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Natural Remedies to Stop Nail Biting

By Sarah Thompson ; Updated July 18, 2017

Both children and adults bite their nails for many reasons, including anxiety, excitement and boredom. Nail biting can evolve into the more serious compulsive form, characterized by bleeding, infections or destruction of the nails and surrounding skin. There's no sure cure for common nail biting, but you can try to break the habit with home remedies.

Use Cayenne Pepper

Drug stores carry topical solutions to help you break the nail-biting habit. These ill-tasting liquids are applied and left on the nail. When you bite your nails, the foul taste acts as a deterrent. Some ointments contain cayenne pepper as the deterring flavor. Make your own remedy by simply rubbing cayenne pepper on or around your nails and nail beds. Exercise caution when using this remedy, as it can irritate open lesions or sensitive skin, and keep it away from your eyes.

Wear Gloves

Wear gloves or put on bandages to deter you from biting your nails. These work as shields between your mouth and your fingers. These methods are best at home or in places where consistent glove- or bandage-wearing do not affect your daily obligations.

Alternate Activities

Because nail biting can occur when you're bored, curb the habit by shifting your attention to a more stimulating activity. Find forms of entertainment such as social events or exercise classes. Initiate activities that keep your hands busy, such as painting, sewing or doing crossword puzzles.

Alternate Oral Stimulation

Find an alternate source of oral stimulation to get your oral fix without biting your nails. Eat sugar-free suckers, chew sugar-free gum or suck on ice cubes. For oral stimulants that are nutrient-rich, snack on carrots, celery or raisins. Carry these snacks with you so you always have an alternative to biting your nails.

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