Growing Out Healthy Nails After Years of Biting?

July 14, 2011

Woman's hands with natural manicured nails.I've been a nail biter for 15 or so years; I finally stopped a month and a half ago. This is a great accomplishment for me, but as I watch my nails grow the white tips are really large, they extend all the way down to where I used to bite my nails. I thought maybe the pink part would grow.


I have heard that the nail has to be reattached to the nail bed and that it'll take some time. Does anyone know how to speed up this process? Or if I'm wrong and it isn't a matter of the nail bed does anyone know why the nail does this? (By the way please don't leave answers telling me to talk to my doctor this will not help me.)

Please help. I feel that they are really ugly.

By MsAlie711


July 15, 20115 found this helpful
Best Answer

You have moved the nail beds back. I don't know how long it might take for them to move forward, or even if they will. BUT, you accomplished something wonderful--it must have been very hard to stop such a long standing habit! (Habits are hard enough to break when it is not something you carry with you all the time, like fingers!)


Be patient. Don't clean under your nails too vigorously with a nail cleaner or whatever, if they're very dirty, use a soft nail brush, so that you don't damage any re-growth that may have occurred.

Meanwhile, experiment with polishes--you can probably find a "French Manicure" polish set with some pinkish polish and white polish. Paint the pinkish polish further down, to cover some of the white. Give it time, and don't forget to stretch your arm over your shoulder and pat yourself on the back now and then!

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November 29, 20144 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have been biting my nails for almost 20 years since I was little. I don't even remember how they used to look, but judging from my parents, they were supposedly nice. I have stopped periodically and as they were starting to grow out, something would cause anxiety and I was back at square one.


My girlfriend got me this polish called "No Bite" and it is absolutely disgusting if you touch it to your mouth. I think the biggest issue with chronic nail bitter is that you don't notice every time you do it. This gives you more control and awareness.

Now for the main point...the bed of my nails was considerably small from the decades of damage. In the course of a month, the nail bed is starting to grow back. Take progression to document not only the recovery, but also your success. Don't let your nails grow out too much or you might be tempted to quickly "cut" them by biting. This opens the door for relapse! Use nail cutters and keep them at a respectable length. If you get a hang nail, DO NOT tear it with your fingers. Get a proper nail manicure set. I never thought I would need a manicure set, but it's absolutely essential to your nail recovery.


Congratulations to all those who have taken this important step to enhance their health, body image, and personal growth! Keep up the good work and don't let anyone discourage you... especially yourself.

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4 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 9, 2020

I have been biting my nails since I was a kid, for almost two decades. I'm making an effort to stop, and they are growing back, but I'm worried because they're so short, the skin of my fingertips sticks out above the nail.

I've bitten them so short for so long that my regular nail length is usually no more than a centimeter, well below the normal bed of the nail. As soon as they grow to more than a sliver, I bite them down again. Since I've stopped, they've grown out to cover the nail bed again, and though it feels weird, I'm pleased.

However, the longer they get, the more it seems like the nail will grow right into the skin! When I press my fingers, I can feel the nail uncomfortably pressing back. Will the nail naturally grow back over the fingertip? Or is there something I need to do to physically assist the nail over the bump of skin so they can grow out?


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
August 9, 20200 found this helpful
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One way to help you with your nails is to go to a nail salon and have your nails treated and manicured. I would suggest using a gel nail polish on your nails and totally avoid having the extension put on. This will cause you a lot of discomforts and it can also damage the nails further. What you need to do is strengthen your nails so that they feel stranger. You want to try and get used to having nails again and when you use your hands and feel the nails you don't feel like they are falling off or growing into your skin.


The person in a salon will help you to learn how to take care of your nails again and offer you some suggestions as to products you can use while your nails are growing out and getting stronger.

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August 10, 20201 found this helpful
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Soak your hands in dawn dish soap and hot water at least 5minutes to soften cuticles then you can trim them shape and file nails(I like rounded nails) then apply Pink Armor Nail gel 2 coats this will help strengthen your nails this can be applied several times a week if needed keeping nails filed and cuticles trimmed will promote nail growth/strength.

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August 15, 20200 found this helpful
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I would put triple antibiotic ointment on the fingers which hurt you when you press on your fingers. This will ensure that no infection begins, while you are growing them out. By triple antibiotic, I mean Neosporin or any of the others that have three different antibiotics in them.


It is great that you are staring to let them grow out!


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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
August 19, 20200 found this helpful
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I hope you're still in the process of letting your nails grow out but if you find yourself still occasionally 'biting' a nail, try not to be discouraged as this is a deep set in habit that may occasionally cause set-backs.
If you're still having problems with over-growth I think this will go away as your nails continue to grow but if they are still painful you can soak them in warm water with some Epsom salt as this will relieve the pain and strengthen the nails. You can soak them several times a day but for sure at night before bed.
Many doctors recommend adding a Biotin supplement so you might want to check this out with your pharmacist. Biotin is said to improve nails and hair.

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February 20, 2020

I have been biting my nails for almost a decade and now I want to grow them out. To break the habit, I had extensions done, but my cuticles are still in bad shape. Due to nail biting they have risen up and detached from my nail and every time I use a cuticle trimmer they bleed and get worse.

What should I do to get them back to normal?

Remedy for Cuticles Damaged by Nail Biting - a person's hand showing nails and cuticles


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
February 21, 20200 found this helpful
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What I do to keep my cuticles soft is to rub my finger across my lips after applying lip balm and apply the excess to the cuticles. It will keep them from cracking, just like it does for lips.

Another tip I see often is to use coconut oil.

Good luck! I'm sure your hands will be perfect in no time as long as you can stop biting them.

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August 12, 2019

I've been biting my nails for about 10 years and now I finally realized how ugly they looked. I've managed to get both of my ring fingers back to normal but, the rest of my fingers look very wide.

So, I'm wondering if there is some type of routine I can do so my nails can look normal again.Getting Nails Back to Normal After Years of Biting - closeup of hand

Thank you.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
August 12, 20190 found this helpful

Keep up with regular manicures. It takes a few months for nails to grow out completely.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 140 Posts
August 12, 20191 found this helpful

Adding Olive oil with a swab or cotton ball! The beat time to remember is after wash or shower. Olive oil is full of vitamin E. It enriches your nail and skin!

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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
August 12, 20191 found this helpful

I used to be a nail bitter. My nails were fragile and now they're strong and never break. I take biotin vitamins.

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January 7, 2016

I've bitten my nails for as long as I can remember as embarrassing as it is, but they have now started to form an odd shape. What I see as "normal nails" are nails that are shaped like a U. But my nails are shaped where they are curved at the bottom and the go outwards like this / and it's really disturbing.

The strips of skin beside my finger nails are getting thinner and thinner and is looking really unnatural. Oddly Shaped Nails From Biting

Is there any way that I can fix this problem or make my nails grow in the shape of a U again?


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 220 Answers
January 8, 20160 found this helpful

Human fingernail shapes are genetic-you inherit your nail shape from your parents. Some people have U shaped nails and others have variations of U, flared and other shapes. Nail shapes can also vary in the fingers of one person, as well. The only way to change your nail shape would be via plastic surgery but there is no guaranteed result.

However, you can consult with a dermatologist for help to improve the health and appearance your fingers and nail beds. The critical factor for improvement is, of course, to completely stop biting your nails.

Good Luck!

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July 8, 20160 found this helpful

I used to have what she is referring to as "u shaped nails". After a few years of biting the tips of my nails have flattened out into more of a V shape. It is not genetic as the change only came after biting consistently. After several months without biting they have recovered some of their natural curve again.

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February 20, 20172 found this helpful

I was a ravenous nail biter for over 30 years. My entire life. About 18 months ago, I stopped. I had the same "V" shaped nails and found as my nails got longer, the curve toward the tip got more pronounced, so they weren't as flat and wide toward the tips. You can also file them so they're a bit narrower.
I found the tricks to growing out my nails was using Nutra Nail Stressed Nail formula - it made my nails grow longer and faster. I was never able to even get them to my fingertips. But the Nutra Nail really worked. I also keep my nails polished and when I feel the urge to bite, I peel the polish instead. I carry a small nail polish remover and a bottle of polish with me at all times so I can re-paint if I peel it all off (because once my nails are bare, all bets are off on my ban on biting!)
I've not bitten in 18 months now! It took about 6-7 weeks to reach the tips of my fingers. But once they grew out, I didn't want to bite anymore as I'd ruin all the work I'd done manicuring and filing and so forth. Peeling off the polish is a nice alternative to biting for me.
I do lots of French Manicures and Hombre designs with sparkles near the tip. The 1 or 2 extra layers of polish makes my nails a bit stronger near the tips where they're most prone to break as they are still pretty weak but definitely improving. I also put clear polish on the tips and underside of my nails to help make them less prone to tearing in the shower. (Shampooing my hair always seemed to cause them to break. I tried wearing gloves but that sucked. Painting the tips and underside limits the fragility I've found.
I keep a nail file on me at all times as a snag or chip makes me want to bite. (And then once one is short, I'm compelled to even them all out by biting)
I now file my nails back because they're too long and typing gets difficult - a problem I NEVER had before!

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June 10, 20180 found this helpful

Hi!! I bit my nails until my early teenage years. Now, roughly 10 years later my nails look way better. All of my nails look as if I never bit them except for my two index ones and one of my thumbs, which I believe are still healing (I really hope so!). I used to have my nails JUST like yours, and what I did was let them grow long. Id have really long whites, which I know looked ugly, but Im so happy I did that for like a year because thats the time they took to heal. Now of course Im very careful with my nails and Im scared that I may harm them while filing them so I take too much care. Its what it takes I guess. But with all of you facing that problem, just give yourself some time and youll see awesome results!

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June 9, 20192 found this helpful

I bit my nails for decades...I started playing the guitar more seriously 4 years ago and need nails for fingerpicking technique.
I was using Pink Magic to strenghten them and jojoba, or sweet almond oil regularly, to push back cuticles. This helps to make the nail beds appear longer and over several months the skin seems to reattach a little, but not on the sides of the nail of my middle finger. As a result my middle fingernails are very vulnerable, even at finger length. I file the sides straight and try to pinch the sides of my nails to make the cuticles more "U" shaped than "V". It seems to have helped a bit on my left middle nail, but that's because I'm right handed and do it more easily and often to the left hand nails.
My right hand M/F nail broke very low on one side the day before I was going to perform, making a hang nail... so I got my nails done at a salon with acrylic tips. It did the trick for the performance, but I wouldnt recommend salon practice of roughing the nail plate before application of acrylics. They last weeks, but It took a couple of months to grow out nails back to normal thickness afterwards (and that's not very thick)
... Later I experimented with acrylic dip nails after watching YouTube tutorials. You dont need to rough the nail plate, just use alcohol dehydrator and and acidic prep. Dip nails were great. Last a week to 10 days. They helped me grow my nails and not bite at all. They are very tough. Better than nail polish, or strengthener, which I'm tempted to pick off then start biting.
Also, 2 or 3 necessary coats of nail polish takes about 6 hours to cure before it is resilient and hard. You certainly cannot strum, or pick guitar strings until it is completely cured.
This is the WORST thing about regular polish manicure, which is prone to chip easily and needs several coats to make nails only a little bit more hardwearing. All that effort for a only a few days! I find it hard to get nail polish to look really good either. You can buff Acrylic dip nails to a perfect smooth finish... sculpting is easier and more controllable than painting.
Recently I tried and switched to gel nail paint, using a 48w LED light.... Gels are even better. The nails are strengthened a lot more than regular polish, but they remain tensile unlike dip nails. The varnish doesn't dry until its cured by the light, which is only 30 to 60 seconds... You can get a perfect finish because it doesn't start drying after only a couple of brushstrokes. It remains wet until cured by the light. With the LED light, the drying and curing is virtually instant. No ruined manincure an hour later. You tube tutorials again, give you lots of tips. You can use a non-damaging, peel-off base coat if the soak off removal bothers you, but I am very happy with gel polish. I use a lot of jojoba oil on the cuticles and nail plate after removal, which isn't that difficult after a long bath or washing hair. (I sometimes leave a day rest between manicure to absorb oil)
Gel polish doesn't chip, make nails tough and can last up to 2 weeks if done properly. Nails grow so much. I've never been able to grow nails and keep them long so easily until using gel. Keeping the nails long encourages the nail bed to attatch more.
Provided you follow manicure instructions it's no more damaging, or drying, than using regular polish.
I have experimented and used regular polish as a basecoat coat. Like specially formulated, peel-off gel base coat, this method doesn't last as long ...up to a week only. You can mix gel base coat with reg polish colours too, and then protect with a gel top coat ...but you absolutely MUST wait for the reg. nail polish to air dry thoroughly if you use gel polish on top.
I would also recommend getting a fine glass nail file and investing in other good quality nail care tools. Regular pushing cuticles back with oil (no cutting), filing the sides and pinching has made my nails look more elongated and U shaped...Gel, polish has been the ultimate answer for toughening and maintaining length... and fixing any annoying hang nail underneath. I can finally keep my nails looking perfect and functional to play guitar

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