The constant biting of nails deforms the nail plate and damages the surrounding tissue, which, aside from the fact that it looks extremely unpleasant, creates and ideal environment for the breeding of bacteria.
Giving yourself a complicated or expensive manicure will give you some incentive to drop this ugly habit. If you spend time, effort and/or money on a great manicure you will not think it worth it to ruin it. You will also enjoy a boost to your self-esteem, possibly enough to get you to drop the habit forever.
This idea is the first thing many nail-biters try and for some of them it does not work. Here are some more ideas you can use. By investing some thought and effort you can finally find your cure for nail-biting.
The first suggestion is to try nail-biting lotion. The idea of this lotion is to give your nails a bitter taste so that your brain will decide that biting them is too unpleasant and retrain itself. The down side is that you will also have to avoid any finger-foods, because they will be tainted by your touch. You will also have to wash your hands before food preparation and re-apply the lotion afterwards. If you can endure this, things will get easier in 2 or 3 weeks, when your nails have grown to a healthy length and the tissue around them will no longer look “appetizing”.
Refrain from polishing short nails. For one thing short nails do not look too good in colored nail polish, they look best in either clear or nude tones. On the other hand, flaking and peeling nail polish will magnify your desire to bite.
The second suggestion is to try temporary artificial manicure or nail extension. This way you will give your nails a chance to grow undisturbed underneath the artificial nail. Even the most stubborn nail biters will find it hard to deal with artificial gel or plastic nails. Here you will also need a couple of weeks to drop the habit. Be cautious though. Once you remove the artificial nails, your natural nails will be thin and breakable.
The third suggestion is to designate only one of your fingernails as the one you will be biting. Choose the nail of the middle finger on your dominant hand. Its noticeable location will ruin any future manicure and it will be easier for you to wean yourself off of it later. Now that you have a fingernail you are allowed to bite, direct all your addiction to it and stop biting the others. Wait until they grow and start giving yourself manicures. The maintained look of your other fingers will accentuate on the ugliness of the one you keep biting until you decide the comfort of having it is not worth the embarrassment.
Once you get past the most trying stage of abstinence and start growing your own nails, it is advisable to carry a small nail file everywhere you go, so that you can deal with any breaks or splits the moment they occur. This will help you avoid temptation and relapse back into your old habit of biting.