13 Ways to prevent and stop nail biting
Nail biting is one of the most ‘anxious’ habits. Usually nail biting begins in childhood, but it is estimated that about half of the teenagers are becoming ‘addicted’ to bite their nails. This unpleasant habit usually disappears around the 30th year, but it’s estimated that around 10% of adults continue to do it for the rest of their life. The medical term for this behavior is onychophagia.
In most cases nail biting is caused by stress, embarrassment, frustration, boredom and so on. People reach out for their fingernails while they are watching television, attending a boring lecture, work, speak on the phone, wait, etc.
Nail biting is very bad and unhealthy habit. It affects the person’s health very negatively because the bacteria on the nails is transmitted in the mouth and that increases the risk of infections and it also destroys the front teeth. Moreover, this habit destroys the appearance of the nails, and leaves a negative impression. It doesn’t look attractive when you see someone that is ‘snacking’ on her / his nails.
But anyone who has this problem knows that it can’t be simply eliminated. However, there are certain methods and tips that will help the passionate ‘biters’ to stop the nail biting habit. Here are couple of ways to prevent and stop nail biting:
Stop nail biting – Make your nails bitter
The first and most widely used tip against biting your nails is to use nail polish, gels or creams intended to make the nails tasteless and repulsive for biting. In almost all drugstores, there are products that are labeled ‘anti-biting’. All you need to do is to apply a coat of the product on the nails and when you try to bite them, you will regret what you have done that because the taste is terrible. Another positive side of these products is that they often contain vitamins to strengthen the nails or ingredients that help for healing the skin around the nails.
Prevent nail biting – Wear a noisy bracelet
People unconsciously bite their nails while they are watching a movie, studying, while they are on a dull lesson, while they are anxiously waiting in line and so on. They rarely put their fingers in their mouth consciously. When you realize that you bite your nails you’ll probably take your hand off from your mouth. An effective method to achieve this is to wear a bracelet with several pendants or beads that will produce noise when you wave your hand. This way, when you raise your hand to the mouth, you’ll hear the noise, so you’ll control yourself to prevent nail biting more easily.
Stop nail biting – Have a complex home manicure
If your your nails are nicely shaped and decorated, it won’t be easy to put them in your mouth and destroy the beautiful manicure. Apply nail polish in a strong color (red, navy blue, black) so it’ll be uncomfortable to bite your nails, because it’ll show when you bite your nails and your polish will look messy. Don’t make simple manicures, decorate your nails with flowers or other patterns. If you put more effort into your manicure, it’ll be hard to destroy it with nail biting. If you simply apply a clear nail polish or some nail polish in nude color, you’ll probably think that it takes 2 minutes to reapply some nail polish, which isn’t good.
Prevent nail biting – Train with a rubber band
Wear a rubber band on your wrist. It can be a small kitchen rubber band or thick elastic fashionable rubber bracelet. Every time when you realize that you’re biting your nails, tighten the rubber band and and slap your wrist. This will make you feel uncomfortable and it’ll be slightly painful, but it has been shown that when there is a negative physical feeling as a consequence of something, you train your brain not to do the thing that cause the pain. Thus, the brain will learn that if you bite the nails the habit will be accompanied by pain from the rubber band and over time you will give up the habit.
Stop nail biting – Apply fake nails
Fake nails are excellent method against nail biting. First, they’ll help you to protect your nails, secondly, they’ll help you not to bite your nails because you don’t like to put plastic in your mouth, and the third and most likely, you won’t even dare to put the nails in your mouth because you’ll not want to destroy them because they look stunning.
Prevent nail biting – Wear gloves
For passionate nail biters who can’t grow their nails in any other way, an experts’ advise is to wear gloves. In summer it isn’t really a good option, but during the rest of the year, it is desirable to do this. Also you can wear some cotton gloves when you’re at home. For example if you know that you bite your nails while you are watching a movie, next time when you sit down to watch a movie, put your gloves on. Yes, you won’t be able to eat a lot of popcorn, but that way you’ll eat less calories too. The brain will understand that you are wearing gloves, so you’ll probably won’t even try to bite your nails. But if you put your fingers in your mouth unconsciously, you’ll taste the fabric and automatically put your hands down.
Stop nail biting – Have your manicure done in beauty salon
Many people stop the nail biting habit because it’s expensive. If you pay over $50 (or more) for manicures done at a salon each month, you’ll feel more touched by the problem and you’ll be pushing hard to stop the nail biting habit.
Prevent nail biting – ‘Nail by nail’ method
One of the methods to prevent nail biting includes the ‘nail by nail’ method. Select a finger (for example, the index finger) and tell yourself that 3 days in a row you won’t bite it. After 3 days pick one more finger (the thumb) and continue to protect the nails of that hand. That way you’ll gradually give up the nail biting habit. And when you see how nice your nails are looking, it’ll further motivate you to continue to quit the nail biting habit.
Stop nail biting – Chew a bubble gum
Chewing a bubble gum will keep your mouth busy and that way you won’t have a desire to put your fingers in your mouth.
Prevent nail biting – Have a nail clipper in your bag
We carry everything in our bags, so there is always room for small manicure tools (nail clipper and nail buffer). Whenever you see that some of your nails have grown, take the nail clipper and trim them so you won’t do it with your teeth. If you are trying to grow out your nails, take a nail buffer and shape your nails. That way you’ll also keep your hands busy for a longer period of time.
Stop nail biting – Remind yourself how bad nail biting is
Always keep in mind that your hands touch everything, and on and under your nails there are millions of bacteria and germs. With nail biting you put the bacteria and germs directly into your mouth and you risk to suffer from infection or some other illness.
Prevent nail biting – Find out which situations activate your habit
In notepad, write all the situations that gave you the urge to bite your nails. That way you can identify the situations that trigger this unpleasant habit. Then, when you find yourself in this kind of situation, you’ll know that you’ll reach for your nails and that will make you more aware and more in control of the situation.
Stop nail biting – Ask for support
Include your loved ones when you’re quitting your nail biting habit. Tell your close friends and family to give you signals when they notice that you’ll bite your nails. Of course, the signals shouldn’t be too obvious so you won’t be embarrassed when you’re in public.
Nail biting can also be a sign of some psychological problem. If you think that this might be the reason, consult a professional.
And finally, the most important thing is your will and determination. If you are determined to quit, you’ll be persistent and soon you’ll be able to get rid of this unpleasant habit.