Nail biting: Causes and ways to quit it
Do you feel like you always need to bite your nails after a situation, whether with your family or at work, and that this feeling relieves you after you’re done? But more importantly, do you know that nail biting has been globally classified as one of the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Nail biting can lead to unhealthy looking nails and can also cause infections or irritation in the hands. It is important to quit this unhealthy habit, but first it’s crucial to understand why this habit exists in the first place, how to solve it, and then take care of the nails after quitting the nail biting habit.
What are the causes of nail biting?
Despite the lack of clear causes of nail biting, there are some factors that can increase the likelihood of it:
- Family heritage: Even if the parent stopped this behavior before the child was born, there is a high likelihood that the child will inherit this habit.
- Stress: Nail biting can be a sign of stress or anxiety.
- Boredom: Behaviors like nail biting are more common when you feel bored, hungry, or need to keep your hands occupied.
Note: Nail biting may be related to Attention Deficit Disorder and hyperactivity, so it is important to seek medical advice if your child continues this habit without stopping.
How can we get rid of the nervous habit of nail biting?
Let’s agree that scolding, beating, or hitting a child, teenager, or any person on the ground due to a habit they can’t stop, will not stop them from doing it. It is important to break away from the habit of biting nails by getting rid of negative feelings, bad treatment, scolding and blaming, as this habit is fundamentally psychological. Do not do that or things might turn out to be the opposite.
- Behavioral/Psychological Treatment: Psychological treatment or seeing a therapist can help overcome anxiety and negative emotions that often accompany nail-biting. This can help break the habit.
- Relaxation, Yoga, and Self-Care: Focusing on yourself, self-care, and good sleep can help you feel more calm and confident, giving you the strength to overcome the nail-biting habit.
What are the strategies that I can resort to when I feel the need to bite my nails?
- Keep your nails short: Keeping your nails short can minimize the habit of biting your nails.
- Apply nail polish regularly: Regular use of nail polish or regular nail varnish application can help you avoid continuous nail biting as the taste of nail polish is usually bitter, which will prevent you from this habit.
- What about acrylic nails? Acrylic nails are essentially a thick layer of acrylic material that is molded onto the nails and can last up to three consecutive weeks. So applying acrylic nails can definitely cure the habit of nail biting for good!
- Distract yourself with something else: When you feel the urge to bite your nails, try playing or engaging in any activity around you or even baking in the kitchen. This will keep your hands occupied and away from your mouth.
- Gradually stop biting your nails: Doctors recommend starting with not biting the thumb nail, then the index finger nail, then the rest of the fingers. As these fingers are what attract the attention of a person with this continuous habit.
When does nail biting become a problem that requires a visit to a dermatologist?
If toenail cutting causes physical discomfort, it is extremely important to seek medical help. It is crucial to seek assistance when the behavior affects one’s physical health. It is very important to visit a doctor when you notice:
- Presence of a bacterial infection.
- Damage to the toenail or surrounding skin.
Information: Over time, nail biting can cause problems in the jaw and potentially lead to broken teeth.
How do you treat your nails after breaking the habit of biting your nails?
Simple steps and tips will help you get rid of the habit of nail biting:
- Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes to avoid exposing your nails to the chemicals in dish soap.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use products containing alpha hydroxy acids.
- Avoid commercial nail polish, opt for medical nail polish purchased from a pharmacy. Some nail polish contains formaldehyde, which can irritate skin and nails.
- Take biotin pills (of course after consulting with a doctor) as it is an essential vitamin that helps in nail and hair growth and skin health.
- Consume foods high in calcium, as it will definitely help you restore the natural, healthy shape of your nails.
- Apply Vaseline on your nails before bedtime and cover them with cotton gloves so they can absorb it.
The summary: Never be ashamed of nail biting habit no matter what caused you to do it, but it’s very important to seek help from a doctor or psychological support if you don’t know where to start.