How To Stop Biting Your Nails — For Good

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How to Stop Biting Your Nails

If there’s one trait that I’m known for, it’s my long nails. Straight up, they look like a cat’s claw. When people see them, they often assume they’re fake (they’re not!). They’re a source of pride for me, and because of it, I take a huge amount of pride in their upkeep. 

With nails as long as mine, it’s not uncommon to hear people ask how I manage to keep my claws intact. The biggest question I get? It’s asking how to stop biting nails and let them grow out. Speaking as a “nailer,” these are the best tips I can offer, especially for those who have a nail biting habit.

RELATED: 16 Struggles Only Chronic Nail-Biters Will Understand

1. First, figure out what causes you to bite your nails.

Like any other habit, there’s often a reason why you started biting your nails in the first place. In many cases, getting rid of the habit’s cause will prevent you from continuing it.

Do you do it because you have an oral fixation, or because you’re nervous? By taking away triggers, you’ll find it easier to stop biting your nails.

2. Chew gum.

Keep your mouth busy and you’ll find yourself in a much better position. I’ve seen former nail biters chew up gum when they get the urge, and also give celery a nibble if they want to avoid biting down on their fingers.

3. Learn a little more about the effects of nail biting.

When you actually find out about all the infections and bacteria that come with nail biting, you’ll be shocked. It’s gross. Really gross. If you’re the type of person who gets grossed out fairly easily, then a good way to make yourself stop biting your nails is to just read up on that stuff.

4. Get (and use) a nail file.

Sometimes, it’s not necessarily the need to chew or quell anxiety that causes people to bite their nails. It could also be due to a texture issue — your nails keep snagging on something and you need to bite the rough parts to try to smooth things out. A nail file can work wonders if this is the issue you have.

5. Use specialty nail polish.

Did you know they actually make foul-tasting nail polish specifically for people who want to stop chewing their nails? It’s true, and it can help you quit the habit. A single bottle of Super Nail Bite-No-More polish will cost about $4 at a local beauty supply store.

RELATED: 15 Ways To Make Your Manicure Last — And Get Your Nails To Grow Fast!

6. Or, you could try to splurge on a nice manicure.

You know what helped my friend overcome her nail biting habit? Going to the manicurist and getting gel nail polish manicures. It’s a splurge, but hear my out.

When you have to pay $25 dollars or more on your nails and will find yourself shelling out $10 to fix a broken one, you’ll really think twice about biting them. If you really want to avoid chewing up your nails, go for acrylics. After one of those breaks, you’ll never want to bite down on your nails again, I promise you!

7. Wear gloves.

Another classic way to avoid chomping your claws away is to wear gloves whenever you can. It’s not necessarily the most realistic thing you can do, but it definitely can help during the fall and winter months.

8. Make a conscious effort to just say no.

You know how some people just have the willpower to say enough is enough? If you are the type of person who has that level of discipline, it may be wise for you to just tell yourself no whenever you start looking at your hands.

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9. Start trying other ways to keep your hands busy.

When you’re trying to break a compulsive habit like nail biting, distraction and diversion are your best friends. The more you distract yourself from those bad habits, the less you’ll even think of biting your nails. I’d suggest getting a fidget toy or a puzzle to help you out, if you’re really struggling to keep your hands busy.

10. Consider getting an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Believe it or not, nail biting might not be as innocuous a habit as it appears to be. Some studies indicate that nail biting could be indicative of a more serious underlying psychological condition, such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. If you believe you might have an underlying condition that’s keeping you from a healthier lifestyle, it might be a wise idea to talk to a professional.

11. If all else fails, cut your nails short.

If you really, truly can’t help the satisfying feeling of biting your nails and pulling, consider cutting your nails short. No long nails mean you won’t end up feeling as much satisfaction when you bite.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she's drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats. You can follow her @bluntandwitty on Twitter.