Nail biting, not only makes your nails look unattractive, but it can spread disease, cause infection, be painful and ruin your nail bed. Nail biting may begin in childhood and continue on into adulthood. Parents can use homemade remedies and treatments to teach their children not to bite their nails and adults can break the nail biting habit as well.
Nail biting may be the result of boredom, anxiety or habit. Using behavior modification treatments may help in curtailing nail biting. To help the nail biter get motivated to stop, have the nail biter look in the mirror while she is biting her nails, so that she is aware of what she looks like to other people. Secretly video tape the nail biter while they are frantically nibbling on their nails. Show him the video to motivate him to stop.
Keep a journal of what triggers you to bite your nails. Keep track of how often you bite your nails and what situations you bite your nails in. Once you have figured out what situations cause you to bite your nails, you can keep your hands busy during this time or put gloves on your hands to prevent biting.
Well Groomed Nails
Keep your nails short and neatly filed. Sometimes nail biters bite their nails to smooth them out, especially if there is a sharp pointy edge to nibble. File your nails everyday. Keep your cuticles healthy and trimmed, as some nail biters start by picking hangnails first. Apply nail polish to discourage biting.
Soak Nails In Oil
Soak your nails a couple times a day in olive oil, baby oil or vitamin E oil. Castor oil is also a good choice and will taste awful if you put your fingernails in your mouth. These oils keep your nails strong, prevent chipping and breaking and may cause them to grow out more quickly.
Hot and Bitter Taste
Rub cayenne pepper powder (or another type of hot pepper) on your fingernails so they will burn your tongue if you try to bite. Buy the hottest fresh chile pepper you can find, cut it open and rub the seeds on your nails. Be careful with this method for children, as it may be too intense or be painful if it gets in the eyes.
Rub lemon juice, vinegar or any other bitter tasting, non-toxic substance on the fingernails of the nail biter several times a day.
If nail biting is due to stress and anxiety, taking vitamin B inositol may help lower stress levels. Vitamin B increases serotonin in the brain that helps reduce depression and seems to reduce the urge to pick or bite nails, according to Dr. Penzel of Westsuffolk Psychology.
Keep your hands covered with gloves so you can’t nibble. Wear the gloves constantly until the habit is broken. Another option is to put an adhesive bandage or sticker around each of the fingertips of the nail biter.
References and ResourcesMother Nature: Nail Biting
West Suffolk Psych: Picking
Nail Biting Treatments