Occasional nail biting is something many people have done. When nail biting becomes consistent and chronic it is known as Onychophagia. Chronic nail biting can be a result of many factors including stress and anxiety, boredom and habit. Often people who bite their nails don’t even realise they’re doing it. The action can be impulsive and addictive. So does nail biting cause any damage to the nail and is it possible to stop nail biting?
About nail biting
Although it increases the risk of spreading germs, nail biting usually doesn’t cause long-term damage to the nail. As long as the nail bed remains intact, biting nails won’t interfere with normal growth of the nail plate.
However, continuous nail biting can cause:
An increased risk of infection to the skin around the nail, including nail fungal infection.
Abnormal looking nails.
An increase in the spread of germs.
Damage to teeth.
What we suggest
There are a number of things you can do to help stop nail biting. The main thing is finding what works for you or using a combination of suggestions. These include:
Having your nails regularly manicured.
Keeping your nails trimmed short.
Finding ways to manage stress and anxiety.
Identifying triggers that are causing nail biting.
Keeping your hands busy by using a fidget or stress ball.
Applying a bitter tasting polish to nails to discourage biting.
Can I still have a manicure?
Yes. Applying gel or shellac nails means it’s not possible to get to your natural nail and as they remain on the nail for a number of weeks, your natural nail has time to grow. Ask your nail technician to apply a strengthening base and top coat, alongside a nourishing nail oil when getting the treatment. We also recommend regularly applying nail oil to help nourish your nail and help it grow stronger.