Nail biting (onychophagy) is a habit many would like to stop but a difficult one to break.
There are thousands of children and adults in the UK suffering this and according to American Psychiatric Association, nail biting is now recognised as a sub-group of OCD.
One of the first steps to quitting is recognising your trigger. Think about when you bite your nails. Is it when you’re anxious, bored, hungry or stressed? Knowing this and addressing it can be the first step to stopping.
I recently conducted some research on this subject, asking former nail biters to tell me their triggers and top tips for quitting which are listed below.
It’s a fact that due to constant stimulation, nail biters nails grow faster than non-biters so if you can keep your fingers out of your mouth long enough you’ll really notice them grow. The secret is then keeping them beautiful without eating them! According to the book ‘Psycho Cybernetics’ first published in the 1970’s, ‘it takes 21 days to break a habit’ so there’s hope!
Based on the results of my research, here are the top ways to put an end to your nail biting.
Book a manicure. A good, thorough manicure would involve tidying your nails, softening and cleaning up your cuticles, exfoliating and massaging your hands and arms and buffing your new nails to perfection. Treatments can be added to upgrade your manicure for a bespoke service. Make sure you go to a natural nail care specialist who can advise you on the best course of action and come up with a treatment plan
Paint them a colour Ok so they might look ridiculous at first but stay with me here! Psychologically, the brighter the colour of the nails, the less chance there is of you putting them in your mouth.
Grow one at a time if you have to. As a small child I was a nail biter. The promise of my first gold ring was the push I needed. I decided to only bite my thumb nail and eventually stopped that too. Allowing myself just 1 nail to nibble on was enough and eventually my bad habit was broken forever!
Foul tasting treatments All nail biters remember the taste of this stuff, but how many have actually tried Mustard on their nails?! Yes, mustard was mentioned several times from the contributors and it worked for them! Surely it’s worth a go? ( unless you LOVE the taste of mustard, like me!)
Regular gel polish/acrylic appointments While this worked for many, I would also imagine the urge to pick off your enhancements and causing horrendous damage to your nail plate) too tempting. The contributors said the ‘thickness’ of the gel polish and acrylic deterred them from biting.
Wearing a hair band to play with was also suggested by many of the army of ex-biters. Flicking and fiddling with a hair band around their wrist was the ultimate distraction for some.
So where do you go from here? These simple suggestions are from the very people who stopped biting their nails, so take note! Try one suggestion at a time, try them all, choose 2 at a time, whatever you like but give them a go – you have nothing to lose.
And if you manage to break the habit, get in touch. I’d love to see your results!
Good luck and much love,
‘No gimmicks, no nonsense, just beautiful, bespoke treatments’