Stop biting those nails


It’s the one of the most common and unattractive habits – yet millions of continue to bite our nails. But why do we do it? Some psychologists claim it could be a distraction from negative feelings – and managing stress and anxiety could help kick the habit. Nail biting, like many habits, comes from a deep need to manage feelings of distress. Biting your nails can be a very difficult habit to break, and motivation is the key. You must be really truly keen to stop. You obviously realize that your habit is off-putting to other people. It also invites medical problems such as swelling and inflammation of your gums (gingivitis), and if you bite the skin at the edge of the nails (cuticles) you may develop painful infections around the nail that can lead to scarring or even loss of the nail. So doing away with this habit may turn out for your benefit. But like they say “old habits die hard”, same just applies to nail-biting as well. Some tips can prove to be beneficial:

  • Work out why you are biting your nails. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.
  • What was going on in my life when I started to bite my nails?
  • What emotions make me bite my nails? Are there particular trigger? Situations that make me bite my nails that I might be able to avoid?


  • What are the situations in which I do not bite my nails? Is there some problem in my life that is causing stress, which I could sort out? (In fact, this may not help a lot because nail-biting often starts during a period of stress, but then continues as a habit after the stress has been sorted out.)
  • Commit! This is the hardest part, even though it sounds so deceptively easy: You have to commit to STOP BITING. Your word is your bond, and this is a promise you’re making to yourself. Take it as seriously as if you were making a solemn vow to your very best friend. No half-measures here–you’re in or you’re out.
  • CREATE DISTRACTION TECHNIQUES. Trying to overcome the habit with willpower is likely to fail. This is because the ‘pull’ of the habit is much stronger than the human ability to deploy willpower (which is weak). Instead, develop a set of ‘distractors’ to use whenever your feel a craving to bite your nails.
  • The best thing you can do for yourself, if you’re a nail-biter, is to get really meticulous about at-home manicures. It sounds weird, but do not judge my ways until you have tried them! If you spend one or two hours getting your nails to look really amazing, it is way less likely for you to want to bite them and ruin all your hard work.
  • If none of the methods work, buy some bitter-tasting nail paint from a pharmacy. This is specially made to prevent nail-biting, and you will usually find it in the nail care section of the pharmacy. This aversion therapy works quite well, especially for people who bite their actual nails but not the skin around the nails.
  • Your nails will take a long time to get nice. Skin heals slowly, damage done to the nail bed take a long time to repair, quicks are NOT quick to get better. But that’s OK because you’re playing the long game here. You want your nails and hands to look and feel good for your entire life, so keep caring for them, and don’t get discouraged.

You should also know that almost 10 million bacteria reside on your skin, which is way more than your genitalia. So if you are biting those nails of yours, you are also devouring on those germs. So if you still like to bite, bon apatite!!


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