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How To Stop Biting Nails And Skin

Use Art As A Driving Force To Stop Biting Your Nails Forever

Ask Ana: How To Stop Biting The Skin Around Your Nails?

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If youre anything like me, then you love a good DIY activity so what better way to encourage you to break your nail biting habit than with the possibility of a fun art project? Once my nails got long enough, I wanted to experiment with nail designs. For years, I had admired the scores of beautiful manicures I had seen across Pinterest, dreaming of the day I could recreate them on my own nails. It was always something in the back of my mind, acting as another driving force to stop biting my nails. So the minute I was able to, I picked up this nail dotting design set from Benemo. With 14 dual-sided instruments, some with a brush end and some with a ball end, I was finally able to turn my beautiful, new nails into the canvas of my dreams, officially recreating the magical feeling from that Sunday Night Spa Night long ago.

See more of our best product recommendations.

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.

How To Stop Biting Nails

Why do Ichew my nails?

Beforeseeking to prevent your nail-biting addiction, it’s vital to know the causesbehind the conduct or onychophagia, as medical experts name it in clinicalsettings. According to Rebecca Rialon Berry, Ph.D. a licensed psychologist,and director of the Tics, Tourette Disorder, and Trichotillomania Program atthe Child Study Center at NYU Langone Health, nail-biting falls alongside thetraces of a kind of behavior within the medical international calledbody-centered repetitive behaviors, or BFRBs, which discuss with any repetitiveself-grooming behaviors that harm the pores and skin, hair or nails.

Why is itthat we have interaction in those varieties of behaviors? Research indicatesthat more likely than not, there’s a genetic purpose at the back of this tick.But there also are some environmental triggers that occur the onset ofnail-biting behavior together with pressure, anxiety, boredom, and other formsof emotional distress. “Sometimes human beings have interaction in thosebehaviors due to the fact they are feeling underwhelmed, underneath-inspired orbored,” adds Berry. “And then there may be a subset of human beingsthat could be running greater robotically as part of a strain reaction.”

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Keep Clippers Or A File Around At All Times

A Reddit thread titled tips to stop nail biting is filled with comments from biters who advocate keeping clippers or a file to hand.

‘The reason I bite my nails is because I hate the rough edges catching on to things, but that creates more rough edges. Vicious cycle. Now I just file them when I’m bored to make them nice and smooth.’

When It’s Time To Seek Help:

How To Identify What Is Nail

If all else fails, you might want to consider finding a therapist, as nail-biting can be a sign or symptom of a more serious problem such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or another anxiety disorder though it’s also important to note that the behavior can occur outside of these conditions. Regardless, if your nail-biting is causing significant distress or dysfunction, it might be time to seek help, Berry stresses. “If there are underlying issues like anxiety that are triggering the habit, those should be addressed,” Dr. Zeicher adds.

And of course, if you experience any consequences in your health due to your nail-biting habit, a visit to the dermatologist might also be warranted. “If you are biting your nails and develop any red, swollen, or tender areas of skin, visit your dermatologist right away to evaluate whether you have developed an infection that needs treatment,” advises Dr. Zeichner.

Let It Go! Quitting These Habits and Obstacles Has Never Been Healthier

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How Biting Fingernails Can Affect You

Biting nails could cause bleeding at severe levels. One might even be unable to hold a pen.

Destroys the beauty of ones nails. Mind you, I have very pretty nails when Ive grown them but when I bite them, theyre the ugliest youll ever come across. How unfortunate!

Causes poor nail health. Some people bite around their cuticle thus destroying them. This makes it so hard to grow back fingernails at a normal rate since it will take even more than a week to grow your nails to a millimeter long.

Nail biters are susceptible to paronychia, a skin infection that occurs around ones nails leading to swelling, redness, and pus around ones nails. When severe, the condition can result in surgery.

Biting nails could cause stomach problems. One tends to feel some stomach pains after too much eating nails since nails might carry dirt, germs, and bacteria which cause stomach problems.

Nail-biting can also cause mental impairment due to tension and nervousness.

Create Your Own Nail Tool Kit

Now that weve addressed some internal steps to take towards ditching the nail habit, lets talk about the external steps. On my nail journey, my saving grace was approaching it from a self-care standpoint. Instead of looking at caring for my nails as a chore, I turned it into a treat by stocking up on everything Id need for a great home manicure I could be proud of.

The first step to any successful project is to make sure you have all the supplies you need. Now you can go and pick up one of those wallet-sized manicure kits , or you can make your own with these four handy products.

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Genius Beauty Hair Skin And Nails Vitamins

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This next supplement is not your everyday beauty vitamin. Far from just another biotin supplement the Genius Beauty Hair, Skin, and Nails vitamin is made with ingredients scientifically proven to give you results, including collagen peptides, glutathione, astaxanthin, ceramides, and other antioxidants. If youre looking for a hair/skin/nail supplement that can also aid in boosting your immune system and soothing your aching joints, this is the one for you.

What Is Nail Biting


Nail-biting is a condition where one constantly places fingernails near the mouth, peels off the top layer of the skin above the nails, and bites the nails too.

Nail-biting is a habit and unfortunately, some people bite their nails to the point that they are not aware unless someone tells them to stop biting their nails.

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How To Stop Biting Skin Around Your Nails

While nail biting gets a bad rap as an unhygienic and nervous habit, biting the skin around your nails is just as bad 1. Chewing at hang nails and cuticles not only leaves them ragged and bleeding, it can allow infection to set in. If you are tired of hiding your hands from the ravages of your constant chewing, a few behavior modification techniques may be all it takes to clear up the bite marks for good.

Apply a tiny dot of cuticle cream to the base of each of your fingernails. Massage the cream over your cuticles and extend it all the way around the side of your fingers. Reapply the cuticle cream at least once per day to eliminate hangnails and soothe the irritated skin.

Apply a nail biting deterrent liquid each morning by painting it over the nails, cuticles and along the sides of your fingers. Nail biting deterrents are liquids that look like a thin nail polish but have an unpleasant taste. Each time you attempt to bite your cuticles you will stop when you taste the bitter solution.

If possible, carry a tiny pair of cuticle scissors with you throughout the day so that you can remove hang nails before you are tempted to bite them. Simply snip the errant skin as close to your finger as possible without drawing blood.

Get a professional manicure regularly or opt for acrylic overlays so that your nails and cuticles always look great. Investing the time and money into keeping them looking good may help you fight the urge to bite them.


Why Do I Bite My Nails

Before trying to stop your nail-biting habit, it’s important to know the causes behind the behavior or onychophagia, as medical experts call it in clinical settings. According to Rebecca Rialon Berry, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and director of the Tics, Tourette Disorder, and Trichotillomania Program at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Health, nail-biting falls along the lines of a type of behavior in the clinical world called body-focused repetitive behaviors, or BFRBs, which refer to any repetitive self-grooming behaviors that damage the skin, hair or nails.

Why is it that we engage in these types of behaviors? Research suggests that more likely than not, there’s a genetic cause behind this tick. But there are also a number of environmental triggers that manifest the onset of nail-biting behavior including stress, anxiety, boredom and other forms of emotional distress. “Sometimes people engage in these behaviors because they’re actually feeling underwhelmed, under-stimulated or bored,” adds Berry. “And then there is a subset of people that could be working more automatically as part of a stress response.”

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Use A Bad Taste To Coat Your Nails

Dr. Zeichner says that one of the best ways to stop nail-biting is to apply a foul-tasting varnish to your nails. You will not put it in your mouth if you don’t like its taste. Many nail polishes with a bitter taste will prevent you from biting your nails. Berry suggests ella+mila No More Biting if you want a child-friendly version. But, of course, you’ll be hesitant to eat it! Or you can use hot sauce or Jalapenos!

Nail Biting Is A Body

Looking for Advice on How to Stop Pulling and Biting Skin ...

“Nail biting, also known at onychophagia, is part of the larger category of body-focused repetitive disorders,” says One Medical’s Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, MD, who notes that this habit usually involves biting the actual nails or just picking at cuticles. “There are several underlying reasons for nail biting, which sometimes happens unintentionally. Psychologists think that it provides a counter to our emotions: It provides stimulation when we are faced with boredom, or a calming outlet when we are stressed.”

While Dr. Bhuyan explains that nail biting is common, it could develop into a more severe habit, one associated with ADHD, Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, or oppositional defiant disorder. She says to keep in mind that simply biting your nails doesn’t mean you have one of these conditions, though. Dr. Shari Lipner, MD, PhD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist, shares that nail biting could also come about if others in your family do it, too. “Some nail biters may also perform other repetitive behaviors, such as skin picking and hair pulling,” she adds.

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How To Stop Biting Skin Around The Nails

What can you use or do to stop habitual skin biting around nails?

Besides getting medication to lower your anxiety levels, these are some of the simple but clever things to observe and follow if you want to stop biting your nails and fingers.

1. Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a structured system with sessions in which a mental health counsellor talks to a sufferer with a mental disorder.

CBT sessions are mainly meant for helping one with a mental-related disorder to become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way.

Disorders which may suit cognitive behavioral therapy include:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Anxiety

2. Habit Reversal Therapy HRT

HRT is a cognitive-behavioral intervention that is commonly used to treat disorders involving repetitive, body-focused, and/or habitual behaviors associated with distress or functional impairment

This therapy is looked at as an intervention where a therapist talks to a sufferer to help them manage such disorders by altering their thinking and behavior. This therapy has treatment components as follows.

  • Awareness training
  • Social support and behavioral reward systems

3. Cover your fingers and nails

Whether you bite unconsciously or not, placing some kind of covering over the nails can reduce the probability to keep on biting the skin around nails or the nails themselves.

Then try doing the following.

When To Seek Medical Attention

If you continue biting skin off your fingers after trying a suitable remedy for treating dry skin, you should seek help from a specialist or therapist.

You must see a doctor when there is the throbbing pain, bleeding, and formation of painful sores or lesions.

References and Citations:
  • Reducing Skin Picking via Competing Activities. Kathleen Lynne Lane, Ada Thompson, Cara L Reske, Lauren M Gable, Sally Barton-Arwood. J Appl Behav Anal. 2006 Winter 39: 459462. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2006.62-05 PMCID: PMC1702340
  • How to stop body-focused repetitive behaviors
  • Recommended Reading: How Do You Take Shellac Off Your Nails

    Coat Yournails With A Bad Flavor

    One ofthe maximum not unusual ways to stop nail biting is to apply a bad-tastinglacquer to the nails,” says Dr. Zeichner. “If you dont just like thetaste, then you’ll stop placing it to your mouth.” For this exact cause,some special nail polishes have a bitter taste to them to prevent you frombiting your nails, like ORLY No Bite Nail Bite Deterrent, or ella+mila No MoreBiting, which Berry recommends if you’re searching out a child-friendlyversion. The terrible flavor will make you think two times earlier thannibbling!

    Is Biting Your Nails A Mental Disorder


    Some experts group nail-biting into the same category as hair pulling which has been classified as an impulse control disorder, while others think its linked to OCD.

    ‘Nail-biting hasnt been classified in the DSM-V , which means its not a mental health condition,’ notes Ekta.

    Psychodermatolgst Dr Alia Ahmed explained in an interview that ‘its not uncommon for these habits to run in the family. ‘Several studies indicate that there is a genetic component to nail biting. One study has shown that 36.8 percent of nail biters had at least one family member with this habit while studies of twins have shown that identical twins are more likely to both be nail biters than non-identical twins. ‘

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    You Can Cover Your Nails

    A salon manicure won’t stop you from biting your nails, but it can help. First, Dr. Berry says, “You want to place some blocks and methods to make it difficult to bite.” For example, you can put on gloves, bandages, or press-on nail sets. Anything that could physically prevent you from reaching your nails with your teeth is a good idea.

    What Have You Tried Already

    If you are a nail-biter, you probably have tried willpower, but that didnt work. If you get into stressful situations, it makes things worse.

    You may have tried painting your nails, either with attractive coloured nail varnish or horrible tasting stuff that you brought from the chemist shop. But that didnt work either.

    Maybe your mum or friend has told you lots of traditional ways that they were taught to stop. They didnt work.

    Usually, you would just try and get on with your life.

    But if its been really bad and your fingers have become infected, you might have had to go to the doctors. But once the infection was tackled that didnt stop it either.

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    Do The Opposite Of Your Urges

    If the urge to bite your nails strikes, try tending to your nails instead of chomping on them, said DePompo.

    When you catch yourself biting, no matter what, take time to either paint your nails, file them, apply lotion on your hands, he said. The idea is to take a bad act and replace it with a good and nurturing one.

    Why Do People Bite Their Nails

    How To Stop Biting Nails

    You might not know this, but nail biting falls under a list of behaviors known as body-focused repetitive disorders , which are those little habits we have that, when done often enough, can cause harm. As SELF previously reported, its not entirely clear why some people have BFRDs, but there are known triggers. SELF previously reported that those triggers fall into five main categories: There are sensory triggers, which might be anything that evokes the senses . You may be triggered by certain thoughts or beliefs . You could bite your nails when you face something called a motor trigger, which involves postures and movements that you make . Even certain places might make your nail nibbling more prevalent .

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    What Causes You To Bite Your Nails In The First Place

    Nail-biting is known in medical circles as ‘onychophagia,’ and the cause has been extensively studied.

    ‘Many studies have concluded that nail-biting arises from anxiety or being in a nervous state. Situations that cause fear, boredom, or pain are also correlated with fingernail biting,’ says Ekta.

    ‘Fingernail biting may give children a sense of relief in response to these types of internal emotional turmoil.’

    The general consensus is that there is no one particular cause for nail-biting. Its something that tends to start in childhood, with some outgrowing the habit whilst others dont.

    ‘Many research authors believe that nail-biting is a learned habit rather than an emotional condition and many may learn it from their parents as we tend to mimic behaviours around us,’ adds Ekta. Thanks mum and dad.


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