I admit it, I am a major nail biter. More like a serial biter, not one who takes a bite here or there, we’re talking chew till it hurts. I have been known to chew the nail to the quick, or nip at the side skin or cuticles. For me, this has been an issue ever since childhood. There have been times when I have not bitten my nails, but then there have been times where the biting has been intense.
It is a filthy, unhealthy and unattractive habit. The exposure to germs, bacteria and viruses is unfathomable. Not to mention the unattractive and unprofessional look. The medical term for nail biting is known as Onychophagia. I am on a quest to end the nail biting once and for all.
Why do people bite their nails? This has been a question I have asked many times over the years. For me, what is the trigger that causes me to bite my nails? Do I do it consciously or subconsciously?
Nail biting can result from many causes, both physical and emotional. Incessant nail biting can result from nerves/nervous habit, stress or anxiety, a vitamin or mineral deficiency, boredom, a need to “fix” rough edges, or as some medical journals have suggested, may be a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The first step is to identify what is causing the need to bite one’s nails. If you are not completely sure as to what is causing your biting, consider keeping a journal to help identify what your triggers are.
If stress, nervousness, anxiety play a key role, then consider stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), and keep your hands busy with other activities such as coloring, knitting, or work on a puzzle.
The second step is to rehabilitate your nails and kick the habit. To do this, I have provided some tips that I have had success with. See what works best for you.
1) Baby your hands/nails. Always have a good nail file on hand. I give my nails a good filing to get my nails smooth, with no rough edges. My file has a very fine grit and has a buffer to make everything smooth as silk. Also, Hand lotion is key. I noticed that when my hands are dry, it can be a trigger. If your hands have a moisturizing lotion on them, your hands will feel better, resulting in being less likely to bite. Also take care of your cuticles! I have had success with Lemon Flutter Cuticle Butter by Lush.
2) NailKale Superfoods Basecoat. A family member recommended that I try this polish. It is expensive, but I have had great success with it. Apply daily. My nails grew quicker and stronger than they ever have before.
3) Give yourself a manicure or pamper your hands weekly by resting them in a small bowl of warm water with some Sweet Almond and Vitamin E oil for 10 minutes.
4) Band-Aids. Place a Band-Aid on select fingertips to keep you from biting. It does help.
5) Try fake nails. In the past I have done Acrylics and that seemed to work for a time. But in the end, if a nail split or broke, I chewed right through those babies. I cringe at the thought of all the chemicals I have ingested from chewing off the acrylic nails!
For us diehards it is not easy, but it can be done. When I stop the biting, I am so proud and happy with my nails. They look strong and healthy. For me, it is a big accomplishment that provides motivation and a healthier lifestyle.