Nail-biting has been a big struggle of mine for most of my life. It’s something that has been a habit since childhood and I’ve struggled over the years to overcome it. I’ve had a few successes here and there, but it’s a continual addiction for me that I’m determined to master.
Nail Biting Can Be The Result Of Other Health Issues
I know there are probably a lot of you that don’t have issues with this so you may be thinking “nail-biting isn’t so bad” or “it’s not that serious”. But this is a serious issue for many. Mainly because there are a lot of medical and psychological reasons surrounding nailbiting. Let’s dive into them.
An article in Psychology Today describes Onychophagia (which includes nail-biting), as the visible damage to fingernails. They list the common causes & effects of nail-biting as:
- distressful feelings of unease or tension prior to biting
- feelings of relief or even pleasure after biting
- feelings of shame, embarrassment, and guilt, often related to the appearance of physical damage to skin and nails caused by biting
- tissue damage to fingers, nails, and cuticles
- mouth injuries, dental problems, abscesses, and infections
- in some cases, onychophagia may lead to complicated family and social relationships
Nail-biting is associated with anxiety and tends to begin in early childhood and adolescence. I believe that my issue began shortly after a childhood trauma and has been a way of comfort for me for many years.
My Battle With Nail Biting
Over the years, on Naturally Stellar, I’ve shared those times when I was really feeling fairly confident that my nail-biting had stopped. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I started my Moody Manicure series back in 2012, on the blog.
I was in a happy place and nail art was a way for me to focus on something other than stresses and distract me from those idle times when it would be more likely for me to slip up. I’ll continue to be honest in my journey and keep you all posted on my progress, in the hopes that it may help someone else out there.
I Backslid So Many Times
In 2014, almost immediately after my paternal grandmother’s death, my nails started chipping excessively and breaking. Slowly but surely nail-biting followed.
At first, it was a way for me to help “groom” my breaking nails, but then it started becoming a daily habit again until eventually my once long, strong nails were completely gone. Since then, they’ve never really come back (until a few months ago, due to COVID) and my Moody Manicures series has suffered because of it. My latest fight was a 6-year battle ya’ll.
My Tips To Stop Nail Biting
As a lifelong nail biter, I feel that I’m the perfect candidate to help those like us with tips on what works. So, here’s what has worked for me during my times of plenty and now.
- Deal with your traumas and issues that perpetuate nail biting
- Dedicate to giving yourself consistent weekly or bi-weekly manicures. Even if you just have nubs to begin with lol.
- Keep your hands away from your mouth at all costs
- Congratulate yourself for every bit of nail growth no matter how small
- A clear base coat is your friend
- Massage your nail beds and cuticles with nail serum or cuticle oil as often as you can
- Regularly massage your hands and nails with hand lotion throughout the day. You’d be surprised at what a good hand lotion can do to help heal the entire nail area.
- Take daily vitamins and rotate between a good women’s daily and a Calcium supplement (if needed).
- Keep a top coat on the surface AND on the underside of your nails at all times
- Find things to stimulate your hands and distract you during idle times
- Always use non-acetone polish remover, unless you’re removing gels/acrylics.
- Continue to play with nail polishes and nail art, even if you backslide.
- Keep yourself busy with hobbies or even small projects around the home to help to settle your mind
I hope this information, including my personal story and prevention tips, blesses somebody today. I can’t wait to hear all of your success stories about how you kicked your nail-biting habits. As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to share them in the comment section! Stay strong ya’ll!
Are you a nail biter or have you overcome nail-biting?
Share your comments below.