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I've been biting my nails for as long as I can remember. I think it started in elementary school because I was a military brat and moved schools a lot. I was always the new kid, and was often bullied. I remember my mom putting mustard on my nails to get me to stop. It was disgusting but didn't make me stop. In adulthood, I've used gel nails on and off. When I have them, I still sometimes bite those, but I try hard not to because once they break, I have to go back to the salon. Right now, I'm trying another gel nail free period. My nails were pretty strong after a while. Then one breaks, and I start the biting again.

Can I ever have strong, pretty nails? I so want to. Is there anyone here who kicked the nail biting habit once and for all? If so, I'd love to hear from you.

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Hiya!

First off, I guess I'd wanna look into the possibility that my nail biting was caused by some sort of stress or something I could learn to cope with. You know, what you're gonna about it depends on whether it's caused by stress, habit, or something else, like OCD and ADHD.

If you think it's just a habit at this point, there's some things you might like to try to get out of that habit. How about cut your nails short so nothing's in the way physically and they don't tear. I know I bite my nails when they tear or have hooks and things. You could try one of them special nail varnishes against nail biting too. They just taste bad, which should help you remember not to do it. You could also try finding another oral habit. I got a friend who uses an adult dummy, no kidding. She started it to quit smoking.

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Nail biting — no matter what anyone says, we all do it occasionally. Some do it because they're stressed, others because they're bored, others because they have really breakable nails, and for some it's just habit as well.

Because nail biting can harm your health, stopping it is important. Whether you just bite your nails or you go for the cuticles too, your nails can start bleeding and can become infected as bacteria find their way in through the little wounds you create. When you think of it that way, nail biting is really no different to self-harm. In fact, nail biting in the long term can even make your teeth be pushed out of place. I bet you had never considered that.

So yes, you got some good tips already. Either get gel manicures, put anti-biting polish on those nails, or if that doesn't work and you've got health insurance, don't feel weird about seeing a therapist about your nail biting. Really. I just started therapy recently (not for nail biting) and in network it's no more than $20 a session, indefinitely. That's actually cheaper than some of the nail products out there, and you may find it is the one thing that will help you succeed at quitting your nail biting habit.
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Hi, I'm the person who opened this topic. It's true that I started biting because of stress, but right now it's really just... Well, the nails are there and when they get caught on something and a part comes off, I start biting without even thinking about it. It's a thoughtless process. My nail biting is an old habit. The nail biting I did when I was younger made my nails brittle and weak, so I thought the gel could help with that. However, I've heard that having gel for too long can also make nails brittle. There's even the possibility of skin cancer due to the UV lights, I read somewhere.

OK, I will give anti-nail biting polishes a go. I don't think I need to see a therapist though. Does anyone have good anti-biting polishes they can recommend?
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I was always a nail biter. Also bit my cheeks. Oh, and I used to pick those bits of skin near the cuticles as well. My turnaround was really looking at nail biting as a problem you have, much like quitting smoking, or going on a weight loss diet, or finding the motivation to exercise regularly. You know how people who want inspiration have motivational messages and pictures? I opened a pinterest account and started collecting pictures of beautiful, strong nails. I added those nail art tutorial pages to my FB page. At that point, I also started telling myself, people who quit smoking and who try to lose weight, they may drink a glass of water to stop the urge, or give themselves treats when the accomplish goals. So I did drink water every time I felt like biting. I bought myself a new nail polish after the first week of not biting, then went to have a manicure a few weeks later. I still occasionally have to fight the urge but it has been six months now, and I'm an ex biter. You can do it too!!!! Let me know if you want me to share that pinterest board with you.
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Hi, this is the thread started here again (I really ought to register if I'm going to be coming back here all the time, right?). Just wanted to say, that message really helped me out. I was starting to think that being a nail biter makes me crazy or something and I should not have mentioned starting it because I was bullied. It may be true that stress plays a role but now, not so much. It's an embarrasing thing I do and would like to stop. But I'm not crazy.

I love the thought of giving myself inspirational messages to stop myself from biting my nails. I do love nail art and lovely polishes, but I don't own anything like that because I usually get it done at the salon when I wear gel. She doesn't even use polish any more but those little colored pots of gel. I used to look at nail ideas on the web to show to my nail girl, but I stopped now that I went gel free.

Do you really think strong and healthy nails are possible? I know you mentioned you stopped biting quite a while back now, but what are your nails actually like at this point? Do they break? Are they brittle? What about your cuticles? My cuticles have crept up quite a lot since I stopped the gel. I have naturally tiny nails anyway and it doesn't look good at all. Sometimes my pinky and ring finger grow a bit, but the rest? No way. I suppose I just use them too much!
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Oh, I hadn't seen this thread before for some reason. I used to be a biter too. I went to a mindfulness weekend after a friend invited me to join her, and liked the ideas presented in the classes a lot. Then I started to adopt bits and pieces of mindfulness in my life, trying to be fully present and appreciate the moment for short amounts of time each day. It radically changed my life. My relationship got better, things at work got better, the whole lot. So I figured I could use mindfulness to quit biting my nails as well. Most of it was about consciously noticing when I was doing it. Telling yourself "you are now biting your nails, in a while what's left of them will start to hurt and then something will start bleeding" isn't so appealing. So I stopped. I'm not saying the urge isn't there any more, but I manage to nip it in the bud most of the time.

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Hi, well I'm in the same boat with the nail biting. I too have been biting ever since I was a child, and I also pick at the cuticles. It's disgusting and I am pretty embarrassed about the way my nails look, like every time I hand my credit card to a shop assistant I quickly try to cover my hands or hide them so they can't see. I also hate shaking hands with people for this reason. No, it's not social anxiety or anything like that, it's just a horrible habit that I have tried to kick many times over the years without any success. No matter whether I stop for a while I always end up doing it again. It makes me angry with myself and I'd really like to stop it once and for all. Sorry that I don't have tips, but I can sure commiserate.
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You seem to be very opposed to going to see a counselor so I am quite sure this is not something you'd like to hear, but I am going to share it anyway because it really, really helped me. I'm an adult who has been diagnosed with ADHD and I have anxiety as well. I was put on Zoloft and it completely put a stop to my nail biting. It wasn't until a while in that the benefits really became clear but now I'm not inclined to bite my nails at all. There's no shame in admitting that you have a problem and need to see a mental health professional. If it works, wouldn't it be worth it? Nail biting isn't just a beauty problem. You could also try posting on the mental health forums here and see if perhaps you get different replies.
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I can't really give advice on the therapy/mental health side of things, because I've never had any real experience. But I have always been a nail biter, since I was very young, in fact ever since I can remember. I used to bite particularly when I was anxious, but also when I was bored, or when my hands weren't busy doing something else, or just absentmindedly without even knowing I was doing it. It was such a deeply ingrained habit that I often didn't consciously notice I was doing it.

My parents used to hassle me to stop when I was young, but nothing really helped. I tried the nasty tasting polish, covering the nails with gloves/plasters/etc, tried snapping an elastic band every time I bit them. Nothing really helped.

Then a couple of months ago I decided for myself (aged 20-something...) that I was going to stop biting them once and for all. It's now been about 8 weeks, and although I have had a couple of setbacks and one or two nails that got chewed before I realised what I was doing, overall my nails look 10x better.

There's still a looooong way to go - right now my thumb nails look 'normal', but the others all definitely still look too stumpy to be anything other than nails that have been consistently bitten for 20 years. They've improved massively though. When I started I honestly don't think I've ever seen anyone with nails as bad as mine. I bit them right back to the quick and beyond - some nails were only a couple of millimetres long, which looked so, so horrible.

Now they are looking much healthier, the cuticles have stopped trying to take over my whole nail to protect it, and several nails are long enough that for the first time they actually feel sharp.

The key, for me anyway, was to be completely determined, and just decide that I WAS going to do this. Filing any uneven edges before you're tempted to bite them helps a lot, and finding something else to do to keel your hands busy. I've been fiddling with paper clips a lot, and tapping pens on the table, that kind of thing! Plus if you have a bright coloured nail polish (I went for bright red) you notice your nails a lot more and can catch yourself when you put them in your mouth, because they don't look/taste/feel right.

Ultimately it's up to you and really really being determined to stop. I don't know if any of what I said was much help, but good luck with breaking the habit!
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My experience is a bit similar to what others have already described. I managed to kick the nail biting habit by myself using motivation and willpower and treats as my reward.

Since I had always had nails that I was ashamed of, I had never used nail polish which would only draw more attention to those stubby nails into my twenties. I had no experience with nail care of any kind.

So I started by trying to file what was left of my nails so the edges were smooth, without bits that I might be tempted to bite. After a few days, I decided to buy nail strengthening polish. I noticed that I shifted my habit to picking at the polish (clear polish) and not the nail itself, even with my teeth sometimes. So I told myself to stop that too. After a week, I bought a pale pink polish and some acetone free polish remover. I felt able to use that after two weeks.

So with the nail care I started giving myself and then adding more polishes to my collection, I promised myself that I could have a new color every time I successfully stayed away from biting for a week. Gradually things got better. I still do it sometimes and go back to square one. It isn't easy. But honestly yes, my nails look respectable now.
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