How to Stop Biting Your Nails

Six Methods:Maintaining Healthy NailsKeeping Your Hands and Mouth BusyUsing a Nibble InhibitorCovering Your NailsBreaking the Habit One Nail at a TimeCovering your Nails with Adhesive Bandages

Nail biting is a bad habit that can not only make your hands look unsightly, but if you bite your nails badly enough, you may permanently damage your nails, your teeth, or even your gums. Many people deal with this problem, so you're not alone. If you are tired of stubby and bleeding nails try these simple remedies to promote normal and beautiful nail growth.

Method 1
Maintaining Healthy Nails

  1. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 25
    Treat yourself to a manicure as often as you can. You have earned a manicure for reaching your goal to stop biting your nails. Not to mention, having nail polish on may push back the urge to bite your nails, since you don't want to bite into nail polish or ruin your manicure. Once your nails are in great shape, you should focus on keeping them that way, and the best way to show off your shiny new nails is to get a manicure.
    • Chat with the manicurist about having great nails. You're allowed to brag!
  2. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 26
    Keep your nails relatively short. A simple manicure can help maintain your healthy nails, and so will keeping them relatively short and preventing yourself from biting them more.
    • If you have any surplus growth, cut your nails back. Keep clippers with you at all times. You can't bite if there's nothing there.
  3. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 27
    Push your cuticles back from time to time. Many nail-biters do not have "moons" on the base of their fingernails because their cuticles have not been pushed back. To do this, gently push your cuticles towards your finger to reveal more of your nail. This is easier to do after a shower when your hands and nails are wet.
    • This makes the nail appear longer, and it gives a more attractive shape, which might also be a motivation to stop biting.
  4. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 28
    Maintain a healthy diet. A healthy diet will help you feel better overall and will help your nails repair and grow well. Eat calcium and magnesium rich foods so that your nails will repair and grow well. Not only that, but most of the reason that the human body wants to bite nails is a lack of calcium and magnesium in the body. The body needs that material back.
    • Eggs, soy, whole grains, and liver are also helpful to nails. Sulfurous minerals found in apples, cucumbers, grapes, garlic, asparagus, and onions all help consistent growth.
    • Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are found in tuna fish, salmon, shellfish, leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. They are needed for human metabolic processes and help keep nails shiny and pliable.
  5. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 29
    Celebrate your nail success. Don't be afraid to show off your new nails to your friends, or even to people you don't know very well. Show them your hands and say, "Can you believe I used to have a nail-biting problem?"
    • Take photos of your hands and enjoy how good they look. You can even hang them up, or hang them next to a photo of your ragged "before" nails to show that you are capable of making big changes in your life.

Method 2
Keeping Your Hands and Mouth Busy

  1. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 14
    Find a habit to take the place of nail biting. Whenever you have the urge to bite, do that instead. Some people like to drum their fingers, twiddle their thumbs, clasp their hands, put their hands in their pockets, or just stare at their hands. Just make sure it's not a bad habit; choose a helpful one or one that doesn't really matter either way.[1]
    • Carry a rubber band, penny, or something else to hold in your hands. Play with that constantly in place of biting your nails.
    • Distract your hands at times when you usually bite your nails, such as car rides, or when you're sitting in class. Find a new way to replace the habit depending on where you are. If you're in class, focus on writing extremely thorough notes. If you're in the passenger seat of a car, fiddle with your keys.
    • Try keeping an "egg" of Silly Putty with you. It is fun to play with and it occupies your hands during biting-prone times.
    • Try keeping a quarter or other coin in your pocket, and play with it when you feel the urge to bite your nails.
    • Plus, these don't involve eating or chewing on anything, so they will help break the habit of oral fixation.
  2. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 15
    Distract your hands by taking up a hobby. Not only will the new hobby keep you from biting your nails, but you could also discover a new passion at the same time.
    • A hobby to distract your hands might be making models or maintaining your house, knitting or crocheting, finger knitting, running, or other outdoor pursuits, or even nail care and decoration.
    • If you are artistic, try doing projects with clay or plaster. It gets all over your hands, and the flavor stays in your nails long after you wash off any visible mess. They both taste bad (clay tastes salty and can leave a slimy texture and plaster tastes chalky) and doing the projects will also keep your hands busy.
  3. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 16
    Keep your mouth busy. Though you should avoid developing a serious new oral fixation, a few small tricks can keep your mouth busy and will cut down on the amount of time you spent biting your nails. Here are some things you can do:
    • Chew gum or suck on mints or candies throughout the day. Biting your nails will be tough if you're busy chewing gum or taking in the flavor of a delicious sucking candy. Also, the sensation of your bitten nails mixing with the flavor of minty gum or an orange-flavored candy will just be gross.
    • Snack small throughout the day. Though you should avoid snacking so much that you end up gaining weight, you should carry around healthy snacks like carrot sticks or celery so you can munch on them throughout the day.
    • Carry around a water bottle. Bring water with you wherever you go so you can always take a sip of water when you're having a weak moment.
  4. Image titled Give Someone a Manicure Step 09
    Wear nail polish. Putting nail polish on your nails may help to discourage you from nibbling on them since a vibrant color can catch your attention and snap you out of your nail-biting habit. You'll also have more motivation to avoid biting your nails since you won't want to ruin the nice appearance.
    • Chose a color you like so that you don't peel it off.
    • Get a design. This will make you not want to peel off the polish if you like the design.
    • Make polishing your nails a hobby. If you keep nail polish on long enough, your nails will have a chance to grow back!

Method 3
Using a Nibble Inhibitor

  1. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 17
    Paint a nibble inhibitor on your nails to discourage yourself from chewing them. Bitrex and Mavala Stop are two examples of popular inhibitors, but there are many options available. Check your local pharmacy, big box store, or grocery store. Some options may also be found online.
    • Each of these inhibitors use a safe, non-toxic chemical that tastes foul.
    • Read the instructions prior to application. Generally, you'll need to paint the inhibitor on your nails as you would paint polish. When you absentmindedly go to bite the painted nail, you'll get a taste of the nasty inhibitor, making it easier to remember to avoid repeating the same behavior.
  2. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 18
    Apply the solution to your nails several times a day. It might help to first apply a transparent coat of nail polish over the inhibitor as it lasts much longer and smooths the surface of your nails. The smooth surface will also help to remind you not to bite (it might turn out that applying only the coat will be sufficient).
  3. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 19
    Carry some solution with you at all times. Place the bottle in your purse, car, or desk. When on coat wears off, apply another one. Persistence is important when using this method.
  4. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 20
    Try using a different solution. As noted, there are numerous nibble inhibitors on the market. If one doesn't work for you or if you get too used to the taste, simply switch to another one and continue your efforts.
  5. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 21
    Continue to apply the solution when you stop biting your nails. Even if you've stopped biting your nails, you can keep the solution around as a trophy.
    • If you're ever tempted to bite your nails in the future, then you can smell the solution to remind yourself of how unpleasant the experience was.

Method 4
Covering Your Nails

  1. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 22
    Cover your nails with nail polish. Try a bold color like red, or a color like black that will look silly if it's chipped because you're biting your nails. If you don't like color, polish them and apply some shine and growth promoter or petroleum jelly. It's harder to bite nails that are looking great.
  2. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 23
    Wear fake nails. This is another great way to keep your nails covered. Get your nails professionally manicured, which involves getting acrylics glued to your nails. They last for ages and when you get them taken off, you will have your real natural nails underneath.
    • If you're really determined, you can get a particularly expensive manicure with artificial nails. This will make you feel even worse about biting your nails and ruining your pricey look.
  3. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 24
    Cover your nails by wearing gloves. Keep gloves in your back pocket and wear them when you want to bite. This will motivate you even more if it's the middle of summer and you look ridiculous wearing gloves.
    • If you're writing or doing something else that is particularly tough to do with gloves, you will be even more motivated to stop biting your nails. Remind yourself that if you didn't have a nail-biting problem, that you wouldn't need to wear the gloves.

Method 5
Breaking the Habit One Nail at a Time

  1. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 9
    Pick one nail to "protect" at a time. If you have one nail that appears more damaged than the rest, it might be in your best interest to start with that nail. If all nails appear the same, however, you can pick any nail you wish.
    • If you find it difficult to break the habit all at once, working on one nail at a time can make things easier by allowing you to slowly build better habits instead of demanding too much of yourself all at once.
  2. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 10
    Go a few days without biting that nail. You might be able to do so without help, but if you need some extra assistance, consider wrapping an adhesive bandage around the fingertip of your chosen nail. Doing so should block your access to the nail, making it harder to bite it.
  3. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 11
    Notice how much better that nail looks than the others. After a few days, a non-bitten nail will flourish and reward you.
    • Do not bite your chosen nail during this time. If you must, bite one of the 'unprotected' ones. Sometimes it even helps knowing that you have another nail to bite, even if you don't actually nibble at any unprotected ones.
  4. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 12
    Pick another nail to stop biting. Once you have grown your non-bitten nail for a while, start protecting another one. During this time, however, it's important that you leave both the first and second nails alone. You wouldn't want to undo the good work you accomplished on the first nail by biting it after switching your focus to a new one!
  5. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 13
    Repeat the process until you have successfully avoided biting all of your nails. If you ever really feel the urge to bite your nails, do the reverse of this process by focusing on just one nail to bite. That should help you limit the amount of damage done to the other nails.

Method 6
Covering your Nails with Adhesive Bandages

  1. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 5
    Put adhesive bandages over your nails. Cover your nail with the pad of the bandage, and wrap the adhesive part around the flesh of your fingertip.
  2. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 6
    Keep the bandages on every single day until you stop biting your nails. You can apply fresh bandages every time you shower, every time the bandage gets soggy or dirty, or every few days.
    • You can remove them for a special occasion, or choose to keep them on so you look silly during the occasion and are even more motivated to stop biting your nails.
    • Unless you bite your nails in your sleep, it's probably a good idea to take the bandages off at night. Doing so will give your skin a chance to "breathe." You should also remove bandages that look notably moist or dirty.
  3. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 7
    Take off the adhesive bandages after several weeks. It takes at least 21 days to break a habit, so you should be prepared to stick with this method for at least that long. You can remove the bandages after that point.
    • To really break a habit, though, you should also work on replacing it with a positive habit. For instance, switch the chewing sugar-free gum or playing with a stress ball while consciously following the bandage procedure.[2] Replacing a bad habit with a neutral one usually makes it easier to break.
  4. Image titled Stop Biting Your Nails Step 8
    Notice how much better your nails look. If you start biting your nails again, put the adhesive bandages back on for a longer period of time or attempt another method to quit.
    • Some research suggests it may take up to three months to successfully break a habit, so don't expect yourself to be in the clear just yet.[3] Remain conscious about your habit and your desire to break it, even after you take the bandages off.
    • Consider backing your efforts by painting your nails, getting a professional manicure, or using a bite inhibitor after removing the bandages.


  • Remember that severe nail-biting can also cause health problems. When you're biting your nails, you're constantly transferring bacteria from your hands to your mouth.
  • Gather some nail supplies and make a calendar to tick off each day you go without biting your nails, then on a special day of your choosing you could give yourself a manicure. Also moisturise at least 3 times a day.
  • Nail polish/art may not be destined to men. Instead buy yourself a file to file your nails whenever you feel like biting them. it might just replace one compulsion with another but at least your nails dont look as bad.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer so if you go for them, you'll taste soap as a result.
  • Try tapping your hand against a chair or against your thigh. It helps keeping your hands busy.
  • I have found that painting my nails really helps. Not only does it taste bad and you don't want to ruin the look, but the layer also helps to prevent chewing through. Also: when I got braces, it made it harder to bite through the nail, so maybe try having something in your mouth or on your nails that really makes it difficult to bite.
  • Think about getting a manicure and how much you want it. That will help you with not biting them because you can't get a manicure with short nails.
  • Motivate your self with special rewards for not biting your nails. For example, if you can go one week without biting your nails prepare a special dinner with friends or buy yourself something nice. If you feel tempted to bite your nails, just remember that you'll miss out on good rewards.
  • See if you can notice how or when you decide to start biting. There may be an underlying cause of stress, nerves or boredom. Dealing with the underlying and real issue could stop the nail biting and more.
  • Do the "Swear Box" system, just rename it something like "Nail Bite Box". Put an amount in when you catch yourself biting. At the end of the week you could donate the money to a charity you like.
  • If your friend has the same problem, set the same goal. Try different things to see what works and what doesn't.
  • Apply thick strengthening coats so that your nails are hard and difficult to bite.
  • Applying fake nails can help prevent you from biting your real nails.
  • Take pictures of your nails and examine them. See how bad they really are and how long you have been living with this problem. Is that what you want your nails to look like forever?
  • You can compete with your friends to see who can make there nails the longest.
  • Apply on nail polish. It doesn't matter what color because nail polish is not a good tasting substances. Males can apply clear nail polish so no one will notice.
  • Put under coats on, if you do its just like nail polish but it doesn't damage your finger nails as much.
  • Paint your nails so you don't destroy the nail design.
  • If you can't keep your hands busy just sit on them. Or say you were standing up if you were carrying a bag just put your hands in the bag. If you are not carrying a bag just put your hands in your pocket.
  • Instead of biting your nails, carry a coin around with you. If you get the urge to bite your nails, play with the coin instead.
  • To keep you motivated, or remind you how bad your nails used to look, you can record your progress in a notebook or photo album. Take "before and after" photos of your nails and put them in the book to keep you motivated. Recognizing that it usually takes three weeks to grow nails half a centimeter, chart out in the book how long you want your nails to be by a certain date.
  • Keep your hands busy whenever you get that urge to bite.
  • Wearing gloves or mittens (at home) can be helpful.
  • Mark every day you go without biting your nails In your calendar. try to go as many days in a row at possible. Eventually when you look back at it you will feel proud of yourself and break the habit of you go at least 21 days without doing it.
  • When putting nail polish on to fight the urge, put it on somewhat thick so it would 1 be harder to pick. 2 it is harder to bite through the thicker it is.
  • Do a new hobby like playing the piano, coloring, making jewelry, felting, or sewing.
  • It may sound weird, but if mints and gum don't work for you you can always chew on a stick.
  • Keep your mouth or your hands motivated so you can't chew them. Make a new hobby like chewing gum or knitting!
  • Do something else with your finger and refrain from eye contact with your nails.
  • Wrap up your nails with something and tape it on to your nails. Your nails will grow out during the time. The longer they're on, the longer they grow.
  • Get acrylics or fake nails and then you wont bite your nails and the fake or acrylic will taste horrible. and sometimes there is a liquid solution, google it.
  • Pretend your fingers are something you really dislike. (
  • Nail art will keep your mind off from biting nails.
  • Put hot sauce on your fingers, it will make you hate biting them.
  • Try not to bite your nails because you will get bad hands and you will end up in a hospital.
  • If your friend bites their nails too you can help each other through it. That way you don't have to go through it alone.
  • Chewing gum can be helpful.
  • Apply false nails or a nail sticker so if you try to bite you won't be able to.
  • Study the nails of people who don't bite their nails for extra motivation.
  • Some people bite their nails because they are too long. Try keeping your nails short and filed so they aren't ragged.
  • Paint your nails your favourite colour. This will prevent you from attempting to bite them and ruin them. Anyone can do this, even if you must use clear polish.
  • Wear smelling socks till the time you stop biting your nails. Whenever you will want to bite your nail then you would smell the socks and remove your hand.


  • Know when to get help. If your nail biting is such a problem that you're always biting your nails, frequently causing your cuticles to bleed, or even losing fingernails, you may not be able to stop biting your nails on your own. If this is the case, see a doctor as soon as you can to see if your problem is a symptom of a bigger issue like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Article Info

Categories: Nail Care