Years of nail biting - how to repair nails and hands?

kaseyface

O.G.
Dec 8, 2007
68
3
Boston
I've been very, very bad to my nails my entire life. I've been a nail biter/finger chewer (chewing on my cuticles or the skin around my nails) ever since I had teeth! I was also a serial acrylic user in when I was younger which obviously doesn't help.

Looking at my nails currently, they are a disaster. My nails are so thin that even if they do grow out, they chip very easily. The skin around my nails is cracked and dry, even bleeding in some spots around the sides.

I'm 24 and haven't been very kind to my hands but I'm ready to fix this! I wouldn't even know where to begin so I come to you ladies! You're the experts. :smile:
 
Apr 15, 2007
62,931
6,329
Well I would start with good cuticle & good nail care..

Have a manicure to get you started, use a good cuticle cream & look at some
specific nail products like Trind to get your nails growing & healthy..
 

PewPew

~ Red Fiend ~
Apr 27, 2014
1,031
2,920
If you're still struggling with the urge to bite/pick, this article has some tips I find helpful for dealing with stress biting etc
http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/2599839/

For me the key wasn't trying a bunch of product(s), but rather just picking a lotion, a clear polish & a crystal/glass nail file (more gentle than emry boards). And the sticking with the routine until it becomes a habit. Do not get discouraged! If you end up biting a nail or whatever, don't beat yourself up b/c that will increase your stress & increase the biting/chewing cycle. You can beat this! In time You WILL have healthy, beautiful hands and nails! :biggrin:
 

Poth

All that glitters.
Dec 10, 2012
441
4
Ventura
It can be done! This was my New Year's resolution and I'm still keeping up with it! Moisturize! Find yourself a nice moisturizer to keep your cuticles from turning into hangnails. Always have a manicure so you're not tempted as much to pick. Lastly, find something to redirect your urges. I like looking at TPF on my phone to keep my fingers busy. Good luck and don't beat yourself up if you go back a few steps! It's such a hard habit to break!
 

JDV

Member
Jul 8, 2013
403
98
Mid-Atlantic, USA
My tools: a strengthener that works for my body chemistry, a good nail file, clippers that I only use for fingernails, cuticle oil, and hand lotion. Go to the "Loodie Loodie Loodie" blog, she has a ton of information on how to grow healthy nails. Most of my nail problems went away when I started moisturizing and treating my cuticles properly. Another good site is nailcareHQ, she has a lot of good information but she *is* in business so ads for her products are all over it- I love her nail oil though.

Good luck! I bit mine til they bled until I was 26. I feel like I still have stubby troll claws compared to some of the gorgeous nails out there, but I work to keep them healthy. And it does pay off, I've been told more than once that one thing people notice about me is my well manicured nails, and that still makes me smile! If only they knew what a mess they used to be!
 

kaseyface

O.G.
Dec 8, 2007
68
3
Boston
Thanks for the suggestions! I'm going to venture out and try a few products to see what works for me. I remember a product Sally Hansen use to make that was this green tea tree type oil in a nail polish bottle that you rubbed in. I swear my nails grew so much over night but all I can find now is the actual nail polish. I can't remember what it was called.

After posting this, I searched around the forum for suggestions and happened to be in Lush yesterday. I picked up a sample of the Lemony Flutter cuticle cream but I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the smell.

I've seen the light before, actually had all of my nails out to "tapping length" as I call it but because my nails were so thin, they broke soon after.
 

NancyG

Member
Apr 17, 2011
1,358
10
Boston, MA
I've been very, very bad to my nails my entire life. I've been a nail biter/finger chewer (chewing on my cuticles or the skin around my nails) ever since I had teeth! I was also a serial acrylic user in when I was younger which obviously doesn't help.

Looking at my nails currently, they are a disaster. My nails are so thin that even if they do grow out, they chip very easily. The skin around my nails is cracked and dry, even bleeding in some spots around the sides.

I'm 24 and haven't been very kind to my hands but I'm ready to fix this! I wouldn't even know where to begin so I come to you ladies! You're the experts. :smile:
You are not alone, even in this forum. I have bit/chewed/picked my nails and cuticles for as long as I can remember. Although I have nice enough nails now, I still struggle with it. But now, the red on my nails is polish, not blood!

This is a difficult habit to break, but it is doable. And it's not just a matter of vanity. I have had to be on antibiotics because of infections from biting. And having your fingers in your mouth transmits all kinds of flu, cold and other germs like herpes whitlow or warts. It can also do damage to your teeth and gums. It's not dangerous, but it is a very unhealthy habit.

There is a lot you can do on your own to remedy this, but like most bad habits, I think it is useful to get some help in altering this one. There are nail techs that have a lot of experience with biters- they won't be shocked by your nails. Find one with a commitment to natural nail care! Many have programs for biters. I think it is very helpful to have your nails done regularly - weekly or bi-weekly. You are much less likely to bite if your nails look good. Also, getting them done helps eliminate those little bits and flags and chips that make you want to grab on and pull or chew. It takes a good three to four months for a new nail to grow in. Give yourself that time, commit to a program of regular manicures, Solar oil, moisturizer and a crystal file - and maybe a supplement of biotin. Tea Tree oil has a natural antiseptic action and will both moisturize and help heal (and it tastes bad). Gel polish might be a good alternative for you, since its quick dry, long-lasting finish means fewer imperfections to grab onto. HTH
 

Kailuagal

island in the sea
Feb 7, 2013
2,501
33
Thanks for the suggestions! I'm going to venture out and try a few products to see what works for me. I remember a product Sally Hansen use to make that was this green tea tree type oil in a nail polish bottle that you rubbed in. I swear my nails grew so much over night but all I can find now is the actual nail polish. I can't remember what it was called.

After posting this, I searched around the forum for suggestions and happened to be in Lush yesterday. I picked up a sample of the Lemony Flutter cuticle cream but I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the smell.

I've seen the light before, actually had all of my nails out to "tapping length" as I call it but because my nails were so thin, they broke soon after.
Good luck on your new nail journey! Everyone has given excellent advice. I completely agree with NancyG on putting tea tree oil on your cuticles. You won't want to taste that. I have never been able to grow my nails but I've been taking biotin 5000mcg morning and night for the past several months and my nails are the longest they've ever been. They used to split on the sides at the quick of the nail as soon as I got them to lengthen. I also apply cuticle oils and lotions to my fingers everyday now religiously. I never thought I could get into a routine like this but once you do you can't go without.
Another idea until your stronger nails grow out is to put silk wraps on your nails which will help keep them strong and prevent peeling and splitting. It's a silky fabric tape that you cut and apply to the nails from middle to end, brush a little nail glue, let dry, and then lightly buff until it's smooth. You can't even feel it but it adds a protective layer. I bought a roll from Sally's Beauty.
Good luck and keep us posted!
 

prplhrtwife

New Member
May 11, 2014
3
0
Montana
Looks like you've gotten some great advice!

A favorite of mine when I was battling the nail issues was to take prenatal vitamins. It took me 3-4 months but my nails were in GREAT shape by the end! :smile: All that extra healthy stuff had to go somewhere!
 

Rhayne

Member
Jan 27, 2012
269
5
New Jersey
I used to be really bad at biting and tearing at my nails when i had hangnails. I noticed once i started a hand and nail routine... hand creams, nail strengtheners, polishes etc. that i stopped biting at them I see them growing out nicely and dont wanna ruin them.