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How to Stop Biting Your Nails and Cuticles!
If you’re like me, you like to nibble. And I don’t mean snacks. I’m talking about fingernails and cuticles.
When you bite your nails and cuticles, you introduce bacteria from your fingers to your mouth and back again. Any germs on your fingers from a door handle, banister, salad bar scoop, or your coworker’s computer mouse (who you’ve never seen wash their hands) come to rest in your mouth. It’s an ideal way for something to become infected. And infections are never cute.
Also not cute is an adult with wet fingers (or bloodied fingers, from picking). Think about it. Going on a date? Sitting in a business meeting? Meeting your sweetie’s family?Job interview? First impressions count for a lot, and I certainly wouldn’t want to shake hands or kiss someone who just had their fingers in their mouth... or who was attempting to surreptitiously press their bloody cuticle against their pants to stop the bleeding. (Don’t pretend you’ve never done this. I’ve been there.) Bottom line: if you want to invite someone to NOT touch you, just bite your nails.
But besides stewing your fingers in pickle juice or having a friend throw something or squirt you with a water gun every time they catch you nibbling, here are five other ways to deter you from snacking on your fingers.
Paint with Denatonium Benzoate
The bitter chemical taste will get stronger as you nibble that nice piece of fingernail, then linger for over half an hour. Ultimately, it will deter you from putting your fingers anywhere near your mouth.
Drinking water won’t help much and brushing your teeth will feel nice, but it won’t do a good job of removing that taste. Paint your nails with it every other day, and be sure not to eat with your fingers… anything you eat will also be laced with that terribly bitter taste. I learned that the hard way!
Paint with Pretty Colors
The colors don’t have to be bright, especially since half-chewed nails and red, raw fingertips and cuticles look (and can be!) unforgivingly painful.
Find a color as close to your skin tone as possible to make your fingers appear longer, or use a universally flattering color like pale ballet pink. Clear works well, too. Men, try buffing your nails instead.
Cover Them Up
If your habit is to pick or nibble at night or while reading in bed, don a pair of sleeping gloves (very thin cotton knit) that will protect those sensitive fingernails from your roving fingers.
If it's cold outside, wear gloves to protect your cuticles from cracking and looking tasty. Better yet, wear gloves even if it's not so cold out. If your friends tease you about your new style, simply tell them with a knowing wink that if they were more glamorous, they would surely understand.
Moisturize Your Cuticles
Moisturized cuticles will be less enticing, and won’t snag on fabric or rip. You will be less likely to pick at them as well.
Cuticle creams and butters are specially made for this purpose, but in a pinch, use a thick water-resistant ointment like Aquaphor or even a long-lasting lotion that will continually moisturize your skin over time.
Wear a Reminder
It doesn’t have to be a bracelet laden with bells. You are not an animal, after all! But a nice ring will help – when you and others see how much more attractive (and different!) your cared-for cuticles look, you will be proud of your hands and more prone to wear jewelry, and others will be more likely to compliment you. And who doesn’t enjoy compliments?
So please take these tips on not biting your nails to heart and be like me a little more… now, an ex-nail-biter! Save your teeth for eating real food... which although tasting nothing like your nails, does actually taste good.