therapist
While not all nail-biting indicates underlying emotional distress, if you’ve tried everything and can’t stop, or suspect there’s more to the story, consider seeking help from a professional. Talk therapy can be a great way to get at the root of the issue. “Often the bitten nails, picked skin and pulled out hair is a visible form of the emotional pain that no-one else sees, and the person is crying out for help with emotional pain they cannot articulate in words,” says Swart.
If you are having a hard time stopping, know that you arent alone. An estimated 20-30 percent of Americans bite their nails and need help to break the habit. Behavioral therapy can help identify what triggers you to bite your nails and offers healthier alternatives. Therapies that include hypnotherapy or habit-reversal training can help break the nail-biting cycle, says the Cleveland Clinic. Your therapist can also make sure your nail-biting isnt related to other disorders, includingAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder .
What To Do If You Rip The Skin Around Your Nails
Try to refrain from biting your nails or nibbling on the pieces of loose skin around the nail. Bacteria in the mouth can lead to an infection if you rip your skin around your nail, or bite your nail too low. Try using a special foul-tasting ointment to keep you from putting your fingers near your mouth.
Also Check: Does Toothpaste Remove Nail Polish
Manage Stress And Anxiety
One method to stop nail biting is to learn the triggers that make you anxious, stressed, or bored. If youre unable to stop, and nail biting becomes more and more habitual, talk to your healthcare provider to get a referral to a therapist. With therapy, you can learn cognitive behavioral therapy methods to identify or modify your behavior. If you have a disorder, you may need to be treated appropriately with medication.
How Your Doctor Can Help
If you have tried all these at-home methods with no luck, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor. For some people, nail biting may be a sign of a more serious psychological or emotional issue. Behavior therapy is another option that can help you. At your appointment, you can discuss your nail-biting habit with your doctor and ask for a referral to a therapist.
You should also contact your doctor if you notice any signs of infection on your fingers or nails. A dermatologist can help you heal your nails and fight any infection with medication or topical treatments.
Recommended Reading: Get Rid Of Nail Ridges
When To See A Healthcare Provider
An occasional nibble on your nails may not require a visit to the doctor, but if your nail beds are infected and the infection has spread to your mouth, you will need to see a healthcare provider to be treated with antibiotics. If your nail biting has reached a point that you cant stop and it is affecting your self-esteem and relationships, ask for a referral to see a therapist.
How Can I Stop Biting My Fingernails
Nail biting is a common habit which has a variety of root causes. There are several techniques you can use to stop biting your fingernails, including the use of bitter tasting substances, hypnosis, and regular nail care. If you can successfully stop the biting, you will enjoy healthier nails and cuticles as well quitting a nasty habit.
Start by identifying the root cause for the nail biting. Biting the fingernails is usually a reflection of an oral fixation: perhaps you are stressed out or recently quit smoking. It is important to understand why you are doing it, because as you stop biting your fingernails, you will want to find ways to distract yourself, such as chewing gum, knitting, or finding another activity for your hands. If you know the root cause, you can distract yourself in situations where you might normally bite your nails.
An important first step is trimming your nails. Keep the nails short by filing them, and trim the cuticles as well. If your nails are short, there will be less available to bite. If you do find yourself biting a nail, stop immediately and file the nail not only to shorten it, but also to file any ragged parts away.
You May Like: Hang Shelves Without Nails
Why Do Children Bite Their Nails
First things first, its useful to know why our children end up nibbling on their nails.
Like thumb-sucking, hair twisting and nose picking, nail biting is a common habit for children.
These behaviours are known as nervous habits although, confusingly, that doesnt actually mean your child is nervous.
Most children bite their nails when they are feeling bored or curious, to pass the time, to relieve stress or simply as a force of habit.
So, nail biting can be caused by a multitude of issues, and the most important thing is encouraging them to stop without it turning into an unhelpful nag-fest.
Q: Are There Specific Triggers For Onychophagia
A: The behavior is typically automatic people dont realize theyre doing it. Chronic nail biting often has a self-soothing quality , so people may use it as a coping mechanism. Sometimes, a hangnail or nail imperfection could spur someone to excessively groom the nail. Their goal is to improve the look of the nail, but unfortunately, the nail often ends up looking worse. They dont intend to self-harm its a grooming behavior run amok. Other triggers could be boredom, needing to concentrate or a stressful situation.
Recommended Reading: Vitamin E Oil For Nail Fungus
When To Seek Medical Advice
For some people, nail biting may be a sign of a more serious psychological or emotional problem.
If you have tried to stop biting your nails and the problem persists, or if you begin to develop skin or nail infections, you may want to consult a doctor.
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
25 August 2021