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How Can I Stop Biting My Nails?

This is a page about how to stop biting your nails. Nail biting is a common habit that can be hard to break. Many people begin biting their nails as children and it can continue into adulthood it you don't find an effective method to break the habit.
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October 18, 2010

How do I keep from biting my nails?

By Victoria from Wilmington, NC

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February 5, 20110 found this helpful
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I still remember what my 3rd grade teacher said to one little classmate..."You could plant radishes under those nails!" and I've never considered having a "dirt snack". That was 52 years ago and my mother-in-law stopped a life-long habit of nail biting after hear that.

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July 24, 20110 found this helpful
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Hello,
I always wanted to stop biting my nails too. I tired the easy acrylic way but that was just painful and bothersome (not to mention expensive) What really got me to stop was an idea from my grandmother. Just try to make one nail pretty. That's all. Just keep your mouth away from that one nail and wait awhile. There's no pressure and no bad feelings if you falter and bite one of the others. Soon you'll see how pretty your nails can be. I did and then I realized how much I liked how pretty that nail was and I started not to touch the entire hand. Then both hands. :) Now they're really pretty. (Also a smart girl told me to keep a nail file wit me at all times so I can even out my falters or snags).

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April 14, 20160 found this helpful
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I stopped by chewing gum. Also coincided with quitting smoking so the gum chewing helped with 2 things!

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7 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.

December 13, 2019

I've been biting my nails since as far back as I can remember, and I have no control over it. I used to get infected nails all the time and the doctors wouldn't help. I was young and my parents had to physically pull my fingers from my mouth because all I did was bite them. I'm now 18 and everyone I know asks me to get my nails done, but I can't because they are so short. My index finger, pinky, and thumb are the worst. I grow them for like a week then I go back to biting them. They look horrendous and all I want is nice nails. I would like to be a girly girl and get my nails done, but I can't. Any suggestions on things that would help me stop biting my nails would be appreciated!


Thanks.

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December 13, 20190 found this helpful
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Here's one of the things I learned, everything is a choice and you do have control over your decisions and choices. You can choose not to bite your nails today, then again tomorrow, and then every day.

Yes, you may choose to bite them again, fall off the wagon, so to speak, but you have control and can continue on your positive path.

It is kind of like a 12 step program. Once decision, one day at a time! It works!! Prayers and blessings!

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December 14, 20190 found this helpful
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You have a choice to make for yourself and it is only you who can make this choice in life. It might help you if you go to the beauty supply store and buy a set of fake nails and put them on. See how they look on you, how do they make you feel, and most of all do you like the way your hands and nails look? If this is what you want and it makes you feel good inside then keep them on for a few days or even a week. See how this goes for you. Each time you go to bite your nails take a look at how pretty the nails look and why would you want to destroy them. This could be one way to help you stop bitting your nails.

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December 14, 20190 found this helpful
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Start polishing your nails, no matter how short they are. See if that doesn't make biting them less satisfying. Put on a new coat of polish every day, even if it's clear. Clear will be less noticeable than color, and after a few weeks, your new nails will be pretty enough to use a nice color. You don't have to have long nails.

Find something else, maybe chewing gum, to chew on or suck on hard candies.

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December 17, 20190 found this helpful
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First of all this is not a choice, it is an obsession or addiction like any other and definitely not your fault. After a stay in hospital t the age of 3 or 4, I bit my nails for over 50 years and couldn't stop no matter what. I finally managed to stop almost by accident, by finding something else to do with my hands. I started crocheting and cross-stitching - kept my fingers busy doing something else and out of my mouth. My nails were weakened after so many years of biting, but now almost 20 years later I can grow long, strong nails. The urge to bite is sometimes still there but it's easier to control now. Good luck and don't let anyone shame you into thinking it's your fault!

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March 20, 2017

I am a teenager and I have been a nail biter for about 9 years now and it's terrible. I just can't stop no matter what I do. I have not tried any special nail polish yet (because I haven't been able to find any). My fingers are so gross as well as the skin just over top the base of the nail.

I need a solution to stop. I am so self conscious about my nails. I don't want people to see them so I try to pull my hoodie over my hands. Please help me.

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March 20, 20170 found this helpful
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There are a lot of nail biting polishes (some people call these nibble inhibitors) available from Wall-Mart type stores, drug stores (ask a pharmacist if you need help) that are especially designed to help people break the habit of biting their nails. These work by placing a very bitter taste when you touch your nail to your mouth.

Placing band-aids over the nails during the day is also a good deterrent. Remove at night and reapply in the morning or after a shower.

You are not alone with a habit like this but there are probably trigger points that cause you to continue to do this so maybe you could try to keep track of what was going on when this happens (many times you may not even be aware you are biting your nails).

Here is a link that might shed more light on how to stop:

www.top10homeremedies.com/.../stop-nail-biting.html

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March 21, 20171 found this helpful
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I had a really bad nail biting problem. I would bite them to the point they would bleed. I stopped biting them by buying the press on nails, then when I would go to bite them I couldn't anymore. After several packages of press ons it stopped my biting habit. Hope this helps, good luck.

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November 12, 2017

I have been biting my nails for years, and I just don't know how to stop. Is there any way I can grow them naturally without being tempted to bite them?


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November 12, 20171 found this helpful
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I stopped biting my nails because I got an infection and had to get it squeezed professionally at the doctors. It hurt so bad (the infection) and that made me stop. You can watch YouTube videos and it'll make you cringe to stop!

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January 28, 2017

I've been biting my nails for years, they are a disgrace and I am embarrassed. I have sent an image. Please can you help me?


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January 28, 20170 found this helpful
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There is actually a product that you can brush on your nails that tastes bitter. It is supposed to help stop the habit. A friend of mine broke her habit by brushing on hot pepper juice. As soon as her nails got into her mouth, it burned and she would pull it back out. However, you have to reapply often, and watch that you don't get it into your eyes.
If you are doing it from anxiety or nerves, talk to your doctor. A small dose of xanax might help take the edge off.

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Okay I have been biting my nails for as long as I have been on this earth which is about to be sixteen whole years. I am using this nail polish with a nail polish remover taste to it, but the problem with me is that I either bite or peel the polish off of my nails despite the taste of the polish. I also bite my nails because of my anxiety and boredom and I just can't seem to leave them alone long enough to let them grow properly.

They are literally nubs at this point and I am desperately in need of letting them grow or finding a way to finally stop biting my nails once and for all. Is there any advice or tips for someone like me in this situation?

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May 9, 20191 found this helpful

I used to be a nail biter then I got an infection and had to get pus removed and I stopped bitting my nail since.

Might be gross to say but you can watch YouTube like nail infection from biting nails or something and it might help you stop altogether.

Some other ideas I can think of:

  • - You can use press on nails
  • - Cut your nails short
  • - Get your nails professionally done
  • - Fiddle with something else other than your nails
  • - Chew on gum, or hard candy something else than your nails.
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May 9, 20191 found this helpful

I used to bite my nails and stopped when my sister got engaged. Even though engagement was a long way off for me, I realized that rings do not look pretty on hands with bitten nails. That got me to stop.

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May 9, 20191 found this helpful

The word that caught my attention was anxiety. Have you told an adult about this? Anxiety is so common and is something that can be managed pretty easily for most people.

Anxiety is so common and affects people of all ages. It just is and it can be managed and controlled.

Please consider finding an adult who you trust and talk to him or her about what is going on and develop a plan for ways to manage things. A parent, a grandparent, aunt or uncle, a teacher, your school counselor, a religious person (priest, rabbi etc.) Find someone you trust and tell the person what is going on. It is easy. You can do this!!!

There are so many options and many of them have simple things to do...like learning mindfulness, having an app to help you count your blessings, developing prayers to help you through, talking to a friend, so many options. There are many, many things that work! I promise you there are lots of solutions to choose from and hopefully you can find one that works for you quickly!

I will send up lots of prayers that you can work with someone you trust to resolve this and the nail biting will become less and less of a way to manage your anxiety.

Post back with an updates so I know you are OK!! Hugs!!!

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Anonymous
May 9, 20190 found this helpful

OMG thank you for the advice! I will definitely watch those videos to see if it'll help me! tysm

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May 10, 20190 found this helpful

I was so glad to read Pghgirl's response to your message as I also believe anxiety seems to be your biggest problem so I hope you will follow her suggestions and get the help you need.

Sixteen should be a fun time in your life but can be full of new things/problems coupled with older unresolved problems that can become overwhelming.
Nail biting can be a problem and can be embarrassing but it is probably a minor part of your overall well being. Concentrate on getting appropriate help and then you may be able to stop this cycle of nail biting.

Seek help and do not think that you are "different" or that you are alone with problems like this as there are many 13-18 year olds in the same situation of being anxious about all sorts of things in their lives.
Just be sure you are one of the ones that seek help so you can smile and look forward to feeling good everyday.
Pretty nails will follow.

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May 10, 20190 found this helpful

That does sound like classic anxiety and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Seriously. There are many causes and lots of ways to control it but everyone has it to some degree or another. If someone says they don't have anxiety or have never had it, I can just about guarantee they are lying. It is normal. We were hard wired to have it for survival (like the flight or fight thing from when we were being chased by dinosaurs). It does NOT have to control you. You can learn to control it.

Who is a trusted adult (or who are your trusted adults? Sit down today and have a chat with him/her/them and tell them honestly what you have been experiencing. The nail biting is just a manifestation of the anxiety...it is that breathing hard and red face that is can be worrisome and can be controlled.

There should be no shame in the discussion. If the first trusted adult doesn't help, find another one. Seriously. Anxiety just is. It just happens to the best of us. I had my first anxiety attack at 18 and have been able to manage mine all these years and you can to.

You are 16 and as a human being you are beautiful and amazing and strong. Take care of yourself and let me know how you are doing. You can do this! Like anything else in life it is a one second, one minute, one day at a time thing!

Prayers and best wishes!!

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March 4, 2020

I bite my nails and I have done so for around 30 years and I'm 36 years old now. I do it mainly when I get stressed about a situation. Some people have a nervous breakdown, but I bite my nails. That is just me and my different situations that I get in sometimes. They are really short now probably dangerously short. I wonder if there is anything I can do to get them to a normal level again?


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October 18, 2010

Can anybody help me find a way to stop biting my nails and allowing them to grow healthily?

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