Around 20 to 30% of the population are nail biters, and oddly scientists can’t pin-point the exact reason why people bite their nails.
While some believe it’s a nervous habit, people have also been known to bite their nails when they’re bored, frustrated, hungry or engaging in a difficult task. All too often biters can ended with swelling around the nail due to the damage they’ve caused, and bleeding around the cuticles.
Should I Stop Biting My Nails?
Yes. Most nail biters will tell you it’s a difficult habit to quit. This is because for some it’s almost second nature, and most don’t even realise when they’re biting.
However, you should keep in mind that your mouth is home to a lot of bacteria, some of which can cause nail infections, such as warts or herpes. These can be transmitted from your mouth to your fingers and visa versa.
Here are a few tips to help stop nail biting:
1. Keep you nails trimmed and short — Having less nail provides less temptation.
2. Apply a bitter-tasting nail remedy or strengthener — An awful tasting polish will discourage nail biting, while a strengthener will discourage you going after weaker nails.
3. Get regular manicures — Regular, professional manicures can discourage nail biting as your less likely to bite your nails if they look nice.
4. Replace the habit — Replace the unhealthy habit with a better one. Identify your triggers, and instead of biting your nails when you feel nervous, stressed or frustrated turn to a stress ball, chewing gum or and interactive game that keeps your hands busy.
5. Do it gradually — The likelihood is you’ll have one or two fingers your bite more regularly than others. Aim to stop biting your thumbs first, then index, pinky, ring, or middle finger. Take small steps and work towards a point where you eventually stop biting altogether.
How Do I Repair My Nails After Biting?
1. Assess the damage — If you’ve only bitten the ends of your nail, you’re in an okay position. However, if you’ve bitten the skin around the nail and the cuticles, or picked at your nail polish this is more problematic.
Depending on the level of damage, repair could take anywhere fro, a few days to a few weeks. If you’ve thinned the nail plate by biting and picking, repair could take three to six months.
2. Apply cuticle oil and cuticle cream — You want to look for a Cuticle Oil/Cream that contains essential oils, they’re moisturising and penetrate deep into the nail plate to restore natural oils in your nail.
3. Apply a hardener or strengthener — It will give your nails an extra layer of strength that will stop harmful elements weakening them further.
4. Don’t cut your cuticles — Cutting your cuticles only causes more damage and stunts nail growth; they are also important for fighting off infections.
Instead, push back your cuticles with a cuticle pusher, orange stick or cotton wool bud.