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MagazineHow to stop biting your nails?
Petite fille qui se ronge les ongles

How to stop biting your nails?

Onychophagy is a nervous, compulsive little gesture that manifests itself when self nibbling your nails. A habit in which a little more than a third of French people indulge. According to a survey conducted in 2008*, 1 French person out of 3 French bites or has already bitten their nails, and 10% of the French population would like to stop this addictive habit. If women are slightly more affected than men (54.7%), a question remains: 

* Exclusive Skin Nail/Seprem survey. Study conducted between October 24 and 26, 2008 among a sample of 1,001 people, representative of the French population aged 15 and over, according to the quota method.

Why do we bite our nails?

Anxiety, nervousness, addiction, mimicry… The causes of onychophagy are multiple and vary from one individual to another depending on age, gender, professional or personal situation.
If we tend to associate this phenomenon with childhood, this practice also affects adults.

What are the risks?

Mainly an aesthetic concern, onychophagy is generally not serious. However, there is a risk of infection due to the skin’s micro-lesions. 

Furthermore, perpetually having the nail within your incisors’ reach can be perceived as an external sign of inner discomfort and associated with a psychological fragility and thus have repercussions on both your professional and social lives.


How can I stop? Here are four pieces of advice for you to stop biting your nails:

Reconcile yourself with your nails and take care of your hands
Start by getting a nice manicure and moisturizing your hands regularly. Choose a cream with a rich texture. The desire to keep your manicure impeccable is one thing, but the sensation of your hands being greasy around your mouth is not very appealing and will help you break this habit.
Practice activities that promote inner harmony and stress management
This can be mindfulness, yoga, but also dynamic sports such as boxing or running. All of which will allow you to get rid of your tensions and let off steam.
Use a bitter varnish
Formidably efficient, this type of varnish has a transparent texture but most importantly, it has an extremely bitter and persistent taste. You can find bitter nail varnish in most pharmacies and drugstores plus, it may also contain vitamins that will promote healthy nail growth.
Seek advice from a medical professional
Finally, if the problem persists, do not hesitate to seek advice from a medical professional: your general practitioner, a dermatologist or a therapist will be able to help you in your approach. Success is in your hand, literally.
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