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Stop Biting Your Fingernails

Updated on May 19, 2018
Viola Horne profile image

Viola enjoys passing on the nuggets of wisdom she's collected. She has made eye contact with Robert Redford and chatted with Julia Roberts.

Imagine yourself with pretty nails.
Imagine yourself with pretty nails.

How to stop all the biting and chewing!

No one really likes to bite their nails.  It's not a pretty habit and can be a sign of anxiety and compulsiveness.  And it's disgusting to think about all the germs that congregate under those bits of keratin. It's something you feel you have to apologize for whenever someone calls you on it..  "I'm just a nervous person," or "I've been trying to quit for years."  Well excuse no more!  Today, you will learn the best-kept secrets for halting the habit once and for all.

The Whoopie Goldberg Tip
The Whoopie Goldberg Tip

The Whoopi Goldberg Tip

If this doesn't stop you, you might need professional help.

Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of ABC's talk show The View, gave another co-host a nail-biting tip. She said, "How many times a day do you use the bathroom to take a dump?" The co-host blushed and said, "At least twice." Whoopi then said, "Do you use soap after each visit?" The co-host naturally said, "Yes." Then Whoopi swooped in for the kill. "Do you use a nail brush after each visit? Do you know how many germs lurk under your nails after you use the toilet?" Everyone groaned. Gross! But true. Each time you bite your nails, you are chewing on tiny particles of feces! Think about it! Now go ahead and put your hands in your mouth again. No way!

More tried & true methods

Most have been tried and many of them are true!

1. Confront your problem. Get a camera and take some pictures of your bitten fingernails. Examine your nails, and list their problems.

2. Visualize yourself with healthy nails, and how great they will look.

3. Pick at least one nail to "protect" at a time.

After a few days, an unbitten nail will flourish and reward you. Do not bite it. If you must, bite one of the 'unprotected' ones.

Once you have grown your unbitten nail for a while, start protecting another one. And another.

Record your progress in a notebook or photo album.

4. Recognizing that it usually takes takes three weeks to grow nails half a centimeter, chart out in the book how long you want your nails to be by a certain date.

5. Eat calcium- and magnesium- rich foods so that your nails will repair and grow well. Not only that, but most of the reason that the human body wants to bite nails is the lack of calcium and magnesium in the body and the body needs that material back.

6. Push your cuticles back. Many nail-biters do not have "moons" on the base of their fingernails because their cuticles have not been pushed back. To do this, gently push your cuticles towards your finger to reveal more of your nail. This is easier to do after a shower when your hands and nails are wet. This makes the nail appear longer, and it gives a more attractive shape, which might also be a motivation to stop biting.

7. Find a habit to take the place of nail biting. Whenever you have the urge to bite, do that instead. Some people like to drum their fingers, or just stare at their hands. Just make sure it's not a bad habit; choose a helpful one or one that doesn't really matter either way.

8. Mavala Stop Nail Biting is a clear enamel with a bitter, yet non-toxic, taste. Hundreds of users, including me, have claimed this product helped them with nail biting and thumb sucking.

9. Distract your mouth. Eat carrot sticks to keep you busy. Keep a stick of gum handy for those weak moments.

10. No more idle hands..Distract your hands by taking up a hobby. Try making models or maintaining your house, knitting or crocheting, running or other outside pursuits -- even nail care and decoration!

11. For those whose nail biting is obsessive/compulsive it may help to approach your hobby obsessively.

12. Cover your nails. For females, fit artificial nails. They can really help. For guys, polish them and apply some shine/growth promoter or petroleum jelly. It's harder to bite nails that are looking great!

13. Keep gloves in your back pocket and wear them when you want to bite.

14. Put little pieces of tape on the ends of your fingers, to remind yourself how destructive biting is.

15. If you have any surplus growth, cut your nails back. Keep clippers with you at all times. You can't bite if there's nothing there!

16. Speaking about your nails will help to focus your mind on your goals. Ask for help from your partner(s). Keep talking about your goals.

17. Show off your improved nails, and get much-needed encouragement and praise from your peers. Be proud of your improving nails. They will shine with beauty.

18. Go for a manicure, and chat with the manicurist about having great nails. If you are male and you go in for a manicure and anyone gives you grief for not being manly, just say you are taking radical steps, whatever it takes. That should be manly enough for anyone.

19. Keep looking after your nails, with cuticle oil, shine and growth promoter, and no biting!

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