March 12, 2007

Quit the nail biting habit

biting nailsDo you bite nails? Many do. So don’t feel too guilty; but try to do something positive about it. Nibbled nails not only look bad, they are not good for your health too. It might even lead to skin infections.Visualizing the scene of putting the very hands, which touch everything in the mouth, - say, after shuffling the folders in the rack, or after affectionately stroking one’s pet dog or after picking up the car keys is in itself so appalling – besides, it is an easy way to catch colds and flu. You could try some of these strategies to get rid of this loathsome habit.

Applying bitter tasting solution
You could try applying a bitter tasting solution on to your nails, and this might help some biters. There are some special anti-nibbling polishes available at the chemists too, which have a bitter taste. But this strategy might not help chronic and serious nail biters as they get used to the flavor.

Clean them:
A professional weekly manicure or a simple manicure at home is another option. When your nails look good, you’re less tempted to bite them. You could even paint the nails with a bright color; which makes it obvious how awful those gnawed stubs look.

Keep them occupied:

Cultivate a hobby which keeps your fingers busy and your mind so preoccupied that your hands won’t even involuntarily venture to reach your mouth. Another suggestion is to try to kick the habit is feeding yourself with something or the other. They’ll keep your mouth busy when the urge strikes.

This is the most appropriate and really the only way to cure nail-biting – Willpower, Be strong. Make a big effort to stop.

See also: Hand and nail care / Nails reveal your health / Strengthening weak nails / Fix torn nails at home / Cleaning your hands / Nourishing routine for your hands


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  1. Nandita3:32 PM

    i use the yucky tasting nail polish too...
    it actually worked for me!
    why dont you try fake nails? Stick them on (or get them professionally done) so that you can't bite them!

  2. Bhavya3:34 PM

    I have always bit my nails. All of my life, so I know what you are going through. Keep gum around.. Always have something in your mouth other than your hands. I HATED the rubber band trick... I always snapped too hard... Honestly your hands feel better when you don't bite them.. They aren't sore. I would paint my nails with colored nail polish and I wouldn't bite them cause then my polish would be messed up.. I have th ebitter polish, and it doesn't work. It's clear. Try colored nail polish... OR Habanero sauce. About $5 and you local walmart. Habaneros are SUPER hot! Definitely makes you more aware!

  3. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Beautiful hands and nail care start with basics, and not having raggy, bleeding cuticles is a primary step in having presentable hands. Granted, one of the hardest habits to break is to stop fingernail biting, but it’s also one of the more disfiguring things that can happen to a hand. We all know someone who bites their nails to the quick, then starts on those ragged cuticles. Nail-biting usually starts in early childhood as a toddler with some people never outgrowing it, while others only revert to nail-biting in times of stress.

  4. If you have problems with biting your nails, try wearing nail polish, as this may discourage you from biting. Also, if your nail biting is related to stress, try exercising or other meaningful activities when you feel anxious. Try reducing (or eliminating) the causes of your stress, and your nail biting will likely cease

  5. Deepika4:21 PM

    Great article, thanks!

  6. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Yes, nail biting often begins with boredom or impatience or fidgeting.your body needs the minerals in the nail material that your body is recycling. So the reward-cycle begins and continues. Studies show that the mineral content of hair or nails is similar to the mineral content of bon

  7. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Are you stressed out or anything like that? That is the only time when I bite my nails. Something is bothering me, or I am irritated.
    I have the same habit to but I set a goal for myself that I would grow my nails out because I done it a very long time ago and my hands looked gorgeous.
    Right now I am using this Sally Hansen nail oil (orange bottle). You apply it like nail polish then rub it in to your nails an cuticles. I also use Sally Hansen clear nail polish (extreme wear). My nails are looking really good now.
    Instant cure?? Dip your fingers in nail polish remover!

  8. Anonymous10:03 AM

    This is kind of weird.. but I've heard of people who put a clear color on their nails, and whilst it is wet they put a tiny bit of pepper on the tip to stop them from biting it. Then once you get in to the thought of 'I'm not gonna bite my nails because it tastes like pepper' you can probably stop using pepper because your mind will subconsciously refrain from biting.

  9. Priya4:18 PM

    this might sound crazy but it works. . .rub garlic on your nail and when you want to bit your nails i don't think your going to want to have garlic in your mouth so as time goes by you'll no not to bite your nails

  10. Nakul4:22 PM

    I used to chew them so far down that they bled. The only thing that I did was force myself to not do it and over time it became easier and easier. Just force yourself. The methods of putting hot sauces and other things on them doesn't work well because you'll just start liking those things.

  11. unknown8:45 AM

    secretly put jalepeno juice on them. and make sure he doesnt stick finges in eyes :)

  12. Anonymous4:28 PM

    Take something nasty but edible and make sure it is thin and invisible(like vinigar or something similar) and coat your fingernails in it. Everytime you go to chew them you will stop because of the dsigusting taste and you will get used to not chewing them. This is how i quit my habbit.

  13. it's a sort of anxiety disorder. It can be stopped eventually, but it's not easy, and you might have to try out some prescribed medication from a doctor. Old habits die hard. It's the same thing like OCD or leg-shaking, or ticks (mental ticks). I've had a few myself, especially OCD in the past. It went away when my depression went away. If you don't want to go the doctor-route, you can try other things that might help, like a new hobby, or in my case, exercise more often. You'd be surprised at how the body and mind eventually heals itself.

  14. Jitumuni4:20 PM

    chewing nails is directly related to mental health of a person .
    think , is there any pressure on your mind every time or you feel some anxiousness every time think about this and yes now you have grown up so try hard to leave this. and yes to find calmness you can go for dhyan.

  15. Varindra8:34 AM


    I am very stressed due to the habit of nail biting, Although, this habit is quite tough to avoid but adopting aforesaid prescriptions can bring some advice i would want to suggest is that,taping your nails while you would think that i must bite the nails sub-consciously can prevent some habit of it.

  16. Niranjan8:37 AM

    I am also extremely frustrated with trying to quit picking my nails. I do it whenever I am nervous, excited, or bored. I have bit my nails since I learned how to chew (started perhaps when I was about 2 years old). I really would like to stop before we have kids; I don’t want our kids to “copy” what I am doing. However, I do agree with what the other commentors are saying: It is easy to SAY that you are going to stop; It is nearly impossible to follow through with it. If it was easy to stop, no one would still be biting their nails! I also think that making your nails look nice doesn’t work either; usually it doesn’t matter to me what they look like- i just want to bite them.

  17. Anonymous8:40 AM

    This is obviously written by someone who is not suffering from true onychophagia. Keep them neat so you’ll be motivated to not bite them? Make a mental note to stop? That all assumes that I am even concious of when I am doing it. As for substituting another activity, that sometimes works – but not reliably, or for long. One bite is all it takes to undo weeks worth of good behavior. Bitter coatings and polishes don’t help. In fact, it’s sometimes MORE rewarding to bite them if they have nail polish on them (yes, I know it sounds gross). The placement of stickers, colors, or even false nails create a new “weight” to the nails, and make me even more concious of them than I normally would be, and make me more prone to biting, not less. It’s sort of like going on a diet, suddenly thinking all the time about what you should (or should not) be eating, so in the end you eat MORE, and gain weight. The only valid options I see posted here are gloves (impractical, and you have to take them off sometime), and retainers to prevent use of one’s teeth. Somehow I think if I went the retainer route, I’d start to pick at my nails/cuticles instead of biting them. I wonder if there is a scientific name for cuticle picking?

  18. Dheeraj3:39 PM

    wear gloves--Or keep your hands folded together, or to sit on your hands.

  19. Anonymous3:14 PM

    You could try the tape trick-get a few pieces of tape and stick layers of it around your nails so every time u go in for the bite, it isn't possible unless you actually like eating tape. and if u don't wanna try this, there is this nail polish they make that does 2 things: 1. strengthens your nails the more u use it, length wise and make it less brittle. 2. has a weird taste so nail biters will not ruin it's purpose.

  20. Sakshi10:00 AM

    Nail biting, can lead to many problems, including bacterial infections, permanently deformed nails and dental problems

  21. Is there any way to stop bitten nails from hurting?

  22. Mallika9:13 AM

    Soak them in Hydrogen Peroxide and stop biting them.

  23. Anonymous8:54 AM

    Use a nail strengthening polish daily. They come in clear (sally hansen) and do wonders for strengthening your nails. When your nails are stronger it is harder to bite them off. You actually can get to a point where the only way to bite the nail off is if you focus on biting... which since you want to stop biting, you will realize that you are doing it and stop.
    Also, keep painting your nails and when it starts to chip or wear off at the ends, use a non-acetone nail strengthening polish remover and start over. Eventually you will break the habit.... but habits take a long time to break.... and usually a few tries, but it can be done!

  24. Anonymous8:46 AM

    If you knew all the bacteria under the fingernails, you would not continue biting your nails.

  25. Tulasi8:49 AM

    apply clove oil or wrap the nails!

  26. Pooja8:07 AM

    Try putting scotch tape around your fingers. It helps me and I hope it helps you too. Also, try putting some nail polish yourself, they will look nice and you will hesitate to pick them. Also, if you actually bite your nais, -- which I don't, -- put some chili powder on your fingers. Ouch, that will hurt and you will certainly not want to put those fingers in your mouth :)

  27. Vijeta8:07 AM

    wear welders gloves.

  28. Anonymous8:59 AM

    ust take a minute to think about it think about why u bite them? you do it because u are bored or not occupied think about how dumb chewing ur nails is think that there is someone famous in the room with you and u dont want them to see u biting ur nails

  29. Anonymous11:17 AM

    Put aloe vera on your fingers. I just saw this earlier today somewhere else, and it's great because it makes it not sting from the biting, but helps you not bite them!

  30. Anonymous11:18 AM

    -Keep your hands busy
    -Keep note of when you do bite your nails and when you don't. If you don't as much, you are making good progress on breaking this habit.


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