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How To Stop Fingernail Biting (Onychophagia)

Updated on November 26, 2012

How To Stop Fingernail Biting

I bet you've heard that a million times, 'Stop biting your nails!" but how to stop fingernail biting as you chew down on the remaining bloody, bitty nail stumps that you haven't yet managed to gnaw away. You feel embarrassed, ashamed and hide your nails from view, disgusted by your habit. However, you must admit that the act of nail biting itself is very satisfying, even pleasurable, and this is one of the reasons it is so hard to stop. Worry no more, help is at hand as we consider why we bite our nails, and what we can do to remedy this condition. Nail biting is one of the most common nervous afflictions, but this distressing habit can lead to a variety of nail and oral infections. With a little effort (okay, maybe a tad more than a little), beautiful, manicured nails can be yours.

Nail Biting
Nail Biting

Why Do We Bite?


We tend to bite our nails to relieve stress and/or emotional upset. Many people struggle with this nervous habit, as nail biting is something that we do without being aware, until its too late, and the damage is done. Everyday pressures such as exams, interviews, financial worries, relationship problems, childcare, in fact anything we consider stressful can trigger nail biting. It takes the focus off the problem at hand, and it can have a calm, soothing effect. Nail biting is generally under diagnosed as sufferers tend to not realise the seriousness of the condition, and the negative consequences that can ensue. Nail biting can lead to serious infections such as paronychia, which is an infection of the skin that over hangs the side of the nail. Paronychia is the most common hand infection in the United States.

Help And Advice On Finger Nail Biting


Nail Biting Remedies - Nail Biting Cures And Treatments

As nail biting starts without us even being aware of what we are doing, it would be nice if we could stop it in the same manner. However, seeing that this is unlikely to happen, here are a few quirky ways of dealing with this pesky habit.

1. Rub chilli peppers on fingers. Hmmm....

2. Wear gloves (that'll work).

3. Will power (see 2 above)

4. Fiddle with something, What? I'll leave that up to you.

5. Carry on biting?

Some further reading that may help you:

Ten Tips For Top Nails

1. Get a manicure. This is my best tip to help you stop immediately, as you will be less inclined to ruin pretty looking nails.

2. Take photos of your bloody, sore, chewed nails. Make them as large as possible and put them on your bedroom walls, and anywhere else you can, where you will see them daily.

3. Try rubbing garlic or bitter aloes over your nails. This might not appeal to all, but believe me, you won't want to chew on garlic nails all day.

4. Try stopping one nail at a time. Start with the nail that is your least favorite to chew.

5. Take a look at your diet. Are you eating properly, or do you follow a restricted diet. You may be lacking vitamins and minerals, in particular calcium.

6. Reward yourself for small achievements. If you go twenty four hours without biting your nails, treat yourself.

7. Make it a competition. If you know another nailbiter, challenge each other as to who can last longer without biting.

8. Tell friends and family to remind you when you bite subconsciously.

9. Upload pictures of diseased nails to your mobile phone screensave. Every time you look at your phone you'll have a reminder.

10. Try hypnosis, it just might work.

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Are You A Nail Biter?

How Do You Like To Bite?

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Leave A Comment, I'd Love To Hear Your Thoughts

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    • Totus Mundus profile imageAUTHOR

      Totus Mundus 

      6 years ago

      @LaPikas: It can be stopped with a lot of perseverance, thank you for the comments.

    • LaPikas profile image


      6 years ago

      My husband has doing this since a kid. And I know is hard for him to stop it because most of the time he is not even aware. But now I'm worried because my youngest kid started to do it. Thanks for your recommendations and tips, I will share with my hubby and see if something helps.

    • Totus Mundus profile imageAUTHOR

      Totus Mundus 

      6 years ago

      @anonymous: It can happen like that, your son is very lucky. Thanks for the comment.

    • Totus Mundus profile imageAUTHOR

      Totus Mundus 

      6 years ago

      @onyesvic: It's takes a lot of willpower to stop biting, especially when things get stressful.

    • onyesvic profile image


      6 years ago

      I am a nail biter.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      One of my boys used to bit his nails, nothing could stop

      Its something he out-grew, I guess. Doesn't do it anymore.

    • Totus Mundus profile imageAUTHOR

      Totus Mundus 

      6 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: Thanks for your comments!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      One of my kids is a nail biter. Thanks your the great resource.

    • Totus Mundus profile imageAUTHOR

      Totus Mundus 

      7 years ago

      @Gypzeerose: Me too. I didn't know until I created this lens, but I tend to bite the skin around my nails more, out of habit.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      7 years ago

      Interesting lens - and now I know the official name for nail biting.

    • sousababy profile image


      7 years ago

      There is a great deal of germs under nails . . it is absolutely a problem worthy of preventing and stopping. The worst culprits are fake nails (and the adhesive and dirt that can collect under them). In the medical field (in the operating room) assistants and scrub nurses cannot wear nail polish, nor have fake nails. There actually has been a case of a horrible infection that a patient contracted in which the source was traced back to an OR nurses fake nails.


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