How to Break the Cuticle Biting Habit

Cuticle biting is a terrible habit, and once started, it can be very hard to break.  With each sharp piece of excess skin removed by your teeth, two more appear.  This multiplicative cycle usually continues until there is no skin left, often leading to damaged or bleeding cuticle.  Aside from its cosmetic and painful consequences, cuticle biting exposes you to a myriad of contact transmitted germs and diseases.  The journey away from cuticle biting is a mental and physical one.

Cuticle biting, although difficult, is quickly stopped when following a few simple guidelines.  The tips below should help you quickly kick the habit.  

Be Aware

The first step to kicking any habit is being aware of its existence.  This is the number one most important step to stopping the behavior.  Using every trick in the book won't yield lasting results without the desire and will to stop.  

The Snap - There are not too many tricks to this step.  One common tactic used to become more aware of your habit involves wearing a rubber band around your wrist.  When you catch yourself thinking about biting or actually biting your cuticle, pull the rubber band and let it snap back.  This will provide negative reinforcement associating cuticle biting with instantaneous pain, eventually causing you to think twice before putting your hands in your mouth.  

Fundamentally this tactic has merit, by fact that you are simply providing upfront pain as a substitute for the latent pain cuticle biting causes in the form of cuts cuticle damage.  Although this exercise is a step in the right direction, it alone cannot solve the biting issue. 

The Trigger

Identifying the trigger of the habit is an important lead into solving the issue.  Cuticle biting typically starts off as a simple way for clearing excess skin or hang nails from the tips of your fingers, but quickly graduates to a nervous habit.  Understanding how the habit forms allows you to take preventative measures to steer you in the right direction.  

The most common condition biters are faced with is dry, rough skin around their finger tips which leads to flaking or peeling of the cuticle skin.  Resolving the dry, rough, and peeling skin will reduce the need to feel like you need to fix your nails, therefore alleviating the urge to bite.  

Pseudo Skin

Getting your fingers back to normal as quickly as possible is essential to kick the habit.  As long as there is skin to bite, you will feel the urge to bite it.  To help get your nails back to normal as quickly as possible, try using a flexible spray on or brush on liquid bandage .  This will smooth out the roughness of your cuticle, removing the reminder of the peeling skin.  It will also serve as a first line of defense if you subconsciously start biting your cuticle.  The liquid bandage will come off first giving you time realize and correct your behavior. 

The pseudo skin approach only needs to be used for a few days, until your skin heals.  This can be used for a prolonged period of time for severe cases.

Pamper and Moisturizer

Once your cuticle have healed and grown in enough, immediately get a manicure (you too guys).  This will further improve the condition of your cuticle, and remove any remanent scabs or skin.  

Additionally, you will want to use a heavy moisturizer to keep your cuticle soft, especially in dry conditions.  I recommend using Aquaphor when watching TV at night, as it will take some time to soak into your fingers. 

Persistence Pays Off

Follow the advice above, and you will be on your way to softer, smoother fingertips, and rid yourself of the biting habit.  Success in breaking this habit is rewarding and leads to a healthier, less stressful lifestyle.  Always keep working at it and never give up.  

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