Bitten nails: preventing and treating nail biting


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Unghie mangiate: come prevenire e curare gli effetti dell'onicofagia

L’onychophagy it is a real compulsive disorder: the onychophagus (ie who is affected by it) eats their nails and sometimes even cuticles and surrounding skin and all without even realizing it. The bitten nails they are not only an unaesthetic question, on the contrary: the problem is relevant in the first place for the health of the person, because it is a harmful habit in many ways. It causes exposure to infections and tooth decay, stomach problems, deformed fingers.

Onychophagy, as well as kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania, it’s a impulse control disorder: the individual is unable to resist temptation. Before the impulse is implemented, there is usually a feeling of progressively increasing tension, agitation and excitement. Once the impulse is satisfied, however, there is relief, but also mixed with a sense of guilt.

Bitten nails: the causes

THE triggers they are mainly:

  • situations of stress, anxiety, nervousness and worry. Usually, the onychophagy of those who release the emotional charge of difficult moments by biting their nails, originates in childhood: episodes of misunderstanding, excessive expectations, fear of losing parental attention;
  • self-harm, because it is a way that these subjects have to vent their anger. Without turning it outwards, however, but on oneself. It mostly belongs to shy and submissive people;
  • boredom, therefore an uncontrollable stimulus that arises in moments of immobility of the hands: while watching TV, on the train, while on the phone …

Bitten nails: how to make them grow?

There patience and the willpower they are a must when it comes to growing nails, especially as a result of harmful behaviors or habits that have weakened them, flaking, ruined.

The secrets for bitten nails, to make them grow healthy and strong, go through several steps. Thehydration: like skin, nails need it too. The main allies are oils: almonds, coconut, even simple olive oil, to be applied in the evening on the nails to strengthen them. A homemade remedy to soften and remove cuticles, however, is to immerse the nails in a basin of hot water, olive oil and a few drops of lemon, which also has a whitening and hardening action.

A good habit is use gloves when doing housework, because very aggressive soaps or detergents are often used, which weaken the nails. And we must not forget the role that thesupply! Healthy and strong nails, as well as long and shiny hair, go hand in hand with a diet rich in vitamin H (contained in whole grains, bananas, avocados), folic acid (present in citrus fruits, salads, asparagus), vitamin A (typical pumpkin, carrots and green leafy vegetables) and vitamin C (abundant in strawberries).

Bitten nails: reconstruction

bitten nailsSource: iStock

In cases of nail biting the nail reconstruction it can be a valid solution. Better to rely on specialized centers, where the staff is qualified and prepared for this type of treatment, so as to receive the right advice. It may not be the right treatment for you if you have really badly damaged nails, as it could only make the situation worse.

Both for reconstruction in gel that with tipIt is important to have a minimum of healthy nail base to work on for lengthening and correction.

In the early days it is better to avoid excessive stretching (beyond the fingertip), precisely because the lack of habit can lead to breaking them more easily. Even a single bump may be enough. The colors to be preferred are the unique ones, both nude and brighter, because they give greater naturalness and slender the nail. However, it is not entirely impossible to perform even more complex nail art.

Bitten nails: tips for prevention

They exist on the market enamels which help prevent nail gnawing while also promoting their strengthening. They have a bitter taste which helps to break the habit of bringing nails to the mouth and eating them; they must be applied daily and consistently.

In severe cases, one is needed drug treatment: antidepressants (also useful against trichotillomania and other obsessive-compulsive disorders) or vitamin B inositol (which reduces the urge to bite the nails by acting on the production of serotonin, a hormone that controls mood and aggression).

Also combine one behavioral therapy it is the best way, because it allows you to identify and keep under control the stimulus that is the basis of the urge to bite your nails.


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