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Wellnessproducts > Nail care

How to stop biting your own nails?

Chronic nail biting is often a nervous habit that, if left unchecked, can result in nail infection, bleeding and pain. It leaves the nails looking unsightly and weak, but regardless of how profoundly the lifetime nail biter wishes to stop the habit, success is elusive.

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There are many "bitters" on the market that are rubbed on or applied like nail polish. The theory of these products is simple: if the nail tastes horrible the nail biter will stop the behavior. While this can be somewhat successful in breaking the habit in a child (this has also been used to stop thumb-sucking and other unhealthy or unsanitary oral habits) it is less successful in changing the behavior of an adult. Granted, the taste of the product might stop the nail biting, but the habitual biter will eventually stop using the solution and resume their old behaviors.

Another common approach to break the nail biting habit in adults is to regularly apply nail extensions or overlays. The synthetic product is tough, tastes unpleasant and is simply too expensive to chew. Unfortunately, persistent biters will attack a chipped or cracked synthetic nail with the enthusiasm of a pit bull on a soup bone, risking deep nail bed damage and peeling of the underlying nail (sometimes down to the tissue). Not only is this painful, but it exposes the nails to infection and possible permanent damage.

Peer pressure can be an effective tool when trying to break old habits, and nail biters are great candidates. One by one tell a few close friends or friendly work associates about your problem. Tell them how badly you want to break the habit and ask them to bring it to your attention if they see you chewing. This habit becomes so ingrained that one often doesn't even realize that they've chewed away ten perfectly good nails in the course of the day.

Try the gradual approach: pick one nail to grow out (perhaps you are less apt to chew your pinkie or thumbnail for example). Put everything into it … topical bitters, polish to improve appearance … and take a picture of it. Make it your trophy nail! Monitor your progress. When you've achieved a good result with one nail (and it will take a few weeks) pick a second to join your new healthy nail.

Buy a new ring. You'll be more apt to keep your fingernails looking their best if you're showing off a coveted piece of jewelry.

Develop a new habit: since nail biting is usually a result of stress, nervousness or boredom, find a new, healthier habit to replace the nail biting. Doodle. Put on lotion. Find someone to talk to. Just develop a replacement habit that won't put your job or your health at risk.

Invest in a compact, quality manicure set that you can keep with you at all times: in your purse, in the jacket of your suit, in your desk drawer - get several so that you are never far from a set to trim cracked or chipped nails. Trimming away the damage rather than chewing it away will afford more attractive, healthy nails.

Take a quality nutritional supplement that is high in calcium and magnesium. Nail problems often reflect deficiency in calcium and magnesium, so give the supplements a try for a couple of months and see whether the health of your nails improves. As they become less prone to breakage you might find yourself less prone to chewing.
Published on 17.09. by Thomas Toernell