How to Stop Biting Nails

Biting fingernails is a habit that begins during childhood. Studies revealed that 60% of children and 45% of teenagers bite their nails. This becomes less common after age 18 but it can carry on until adulthood. Many adults and children are often unconscious of biting their nails because doing so has become a habit.

biting nails

Photo by CileSuns92 on Flickr

Why do some people bite their nails? For most people, it’s due to stress and boredom. This habit is an easy way to ease anxiety or to keep themselves occupied when the mind lacks interest. While frustration and loneliness are considered emotional triggers, research suggests that genes may be a contributing factor.

Regular nail biting can lead to problems as it can leave your fingers red and sore while the skin around your nails could bleed and get infected. This can also affect you orally as it leads to poorly-aligned, weakened teeth. Moreover, bitten-down nails can look embarrassing, adding more to your stress and anxiety.

Most children eventually outgrow nail biting but for those teens and adults who are still struggling with this difficult to stop habit, here are some techniques you could do to really quit:

1. Visualize yourself with strong, healthy nails. Getting a manicure serves as a good motivation to start off your resolution so that you’ll actually have great nails to look at. You might also want to get a manicure with clear polish so you can see your smooth nails and appreciate them.

2. Choose your favorite color for a manicure. Paint your nails a bright color so they are easy to notice when you’re biting them. On the other hand, if you like light colors, you can go for a pastel shade or clear nail polish so you would feel bad about biting them when your favorite color is on it. Getting your nails professionally manicured is a good alternative as this entails gluing acrylics to your nails. They last a long time and when you take them off, your real natural nails stay underneath.

3. Eat calcium and magnesium rich foods. Such minerals enable the nails to repair and grow well. Moreover, most of the reason why the human body wants to bite nails is a lack of calcium and magnesium in the body so get those minerals back.

4. Push your cuticles back. Common among nail-biters is they don’t have “moons” on the base of their fingernails because their cuticles haven’t been pushed back. To do this, gently push your cuticles towards your finger to reveal more of your nail. This makes the nail appear longer, giving it a more attractive shape, which could serve as another motivation to stop biting. Pushing cuticles back is ideal to do after you shower as your hands and nails are still wet.

5. Take up a hobby. Distract your hands with a hobby to keep it busy. You might be go for cleaning the house, knitting or crochet, writing, playing an instrument and even nail care and decoration. Anything just so you would distract our hands at times when your would usually bite your nails.

6. Cover your nails. For women, artificial nails would help a lot. For men, keep them polished and apply shine and growth promoter or petroleum jelly. It’s hard to bite nails when they look great.

If you’ve tried all these techniques and it still doesn’t work for you, put self-adhesive bandages on your fingertips so your nails won’t be accessible to bite or you can always wear gloves. It would also help if you would talk to your doctor if fingernail biting persists especially when you get anxious or stressed out. This could be a sign of a more serious psychological problem like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which is treatable with medications and counseling.

 

 

 

 

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