It’s rarely a talked about subject, and neither do we admit it. But let’s face it, nail biting among adults is as common as picking out boogies among children.
Some do it because it’s their default action when put in anxious situations while others just bite nails because it’s a formed habit since childhood.
But aside from the many speculations stated as the reasons why people bite nails, let’s explore facts and the possible ways to help you stop biting your nails.
What is Nail biting?
Nail biting is a psychological body-focused repetitive behavior done by individuals, clinically known as Onychophagia.
It could start as an occasional habit, especially during childhood which most individuals outgrow, but the few who do not, tend to progress to a lifelong habit of self-mutilation that can be difficult to quit.
Additionally, the biting of nails can lead to social behavioral impacts like shame, social withdrawal, embarrassment – causing one to avoid handshakes and stigmatization around friends and family circles.
Why Do People bite their nails?
• Anxiety, stress, and pressure
Common with most nail biters, biting one’s nails could be a nervous habit done in a bid to try and find temporary relief from high-pressure situations, anxiety, and stress.
The action of biting their nails is said to help these individuals to center their thoughts and relax.
During moments of boredom and impatience, nail biters have described that the biting action provides a welcome distraction.
The same goes for moments of intense concentration where one may bite at their nails absent-mindedly to distract themselves.
This habit is often described as a parafunctional activity where one finds the urge to use the mouth whenever they’re not speaking, eating, or drinking.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, people focused on high performance and excellence are apparently more vulnerable to body-focused repetitive disorders (such as nail biting), because they’re really easy to bore or frustrate.
As a result, any reaction to an outcome is often taken out on small things around them, nail-biting being one of the common habits.
Some psychological disorders have been associated with nail biting. This includes ADHD (Attention Hyperactivity Disorder), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) among others.
This is not to say that nail biting is a sure indicator of psychological disorder. Nevertheless, the line is blurred between pathological nail biting and normal nail biting.
5 ways to stop biting your nails
A healthy nail bed with beautiful long or short nails is aesthetic to everyone. On the other hand, nail biting is considered one of the hardest beauty habits to break.
So how can someone who bites nails cheat this habit?
1. Try out nail extensions
Not to take you from 0 to 100 way too fast but in reality, nail extensions are your best bet when you want to break the nail-biting habit. Nail extensions involve the addition of an artificial nail to your nail plate giving you beautiful long/short nails.
Because the nail extensions serve as a hard outer covering, over your natural nail this makes it difficult to reach the nail thus giving you ample time to break off from the biting habit, approximately 2-3weeks before your next visit to the nail salon.
It cannot be ignored that most people become intimidated by the process of getting nail extensions since a lot of options exist out there. However, because at Luxe Nails Parlour we receive different clients with distinct needs, your manicurist will recommend you the best option to match your preference.
Stick On/Express Nails
This is when the artificial nail is glued on the whole nail plate up to the cuticle line. Popularly known as ‘bandika’ by Kenyans. See pricing here.
Acrylic Tip Overlay
The artificial nail extension is applied close to the tip of the nail plate, blended, then an overlay of acrylic liquid and powder is applied on top.
Gel Nail Tips
The artificial nail extension is glued at the tip of the nail plate, blended in, and then an overlay of hard gel which is cured under a UV lamp is applied.
Acrygel Tip overlay
The artificial nail extension is put at the tip of the nail plate, blended in, an overlay of hard gel is applied and powder is poured on the nail then cured under a UV lamp.
Check out our nail extension prices here.
2. Nail biter polish
There’s an endless list of brands manufacturing polishes and products designed to help nail biters quit the habit. This deterrence tactic prevents one from gnawing at their nails by incorporating bitter non-harmful ingredients.
When ingested (most have a bitter taste) it is not harmful to the body but acts as a reminder to not bite at one’s nails.
3. Replace the habit
They say it takes about 21 days to break a habit. So if you can keep your nails inaccessible for three weeks or even more, any anxiety experienced along this course of time will not end up costing your nails.
Alongside this, you can find something else to serve as a distraction if you bite your nails for this reason.
Chewing gum or getting a stress ball or a fidget spinner may also help in keeping you preoccupied with your nails.
4. Wean yourself off your nails
Similar to how smokers reduce the frequency or number of cigarettes, pick a nail or two that you will intentionally commit to not chewing at.
Slowly building mental resilience will have you off your nails in due time all while cultivating discipline!
5. Identify and curb your triggers
Nail biting is often a reaction to something. These triggers are what prompt individuals to chew at their nails.
Hence once you identify your trigger, work to engage in less destructive behaviors such as meditation which could help in slowly stopping you from biting your nails.
Nail biting is a common issue and it is only by understanding the why and how that one may begin to truly break this oral parafunctional activity. Proper nail care and treatment gives your nails a break from the harmful effects of nail-biting and also a chance for your nails and cuticles to heal and grow.
Therefore to effectively put a stop to biting your nails and for a chance of healthy nails and cuticles start with a monthly visit to a nail salon. Not only will you have an expert take care of your damaged nail bed, nails, and cuticles, but the money spent will probably be a motivation to quit nail biting.
After your mani-pedi include the Luxe Calming Cuticle Treat blend which is specially formulated to take care of hangnails, bitten nails, and inflamed cuticles and of course moisturize the nails and cuticles improving the general health of your nails
Ps. Nail biting may be a sign of a more serious psychological or emotional problem that might need a doctor’s intervention so if you have tried to quit and the problem persists consult a specialist.