7 Natural Home Remedies to Cure & Stop Nail Biting
These are 7 amazing natural home remedies to help you to stop nail biting:
- Use a Stress Ball or a Fidget Spinner
- Apply Aloe Vera Gel to your nails
- Rub Bitter Melon Juice on your nails
- Rub Garlic onto your nails.
- Make your nails as short as possible
- Cover your nails with Bandaids
- Put on Artificial Nails
1- Using a Stress Ball or a Fidget Spinner
Nail Biting is usually caused by an emotional trigger such as anxiety, stress, or even boredom. And biting your nails is usually your coping mechanism for these stressors. Citation.
Coping Mechanisms are perfectly normal and healthy. But biting your nails isn’t, it damages your nails, and can even increase your risk of getting an infection because of the high amount of microbes found under your nails. Citation.
So what you need to do is either avoid your triggers or condition yourself with new coping mechanisms to handle your stressors; such as playing with a stress ball or a pen when bored.
Stress management and Shifting your Mindset, to better handle emotional stressors are the best and more long term solutions but they can sometimes take years to master.
So in the short term developing a new less destructive coping method is ideal.
How to Use a Stress Ball to Stop Biting your Nails
- First, you are gonna need to know what are the moments that you are most likely to bite your nails.
- For this, you are gonna need to do some self-observation, maybe consider keeping a journal on your phone’s note pad.
- My advice is then to be proactive.
- If you know that when you study you tend to bite your nails, you should immediately start playing with a pen or a stress ball whilst you are studying.
All remedies that are used to stop nail biting should be used in tandem with developing new emotional coping mechanisms and proper stress management.
These strategies tend to work best together.
This means is that even if you apply Aloe Vera Gel or wear Band-Aids on your nails you should still use a stress ball or a fidget spinner.
The advantages of using both strategies are:
1- In the long run, you develop a helpful coping mechanism.
2- Increases the effectiveness of the method, a perfect example is if you tend to unconsciously bite your nails a fidget spinner or a stress ball might not work alone.
Now by using Aloe Vera Gel, or Band-Aids; the bitterness of the gel and unfamiliar texture of the fabric; would instantly alert you when you attempt to bite your nails, and then you can redirect your hands to play with a stress ball or a fidget spinner.
Now it’s important to know that when you first start playing with a pen, fidget spinners, or using a stress ball or play dough as coping mechanisms they won’t work initially.
Studies have shown that they don’t reduce stress or anxiety when you just start using them. The key part is that over time you can condition yourself to make them work just like how your body conditioned itself to like nail-biting. Citation.
For you to develop new coping mechanisms it will take time, so dont expect quick results. Citation.
2- Apply Aloe Vera Gel on Your Nails
Aloe Vera Gel has an extremely bitter taste so much so that the name Aloe comes from Arabic word Alloeh which translates to “shining bitter substance”. Citation.
And when it’s applied onto your nails it gives your nails that same terrible taste which can serve as a deterrent from nails biting. Citation.
Aloe Vera Gel is extracted from the leaves of the aloe plant.
I found a short video on how to easily extract the gel from the leaves you can check it out below
How to Apply the Aloe Gel to Your Nails
Once the gel is extracted from the leaves just take a little it and dab it onto each of your nails and let it dry for a minute.
And yes it can be applied either over your bare nails or on top of nail polish.
Additionally, every time you wash your hands you should reapply some gel onto your nails so as to keep your nails tasting bitter.
Pros and Cons of Using Aloe Vera Gel to Stop Nail Biting
Benefits of Using Aloe Vera
1- Terrible Bitter Taste which makes it an effective natural deterrent to nail biting.
2- Heals Your Nails Aloe Vera Gel has been used for centuries to heal wounds so it will help to repair your chewed up nails and damaged skin. Citation.
Aloe Vera gel is ideal if your nails and cuticles are in bad shape.
3- Aloe Vera Gel Has Powerful Anti Microbial Properties so much so that it’s used to make hand sanitizers. This helps to reduce the chance of your chewed up nails getting infected.
4- Natural and Safe To Use: Aloe Vera Gel is very safe to use both as a topical cream and as a food. Citation.
Aloe Vera Gel has been used as a natural skin cream for years now to help heal wounds and fight acne. Its also considered a Superfood that can reduce blood sugar and inflammatory signals. Citation 1, Citation 2, Citation 3, and Citation 4.
Never eat the skin or the yellow latex part of the leaf. The Clear Gel is the only edible part.
An allergic reaction to Aloe Vera Gel, like with most uncommon foods is possible, and for this concern, I would advise that you use a little at a time on your skin to test it out.
Draw Backs Of Using Aloe Vera
1- Easy to Wash Off: For Aloe Vera gel to be effective it needs to be reapplied several times a day to your nails so as to continue making them taste unpleasant. This is because the gel can be washed off.
I would advise using a Nail Biting Polish which lasts roughly two days after being applied. So you won’t have to constantly be applying it you can click here to learn more about these polishes and to read about the brand of polish that I recommend.
2- Sensory Adaptation: Another drawback of using Aloe Vera is that your taste buds over time can get accustomed to the taste which diminishes the effectiveness of the gel as a deterrent.
Where to Get Aloe Vera Leaves
If you are fortunate like me to have an Aloe Vera plant you can just cut off one its leaves and then proceed to extract the gel.
Now if you are one of the majority who doesn’t have a plant you can buy the aloe leaves from herbal stores or supermarkets such as Walmart, Whole Foods, and Amazon, sometimes have them in stock. You can click here to see the price of an Aloe Vera Plant on Amazon
3- Rub Bitter Melon Juice on Your Nails
Alternatively, if you can’t get your hands on Aloe Vera Gel you can apply the juice from Bitter Melon to your nails as a deterrent to stop nail biting.
Bitter Melon, also known as Bitter Gourd or Karela, is actually a fruit and is closely related to squash and pumpkin.
But unlike most fruits, Bitter Melon has an extremely bitter taste and because of its bad taste, it has been used as a traditional method to stop nail-biting and also deter kids from sucking on their thumbs.
Bitter Mellon gets its bitter taste from a compound called Cucurbitacin. Citation.
Now some people might be sensitive towards this compound so my advice is that you test a small amount of the juice on your skin before applying it in a larger quantity.
Pros of Using Bitter Melon
1- Bitter Melon Juice acts as an extremely good deterrent to nail biting, this is because as the name suggests it has a very bitter taste.
2- Bitter Melon is natural and safe to use and is commonly used to make Karela juice or smoothie, of course, these smoothies usually have sweeteners to cut the bitter taste. Citation.
Bitter Melon has been shown to have a lot of benefits with some studies showing that it can significantly reduce blood sugar. Citation.
Cons of Using Bitter Melon
1- Just like Aloe Vera Gel, the juice from Bitter Melon needs to be reapplied to your nails often, this is because it is easily washed away.
2- And after awhile you can get accustomed to the bitter taste of its juice which will reduce its effectiveness as a deterrent.
How to Apply Bitter Mellon To Your Nails
- The first thing you need to do is blend up a bitter melon with a small amount of water
- Secondly, you should strain out any seeds and skins from your bitter melon juice.
- Now you can take some of the juice and apply it to each nail you can use a brush to rub it on.
- Just ensure you rub an ample amount of juice on each nail.
- Finally, once the juice has been applied let it dry for 1 minute.
- You can refrigerate the remainder of the juice to be reused.
If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to blend your melon up you can just rub your nails with a piece of bitter melon.
This isn’t as effective since you need to squeeze the melon really hard to extract the juice, blending is more tedious but you get more juice.
And also whenever you wash your hands you should reapply some juice onto your nails again so as to make them bitter again.
Now having to reapply the juice constantly is not convenient and that’s why I recommend using a nail biting polish which can last for two days. You can click here to read more these polishes.
Where to Get Bitter Mellon
Most Asian and West Indian grocery stores usually have Bitter Mellon in stock.
4- Applying Garlic onto Your Nails
Now if you find the taste of Garlic unpleasant you should definitely consider using it as a deterrent to stop nail biting.
All you need to do is chop a clove of garlic in half and rub it onto your nails and then let dry for a minute.
Now using garlic is the least effective deterrent featured in this article because most people are already somewhat accustomed to the taste of garlic. But if you hate the taste of garlic then this method can definitely work.
Garlic also has a bunch of health benefits one of them being its antibacterial properties so it will also help keep your chewed up nails from being infected. Citation.
5- Keep Your Nails Short & Well Designed
One of the easiest things you can do to help stop biting your nails is to keep them as short as possible.
It makes biting your nails much harder, how can you bite something when it’s barely there.
Also if you can I would advise that you design and use nail art to make your nails look as nice as possible by doing so it increases your motivation to want to protect your design.
The drawback with this is that a very chronic nail biter, when faced with their stressor, might still end up chewing on them regardless of how short or nice your nails are.
6- Cover Your Nails with Band-Aid or Wear Gloves
By pasting Band-Aids over your nails would serve as a barrier to prevent you from biting your nails.
Now you can even use gloves if you don’t want to use Band-Aids, the main aim is that you create a barrier to protect your nails from your teeth.
Erecting a barrier over your nails is one of the most effective methods to help stop biting your nails.
It serves two functions:
1- The different texture of the material from the Band-Aid or Gloves would alert you when you unconsciously bite your nails.
Which allows you to develop a new more positive coping mechanism
2- Protects your nails so even if you acclimatize to the texture and still chew on your nails the fabric serves as a physical barrier.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Band-Aids
Band-Aids are made to be pasted onto your skin so they are extremely safe to use.
They are also tough and depending on the brand they can be worn for around 2 days before falling off.
But the drawbacks of using Band-Aids are that they look odd and out of place and can make using your phone and typing more difficult.
Wearing gloves is a good alternative and would work just like the band-aids but the main drawback is that gloves would make your hands get hot and sweaty fast.
I would advocate using finger sleeves, these are mini gloves that cover just your fingers and most of them are touch screen friendly you can click here to read more about them.
7- Wearing Artificial Nails
Alternatively, to using Gloves or Band-Aids, you can wear Artificial Nails to protect your nails.
The advantage of wearing fakes nails is that it would look more natural and less out of place like and yet still provide great protection to your nails.
But the drawback is that most nail biters will chew on artificial nails quite easily since it has a texture more similar to your nails. So, in the long run, it won’t really help you to kick your nail biting habit.
Whilst Gloves and Band-Aids have a different texture to your nails and you can use this to condition and train yourself to more effectively fight against your nail biting habit.
Natural Nail Biting Remedies To Avoid
1- Neem Oil
I see some websites suggest that Neem oil can be used to stop nail biting. This is because it can give your nails a terrible taste which can act as a deterrent.
But I wouldn’t advocate against using Neem oil because it is toxic if ingested and its main use is as a pesticide. Citation 1 and 2
Rubbing pepper on your nails as a nail biting deterrent can work.
But in my opinion, you shouldn’t because there is a risk that some of the pepper juices might get into your eyes and be would be very painful.
Other Nail Biting Solutions
In my opinion, most home remedies aren’t as effective as using products that were specially made to stop nail biting.
These products such as nail-biting polishes tend to last longer, are more comfortable, and much better at deterring nail biting.
You can click here to read my recommendations for products and polishes that are amazingly effective at stopping you from biting your nails.
Citation and References Used
BBC.com: What lives under your fingernails.
WebMD: How to Stop Biting Your Nails
Psychologytoday.com: Conditions Onychophagia-nail-biting