Nail Repair Techniques

So, you’ve made the commitment to stop biting your nails – congratulations! Now you’re going to want to make sure that your newly rejuvenated nails stay healthy and in good repair. Unfortunately, even the healthiest nails can be prone to problems, so you need to know how to keep them in good shape. Here’s how it’s done.

Fix a Rip

Here’s where nail glue is your best friend. It’s not just for attaching fakes! If you have a ripped nail and you want to stop it from breaking off completely, use the fingers of your other hand to pull the nail up, very gently, at the point where it’s torn. Then, use a toothpick to deposit a very small drop of glue underneath. Press the two sides together and hold for about a minute. Now, use your nail file or emery board to smooth off excess glue. Voila! All better.

Protect Weak Nails

You’ve seen all the paint-on products out there that claim to harden your nails, but the reality is that nothing you spread on your nails is ever going to make them stronger. In fact, a lot of those supposed strengtheners actually work a little too well – they contain formaldehyde, which will harden your nails. It will harden them to the point where they become brittle, and even more likely to break. Your best bet for protecting weak nails is to take an oral vitamin supplement that contains biotin – it’s proven to help maintain healthy nails.

Prevent Peeling and Splitting

Your nails grow from the cuticle to the tip, and if you push them in the wrong direction, you’ll create fissures that result in peeling and splitting. So, when you’re looking after your nails, file in only one direction, and try to avoid maneuvers that cause your nail to press down on the tip. Keep the nails moist – the best way to do this is apply a moisturizer after you bathe or shower, while your skin is still damp. Rub it into your nails and underneath as well. The best lotions contain alpha hydroxyl acids.

Soak in Olive Oil

If your nails are think or weak, soak them in olive oil for ten to fifteen minutes every day.

Use Cuticle Cream

If your nails are brittle and your cuticles are dry, invest in a good cuticle cream. The best ones contain vitamin E. Massage it into your nails every night before you go to bed.

Wear Gloves

How often do you see a television ad for dishwashing liquid that claims to soften your hands? There’s the happy, smiling lady soaking her beautiful hands in dishwater. They use models for that! It’s not real! The reality is that any dish soap is going to dry your hands and cause your nails to peel and split, so wear rubber gloves. Also, wear gloves when you’re gardening or doing anything else that’s going to cause your nails to come in contact with anything abrasive.

Eat Right

A diet rich in biotin will thicken and strengthen your nails. Biotin is found in cooked eggs, liver, avocado, cauliflower and whole grains. If you’re not getting enough of these foods, you can always take a biotin supplement.

Treat Your Nails Gently

Your nails are not tools. Don’t use them to open that can of beer that you desperately need at the end of a hard day’s work. Anything at all that causes impact to your nails is going to increase the risk of cracking, peeling and splitting.
Minimize Your Use of Nail Polish Remover
Of course, you want a beautiful manicure, but constant use of nail polish remover can be very damaging. If you can, touch up your manicure instead of completely re-doing it. And when you must use nail polish remover, avoid the ones that contain acetone – it’s very drying and can cause a lot of damage to otherwise healthy nails.

Give Your Nails a Massage

Massaging our nails increases blood flow and promotes healthy growth. Use a good lotion, and massage your nails and cuticles. And always apply lotion after washing your hands.

Stay Hydrated

You know that water is good for your skin, but did you know that it also works wonders for your nails? Drink up!

You Are What You Eat

These are words to live by. You can greatly improve the health of your nails by following a good diet.

Go nuts for nuts – walnuts and almonds are chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, which not only protect your heart and improve your brain function, but also improve your nails and keep them from splitting. Just a handful in a salad or stir-fry, or added to your morning cereal can give you a huge nutritional boost that will benefit your nails in a large way.

Make sure, too, to include iron in your diet. It’s essential for healthy nails, and you can find it in whole grains, eggs, dark leafy vegetables, meats and legumes.

You also want to make sure that you’re getting enough protein. Your nails are made up of layers of keratin, which is a protein found in chicken, turkey, egg whites, cold-water fish, lean red meats, and dairy products.

For an additional boost, add flax seeds to your morning cereal. Just a tablespoon gives you 25 grams of protein. Keep in mind that they have to be ground up in order for your body to properly metabolize them.

The Final Word

There are a number of ways to fix damaged nails, but the best way of looking after your nails is to keep them healthy in the first place. So make sure you stay hydrated, and eat the right foods. And when you need to fix up a bit of damage, refer to the tips that we’ve outlined above.

Onychophagia

Practically everyone engages in one type or another of nervous habit when they’re feeling nervous, scared, bored or anxious. One of the most common habits is onychophagia – more commonly known as nail biting.

Who Bites Their Nails?

You might be surprised to know that approximately half of children between the ages of ten and eighteen bite their nails, and many of them carry the behavior through to adulthood. You’ll probably be even more surprised to learn that men are considerably more likely than women to bite their nails. Women, however, are usually more troubled by the habit, since they tend to care a lot more about the appearance of their nails.

Often, nail biting goes hand-in-hand (no pun intended) with other types of nervous behavior, like picking at your skin, sucking your thumb, twisting your hair, grinding your teeth, or picking your nose.

When Does a Habit Become a Disorder?

It’s probably a rare person who hasn’t at one time or another tried to gnaw off a hangnail, or fix up a chipped nail by chewing it when a nail file wasn’t immediately at hand. That’s not the most desirable behavior, but it can often be easily corrected with simple behavior-modification techniques. Nail biting becomes harmful, and slips into the area of psychological disorder, when it gets to the point where you’re biting your nails down to the cuticle, causing pain and bleeding. Essentially, onychophagia is a type of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Why Is Onychophagia so Harmful?

This is a no-brainer – it’s harmful because you’re harming yourself! If you’re biting your nails to the point where you no longer have any cuticles, you’re risking infection and permanent deformity.

What Causes Onychophagia?

The true root cause of onychophagia isn’t really known. Some researchers believe that there might be a biological or genetic component. Some people are, for whatever reason, predisposed to soothing themselves by, paradoxically, inflicting pain on themselves. Essentially, you hurt yourself by biting, and then the brain releases endorphins that make you feel better. That’s why the nail biting goes on and on – you bite, you feel better, you bite again, you feel better again…you get the idea.

People also often bit out of a misguided compulsion to fix imperfections. “These cuticles are so ugly – I’ll just bite them off!” Of course, you never really fix the imperfections; you just make them worse.

How Is Onychophagia Diagnosed?

Most of the time, it’s diagnosed when the biter goes to the doctor and says, “I can’t seem to stop biting my nails.” Other times, a family doctor will flag the condition after noticing the condition of the patient’s nails and cuticles. Often, people don’t seek treatment because the behavior isn’t disrupting their lives all that much – it’s only when the damage becomes so severe that it’s interfering with daily tasks like bathing, washing dishes, using a computer or driving that the sufferer seeks help.

How Is Onychophagia Treated?

There are treatments available. Most of the time, the treatments recommended are the same methods that are used to combat nail biting that hasn’t tipped over into the category of a disorder. Remedies can include bitter-tasting polish, false nails, manicures, wearing gloves, or wearing a rubber band around the wrist that the suffer snaps when the urge to bite hits. If the problem is severe, though, then psychotherapy may be the only option.

Why Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy helps the patient to work through the issues that led to the behavior in the first place, and to find ways to cope with those issues. With cognitive behavioral therapy, the thoughts that motivate a person to bite can be addressed.

Frequently, self-monitoring is a component of psychotherapy. The patient is asked to keep a log of how they’re feeling, and when they have the urge to bite. Sometimes, just the act of stopping to record the feelings can interrupt the process and reduce the biting. Identifying the factors and the moods that trigger the compulsive behavior can help to minimize them, and then the patient can learn behaviors that replace the destructive ones.

Therapists also often encourage what’s known as a “competing response.” This means simply finding other things to do with the hands – the biter might learn how to knit, make jewelry, do needlepoint, or take up woodworking as a means of finding something else to keep his or her hands occupied.

With psychotherapy, many onychophagia sufferers can achieve relief from their symptoms in anywhere from four weeks to a year.

Medication

When psychotherapy fails, anti-anxiety medications may be helpful. Often, the same medications that are used to treat clinical depression (Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil, for example) can work to suppress the compulsive behavior.

Resources

If your nail biting isn’t severe enough to qualify as onychophagia, here are some ways how to stop nail biting:

-Keep a log of when you bite your nails, so you can be aware of what’s triggering the behavior.

-Get manicures to keep your cuticles in good condition.

-Wear gloves whenever you can in order to create a barrier.

-Clench your fists so that your nails aren’t readily available for biting.

-Wear bad-tasting polish.

-Tell yourself regularly, “No biting!”

-Take up a hobby that keeps your hands occupied.

If the need to bite has become so severe that you can’t control it, there are resources that you can turn to that will help you with your compulsive behavior. They are:

The Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation: This is a non-profit organization devoted to educating the public about OCD, and supporting research into OCD and related disorders. Their website is very easy to navigate, so take some time and visit http://iocdf.org/

The National Alliance on Mental Illness: This is an organization that is devoted to enhancing the lives of anyone who has a mental illness or a compulsive disorder. You can visit their website at http://www.nami.org/

The Trichotillomania Learning Center: This is for anyone who is suffering from any type of repetitive behavior that’s harming their body. For help with hair pulling, skin picking, nail biting, and other compulsive behavior, visit http://www.trich.org/treatment/article-related-habits-penzel.html

Living With Anxiety is a website that offers support for anyone who has an anxiety disorder, or who has someone in their life who’s suffering from such a disorder. You’ll find blogs, vlogs and articles, along with links to other resources at http://www.livingwithanxiety.com/

Nail Art Pens

When you stop biting your nails, you can have a lot of fun that before you might never have dreamed possible. You’ve probably envied your friends who were able to decorate their nails using the latest trends in nail art, and now you can do the same.
Okay, let’s stop right here – obviously, this article is going to be directed more toward women, but guys, if you’ve stopped biting and you want to have some fun, there’s no reason why you can’t do this too. If you want. But no one’s making you. OK? OK.

What Is a Nail Art Pen?

It’s obvious. It’s a pen that you use to create nail art. You know, those wonderful little lines, squiggles and dots that you’ve seen on the nails of your friends who stopped biting long before you did. Now you have a chance to join in the fun!
You can get nail art pens at salons, beauty supply stores, or even at Wal-Mart, and they don’t cost a whole lot. Usually anywhere from five to ten dollars each. They’re easy to use, and you don’t have to mess around with brushes, toothpicks, or polish. With a good pen, it’s as simple as drawing a design on your nails, the same as you’d draw on a piece of paper with an ordinary pen.

How to Use a Nail Art Pen

This is so easy your cat could do it if only she had thumbs! Just follow these steps:

-Shake the pen. Make sure you leave the cap on. You’ll hear the cartridges moving around inside the pen, and you should only need to shake it a couple of times.

-Take off the cap. Now, press the pen tip on a hard surface until you see ink at the tip, and you can draw without difficulty. Try out a few dots and lines, and practice until you feel comfortable.

-Apply a clear base coat to your nails and wait for it to dry.

-If you want a background color, use nail polish. Choose a color that will make the colors from the pen stand out. You can also apply directly over the base coat if you like. If you’re using polish, make sure that it’s completely dry before you start using the pen. If you don’t, you could end up smudging or making holes in the polish.

-Get creative! You can use the pen to make dots, or lines, or hearts, or any other shape you like.

-Let your designs dry, and then apply a clear top coat. All done!

 

The Best Nail Pens

There are all kinds of different nail pens out there. Some are good, and others not so good. You can buy them individually or in sets, and sometimes it’s not easy deciding which pens are best. For the beginner, you’re better off with a basic pen – gel pens and 3D pens require a higher level of skill. To help you navigate the purchasing process, we’ve visited the website , www.NailDesignsForYou.com . They’ve reviewed five of the top nail art pens, and we think that we can safely defer to their judgment.

 

Sally Hansen

Sally Hansen is indisputably a leader when it comes to nail care, but where nail art pens are concerned, they just don’t have what it takes. The ink is thin and watery, and hard to apply. They smudge in a huge way when you put on the top coat, and if you try to apply them over the top coat, the ink slides off. It also takes a long time for the ink to dry. On the plus side, they have a huge range of colors, but that doesn’t help much when you can’t use the pen effectively. Some users even reported that the pens exploded and leaked ink all over the place. Not recommended.

 

Nails Supreme Nail Art Pens

These pens are good, but basic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re new to nail art. They’re great starter pens, but treat them gently because the tips seem to have a tendency to break.

 

Rio Professional Nail Art Kit

This is a set of pens in different colors. You’ll also get a brush, a user guide, a DVD, and a sample design chart. The pens are good quality and easy to use. In addition to the basic colors, you can also get them in pastels, neon and metallic. Great for beginners!

 

Models Own Nail Art Pens

This is an extremely good kit that’s easy to use and will help even beginners deliver outstanding, professional-looking results. The polish lasts a long time, but might take a little longer to dry than other pens. Good for beginners and pros alike!

 

Barry M. Nail Art Pens

These are the ultimate nail art pens. They’re even used by professional nail artists. They come in a ton of different colors, and they’re very reasonably priced. They’re so easy to use, it’s just like using a regular pen on our nails. You can draw, make shapes, or write with ease. They come in white, pink, silver and black. The only downside to these pens is that if you don’t shake vigorously before you use them, and make sure to blot on tissue before using, you could end up with a goopy mess. These are ideal for French manicures, and beginners will find them very easy to use.

 

The Final Word

Nail pens are so much fun! So grab yourself one or two, or even a full set, and get to work. You’re only limited by your creativity, and if there’s anything that will prevent you from ever biting your nails again, you can bet that it will be fabulous nail art that you’ve created yourself. Get to work and impress your friends with your great-looking nails.

Dermatillomania

It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Dermatillomania. Try saying that five times fast!
There’s a simpler way of saying it – it’s also known as CSP, or compulsive skin picking. Basically, it’s an impulse control disorder in which the sufferer feels compelled to constantly pick at their own skin. Depending on the severity of the disorder, the damage can be significant.

What Causes Dermatillomania?

If you’re reading this, it may be because in addition to biting your nails (onychophagia), you’re also picking at your skin. The cause isn’t really known, but it’s believed that dermatillomania may be connected to OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and BDD (body dysmorphic disorder).
With dermatillomania, the sufferer constantly squeezes or picks at skin lesions or pimples, and may also do the same with otherwise healthy skin, to the point of causing bleeding, infection, bruising, and even permanent skin damage. It’s a way of relieving anxiety, and that’s why it’s connected with OCD and BDD. It also often goes hand in hand with trichotillomania, which is a disorder in which the sufferer feels compelled to pull out their hair. In fact, about 25% of people who are diagnosed with BDD or OCD also have CSP.

What Are the Symptoms?

Usually, people with CSP pick at their face, but other areas of the body can also be targeted. A CSP sufferer might pick at moles, freckles, acne, or other skin discolorations, or even at perfectly normal skin. Basically, they see defects that no one else does. People with CSP might use their fingernails or teeth, or even pins and tweezers to attack real or perceived skin defects. For reasons that aren’t really known, the problem is often worst in the evening.
People with CSP usually try to hide the effects of their compulsion, in much the same way as other self-mutilators do – by wearing long sleeved clothing and scarves, avoiding wearing shorts or other revealing clothing, or wearing makeup in an effort to hide the damage. Sometimes, the problem is so severe that sufferers simply stay indoors, avoiding going to work or interacting with family and friends. Even when they do go to work or spend time with other people, they may spend a lot of time going to the bathroom to find a private area where they can pick at themselves unobserved. It’s distressing not just for the sufferer, but for the people who care about him or her.

How Is Dermatillomania Treated?

Usually, treatment isn’t even sought until the problem becomes so severe that recurrent picking on the face, scalp, hands, arms, lips or other visible areas becomes noticeable. Then the sufferer’s loved ones insist on treatment. Alternatively, the sufferer actually begins to realize that every time he or she is feeling stressed, there’s an overwhelming urge to scratch or pick, and he or she seeks treatment. Most of the time, the disorder is developed in the teens or early 20s, and it might just seem like an unconscious habit until it becomes uncontrollable.

Unfortunately, when it comes to treatment, most general practitioners are uninformed about the disorder. A lot of the time, a patient ends up being referred to a dermatologist. That’s fine as far as it goes – the dermatologist can recommend treatments that will repair some of the damage. But in the final analysis, most sufferers are going to need to be treated by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Then, cognitive behavioral therapy or habit reversal training is the best method of treatment. The sufferer learns how to identify events and situations that could lead to picking, and also learns how to use other techniques to respond to the triggers. Frequently, this involves keeping a journal that helps the sufferer to identify the times, places, and circumstances that are most likely to trigger the behavior.

Another method of treatment is to help the sufferer replace the picking with another habit. It’s similar to treating nail biting – the bad behavior is replaced with something other that can be done with the hands. Perhaps the patient will take up a hobby like knitting or woodworking. Even playing solitaire can help. Ordinary household tasks like folding laundry or washing dishes can replace the picking. Essentially, the patient says to himself or herself, “I will not pick with my hands. I will use my hands to do something else.” It requires a commitment, and usually at least a year of therapy, but the disorder can be overcome.

Ways to Stop Picking

If you’re picking at yourself and you want to stop, first do what we just suggested – find something else to do with your hands. If you don’t feel that you can do that, then try the following:

-Cover your hands with gloves or oven mitts. Try to keep them on until the urge passes.

-Cover your mirror – if you feel that you look less than perfect, then don’t look at yourself. It’s your perceived imperfection that’s making you pick, so just stop looking.

-Keep your skin clean. The better your skin looks, the less likely you are to pick.

-If your CSP manifests as biting, try having a snack or chewing some gum when you feel the urge to start biting.

-Use false nails. This works for nail biters, and it can work for CSP sufferers as well. Picking when you’re wearing false nails is less enjoyable – you’re not getting the sensation. Also, false nails are thick and unwieldy, so they make it more difficult to pick.

-Apply hand lotion. You’re doing something else with your hands, and also it’s harder to pick when your hands are lubed up.

-Throw away your toys – get rid of your pins, tweezers, and anything else that you’ve been using for picking.

-Use a stress ball or something else that you can hold in your hand that will provide sensory stimulation while keeping your hands busy.

Once you’ve started picking, it’s not easy to stop, but it’s not insurmountable. Understand why you’re doing it, find ways to discourage yourself from doing it, and get help. You can beat this.

 

Causes of Nail Biting

If you asked a nail biter what caused his or her disorder, you’d probably get any number of different responses, from “I do it because I’m stressed,” “I do it because my hands are ugly,” “I just can’t seem to stop and I don’t know why I do it,” to simply a blank stare.

The fact is, no one really knows what causes nail biting. It’s a form of self-mutilation, and it’s closely related to OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and dermatillomania (skin picking). Some researchers believe that it’s connected to body dysmorphic disorder – the same type of cognitive defect that leads anorexics to look in the mirror and see a fat person when the reality is that they’re practically skeletal. It could even be genetic – scientists have actually developed mice that engage in compulsive grooming, leading to bald spots where they’ve pulled out their fur. They did this by deleting a particular gene.

Obsessive-Compulsiveness

Nail biting, whatever the cause, is a repetitive behavior. It’s common in people who display other OCD-like symptoms, and it often runs in families, which lends support to the theory that it could be genetic. It seems that people do it because:

-They feel a need to be soothed. Biting their nails calms them, and reduces  feelings of over-stimulation.

-They need to be stimulated. That’s the paradox – people bite their nails when they feel the need to be soothed, and yet they also do it when they’re feeling bored and need stimulation. It may actually keep them from feeling distracted or bored.

-They want to look perfect. You’ve probably seen people that seem to spend hours looking at their hands. In winter, they may pull their gloves off, examine each finger, put the gloves back on, and then repeat the entire process over and over. Then at some point, they start to bite. And of course, what happens is that their hands end up looking worse, the more they try to fix them.

Essentially, it’s repeating the same behavior constantly, and it invariably just makes ugly nails look even worse.

Pathological Grooming

So, nail biting is essentially OCD behavior that manifests as pathological grooming. That means that normal grooming behavior is totally out of control. Ordinary grooming is driven by a desire to look good. An ordinary groomer will file his or her nails, push back the cuticles, and maybe apply a coat of polish. With a pathological groomer, the journey from identifying a grooming problem to correcting it doesn’t follow the normal channels. A normal groomer says, “I have a hangnail, or a chipped nail. I’d better get out the nail file or the clippers, deal with it, and then go about the rest of my day.” The pathological groomer says, “I have a chipped nail. I am stressed. I’d better bite it off, and then I’ll feel better.” Eventually, the chipped nail isn’t even part of the equation – it’s just “I’m stressed and I’ll feel better if I bite.”

How Does This Differ from True OCD?

OCD sufferers don’t want their compulsions – they’re simply unable to control them. No one likes washing their hands over and over, driving back home from work to make sure that they’ve turned off the stove even though they checked it three times before they left, or torturing themselves with rituals that are designed to ward off bad luck. Pathological groomers, on the other hand, do it because it makes them feel good. You bit off just the right nail in just the right way! Now doesn’t that feel fantastic?

It’s very hard to break a habit that makes you feel good. Think of it this way. If you have OCD, you’re thinking, “I don’t want to bite off my fingernails. But if I do it in just the right way, my mother won’t die of cancer.” If you’re a pathological groomer, you’re thinking, “I don’t want to bite off my fingernails. But I sort of do. It makes me feel good, even though I feel guilty when I do it.”

This is why it’s so much easier to stop biting your nails than to deal with true OCD behavior – you’re not trying to ward off something horrible. That’s why using acrylic nails, wearing gloves, using bitter polish and snapping rubber bands that you’re wearing around your wrist will help you to stop the behavior.

Back to the Mice

So, back to the causes. Remember those mice we talked about? Researchers at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical college discovered that mice that were bred to have a certain genetic mutation were compulsive groomers. Mice that had that mutation groomed to the point where they pulled out all the hair around their eyes. They couldn’t help it. Each and every mouse that was bred with that mutation became a compulsive groomer. They also exhibited signs of extreme anxiety.

Of course, you’re going to say that people are different from mice, and you’re right. But there are similar mutations that appear in people who groom compulsively. The good news is that just because you have that particular mutation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop the behavior.

Further, people who do have the genetic mutation can work to combat it.

You can choose to modify your behavior so that you don’t bite your nails, or you can simply choose to live with the nail biting and say to yourself, “I can’t help it; it’s genetic.” In the final analysis, it’s really up to you. After all, nail biting isn’t going to kill you. And if it’s the worst failing that you have, you’re likely better off than most of us.

The Final Word

You’re reading this because you don’t want to bite your nails. So stop. There’s help out there in the form of support groups, psychotherapy, and all sorts of online resources. The Nail Biter’s Toolkit is a great way to kick-start your journey toward better-looking, healthier nails. You don’t have to be embarrassed anymore by ragged nails and torn cuticles. If you really want to quit biting your nails, don’t obsess over what’s causing the habit, and don’t let genetics stop you.

How to Stop Biting Nails

Nail biting is not a fun habit to have. It’s painful, embarrassing, it makes your nails and fingers look terrible. Then, of course, there’s the fact that you’re ingesting every filthy thing your hands have come into contact with, and opening yourself up to the possibility of getting sick. It’s okay though!  You can quit this habit and regain beautiful nails and the confidence that comes along with it.

So, how are you going to stop? It won’t be easy, but you can do it. It’s probably not going to happen overnight, but with patience and a commitment to change, you can stop. Here are a few strategies that may work for you.

Only Bite When You Really Need To

This sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Of course, if you didn’t feel you needed to, you wouldn’t be biting! But before you shake your head and dismiss the idea, think about this – in Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the things an alcoholic first learns is that it’s “one day at a time.” It’s “Just for today, I won’t drink.” The follow-up to that is, “If I still feel I need to, I can always drink tomorrow.” You can apply this same principle to your nail biting. When the urge hits, just tell yourself, “Not for now. If I still feel the need to bite in ten minutes, I can do it.”

If you do end up biting, remember that it doesn’t make you a bad person. And if you use this method, you may find that the urge passes. Most smokers say that if they don’t give into the urge for a cigarette, the desire for one will usually pass in about ten minutes. It’s the same with nail biting – all you have to do is try to get through ten minutes at a time. You’ll probably find that the more often you just wait, the longer the intervals between the urges to bite will be.

Use Your Hands

No, not for biting! What you’re trying to do here is find a use for your hands that doesn’t involve chewing your nails. For instance, you might try making a fist. Pretty hard to bite your nails when they’re all curled up in the palm of your hand, isn’t it? Or you could use a stress ball – again, the position of your fingers makes it difficult to bite when you’re holding something in your hand.

Use Band-Aids

“But that’s going to look ridiculous!” you’re saying. And yes, it will. People might even ask you what happened to your fingers. Just tell them you were attacked by piranhas, or tell them to mind their own business, whichever works best for you.

The thing is, having Band-Aids on your fingertips doesn’t really look any more absurd than biting your nails. Of course, the Band-Aid solution is just (dare we say it?) a Band-Aid solution. It’s not really going to stop you from biting if you’re determined to do so. But what it will do is slow you down a bit, and make you think about what you’re putting in your mouth. If you’re biting without even really thinking about it, once that plastic hits your mouth, you’re going to get a real, physical reminder of what you’re about to do.

Bad-Tasting Polish

To be completely honest, this isn’t going to work for the hard-core biter. There are all kinds of products out there that you can paint on your nails that taste really nasty, and the idea is that you won’t want to put something that tastes that revolting in your mouth. A lot of confirmed nail-biters, though, report that they’ve gotten used to the taste.

Barriers

You could try wearing false nails. You definitely won’t get the same level of satisfaction from chewing them, even assuming that you can – they’re pretty tough. This is really just a short-term measure, though, and not necessarily the best. If you’re wearing full-cover nails, they will begin to destroy your nail bed. They can even cause fungal growth, and if that happens, your nails are going to look even worse than they do with the biting. Nail art pens could help you make even prettier covers for your nails!

You could wear gloves. If you’re the kind of person who likes making their own fashion statement, this could actually work fairly well. If you prefer to follow the trends, though, you should know that no one has worn gloves other than in cold weather since your great-granny’s day. It’s the same idea as with the Band-Aids – you put your fingers to your mouth, and you go “Hey, that’s not my fingernail!” You’ve gotten your reminder, and if you’re still determined to bite, you just take the gloves off.

Make a Commitment

This is hard. If you’re going to quit biting your nails, you have to be really committed. It’s your promise to yourself, so you have to take it every bit as seriously as if you were swearing on a stack of Bibles. State it firmly to yourself: “I will not bite.” Tell your significant other, your parents, and your friends, “I am not going to bite my nails anymore.” Embroider it on a pillow. Do whatever it takes to make this a very real promise.

Just STOP. Sure, that sounds simplistic, but if you consider this a sacred promise, one that cannot be broken, you’re probably better than halfway to beating the problem.

Know What Makes You Bite

What’s causing you to bite? Are you bored, stressed, depressed, or anxious? Take note of your mood when you feel like biting. If you take stock of your emotions before you start biting, eventually you’ll learn what your triggers are. Then, you avoid them, or take other measures to deal with them. Bored? Go for a walk. Read a book. Surf the Internet – it’s hard to bite when you’re keyboarding. Stressed or anxious? Make yourself some herbal tea, do some yoga, or phone a friend. If you’re feeling down, watch a funny movie or get the gang together for a few drinks and some companionship. Do whatever it takes to avoid biting.

Think!

Try to always be aware of what you’re doing. When you’re zoned out, it’s easy to pick at yourself or bite your nails. So always be present, and focused. Don’t let your mind wander off into all kinds of different areas. If you’re in the moment, and fully aware of what you’re doing, you won’t bite out of habit – it will actually require a conscious decision to bring your fingers to your mouth.

If you find yourself zoning out, one trick you can use is putting a rubber band around your wrist. When you find that your fingers are heading toward your mouth, snap the band. It brings your attention back to what you’re doing. Once you realize what you’re about to do, tell yourself, “I’m not going to bite my nails just now,” and then do something else.

Keep a Nail File Handy

Much of the time, people bite their nails because they see an imperfection – there’s a chip, an uneven edge, or a little too much white showing, and you just feel this overwhelming urge to fix it. If you have a nail file close by, you don’t have to bite. You can just use the file to fix the imperfection. Essentially, you’re replacing a bad habit with a good one.

Get Help

This goes back to that commitment you made to yourself – the promise that you shared with your friends and family. Ask for their assistance. When you’re together, you want them to tell you when they see you beginning to bite. If you’re out in public and don’t want the embarrassment of them telling you in front of other people, work out a signal or a special word that no one else will notice, but that will give you a heads-up as to what you’re about to do.

Get a Manicure

You can do this by visiting a salon, or you can give yourself a manicure at home. The idea is that if you’ve just shelled out serious cash for a salon manicure, you’ll be less inclined to ruin it. And if you’ve spent a couple of hours at home making your nails look good, you won’t want to undo all your hard work. This is also a great opportunity to begin nail repair on those damaged nails.

Make an Investment in Yourself

The Nail Biter’s Toolkit is a great resource for people who’ve tried over and over to stop biting their nails, but can’t seem to manage it. It contains the tools and techniques you need to stop biting your nails once and for all, and it comes with a full money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. You have nothing to lose but the habit you’ve been trying desperately to break.  Also, if you invest in yourself you are more likely to hold yourself accountable to breaking your habit.  In that way, buying the course is in itself an accountability measurement for you to stop nail biting.

Be Good to Yourself

Finally, keep in mind that you didn’t develop this habit overnight, and you’re not going to break it overnight. You’ll possibly slip. When you do, forgive yourself and move on. You can do it!