Why do we bite our nails?


Easiest way to keep em short so they don’t interfere with typing and pianoing


i’m surprised the article didn’t mention that it’s also an efficient data-collection method for your immune system. i maintain that it’s partly why i tend to not get as sick as people i know who don’t bite their nails and who are constantly using antibacterial soaps.


I bite my nails and do so more when I’m tired. I generally catch myself biting my nails at those points when I find myself yawning.

Using good nail polish, or getting manicures (for guys that might not be so into polish) can be a great way to encourage dropping the habit. Many nail care enthusiasts, myself included, were habitual nail biters that used nail care as an incentive to quit.

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Because it’s the most efficient way to shorten them, which can be done while driving or otherwise away from clippers.

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For me, I think it’s just an “oral fixation”, whatever that actually means in current psychological terms, I don’t know.

I love to crack sunflower seeds, and smoking, and chewing gum. And when I had severe anxiety as a teen, I had trichogogra too (pulling out hairs one at a time and eating them.) I was able to stop doing that.

When I was a little kid, I’d suck on pebbles too.

This USED to be me. However, I have been carrying a Leatherman for the past decade. The scissors actually work quite acceptably as nail clippers.

I wonder if it is a impulse control substitution mechanism. That is when we are trying to exert control (and possibly failing) in one area, we bite our nails as a way of dealing with the loss of control to replenish our ability to control in the other area.

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One man’s problem is another man’s efficiency! I’m not exactly going to grab nail scissors when stopped at a traffic light.

Because otherwise we go fucking mental? Seriously, ‘things I have given up’ includes nicotine, cocaine and heroin. Nailbiting? I lasted three days. Three. Fucking. Days.


Because otherwise I end up with holes in my socks.


Efficiency?! It takes 60 seconds, once a week!

I don’t know why people bite their nails, but I know the sound it makes wigs me the heck out.

Vitamin B12 deficiency. I bit my nails for years off and on and did not know why. A doctor told me to try sublingual Vitamin B12 and I did. After a few days the urge to bite, trim, even them up went away, I also had some anxiety and had peeled them. After the B12 I don’t think about them anymore and they are long and strong. Nail biting is something I was ashamed of but had no control over.


I particularly like the immune system update theory. Vitamin B12 deficiency and ‘more convenient than clippers’ close runners-up.

Whoa, that’s like, the holy trinity of addiction.

I tip my hat, sir.

The B12 theory is interesting. I’ve taken supplemental b12, but never noticed any effect on nail biting. Might have to experiment.

It helps me, a lot, to have clippers and files pretty much everywhere. Office drawer, box on the end table by the couch, bedside table, and at least 6 others wandering around the house. When I realize I’m biting (usually b/c I bit to the quick or tore the cuticle) I grab the clippers and trim them all up. It helps satisfy whatever weird need makes me want my nails to be even and usually curtails the nibbling.

When it was really bad, I would dab some rosemary essential oil under my nails. Under, because that way food I touched didn’t always taste like bitter rosemary, but I’d still get that overwhelming bitter taste if I bit. Rosemary extract is, after all, what’s in the BitterApple and no-bite stuff for dogs and cats :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’m fidgety, and don’t like the sharp ends when I let them grow. Currently on stop 'n grow nail varnish (tastes yuck), accompanied by nail files on my office table. Coworkers a little mystified.

I don’t really see the problem; I don’t chew too far; it’s convenient, I can polish the edges on my jeans, and it’s fun to spit out the nails like a slob.

I’m really surprised that I never developed the habit… I do chew on my knuckles and bite down on the ends of my fingers, though.