Do you still bite your nails? This horrible childhood habit sometimes carries over into adult life, making those neglected hands an unappealing “first impression.” Note these effective tips to leave nail biting behind.
How to stop biting your nails?
When it comes to a mild disorder, it is not necessary to give it much importance, especially during early childhood. Although it is not superfluous to try to get the little ones to get rid of this mania, it is normal for them to stop biting their nails. Far more worrisome is nail biting in the stages of obsessive-compulsive disorder that requires professional help.
Whatever, nail biting is a bad habit that, with a little patience and a few tricks, can be eradicated. Also remember that getting rid of any bad habit is a long distance race, so don’t get discouraged if you see that in the first few weeks you still want to put your hands in your mouth and treat yourself. nails.
Take note of these suggestions that will help you stop eating your nails and make nail biting a thing of the past:
As in any dishabituation process, strength of will is the first and most important step in stopping nail biting. Be patient and strong because the reward will be worth it. Follow the tips below to help you have more willpower.
2. Occupy your mind
Try to be aware of when you bite your nails to try to avoid it. For example, take a crossword or a sudoku and occupy your mind while you search for the solution, but don’t nibble on the pencil.
3. Evacuate anxiety
Onychophagia is linked, in most cases, toanxietyso you should avoid taking stimulantssuch as coffee, tea, caffeinated soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, etc.
4. Use substitutes
When you feel like biting your nails, look for a quick and healthy substitute. For example, you can take a sip of water or have a healthy snack, or if you don’t have anything healthy to eat, try deep breathing or singing your favorite tune.
5. Wash your hands
When we put our hands in our mouths, we can make it easier for harmful organisms to enter our bodies.. Always keep your hands very clean, and if you feel like eating your fingernails, run to the bathroom; having to wash your hands all the time can make your cravings go away.
6. Keep your nails healthy
Use good nourishing hand cream and nails or apply a good oil (olive, rosehip, almond oil, etc.). It is important that your nails are in good health which prevents them from breaking and avoids making you want to chew them to adjust them.
7. Have a nail file always available
Always keep a nail file handy. If you see that your nails are well cared for, it will discourage you from destroying them with your mouth. In addition, filing them will give you a soothing moment and you will forget the urge to bite them.
8. A bit of polish…
Paint your nails with trendy colors or, if your wallet allows it, go to a specialist for a manicure, will you then ruin your new look and throw away the money for the appointment with the beautician by biting your nails? At first, your bitten varnished nails will look a little strange, but as soon as they grow without biting, they will be very pretty.
9. Special anti-onychophagia gels
In the pharmacy there are special gels with a completely unpleasant taste. Every time you’re tempted to bite your nails, the taste of the gel will make you think twice and your cravings will gradually fade away. Apply this transparent enamel daily and, once a week, remove it with your usual nail polish remover and repeat until the onychophagia disappears.
10. Homemade gel
If you prefer a home remedy, rub your nails with garlic or chili. The result is almost the same as with pharmacy gels, but cheaper. (Force more on the pepper than on the garlic so as not to bother your neighbors with the smell. On the other hand, avoid rubbing your eyes!
11. Wear gloves
An ally against onychagia are gloves. In winter, you can’t miss this trick that will prevent you from putting your fingers in your mouth and, in summer, you can choose to wear latex gloves at home (with a good moisturizer or nutrient cream so as not to overdry your hands). If you don’t dare leave the house with these gloves, you can decide to put on plaster or white clay on the tips of your nails to prevent biting your nails.
12. Opt for false nails
You can glue false nails, either at home with the dozens of kits that exist, or at a professional and choose the one that suits you best (gel, porcelain, etc.). These false nails will cover your broken nail and with their hardness, prevent you from biting them.
13. Take it step by step
If you find that the effort is too much, try breaking your goal down into smaller steps. For example, stop biting your thumbs first; when you see how much they improve, it will encourage you to stop nibbling the rest of your fingers gradually.
But what exactly is nail biting?
Although it is said that the face is the mirror of the soul, many people claim that the hands are like a second mirror. Body language pushes us to show them to accompany what we say, much more so in certain cultures which make them a sign of identity. It’s so hard to hide your hands if for some reason you don’t want to show them. For example, if we suffer from onychophagia.
Behind this complicated word which originates from ancient Greek, onukhos (nail) and –phageshides a fact so daily that it is not uncommon to see someone around us, or perhaps ourselves, doing it every day: we bite our nails. It’s a ” obsessive compulsive tic to which we should give no less importance, especially when the years pass and this habit persists.
Although it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of the number of people with onycophagia, because it is a disorder that does not require the consultation of a doctor and is therefore not included in official statisticsit is estimated thatabout 30% of children aged four to ten tend to bite their nails. The origin of this habit is usually that of imitation, since in its environment there can be several people who bite their nails on a regular basis.
This bad habit, however, has the highest percentages during adolescence, because up to 50% of young people tend to eat their fingernails (hands and feet), a figure that decreases from the age of 18.
However, onycophagia does not disappear in adulthood, so much so that more than 15% of the population over the age of 18 maintains this bad habit, even if, in certain cases, it does it only punctually and when it crosses more complex moments of the life. In addition, in adulthood the scale is clearly tilted towards the male side, since it is usually men who keep this bad habit when they get older, while in children it is distributed at 50%.
Causes of nail biting
mild onycophagia, which begins at a young age, is usually caused by the simple repetition of a habit by the parents or the environment closest to the children. This imitation is added, later, to the feeling of a certain calm which leads to the fact of concentrating while biting one’s nails. to overcome a situation that generates anxiety, nervousness, fear, tension or anxiety.
However, over the years, this fact is associated with more and more situationsnot just negative, and a person may end up just biting their nails out of boredom or because his hands are near his mouth.
In adulthood, onycophagia usually disappears, since we learn to better control these compulsive acts or because they are replaced by other types of relaxing actions, some much more dangerous such as tobacco or alcohol.
However, the causes of onycophagia can be more significant in nature and become a more serious disorder that requires specialist help.which will determine whether it is a case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (TOC or TIC) that requires professional treatment to eliminate it. In this case, the most common reason is that this emotional imbalance is linked to a severe image of anxiety and self-esteem issueswhich can even be accompanied by other mental pathologies linked, for example, to weight control, such as bulimia.
Consequences of nail biting
For many people, biting their nails only has aesthetic consequences. In addition to seeing the nails eaten and with a neglected appearance, the fact of biting your nails can lead to lesions in the cuticles and deformities in the growth of the nailssince, by gnawing, the layers are broken and the growth is uneven.
However, aesthetic problems are not the only damage that can be caused by onycophagia.. In this sense and with it, we find people who suffer from psychological discomfort, because their hands in general, and their nails in particular, are in such poor condition. Showing sloppy hands tends to embarrass people with nail biting, a fact that can be augmented if you’re job hunting, and is that the impact of disastrous fingernails can subtract (unofficially) several points. to a good CV.
Onychophagia can also cause paronychiaa painful bacterial infection which usually begins with the appearance of an ingrown toenail. Typically, it manifests as swelling and redness of the skin around the nail, but if it becomes chronic, it can lead to more serious health issues.
Nail biting can even lead to jaw disorders and dental problemsas’tooth or enamel wear due to the repeated action of the occlusion.
Therefore, if you suffer from nail biting, now is the time to take it seriously and take action to correct it.