Biting your nails isn’t just a bad habit that ruins your manis. If it gets really bad and you start doing it all the time, it can lead to serious skin issues. We’re talking infections, inflammation, and leaving your fingernails with ridges and bumps, explains board-certified dermatologist and nail specialist Dr. Chris G. Adigun. She says that if you do it too much, you could end up with scars and permanent damage. Yikes!
The thing is, there are actually two kinds of nail biting. Some people only slip-up sometimes but others have it really bad. Their chronic habit can interfere with their lives and then it becomes a clinical problem, according to Dr. Kieron O’Connor, who studies OCDs. But no matter what kind of nail nibbler you are, you need to stop. Here are some strategies to help all nail biters break the habit, according to the experts.
- Buy a nasty-tasting nail polish – If you mindlessly munch on your nails, a polish that tastes bad can help make you stop, Adigun says. It’ll definitely make you aware of what you’re doing. You can get products like Mavala Stop on Amazon that goes on like clear polish, but has a bitter taste. No worries, though – it’s totally harmless.
- Get a real mani – The American Academy of Dermatology actually suggests this little treat for helping to break the biting habit. The idea is the when pay to have your nails pretty and painted (and you paid for them), you won’t want to ruin them.
- Know your triggers and have a plan – O’Connor says that if you bite when you get nervous, it’s good to figure out what triggers that tension for you. If you notice that you’re more likely to nibble when you’re on a tight deadline, find something else to do with your hands. Come up with what the docs call a “competing action” – like putting your hands on your knees instead of in your mouth when you feel anxious – so you change the way you respond to stress.
- Change Your Expectations – Nail biters tend to be perfectionists, O’Connor explains. And pushing yourself too hard can trigger biting. So take a look at your goals and expectations and make sure they’re realistic. Also make sure you’re giving yourself enough credit and not selling yourself short. The idea behind this is stopping the nail biting before it starts by dealing with the emotions that cause it.
- See a Counselor – If you’ve really given it all you’ve got and you still can’t quit, or you’ve got a medical complication from biting, or if you think some mental health issues could be behind your biting, get some professional help. Talk to your doctor and see what she recommends. With some expert help, you could be breaking this bad habit before too long. You got this!
Source: Women’s Health Magazine