Why do people bite their nails? 

even if you ‘re not one to bite your nails, chances are you credibly know person who does. According to child, adolescent, and adult psychologist Gauri Khurana, M.D., MPH, cliff-hanging is a self-soothing demeanor, fair like hair pulling and skin pick. “ These body parts are easy to access, and results are broadly not easily visible to others, ” she says. “ The most common reason why people bite their nails is to self-soothe when they are athirst, bored, frustrated or working on unmanageable tasks. ” basically, cliff-hanging is one of those undesirable habits that we do n’t even know we are doing most of the time. According to Khurana, cliff-hanging behaviors can start in childhood, and some research even suggests that it may be genetic. But it ‘s not certain whether this character of demeanor is learned and imitated or a built-in congenital sport .

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Is nail-biting bad? 

The jury is still out on this one. A little nibble here or there is n’t harmful, but if you ‘re gnawing away until your nails are bitty nubs, infections are decidedly possible. “ chronic cliff-hanging, besides called onychophagia, can damage the skin around the nails and the pinpoint themselves, ” says board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Jow Libby, M.D. “ It can besides increase your risk of bacterial pinpoint infections, which can be crimson, painful, conceited and much require antibiotics to treat. ” not to mention, hands and nails themselves are frequently more germ-infested than we think, so biting your nails or the hide around the nails can transfer a swerve of germs into your sass, increasing your risk of virus and early infections. Yikes.

8 tips to stop nail-biting.

If you ‘re person who wants to turn around their habits, these expert tips can help :

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1.

Identify the triggers.

Sounds elementary, but when you ‘re trying to break a habit, the first step is to identify the induce. If you can pinpoint what causes you to bite your tips, you can aim to put yourself in different situations that help you to avoid the habit. Avoiding these triggers, or finding a way to manage them, can help you keep cliff-hanging to a minimal, Libby says. If your picking habit is a conscious demeanor that happens when you experience acute negative emotions, “ try to understand that something is affecting you in the here and now that needs to be released, ” says Michaela Chatzimanoli, a clinical psychologist at SkinPick.com. “ Bring your attention to your soundbox, then breathe in deeply through your nose and breathe out lento through your mouth, allowing this liberation to happen in a different, more caring way. ”

2.

Keep your hands busy.

It ‘s closely impossible to bite your nails if your hands are at employment. Khurana suggests adopting another comforting behavior that uses your hands. “ This can include reading, knitting, crafts, or petting an animal, or a variety of family tasks. ” bonus : You may find that your cliff-hanging decreases and your productiveness increases. That ‘s a win-win in our book .

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3.

Wear gloves or mittens.

While this is n’t possible in every situation, sporting gloves makes cliff-hanging, well, impossible. Khurana says evening if you ca n’t wear them all day long, wearing them during nerve-racking situations or even bore circumstances can help reduce cliff-hanging tendencies. At the very least, try and create a physical barrier—like wearing a bind over the cuticles you tend to pick. “ If something is covered, then it ‘s heavily to access, and when you try to get to them but ca n’t, that ‘s enough time for you to think, Oh, I should n’t be doing this, ” says Amy Wechsler, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and psychiatrist. “ sometimes my patients will be walking around with lots of Band-Aids, but it ‘s the only way to heal things. ”

4.

Keep your nails short.

“ If you keep your nails short, you ‘ll have less complete to bite, and it can be less tantalizing, ” Libby says. To make things easier for you, make a routine of clipping or grooming your nails regularly to avoid temptation. And if you want to find a nail form that works best for yours, see our guide to nail shapes here .

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5.

Apply a foul-tasting polish.

Both Libby and Khurana agree that applying a bitter-tasting nail polish can besides be a deterrent. These polishes can be purchased over the counter and often do n’t have color, for those who do n’t like wearing polish. You ‘ll think doubly ahead nibbling on your tips now.

6.

Chew gum or eat mints.

If biting your nails is more of a mouth bowel movement that you desire, keep your sass busy. Reach for a delicious chewing gumwood or mints that will keep you busy for a few moments at a time. These things are cheap and slowly to pop in your mouth no count where you are.

7.

Try a mouth guard. 

Khurana suggests trying a mouth guard duty or servant to make it more difficult to bite down. This is another hypnotism that may be best practiced in the comfort of your base but can help eliminate the desire to chew away at your fingernails when you ‘d be most likely to do indeed.

8.

Contact an expert. 

If you ‘ve experienced an contagion in your clamber or nails from biting, Libby suggests contacting your local dermatologist for an evaluation. Your dermatologist can help guide you in a direction to not merely treat the infection but can besides help to give suggestions on how to eliminate biting all in all. “ If person is maiming themselves, scarring themselves, having multiple bouts of infections, and still ca n’t stop pick, then that ‘s a problem. There ‘s a positive feedback loop in your brain that has to be broken, ” says Wechsler. In these cases, a more significant interposition may be needed, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy ( CBT ). In across-the-board terms, CBT involves working with a practitioner to identify the thoughts you ‘re having while picking or engaging in any undesirable behavior and replacing them with healthier thoughts. “ But it only works if you ‘re motivated, ” says Wechsler. To find a therapist, search the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused repetitive Behaviors ‘ database.

How to keep hands looking healthy.

When you bite your nails, you may find yourself self-conscious about your hands and tips. here ‘s how you can keep the nails and skin polished :

1.

Get a manicure.

regular manicures can offer you incentives not to nibble aside. If salon visits are n’t an option, you can get a salon-grade feel at home, and it ‘s actually much easier than you might think. seriously, with a few steps, you can achieve a dressed, uninfected look—see our manicure lead here.

2.

Apply a hand cream.

postbiotic hand cream

rich even fast-absorbing formula that nourishes your microbiome Keep dry hands hydrated with a limber bridge player cream. When your skin is moisturized, the hands simply look better. “ It ‘s essential to moisturize deoxyadenosine monophosphate often as potential to restore those lipids and encourage the regrowth of healthy bacteria, or your microbiome, ” board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., says. It ‘s specially significant after washing your hands or taking a shower : A full cream can seal in that linger body of water, restore your peel ‘s lipids, and prevent transepidermal water passing. That said, grab a butter-thick stop consonant and slather it on whenever your paws need a shoot of moisture. And for those wonder : Yes, you can find a dense cream that does n’t make your hands excessively greasy. A mix of hydrators and rich butters ( think aloe vera paired with shea butter ) can keep a cream fast-absorbing while locking in moisture. Bonus points if your cream contains comfort ingredients known for their anti-inflammatory properties ( oat comes to mind ), as dry, crack up hands can quickly feel uncomfortable and itchy. See hera for our favored hand creams for dry peel.

3.

Keep a nail file on hand.

If you incidentally start biting midday—it happens ! —just file any jagged tips off to keep hands looking fresh. You ‘ll want to be certain not to “ saw ” with your charge, which can be heavily on the nail, but alternatively gently buff the pinpoint moving in one direction.

The takeaway.

Biting nails is wholly common—so do n’t stress if you have the habit. But it ‘s besides worth it to try and stop thus you do n’t open your skin up for infection.

postbiotic hand cream

rich yet fast-absorbing convention that nourishes your microbiome

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