Avatar image for angre_leperkan439
#1 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (369 posts) -

Hello folks.

I've been struggling with chewing my nails as a nasty habit since I was a little kid. I have difficulty controlling myself, and I chew on my nails due to boredom, stress, hunger, etc. I recently decided that I wasn't going to chew my nails anymore. I've since reduced the amount of nail chewing I've done; whenever I got the urge, I'd trim my nail with a nail cutter.

Unfortunately, recently the urge to chew has come back stronger. I chewed up two of my nails in the past day or two, and I'm afraid I'm going back into the habit.

My question is if anybody has any suggestions or tips that would help me reduce my nail biting? Bitterant is not an option, I refuse to put that on my fingers. I've tried chewing gum before, but that option doesn't work for me cuz I honestly don't like gum at all.

Any tips you fine folks might have would be awesome. Thanks in advance :)

Avatar image for coafi
#2 Posted by Coafi (1520 posts) -

Apply poison on them.

Avatar image for bibamatt
#3 Posted by bibamatt (1129 posts) -

I have this problem too. I bite my nails REALLY badly, particularly when I'm driving(?!).

Avatar image for milkman
#4 Edited by Milkman (18904 posts) -

I have this same problem. It gets the worst when I'm sitting in a class or something just listening (or "listening") to someone speak. I find the best solution for me is to just keep my hands busy somehow. As long as I'm writing or typing or just fiddling with something (insert dick joke here), I don't have the urge to bite them.

Avatar image for angre_leperkan439
#5 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (369 posts) -

I stopped biting them a few weeks back and let them grow out. The way I did this was, the first day I recorded the amount of times I put my fingers in my mouth (either to chew on the tip of my finger, which I do sometimes, or the nail itself). Then, each day from then on, I made it my goal to reduce the amount of times I bit it by one. It helped me get started, but now I'm starting to relapse :[

Avatar image for banefirelord
#6 Posted by BaneFireLord (3168 posts) -

If you don't mind potentially having to field some awkward questions, put varnish on them. It tastes terrible and should do the trick.

Avatar image for egg
#7 Posted by egg (1667 posts) -

wear gloves

Avatar image for mandude
#8 Edited by mandude (2824 posts) -

Take up smoking.

Any time you feel the urge to bite your nails, light up a cigarette instead.

Avatar image for wicked_wumpus
#9 Posted by Wicked_Wumpus (202 posts) -
@mandude said:

Take up smoking.

Any time you feel the urge to bite your nails, light up a cigarette instead.

This. Then when you come back for more advice we'll tell you to try chewing your nails instead.

Avatar image for nekusakuraba
#10 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7812 posts) -

If you care about hygiene, try remembering that biting your nails is worse than licking a toilet seat. If you don't care about hygiene, rub shit under your nails.

Avatar image for bourbon_warrior
#11 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4569 posts) -

Pull out your fingernails

Avatar image for rpgee
#12 Posted by rpgee (775 posts) -

I somehow mustered the power of will to just stop doing it one day, and I haven't really turned back. Two suggestions:

  1. Try going cold turkey on it. If you don't bite them, stop yourself and keep an iron will about it, you should eventually not feel like you need to any more. It's just like giving up anything, I suppose, it'll take time and be annoying. Alternatively:
  2. Bite your nails so much that you start getting ingrowns and start bleeding out of the end of your fingertips to the point where you can't pick anything up properly. That's incentive, if nothing else is.

Stay strong, my brother!

Avatar image for web_war4
#13 Posted by WEB_War4 (115 posts) -

I bought some pricey German steel nail clippers and basically stopped biting my nails with that. I was able to keep them nice and curved with no hangnails, which was my main motivation to bite. My thinking was, I'll buy a pricey clipper set and keep that with me to cut whatever I would have bit before.

Avatar image for zleunamme
#14 Edited by Zleunamme (919 posts) -

As long as your finger nails don't rip off easily and puss drips out when applying pressure to your fingers. You'll be okay.

No Caption Provided

Avatar image for cclemon36
#15 Edited by cclemon36 (195 posts) -
Avatar image for granderojo
#16 Posted by granderojo (1899 posts) -
No Caption Provided

Avatar image for virago
#17 Posted by Virago (2566 posts) -

The trick is to repattern. Just like any habit, you have to make a conscious effort to switch to a new response, and slowly the old habit subsides. Since you've been doing it for awhile, it'll take some time. Since it's a hand to mouth issue, try chewing gum, small candies, rubbing your lips together while tapping your fingers plus deep breaths - anything that uses hands and mouth simulataneously but not touching. Then you can step back to just mouth or just fingers (pencil twirling, nail cleaning, bubble-gum-blowing) until you ween yourself off.

Avatar image for shockd
#18 Posted by ShockD (2487 posts) -

Apply bitter nail polish at the tips of the nails.

Avatar image for angre_leperkan439
#19 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (369 posts) -

Lol, I really don't wanna use bitterent or anything. It's weird, I actually haven't really chewed my nails at all other than one time where I slipped up and bit my nail. Most of the time I clip my nails before they get long enough to chew, and that's really helped. Plus I had a friend comment and say she was proud of me for not chewing my nails, so that made me a little more determined not to chew them.

Now I just hafta work to stop chewing my cuticles and tips of my fingers. Not as serious, but I chew the shit outta them :/

Avatar image for krullban
#20 Edited by Krullban (1471 posts) -

@rpgee said:

I somehow mustered the power of will to just stop doing it one day, and I haven't really turned back. Two suggestions:

  1. Try going cold turkey on it. If you don't bite them, stop yourself and keep an iron will about it, you should eventually not feel like you need to any more. It's just like giving up anything, I suppose, it'll take time and be annoying. Alternatively:
  2. Bite your nails so much that you start getting ingrowns and start bleeding out of the end of your fingertips to the point where you can't pick anything up properly. That's incentive, if nothing else is.

Stay strong, my brother!

I've been doing number 2 so much that when I bleed, it doesn't even hurt anymore, and it really makes me angry, and I want to stop.

Avatar image for fredchuckdave
#21 Posted by Fredchuckdave (10106 posts) -

I bite my nails to trim them but rarely do so with any frequency thereafter; occasionally I do this in front of people and am amused that it makes me seem as though I was nervous when I actually wasn't; an interesting way to fuck with people.

Avatar image for panvixyl
#22 Posted by panvixyl (337 posts) -

CUT OFF YOUR FUCKING FINGERTIPS

Avatar image for manu_fan10ne
#23 Posted by ManU_Fan10ne (688 posts) -

This.

And on a more humorous note, this:

@panvixyl said:

CUT OFF YOUR FUCKING FINGERTIPS

Avatar image for blu3v3nom07
#24 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4378 posts) -

Dip them in Tabasco.

Avatar image for crusader8463
#25 Posted by crusader8463 (14757 posts) -

Stick the ends of your fingers in your bum and don't wash them off. Every time you put them to your mouth to bite you will smell the poop and turn away.

Avatar image for demoskinos
#26 Posted by Demoskinos (17318 posts) -

Dip them in Tabasco.

That would just make your fingers delicious tasting. Id just want to put them in my mouth more.

Avatar image for fox01313
#27 Posted by fox01313 (5194 posts) -

Clear fingernail polish works at least long enough to break the habit.

Avatar image for enigma777
#28 Posted by Enigma777 (6283 posts) -

Paint your nails with chili oil. Worked wonders for me.

Avatar image for uitdetoekomst
#29 Posted by UitDeToekomst (799 posts) -

i knew a kid in high school who had a major problem with nail-biting. His mother ended up wrapping Scotch tape around his fingertips to keep him from chewing on them. I suppose mentioning this could be considered advice if you don't go out in public much.

Avatar image for icemael
#30 Edited by Icemael (6857 posts) -

I've never been a nail chewer, but I did use to pick them for many years. Then, after over a decade of doing it, I stopped. At first I had no idea why, as I hadn't made an effort to stop and didn't even realize that I no longer did it until I noticed that for the first time in ages my nails had grown long enough that I actually needed to use a nail clipper on them. Later I realized that what had happened was I had started drumming with my fingers, and as the drumming increased my nail picking decreased. So I guess that's one way of going about it: replacing the habit with something else (don't know if it'll be as effective if you try to do it consciously).

One of my older brothers also used to bite or chew his nails in his youth, don't remember which. Our dad made him wear gloves for a week, which actually worked.

Avatar image for blu3v3nom07
#31 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4378 posts) -

@blu3v3nom07 said:

Dip them in Tabasco.

That would just make your fingers delicious tasting. Id just want to put them in my mouth more.

No Caption Provided

Well then, put them in here!

Avatar image for ducksworth
#32 Posted by Ducksworth (671 posts) -

This tobasco/chilli on the fingers sounds like a bad idea. I'm sure at one point you'll forget that you have it on your fingers and do something like rub your eyes.

Avatar image for vivek
#33 Posted by Vivek (651 posts) -

@angre_leperkan439: Pressure points are the answer. I used to chew on my nails all day and then I stopped after realising that if I press the tip of my index finger and thumb together the irritation to chew my nails goes away.

Also make a rule of not putting your hands near your face. Its bad for your skin (dirty hands, clean face) and also shows a sign that you are unconfident whether you mean to or not.

Like any subconscious habit, the best way is will power and making yourself aware when you are doing it.

Avatar image for video_game_king
#34 Posted by Video_Game_King (36564 posts) -
"Try cutting your hands off."

Avatar image for bestusernameever
#35 Edited by BestUsernameEver (5026 posts) -

@coafi said:

Apply poison on them.

Avatar image for canteu
#36 Posted by Canteu (2968 posts) -

Weird. I've always bitten my nails simply to keep them short. Don't think I've used nail clippers in my life, but I've never had problems with biting them due to boredom or having them hurt or whatever.

Avatar image for smilingpig
#37 Posted by SmilingPig (1370 posts) -

Here is a graphic representation of what you can do to stop your nasty habit...or too had taste to it anyway.

No Caption Provided

Avatar image for angre_leperkan439
#38 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (369 posts) -

Haha, your guy's suggestions are awesome.

An update; I still chew on them occasionally, but for the most part I clip them before I bite part of the nail off. That, for me, is improvement. I haven't seen much improvement in the appearance of my nails unfortunately, since I clip them when they're long enough for me to chew on (which isn't very long)

For any still struggling; lots of good tips, it honestly just takes a strong will. The times I find myself chewing on them is when I'm distracted, such as watching TV. So make sure to pay attention during those times and you'll fix the issue.

Avatar image for intro
#39 Posted by Intro (1270 posts) -

I do it too, but I don't care to stop and I'm not worried about it.

Much harder to quit than smoking tobacco, for me.

Avatar image for apparatus_unearth
#41 Posted by Apparatus_Unearth (3668 posts) -

@panvixyl said:

CUT OFF YOUR FUCKING FINGERTIPS

Solved.

Avatar image for t1000
#42 Posted by T1000 (46 posts) -

Chew some gum.

Avatar image for xyzygy
#43 Posted by xyzygy (10595 posts) -

I have this problem too. My nails are freakish, I've never seen another person with nails as bad as mine. Ever. I do it when I'm watching a show or when I'm nervous. I've been doing it ll my life so my nails kind of grew in really fucked.

Avatar image for sanity
#44 Posted by Sanity (2145 posts) -

They drew first blood, let em have it.

Avatar image for angre_leperkan439
#45 Posted by Angre_Leperkan439 (369 posts) -
@dudy80 said:

They drew first blood, let em have it.

Are you implying I go on a rampage and shoot my nails? I have no desire to be locked up in prison till America needs a hero to fights commies, sir; no idea how long I'll be in prison for.