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gailcalled's avatar

For those of you who used to be nail biters, how did you stop?

Asked by gailcalled (52986 points ) February 10th, 2012

What techniques, tricks and methods did you use to stop the nail nibbling?

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14 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I bit my nails as a child, not horribly so, but, I just seemed to outgrow it naturally, like thumb sucking. I am an orally fixated type. like to talk, eat, suck on things. lol
I manage to modify it. Blame it on mother, as always. I guess I didn’t get enough sucking time at the breast. Better oral than anal. No worries there. hahaha

DaphneT's avatar

I’m still fighting it. Stress situations aggravate it for me, so I try to be mindful of my stress feelings. I’ve used a horrible-tasting nail biters formula put out by Sally Hansen brand, that really helped to get my attention. I don’t know if it is still available.

Putting a foul tasting lotion on the fingers also discourages the biting. I’ll use Mentholatum or Carmex to sooth the cuticles and get it under the nails and un-mindfully stick the finger in my mouth and blech: definite reminder.

Once I became more attentive to my habits, nail growth formulas helped minimize the damage and careful manicures keep me aware. I’ve noticed that reading enthralling mysteries does not help my nails, lol, but that’s what I love to read. I try to alternate a good book with yarn work to keep my hands occupied and found books on tape/cd/digital. Too, a good hand lotion regimen keeps my nails in better shape so they are less likely to break and tear, which also can trigger a nail ripping session.

the_overthinker's avatar

Not a thumb biter, but maybe put something bitter on the nails. Or get a really nice manicure to prevent the want to destroy the niceness of the manicure.

dubsrayboo's avatar

I started carrying fingernail clippers with me. When ever my nails would rip or break or if they simply got too long I’d have the clippers on hand to take care of the problem instead of chewing them. I chewed my nails for years.

Sunny2's avatar

I didn’t stop until I was 12. Before that I tried using bitter stuff on my nails. Didn’t work. I think it was my own vanity that made me stop. I stopped being so much of a tomboy and didn’t want my nails to look like that. I wanted to look pretty, which I’d never cared about before.

auhsojsa's avatar

I used to suffer from “ticks”. Not the bugs, but the psychological one. I’d have to snap my fingers and touch my head to my shoulder and shake my head and close my eyes real hard. It was nuts. I literally had to talk to myself and focus big time on not doing that. I’d imagine the same can be applied to nail biters.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Band aids on all my fingers. After about a week or so of that the habit was broken.

wildpotato's avatar

I am currently fighting it. I’ve been trying nail polish, which works pretty well – though I do find it annoying to wear. Thanks for the above suggestions; I’ll try some of those.

lukiarobecheck's avatar

Plain and simple. Braces. Once I got those on that habit was gone for me.

Mariah's avatar

Dunno how helpful this is, but living in a dormitory setting, it all of a sudden started to feel very “wrong” to bring my hand up to my face anymore. I just think about all the germs now.

If you can stop for just a little while, your nails will start to get strong and if you try again, it’ll feel bad on your teeth, which is also a good deterrant.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I should have gone into a little more detail, I back @Sunny2 ‘s sharing. While still a tomboy type I wanted to have pretty hands as a teen. I think, as always to make changes one has to have a certain inner motivation, which varies amongst everyone depending on the circumstance.
Now though, while I do get my nails done infrequently for special occasions I prefer shorter nails for my lifestyle.

I just cut them all off the other day after jamming one while doing some yardwork. I let them get long for a few weeks and then chop ‘em off again for practical purpose.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why stop. It is a great source of protein.

fizzbanger's avatar

Manicures, lotion, and thinking about how nasty and unprofessional it looks in the workplace (still working on it, yelp).

global_nomad's avatar

When I was a kid I bit my nails and sucked my thumb. I only sucked my thumb as a way to put myself to sleep at night or as a way to calm myself down if I was upset. I quit cold turkey when I was ten and my dentist told me to or else I would have to get braces (never mind that my mother had been telling me that for years). I was also embarrassed that he could tell I sucked my thumb just from looking at my teeth. The only problem has been that since I quit that habit 12 years ago I started biting my nails horrendously. It’s how I deal with stress or boredom. I bite my nails, cuticles, and even the skin around the nail. It’s pretty gross and I know I’ve destroyed my fingernails but I can’t stop—it’s a compulsion. I do it mindlessly and am embarrassed when I catch myself doing it in public. When I was younger my parents tried everything: the gross tasting nail polish (to which I applied a mind-over-matter technique), band-aids (which I gnawed through), and mittens (which I snuck on and off when I was not in the company of my parents). Yep, I was and still am a stubborn little cuss.

The only thing that kind of worked was when my mom forced me to get a manicure when I was about 12—I was always embarrassed of my nails so never wanted one. I stopped the biting for about two weeks because my dad was away and I wanted him to see how beautiful my nails were with my fancy schmancy nail polish. But I went right back to it after that.

To this date I still haven’t found any super effective ways of quitting the habit, but I do know that I can control it. I’ve found that chewing gum works wonders. I try to keep a packet of gum with me all the time because I don’t bite my fingernails when my mouth is preoccupied. I also don’t bite when I’m wearing lipstick or chap-stick because I don’t want to rub it off. For me it’s not so much that I need my hands to be busy, it’s more that I need to be chewing on something.

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