How to Stop Biting Your Nails and Cuticles!

Updated on May 28, 2018
Source

If you’re like me, you like to nibble. And I don’t mean snacks. I’m talking about fingernails and cuticles.

When you bite your nails and cuticles, you introduce bacteria from your fingers to your mouth, and back again. Any germs on your fingers from a door handle, banister, salad bar scoop, or your coworker’s computer mouse (who you’ve never seen wash their hands) come to rest in your mouth. It’s an ideal way for something to become infected. And infections are never cute.

Also not cute, is an adult with wet fingers, or bloodied fingers, from picking. Think about it. Going on a date? Sitting in a business meeting? Meeting your sweetie’s family? Job interview? First impressions count for a lot. I certainly wouldn’t want to shake hands, or kiss someone, who just had their fingers in their mouth, or who was attempting to surreptitiously press their bloody cuticle against their pants to stop the bleeding. (Don’t pretend you’ve never done this. I’ve been there.) Bottom line: if you want to invite someone to NOT touch you, just bite your nails.

But besides stewing your fingers in pickle juice or having a friend throw something, or squirt you with a water gun every time they catch you nibbling, here are five ways to deter you from snacking on your fingers.

Paint with Denatonium Benzoate

The bitter chemical taste will get stronger as you nibble that nice piece of fingernail, then linger for over half an hour. Ultimately, it will deter you from putting your fingers anywhere near your mouth.

Drinking water won’t help much and brushing your teeth will feel nice, but it won’t do a good job of removing that taste. Paint your nails with it every other day, and be sure not to eat with your fingers. Anything you eat will also be laced with that terribly bitter taste. I learned that the hard way!

Paint with Pretty Colors

The colors don’t have to be bright, especially since drawing attention to half-chewed nails and red, raw fingertips and cuticles look, and can be, unforgivingly painful.

Find a color as close to your skin tone as possible to make your fingers appear longer, or use a universally flattering color like pale ballet pink. Clear works well, too. Men, try buffing your nails instead.

Cover Them Up

If your habit is to pick or nibble at night or while reading in bed, don a pair of sleeping gloves (very thin cotton knit) that will protect those sensitive fingernails from your roving fingers.

If it's cold outside, wear gloves to protect your cuticles from cracking and looking tasty. Better yet, wear gloves even if it's not so cold out. If your friends tease you about your new style, simply tell them with a knowing wink that if they were more glamorous, they would surely understand.

Moisturize Your Cuticles

Moisturized cuticles will be less enticing, and won’t snag on fabric or rip. You will be less likely to pick at them as well.

Cuticle creams and butters are specially made for this purpose, but in a pinch, use a thick water-resistant ointment like Aquaphor, or even a long-lasting lotion that will continually moisturize your skin over time.

Wear a Reminder

It doesn’t have to be a bracelet laden with bells. You are not an animal, after all! But a nice ring will help. When you, and others, see how much more attractive and different your cared-for cuticles look, you will be proud of your hands and more prone to wear jewelry, and others will be more likely to compliment you. And who doesn’t enjoy compliments?

So please take these tips on not biting your nails to heart and be like me, an ex-nail-biter! Save your teeth for eating real food, which although tastes nothing like your nails, does actually taste good.

Before and After Stopping Biting My Nails

Red, raw, stumpy, bumpy, ouchie, horrible looking fingernails and fingers!  This was over a week after stopping. It takes a long time for fingers to heal up.
Red, raw, stumpy, bumpy, ouchie, horrible looking fingernails and fingers! This was over a week after stopping. It takes a long time for fingers to heal up. | Source
About a month into it.  Coming along!
About a month into it. Coming along! | Source
It took two full months, but I have nails now! I'm still battling with cuticles, but it looks like I'm finally winning.
It took two full months, but I have nails now! I'm still battling with cuticles, but it looks like I'm finally winning. | Source

Questions & Answers

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      • theclevercat profile image
        Author

        Rachel Vega 6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Thanks, Marina!

        And the resultant little flecks of polish on one's teeth aren't that attractive either. Lol!

      • Marina Lazarevic profile image

        Marina 6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

        Nice Hub! I myself go through phases. When I paint my [usually mangled] nails, I tend to stop biting them for at least a couple of months. Nail polish doesn't taste so great as it turns out!

      • theclevercat profile image
        Author

        Rachel Vega 6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Biter - Have you tried the gloves?

      • profile image

        Biter 6 years ago

        I have tried and tried and I always seem to go back to a pet finger. Any tips?

      • theclevercat profile image
        Author

        Rachel Vega 6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Nifwl, absolutely! The thing about hand cream is that if by chance I touch paper while waiting for it to absorb, the paper soaks up some of the cream and I can't write with pen on it again. I have quite a little pile of "pencil only" paper on my desk. Ha!

      • nifwlseirff profile image

        Kymberly Fergusson 6 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

        Hand cream with a very strong scent (and bad flavour) works very well for me! But I always forget to use it!

      • theclevercat profile image
        Author

        Rachel Vega 6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Brainy Bunny, thanks! That's what happened with me. I had to be ready. (My impetus was a date.) I tried Mavala Stop! and it tasted so badly I think I pouted for two days.

      • Brainy Bunny profile image

        Brainy Bunny 6 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

        HaHa! I like your photo!

        I tried the chemical stuff on my daughter when she still used to suck her thumb, and it worked great, but only once we got her buy-in. She had to be ready, but when she was, it worked like magic!

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