Go For A Regular Manicure
Professional manicures are known to decrease nail-biting effectively.
When your nails are adorned with nail paints and beautiful embellishments, they become much harder to deface. You will be forced to think twice before biting them with your teeth.
Plus, the cost of a manicure itself may stop you from chewing your nails.
Up To 50 Percent Of Adults Habitually Bite Their Nails How Can It Be Changed
The bad habit of nail-biting is much more common than you might think.
Some studies have found that about one-quarter of children bite their nails habitually others say it may peak at almost 45 percent in adolescence .
More surprisingly, the prevalence amongst adults may be just as high, with some estimates at 50 percent . I had no idea it was potentially that highI guess it’s a habit that people hide well from others.
Nail-biting is certainly something that has emerged as a hot topic as I’ve been speaking to people about my new book. As I don’t specifically cover it there, although the general techniques I describe are applicable, here’s my eight-step guide based on the psychological research available:
1. It seems obvious, but you’ve got to want it.
It might seem redundant to say, but any change has to be desired, really desired. And for such a simple behavior, nail-biting is surprisingly hard to quit, perhaps partly because it doesn’t feel like that big a deal, and our hands are always with us. This is especially a problem if you are trying to change someone else’s behavior.
One method for boosting motivation is to think carefully about the positive aspects of changing the habit: for example, attractive-looking nails and a sense of accomplishment.
Also, make the negative aspects of nail-biting as dramatic as possible in your mind. If you tend to think it’s no big deal, then you’re unlikely to make the change.
2. Do not suppress.
3. Instead, replace bad with good .
How To Stop Biting Nails: 8 Expert Tips To Keep Your Tips Looking Polished
If you’re a nail-biter, don’t fret. You’re not alone. According to one study, 20 to 30% of the population bites their nails, which means that it’s actually a common habit among adults and kids. And even though it’s not exactly a harmful habit, if done in excess it can be risky and come with consequences like skin infections or transmission of virus and flu. We tapped experts to get the scoop on nail-biting, why people bite their nails, if nail-biting is a bad habit, and how to avoid the habit altogether. Keep reading to learn more.
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Covering Your Nails With Adhesive Bandages
A Cuccio Cuticle Oil To Soothe Torn Up Fingers And Get Them Back To A Healthier State It’ll Heal Cracked Cuticles And Prevent Additional Damage When You See How Pretty Your Fingers Are You’ll Want To Keep Them That Way Foreva
Promising review: “I love this. I really do. Ive been a nail-biter my entire life. Ive been embarrassed to show my hands and I would chew and chew until my fingers were bleeding and raw and just moving my hand hurt SO much. This oil healed my hands in just a few days after putting it on morning and night. In three weeks, youd never think I was a nail biter!” D
Get it from Amazon for $5.49+ .
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Why Should You Stop Biting Nails
Weve already established that nail-biting is an unhealthy habit, but what are the exact reasons why you should stop biting your fingernails? Below weve listed some of the consequences of pathological nail-biting, so you know exactly what youre at risk of the next time you put your fingers in your mouth.
Nails Grow Weird
When you bite your nails, you increase the risk of getting hangnails or forming ingrown nails. Even if this doesnt happen, you can damage the nail beds which will result in the growth of abnormal-looking nails.
Damage the Cuticles
If you also like to nibble on the skin around your nails, you can tear off the cuticles, which can be very painful and increase the risk of skin and nail infection. An infected finger from biting nails is not a pretty sight and it can be dangerous too!
Break Your Teeth
When you bite your nails too hard, you risk breaking your teeth. Even if you dont break them, the continual pressure from everyday biting is very likely to cause damage to the teeths structure and they may start chipping.
Besides tooth damage, you also risk getting bad breath or halitosis from the bacteria you might introduce into your mouth from the nails.
Make You Sick
One of the things to help you stop biting your nails is realizing the impending risk of infection.
Risk of Poisoning
How To Stop Children From Biting Their Nails
If your child bites their nails, they’re not the only one. Around 50% of children between 10 and 18 bite their nails at least occasionally, and for many kids, the habit starts even younger.
Its one of the most common nervous habits, a category that also includes hair-twisting, nose-picking, and thumb-sucking. Formally, it’s characterized as a body-focused repetitive behavior. While some kids bite their nails because they are fidgety, others don’t know what else to do when they feel anxious. Fingernail biting can be self-soothing.
In addition to being unpleasant to witness, nail-biting could do some damage to your childs teeth and nails. So, if your child is particularly aggressive when they’re gnawing on their nails, it may be important to address the issue with their dentist.
For the most part, nail-biting doesnt create any serious health issuesand it usually isn’t a sign of a deeper-rooted issue. Instead, it’s just a little nervous habit that often drives parents nuts.
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What Health Risks Are Associated With Biting Your Nails
Although nail biting seems like a harmless activity, many risks are involved. These include, but are not limited to, infections. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic research and dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says nail-biting can lead to loose or raw skin. These infections can lead to permanent nail disfiguration and are serious in severe cases.
Other than nail deformities and skin infections, there are other potential risks, such as damage to your teeth or jaw problems. It can also be a hygiene problem, especially during the COVID-19 epidemic. Your hands and nails can become a breeding ground for germs, so it is essential to practice good hand hygiene. It is not believed that COVID-19 spreads primarily through inoculation. Do not put your dirty hands in your mouth. It’s best to be cautious when you are out in public.
Side Effects And Risks Of Nail Biting
Nail biting has many physical and psychological side effects, which include:
- Damage to the cuticle and surrounding skin redness and soreness
- Possible bacterial infection in your nail beds and mouth
- Dental issues
- Psychological issues with self-esteem, shame, depression
- Problems with relationships
Long-term, habitual nail biting can disrupt normal nail growth and result in deformed nails. In some cases, extreme nail biting down to the nub can be caused by obsessive-compulsive disorder.
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How To Stop Picking At Your Nails
Much of the research available online for those of who like to work on shortening our nails with our mouth and hands is specifically related to nail biting. Just like the name of this website End Nail Biting.
But what about those of us who are actually more nail pickers than biters? While we may have the same reason for picking our nails as nail biters, what we can use to get rid of our habit is slightly different.
In some respects nail picking may be a harder habit to break because it can be done more discreetly than nail biting. While you might be more likely to avoid putting your fingers in your mouth in public or if theyre unclean especially in the COVID era, you probably wont have that same concern with nail picking.
To stop picking your nails, you need to look at triggers for nail picking just like with nail biting. You should also look at modern behavioral strategies that treat nail picking as a body focused repetitive behavior like habit reversal and acceptance and commitment therapy rather than simply looking at old school tools designed mostly for nail biting like bitter nail polish.
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.
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Ways To Stop Nail Biting
In this article:
Nail-biting, also known as onychophagia, refers to a compulsive habit of biting or chewing the nails. The habit usually starts in childhood but can develop later as well. It is reported among people of all ages and affects 20%30% of the global population.
Most people take to nail-biting as a form of stress relief and tend to do it involuntarily. Although it is hard to break away from such ingrained tendencies, it is in no way impossible. As the age-old saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way.
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.
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What Worked For Me
Over the course of about six weeks I try a variety of strategies.
When I feel anxiety coming on through work , I try to take a deep breath. I stand up and do a stretch. Sometimes I even manage to do a quick meditation or go for a walk.
My instinct is to barrel my way through stressful situations and I think the nail-biting gives my body something to do with all the nervous energy that creates.
More often than not, I’m able to stop the biting by actively doing something else with my body instead.
I also put a few things in place to address my issues with the nails themselves. I keep a nail file at my desk so I can file chips and cracks away rather than bite at them. I also start using a hardening solution, so the nail doesn’t feel as soft and pliable when I start fidgeting.
The strategies aren’t foolproof. Over the six weeks, I have had small waves of success and failure. I’ve spent a lifetime developing this habit, so it’ll take more than six weeks to break but the overall trend is looking good.
“Patience is key,” Dr Gunatheesan says. “If you’ve really chomped it down all the way, nails will take a good two to three months to grow out.”
So, for now, I’m taking this as a win.
“It’s not a problem of lacking willpower or motivation,” Dr Rehm says, reassuringly. “There’s many, many other factors that come into play .
“If it was easy to combat then people wouldn’t do it.”
Ways To Stop Nail Biting And Skin Picking
- Keep nails short and have a regular manicure if you think you are developing a bad habit.
- Habit reversal training. This is about learning new behaviours.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy . CBT helps you understand the thought processes, emotions and behaviours that drive the habit. Its a type of counselling that has the additional benefit that it often helps with anxiety and depression, and OCD.
- Hypnotherapy. Hypnosis helps to reduce anxiety, reframe any negative thoughts and help you to relax. CBT can be used with hypnosis as it gives a better success rate.
- Medication. For some people, antidepressants help.
- Learn to relax. Try deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness and meditation.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Take up a new hobby, mix with friends or have a laugh as these can reduce anxiety.
If you have already got terrible nails and sore areas, then keep your hands clean and cover bleeding areas. You can also apply an antiseptic cream to help in the healing. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.
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Keep Your Nails Short
“If you keep your nails short, you’ll have less nail to bite, and it can be less tempting,” Libby says. To make things easier for you, make a routine of clipping or grooming your nails regularly to avoid temptation. And if you want to find a nail shape that works best for yours, see our guide to nail shapes here.
Try To Figure Out The Reason Behind It
There could be multiple reasons: anxiety, stress, sorrow, boredom, panic, discomfort, easing the pressure, sensory processing issues, difficulty concentrating
See, if you are suffering from anxiety or stress-related problems, this is the most common reason people obsessively bite and pick their nails. If you are able to find out the source of your anxiety, do your best to fight it by cutting out stressors, getting away from places and people that make you anxious.
And, if youre not able to get away, you can try to manage your stress. Do meditation. You dont need to be in your Yoga pants by a lake, all you need is just a short time to give your self some headspace.
You can find guided meditations on websites or download applications like Insight Timer. There are loads of apps which are really helpful and can calm you down. Dont give up at first or second session. It takes a while, but believe me, meditation is really helpful.
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Do You Bite Your Nails Too
If youre like I was, youre a combo nail picker and biter. I was probably 70% nail picker and 30% nail biter if I had to guess.
Can you determine why you end up doing one more than the other, if you do both? For me, the picking was quicker and easier to get away with than biting especially when I had family members getting on my case For me, it was my younger daughter and wife and when I was younger my mum who would hear or see me biting nails and tell me to stop.
But with nail picking I could be a bit more discrete and sneaky and try to get away with it as long as I didnt pick them too loudly. I could hide my hands underneath the table or somewhere else and pick away relatively unnoticed.
Tip: Determine if youre a nail picker and/or biter and if both, how frequently you do each. If you can understand your overall nail picking/biting habit you might be able to eliminate one first and then the other.
And if you bite or pick one hand more than the other for me it was my right hand nails that were always shorter you might focus on quitting on the hand whose nails you pick and bite less frequently and once thats under control, quit the other hand!
In my case, I stopped the nail biting almost right away once COVID hit and once Id read many research reports about the impact it has on teeth. Quitting the nail picking part came next and followed quite quickly and within weeks I had stopped both hands completely.
Get A Manicure Or Wear Nail Polish
The look of it can distract you from the nails underneath, and you might be more motivated to keep them nice and clean. Sparkling nail polish makes a great visual stim, too.
Fellow Muslims, there are breathable nail polishes that let you perform your ablution and do prayers. Just search for them online and you can make sure that they are legit.
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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.