How to stop biting your nails

How to stop biting your nails

Scientifically, nail biting is called onychophagy. The cause of this disease lies in the unstable emotional state of a person. Chronic stress, low self-esteem, increased feelings of anxiety Not everyone can handle this kind of workload. Often the desire to bite your nails manifests itself in childhood and sometimes persists for life.

Such actions, in turn, lead not only to cosmetic defects, but also to more serious problems. If you still can’t get rid of this habit, try some proven methods. Below Edition “With Taste” Learn how to stop biting your nails and still be calm.

Why do you want to bite your nails

To stop biting your nails, identify the root cause. According to doctors, such a bad habit most often occurs due to intellectual and mental stress. Nail biting is a “nervous habit”, the main causes of which include:

Frustration, impatience, boredom

Once nail biting becomes a habit, it becomes a regular activity in situations where you are waiting for something or someone, upset or just bored.


Often people bite their nails during moments of intense concentration. This is more of an involuntary tendency than a conscious choice. A person may not even notice that he is biting his nails, trying to solve some of his problems.

Anxiety, stress

Chronic stress is one of the most common reasons for nail biting. This is a kind of attempt to get rid of unpleasant feelings at least for a while. Usually the habit develops in people who are quite anxious and depressed inside.

Psychological and emotional problems

In therapy, nail biting is sometimes associated with mental disorders such as:

  • separation anxiety disorder
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • depressive disorder
  • Tourette syndrome (involuntary sounds and movements)


Some scientists do not exclude the genetic factor. Children of parents who bit their nails as children are more likely to succumb to the same problem.

Why biting your nails is harmful and dangerous

Firstly, walking with forever peeled nails and bloody burrs is not at all aesthetically pleasing. Secondly, it is dangerous to health. Thirdly, there is a threat to the preservation of teeth and gums.

Infection of the skin around the nail. Regular nail biting leads to inevitable injury to the skin around the nails. When you bite your nails and the skin around you, you most likely bite off a little more than you expected. Then a piece of torn skin appears at the root of the nail. Remember that hangnails are open sores that can easily become infected.

Unhealthy nails. Biting nails on an ongoing basis puts a lot of pressure on the nail wall. Over time, the shape changes, the edges are bent. Such nails become rough and stop growing properly. In some cases, even surgery may be required.

Nail infections. By biting our nails, we increase the risk of paronychia (nail infection). Chewing nails and skin allows yeast, fungi and other microorganisms to live and develop under and around the nails. This eventually leads to swelling, redness, and pus.

Risk of intestinal disorders. Hands are, first of all, a breeding ground for germs, but nails are their ideal refuge. Therefore, if you put your fingers in your mouth at least once a day, this greatly increases the chances of toxic poisoning. Bacteria from the hands cause gastrointestinal infections that lead to worms, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain.

Threat to teeth and gums. If you regularly bite your nails, you can easily chip, break a tooth or damage tooth enamel. Often, patients with onychophagia have problems with the jaw. Teeth are simply shifted into the wrong position, deformed, worn out prematurely and weakened. Children may experience malocclusion. In addition, bacteria on the fingers or nails cause bad breath.

How to get rid of the habit of biting nails

There are many ways to stop biting your nails on your own. However, in advanced cases, it is still better to seek medical help. Before kicking this habit, consider why you are doing it. Nervous, too focused, or maybe hungry? In this way, a pattern can be established. Once you find your personal trigger, work on finding a way that works for you to wean yourself from biting your nails. We offer the following:

Get a manicure

Well-groomed manicure is unlikely to want to spoil. Especially if a woman asks the question: “Bit her nails, how to grow?” A professional manicure or nail extension will help in this matter. Gel polish or acrylic are quite hard materials, and it will not be easy to gnaw them.

Paint your nails with bitter polish

Yes, there are special nail polishes with a bitter taste. The terrible aftertaste will make you think twice before sticking your fingers in your mouth again.

Cover your nails

Another working remedy is to put on gloves, stick plaster, tape or nail stickers on your nails. It may sound ridiculous, but if you find it difficult to get to your nails, then over time you will stop biting them altogether.

Keep your hands and mouth busy

Find something to keep your hands busy. For example, anti-stress toys are good for hands. For the mouth – chewing gum or menthol candy.

Keep snacks on hand

Sometimes, in order to concentrate as much as possible, a person needs to chew something. Keep some snacks, marshmallows, nuts, or dried fruits handy. Chewing them instead of your own nails is much healthier.

Make changes gradually

Someone quits smoking by reducing the number of cigarettes per day. The same can be done with nail biting. Choose one finger that you will never bite under any circumstances. And over time, just increase the number of fingers.

Keep track of stressful situations

Stress is the main reason for “eating” nails. Therefore, to get rid of this habit, take care of the internal state. Praising yourself and keeping a diary of achievements will help you with this.

And, if you tried the methods above, but they did not help you, do not disdain a psychologist. A therapist can help you overcome your compulsive habit by cognitive behavioral therapy. The doctor will identify useless behaviors and help replace them with other actions. Also read how to do gua sha massage to relax the muscles of the face and neck.

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