View Full Version : Picking at nails/cuticles

Mar. 19, 2012, 06:35 PM
I've done this for so long and I'd like to break it. It's not nail-biting, but whenever I'm nervous or bored I pick at my cuticles and the skn around my nails. Anyone have any ideas or advice on breaking the habit? I've had a few decent streaks that (obviously) didn't stick.

Dr. Doolittle
Mar. 19, 2012, 06:41 PM
I do this too :uhoh:, look forward to hearing some solutions! (Maybe dipping fingers in wax?) My mother and my daughter both bite their nails, so I like to think that my habit is slightly less ugly...but not by much! And I'm always running out of bandaids.


Mar. 19, 2012, 06:54 PM
Ack, I've always picked at my nails and for some reason recently started on the cuticles. I think for me its more of a vanity thing that turned into a somewhat nervous habit.

Do you get your nails done regularly? I find that when I've gotten manicures and the skin around my nails is smooth (and my nails look pretty), I won't pick.

Mar. 19, 2012, 06:57 PM
This is a good read/listen on the subject:

Habits: How They Form And How To Break Them (http://www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them)

Mar. 19, 2012, 08:31 PM
I have done that for all my long life, more when under stress.
Sure annoying.
Try wearing gloves most of the time, that helps some.

My habit started at five years old, when I mashed all 8 fingers, but the thumbs, broke some bones, bloody mess it was.

While healing back, it was a mess and a nervous habit started of picking at that as it was finally healing.

I eventually learned to control the picking to mostly one or two "sacrifice fingers" and the others are fine, unless something big happens in my life.

You really can't stop doing something you don't know you are doing until you already did it.:(

Maybe if I had taken up smoking, that would have been a substitute habit, but I don't think it would have been better.:eek:

Mar. 19, 2012, 08:43 PM
I did pretty well for a while after I went and got a manicure for a friend's wedding and the manicurist guilted me by saying my fingers were going to get deformed. I guess I need another vacation as said in the article? Sounds good to me!

Mar. 19, 2012, 09:08 PM
Did it for years - just a nervous habit. Finally started wearing nail polish no matter what and that stopped it. Just forced myself to keep them polished and that kept me from picking at the cuticles. Much easier to pick the polish off! Just broke the cycle - eventually I stopped picking at the nail polish too.

Mar. 19, 2012, 09:10 PM
I do mine until they bleed. It is a horrible habit, but I cannot break it. I have tried that horrible tasting brush on stuff and doing other methods, but nothing works.

Mar. 19, 2012, 10:13 PM
Co-slave in my dept does this. Prozac helps. Really.

Mar. 19, 2012, 10:26 PM
Just caught myself doing it. My thumbs seem tO get the worst of it. And it's pretty much always when I'm lying in bed, not able to sleep. Like right now.....

Mar. 19, 2012, 10:35 PM
I pick at my nails and cuticles. It has gotten to the point where it is now OCD, it started as a nervous and anxiety thing to the point where I can't fall asleep unless I pick at them for at least an hour. And I can pick at my thumb nail to the point where I no longer have a nail.

The only thing that helps me is layering on nail polish to where it is thick enough I can pick it or peel it off. I go threw 2 bottles of nail polish a week

Mar. 19, 2012, 11:06 PM
Maybe I'll try nail polish then. I've actually though about getting on Prozac or something, but not sure it's really for me.

Mar. 19, 2012, 11:27 PM
The ONLY thing that helps me. I have chewed my nails all my life. I was broke recently and decided to let them go, and I chewed them/picked at the cuticles till they were a bloody mess. I of course got an interview the next day so i had to run out and get them done again. Now in a week or so, they will be all nice again.
Will have to look at the link about breaking bad habits.

Mar. 19, 2012, 11:34 PM
I grew up a horrible nail biter. Almost down to the quick. Tried like heck to break that habit and never was able to.

Until I got out of horses for a while and decided to treat myself to artificial nails. Always had ground-in dirt hands and bitten nails so I wanted to try having girly hands instead of man hands.

Artificial nails certainly stopped the nail biting! I haven't bitten my nails since then and that was decades ago!

However I did then swap over to biting cuticles and around my nails. :rolleyes: Not a pretty look.

And for some reason out of the blue...it seems to have stopped a couple years ago. Or at least mostly stopped. Now it's a rare thing and my hands look a lot less like I got them stuck in a meat grinder. :lol: They still look like man-hands...but not chewed up man hands.

Mar. 19, 2012, 11:57 PM
I do this too...nothing seems to stop it. I don't bite my nails but I sure do a number on my cuticles. Keeping a regular manicure definitely does slow it down though.

Mar. 19, 2012, 11:58 PM
I am awful about picking at my cuticles....especially while driving/sitting in traffic, which seems to be quite often these days! The only time my fingers get a break is when I have picked so much, they start to bleed and I put a band-aid on them for a day or so. Then that finger has time to heal.....

Do you pick at all of your fingers or just a certain few? Maybe you could try the band-aid idea? Or some nail polish....although I could still find a way to pick the cuticles around the polish so not sure if that would work.

If all else fails....Prozac- or something similar.

Reynard Ridge
Mar. 20, 2012, 01:49 AM
Nail biter, cuticle picker for years. :no: I finally decided I had to stop.

I took the advice of a friend of mine who needed to break a bad habit and started wearing a rubber band around my wrist (I put it on and did not take it off for ... I forget how long, but it must have been months).

Everytime I caught myself with my fingers near my mouth, I had to snap the rubber band (hard) five times. It worked for me. I stopped at least fifteen years ago now, and never went back. :yes:

The key for me was persistence. I was determined to stop - the rubber band was my way of redirecting my thoughts away from the habit, and, somehow I managed to rewire my brain.