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ALERT: Nail Biters -- how do I kick this habit?

Discussion in 'Healthy Lifestyle' started by megumic, Apr 16, 2009.

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  1. megumic
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    by megumic » Apr 16, 2009
    I admit it. I bite my nails. And my cuticles. It''s gross and unhealthy and disgusting. I hate it. It''s entirely stress-related, but being in law school, well, there tends to be A LOT of stress.

    I never thought about it until I joined PS - how can I wear a gorgeous e-ring with gross nails?! Even my FI has mentioned that I need to stop [​IMG]

    What have you all done to quit the habit of nail biting?!? Please share bad habits and how you''ve conquered them!
     
    


    


  2. BeachRunner
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    by BeachRunner » Apr 16, 2009
    I''ve never had this habit, but a few suggestions:

    -wear nail polish. Even if its a clear coat, you don''t want to be biting the polish, ick.
    -they do make a product to put on your fingers to make them taste bad; I think they use this for children sucking their thumb.

    Hope these help[​IMG]
     
  3. aprilcait
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    by aprilcait » Apr 16, 2009
    Wearing fake nails worked for me. They say it takes a month to kick a habit, and that seemed to be the case for me.
    I just used glue-on nails and kept them on (replacing when needed) for a little over a month, just to be safe. Sure, fakies aren''t great for your nails but I figured that my nails would still look better longer and a tad roughed up than gnawed and stumpy. Anyway, because the faux nails impeded me from biting my real nails, it helped me break the habit. After removing the fake nails, I didn’t'' have the urge to bite my real ones. However, in times of great stress I would find myself reverting to nail biting without even realizing I was doing it. So back on the fake nails went for another month or so. Finally, I''ve trained myself to not bite my nails. Once every so often, though, I''ll catch myself just about to bite my nails but I stop remembering how long it can take to grow my nails out again.
    It takes time and patience to break the habit, but you can do it. [​IMG]
     
  4. Hudson_Hawk
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    by Hudson_Hawk » Apr 16, 2009
    Get manicures and every time you bite, force yourself to go get another one that day or the next. Not acrylics or anything, but just have your natural nails painted. Not only will you soon realize how nice your nails look, you''ll start to mentally connect biting with consequence (paying for a $15 manicure over and over), and you''ll be less inclined to do it. Additionally, manicures and well moisturized hands will lessen the cuticle/hangnail-biting temptation because there won''t be any little bits to bite off.
     
    


    


  5. NewEnglandLady
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    by NewEnglandLady » Apr 16, 2009
    I bit my nails until about four years ago--I always felt unprofessional when munching on my hands in the middle of a meeting. Strangely enough, as soon as I started working from home a couple of months ago the nail biting started back up. When I''m in front of my computer and thinking, I tend to want to chew on my nails.

    I have tried everything--manicures, fake nails, that bitter stuff you put on your nails so they taste bad (like Bitter Apple for humans). The bottom line is that I always want to bite my nails. Even in the four years I didn''t, I wanted to. I have found that the only thing that works for me is willpower. I cant let my hands near my mouth--if I have a hang nail or a chip in my nail, I can''t use that as an excuse to bite. I have to use a file or clippers. Also, I do find that the nicer my nails look (i.e. my cuticles are aren''t cracked and dried due to a brutal winter), the more I want for them to stay looking nice. I now keep cuticle lotion and hard candy right on my desk...if I want to bite, I go for hard candy (good for nails, not good for the waistline) and I rub lotion on my cuticles. I feel like getting them to the point where they look nice is the tough part, once they''ve grown out, I find it easier to keep from biting them.

    Good luck! I''m right there with you!
     
  6. geckodani
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    by geckodani » Apr 16, 2009
    I used to tear mine, which is almost as bad. I started using cuticle oil every time I had the urge to tear them. Now, I still have a nervous habit, but my nails look awesome, LOL.
     
  7. Hudson_Hawk
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    by Hudson_Hawk » Apr 16, 2009
    NEL, clearly the solution is for you to start working at the office again. Then you''ll have beautiful nails and I''ll have a work-neighbor!
     
  8. ImpatientOne
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    by ImpatientOne » Apr 16, 2009
    I bit my nails my entire life unti i was in my 40''s. I was able to stop a few times throughout the years, but it never lasted. There was a period of about 10 years where I was single and didn''t date at all, but when I finally did decide to start dating again, I knew I wanted to quit biting my nails.

    As another poster said, I found that keeping my hands moisurized and getting weekly manicures really helped. Clear nail polish in the beginning was a real deterrent. As my nails finally grew, I was getting weekly manicures, but my nails seemed to peel a lot. Althouhg I always said I would never do acrylics, I finally broke down two years ago and tried them out. I was amazed at how easy they were to maintain and I have never looked back!
     
  9. megumic
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    by megumic » Apr 16, 2009
    Thanks for all of your advice and support! Yes, it is such an embarrassing habit and I am totally self-conscious when someone "catches me". My FI refers to the "pile up" as finger scraps...funny but sad.

    I have started using Burt''s Bees Lemon Cuticle Butter which I love and has definitely improved the cuticle situation. But the nails - the moment something seems uneven or feels uncomfortable I bite! Willpower seems to be one of the tougher parts...

    I''ll give the manicure experiment a try this summer as I''ll be working in NYC and there is a manicure place on every corner.

    Thank you!!!
     
  10. InLuv101
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    by InLuv101 » Apr 20, 2009
    I too began wearing acrylics (although they were bad for my nails when I stopped wearing them). After about 3 months of not being able to bite my nails and having them look so nice, I kicked the habit. Then I had to get my nails in good shape after I stopped wearing the fakes. Took a while but now they look great!
     
    


    


  11. babysteps
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    by babysteps » Apr 25, 2009
    Absolutely worked for me - the cuticle oil eliminates the hangnails, and that in turn improves the health of your nails, etc. - plus the oil gives you something to fiddle with if it''s more of a nervous habit (it was for me!) Also, I kept reminding myself that anything I touched went into my mouth if I bit a nail, any rip or tear in skin around the nail was an opening for bacteria - OK, that is a skeevy visual but it helped keep me in check!
    [​IMG]
     
  12. MishB
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    by MishB » Apr 30, 2009
    I bit my nails up until my teens, I still do sometimes when I am distracted or stressed, I can start with 10 perfectly nice nails then suddenly look down and they are all gone before I am even aware.

    I find keeping them well manicured is the best preventative, any sort of rip or tear can start me off.

    I also do the cuticle ripping, some of my fingers are permanently scarred I fear. The same principle helps here too, keep cuticle cream or oil on you at all times, and don''t even let them get the dry ends that you will start to pick at.

    My fingers would get so bad a doctor friend once noticed the bleeding/scabs, and asked me about my habit of self-mutilation. That was a bit of a wakeup call.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. lucyandroger
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    by lucyandroger » May 5, 2009
    I haven''t read through all the responses so excuse me if I repeat.

    My SO started biting his nails really badly in law school. Since he''s a guy, he couldn''t get manicures or wear nail polish so he started wearing gloves whenever he was home or studying. It didn''t really work for when he was in class but it eventually did the trick and he kicked the habit.

    Of course, law firm life has started it up again...
     
  14. Mediterranean
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    by Mediterranean » May 6, 2009
    Ha ha! For me, it was band-aids!!! It''s too hot in FL to wear gloves, so I just put band-aids over my fingertips and after about 3 weeks of that, I was broken of the habit.

    Now, ask my chewed-up pen caps what replaced the nail biting
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Elmorton
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    by Elmorton » May 6, 2009
    So, I haven''t bitten in a couple of weeks - I gave myself a mani, cut down the cuticles, and made sure I had polish on. The other thing I''ve found is doing activities during TV time that need my digits (beading, doing a craft, play dough - anything).

    However, my new annoying habit is scraping under the nail to make sure there''s no dirt.

    I''m really hoping I can keep this going through summer!
     
    


    


  16. MustangGal
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    by MustangGal » May 6, 2009
    My DH was a nail biter. To get him to kick the habit, I would elbow him every time I caught him. I have very pointy elbows[​IMG]. He slowly stopped, and now doesn''t chew at all. For a while he replaced that habit with cliking his nails (since he didn''t bite them, they were getting long all the time). More elbowing got him to stop that too.
     
  17. whitby_2773
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    by whitby_2773 » Jun 10, 2009
    hi megumic :)

    my best friend chewed her nails into her 40''s and only really stopped a few years ago. for her, the acrylic nails suggestion was the beginning of the cure, tho giving up entirely took probably 2 years of false nails/growing out false nails/willpower.

    one thing that really helped her, tho, was painting her nails a color. she said that most of the time when she chewed it was simply because she forgot and would do it subconsciously. keeping her nails painted a color made them more obvious and she''d often catch sight of her hands making their way to her mouth if there were 5 little dots of bright red for her to notice. the subconscious thing was a big battle, so the color really helped - nothing garish, just obvious. this is tough initially, because painted, chewed nails isnt a good look, but she simply persevered till they looked more acceptable. the color was also a GREAT incentive to grow them.

    she also had to learn not to use her nails as tools, as she''d used them roughly for decades. keeping them painted helped with this also.

    her nails look fine now. :)

    (and i''m giving her a manicure tomorrow because she''s going on her first DATE since she got divorced 3 1/2 years ago - YAY!)
     
  18. Squirrly
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    by Squirrly » Jun 14, 2009
    a lot of my friends bite their nails but i suppose i never picked up the habit for a few reasons:
    1. my mom is a pianist, my dad a double bassist. i never knew my nails could grow much until i forgot to clip them as often as i was used to them doing when i was younger. oh do they ever hate my long nails. best, and oddest form of rebellion i''ve ever done.

    2. i learned when i was young that biting nails can erode the enamel on teeth, and since i decided i didn''t want cavities, i avoided biting my nails like the plague. (if that''s not true just let me keep thinking that so i can scare my future children later on in life)

    3. when i was little my ears would often run/get stuffed up and i did the only logical thing a kid would do, attempt to clean em out with my fingers. i''d wipe it off, not think anything about it, and then stick my fingers in my mouth later for some reason and practically spit them back out.

    hope you''re having good luck breaking the biting habit! taste aversion worked best for my friends and is what most likely kept me from ever having this problem [​IMG]
     
  19. dragonfly411
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    by dragonfly411 » Jun 15, 2009
    Megumic - I was a nail biter, and it is embarassing, and hard to get out of. I actually found that if I a) got acrylics a couple of cycles or b) started painting my nails regularly that I was less enticed to bite, and over time I wanted to have longer painted nails so didn''t bite at all.

    Another strategy is to chew gum.

    Also they make the spicy stuff you put on your nails and it sets your mouth on fire.

    But I like the first one [​IMG]
     
  20. House Cat
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    by House Cat » Jun 28, 2009
    The thing that helped me most was watching my nails grow into beautiful, healthy nails. I used Nailtiques Formula 2. This stuff is amazing. My nails became strong and long in no time. Within a week, they were longer than they had ever been in my life. This is because I''ve chewed my nails for as long as I can remember. Anyway, you apply one coat each day, which is like a reminder not to bite and then you watch them grow. I think the healthy dose of instant gratification works in this situation.

    Oh, you can buy it at Ulta. But remember, if your nails are weak from biting, you should get the formula 2.
     
  21. HopeDream
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    by HopeDream » Jul 2, 2009
    Hi Megumic

    I keep my nails clipped too short to bite and that seems to do the trick. I was a nail biter as a child, but have since grown out of it.

    Nail strenghthening products often contain fromaldahyde - a known carcinogen, so be careful (do not put it on and then bite it).

    Read your lables!

    I know you can kick this habit. Do your best!

    Cheers,

    HD
     
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