Friday, October 24, 2008

Stop picking the skin around your fingernails

I thought I was the only one doing it but apparently it's even a disorder! It's called Dermatillomania (different than Onychophagia since it doesn't involve teeth) and according to its description, it's a form of self-harm driven by stress and tension. It's weird because I'm not a stressful person, but then again it might seem so because I channel it to my skin.

There are several places prone to picking, but my favorite is the skin around the fingers, since that's where tiny strips of skin are regularly found extruding and begging to be gently peeled off. But enough with the grossness. My latest adventure evolved around my left thumb, particulary the skin at the outer side near the nail. It started as something innocent, by "smoothing" out (that's how I call it, it sounds like I'm improving something) irregularities that form naturally and occasionaly bleeding in the process. Usually that's a sign that I've done enough harm and I sould leave it alone. But then another temptation forms... the scabs! Maybe it was the stress from my exams, but whenever I made some progress by leaving it to heal, something happened and I found myself with a thumb that looked like a pizza again. I just couldn't leave it alone. It was the worst picking I've done since I can remember, the scabs had almost reached the connection with the palm (metacarpophalangeal joint - I researched!).

I started looking for a more drastic way to stop this situation because my strong will was clearly not enough. I recalled that the times my skin healed even slightly, coincided with the times I had cut my fingernails. So for the past week, whenever I catch myself fiddling with my thumb, I rush to cut the fingernails I use for the picking, namely my right thumb, index, and middle finger's. I cut them all the way, to the point they even hurt a bit, thus making it impossible to be used for picking. It seems to be working, since I stopped picking ever since and the skin is almost completely healed.

I hoped this helps some people deal with this light form of the disorder. If you pick your head, armpits or something else however, you should better seek professional help!

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Lili said...

Οr, stop doing it because to put it simply, no girlfriend will ever let you use your fingers cause they hurt.

First it was the 5 o clock shadow rash, now its the grater thumb, within the week it will be the stileto toenails.
Enough with the pain!

(on a more serious note, you actually think you are not a stressed person? You are a time bomb waiting to explode)

Ian said...

Wow. I'm with you on this. I've done this since high school and I'm now 33. I pick at the skin around both thumbs. Funny thing is it started because of the dry skin was begging to peeled away to make it smooth. Now the skin grows back so fast that it peels right off again, and does bleed on occasion. Fortunately it sounds like yours is worse, as I only peel down to the first knuckle and around to the thumb print area. As I write this, I just finished making my right thumb bleed and it hurts like hell. I've managed to convince myself to not touch the left thumb and it's worked for the past 6 months or so. Now my right thumb takes the brunt.. Argh! Now to convince myself to stop the right thumb... the saga continues. Anyways... just sharing.

Anonymous said...

That's true. I'm constantly picking my skin around my nails ice been doing this ever since I can remember, I can't help it. I don't know why but I want to stop.

dina said...

this is so true :( ..this is happening to me also... i started picking since i was uhh like 12 ( im 17 now) , my fingers cant stop from bleeding its a disaster , sometimes it needs more than an hour to stop...and its so painful especially when u wake up.,,,this sumer i tried to stop , but i stopped for a month ...and then i stared picking again...

Anonymous said...

Wow I'm so glad you posted this. I have been picking for as long as I can remember, and I have always thought I was the only one who does this. I dont even realize I do it sometimes until a stream of blood stains my clothes(which is really frustrating!!!)
Thanks for posting, it really helps.

Anonymous said...

I just found this little doodad when I was searching the net trying to find more information on it. I have been doing this for 30 years. I notice I do it anytime I am sitting and not busy - so watching tv, passenger in the car, the bathroom, and I can also do when I am anxious.

The problem is I can't stand the imperfection of the tiniest little piece of dry skin or nail tip imperfection.

Only as of lately, have I found a way to redirect this and I'm finally growing nice nails and have the picking down to just two fingers just the corners and even that is getting better.

What I do is carry a nail file that has all four parts(shaper, smoother, buffer, polisher) I need to have all of those so that the nail ends up smooth. I also carry around neosporin and nail and cutical cream. So instead of picking, I just rub the stuff in instead of picking. I am filing and buffing and rubbing lotion in quite a bit throughout the day as that activity literally takes over the picking. But I have to keep the stuff in my back pocket and in the bathroom and on the TV side table and in the car as well, as if I don't have it right by me, I can fall back to picking.

But so far this method has been the only thing that has worked for me after all of these years.

Anonymous said...

I cover my thumbs with the fingers I cut off disposable clear vinyl gloves. The fingers (not the thumbs) fit over my thumbs tightly and they are transparent so its not obvious from a distance. You may have to replace these a few times per day if your hands are in water much. This makes your thumbs feel smooth and reduces the feel to pick because there are no hard edges. You can actually carefully wash your hands with these things on, just wash your thumbs last and dry them fast so the water does not wick under the tight vinyl edge. They are so cheap too- you can buy a box of 100 gloves for around $10. You can have a bunch in your pocket or purse whenever you are somewhere else and start picking. I buy the size medium, but you can just buy whatever size that allows you to use the three middle fingers from each glove (thumb will be too big & pinkie is too small). Don't wear these while you sleep becasue you need to let the skin breath. Scrub the skin every few days to keep it clean and to avoid odor of dead skin. PS only use cream when you are not wearing these thumb covers- if you apply cream then thumb covers, they will slip off. Good luck.

arandomkid said...

Wow! What a good idea!!! I have this problem and have been looking to solve it...I've been on google for a while now and people are saying stuff like "hypnotic therapy" which is not something I can afford.

That is SUCH a good idea...I'm going to try it and I'll get back to you on how it goes!

I'm going to also keep my hands moisturized as it's harder to pick when it's more slippery...that plus cutting the nails will hopefully do the trick!

Anonymous said...

I do the same thing, except the parts I pick are the strips of white stuff that line the sides of my nails. I've been picking since I was...eight? And sometimes the strip was brittle, other times the strip was flexible and strong enough to stay intact when pulled out. So I did - I used metal tweezers to pull the strips right out of my fingernails. Then it would bleed a little, and there would be a small red dot between my nail and the skin underneath it. I used to like to torture myself by further picking the hole and stiffing things like my fingernails and gun into it, but now I know that it's BAD for my nails! It would hurt a little on the first day, then LIKE HECK the next few days when I had removed the entire strip from my finger nail. And the pain usually went away by the fourth day, and then the strip would grow back in a month or so. My favorite nails to pick were the outside-facing sides of my two pointer fingers and the outside-facing sides of my two middle fingers. I would occasionally peel my thumbs and other sides of my pointer and middle fingers. The strips of my ring finger and pinky were always thin and brittle. I don't know why, and it might sound sick but...I really used to like picking the strips out, it was fun, perfecting my fingers, and I kind of liked the kind of pain I would get from it. I know I'm a sicko.

Anonymous said...

I have been doing this since I was really little(7 or 8 I think) and I'm now 21. I don't have a particular finger that is my target. All of them suffer equally on both hands and I do it to my toes too. I tear the nails so much that I can see the skin connected to the nail and often will even continue picking at that point to where I will make them bleed. Any dry skin on my cuticles gets pulled and torn and is usually still attached to live skin and I will tear it, make it bleed and hurt like hell and will STILL continue picking. It starts out as me trying to fix an imperfection but I continue once I should be done. My fingers are destroyed and I currently have a huge scab on my right thumb, a painful open would on my right middle finger, and my left thumb nail is so short it hurts to type this. I do it when I'm bored, busy, watching movies, working, driving(I know, scary), sitting still, when I'm happy and when I'm sad, and have even woke up doing it. I don't even realize I'm doing it half the time. I've tried to stop multiple times but about 3 days later will continue again. In between that time I am eyeing them, wanting to, almost as though I'm addicted. My lips are now falling to the mercy of it. I have painted my nails to try to stop, tried to keep myself busy, and even got a manicure (which through the whole 6 months of having them, still tried even though I know it wouldn't do anything). I think I have a very severe case as that it is now moved to my lips as well.

Anonymous said...

I do this too. I've been doing it's since like 5th grade ( I'm in 10th now) I've been trying to stop for like 2 years now cuz my hands r gross. I pick everything on my fingers cuticles on each finger, the nail itself, around the nail, under the nail, I've even put holes in my thumb nails from picking with pencils to get the cuticle off. It's rly bad and I can't stop. I only do it when my hands are bored so I try to keep my fingers busy by fidgeting, texting drawing rly anything that occupies my hands. It helps but at school it's still really hard because I cant play with anything. Thank you for posting this it helps to know tht it's a disorder and I'm no the only one who does it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this!
I am trying to stop doing this also because my boyfriend is grossed out by it, and constantly is nagging me to stop. It's working, actually. I have tried to get myself to stop doing this before, and i can stop for a few days, but then always go back to doing it... I started carrying around small cuticle clippers in my purse, is when i notice that there's dry skin, or i feel my thumbs snag on some rough skin, i go to the clippers and try to fix whatever little thing that is bugging me to avoid picking. But before this blog, I really didn't think that there were very many people doing this. I tend to pick the skin and cuticles around my thumbs.... and on the inner side of my thumbs, mainly. I tend to do it more absentmindedly when I’m stressed, I noticed...
Painting my nails helps too…

keribaby711 said...

well all i can say is its real, i have it, it sucks to. i was hopeing to chat with others to let them know your not alone and we are sure as h*ll visable, its gross and hard faceing people, so , i dont really know what to do about mine and my father has it to, i just have to take rounds of antibotics every so often. but im not giving up at all im determined im gonna beat it, screw what other people think of me, im me , and no i didnt ask for this, but is what i have and its up to me and only me to fight and heal hopefully soon someday but ill do it, ive already beat a couple other traumas in my life, i got this one!!!! but your not the way, Hi, i'm Keri, nice to meet you, to whoever reads this!!!!

Summer said...

I've been doing this since a few years ago.. I usually pick at them with my other nails, but i also bite at the skin.. virtually all my nails look like that.. it's horrible and my boyfriend always tries to hold my hand and it hurts really badly.. I reall want to stop

Anonymous said...

I have picked my right thumb so much the pigmentation is now gone and the nail bed is damaged to the point when the finger nail grows its darkened with wrinkles ...the only time I dont pick is when Im asleep or if I have nail tips put on...other fingers suffer too but not as much as my favorite finger picker (right thumb) hmmm Im gonna try applying bandages to the thumb...I dont realize Im picking until my daughter ask me to more picking resolutions havent worked :(

Anonymous said...

I am 15 and have been picking at my skin for a few years now. Right now my skin looks pretty good just a little red. I only pick when I'm nervous, board, excited or anxious. Even after I'm done taking a shower, swimming, or even washing the dishes my thumbs look like white prunes! They look awful so that triggers me to peel the skin away to make them look better, but it doesn't help at all. I dont do it as much any more but I did so much that I would bleed. My main areas are both thumbs. Mainly the cuticle is where I will start then I will work my way down. Even to the part where my finger print is. I would do that to my pointer fingers as well but I havent lately! I found that if
you put a bandaid on your affected area with some neosporin and take it off before bed (so your skin can
breath) then when you wake up the next morning your skin
will looked healed! No gaurntees but it worked with me. But after a few days i would pick again. I finally have told myself enough is enough! No boy will want to hold that hand! :) Another thing to do is put lotion on your affected
fingers and rub pretty well and put some light Cotten gloves on over night. Mine would always fall off in the
middle of the night but my fingers would look great! I got my gloves when I purchased some burts bees lotion! That
lotion works great! There is actually cream called cuticle creme, hand creme, and hand repair creme. Put some of
that on with or without the gloves and your fingers will look
MUCH better! Some other cremes that I found useful are Vaseline healthy hand & nail lotion and bag balm! All
these cremes I mentioned work great! I would know
because my thumbs look great! Another way to help me
stop is knowing that other people out there are going
through the same thing I am! Your not different from
anybody and that people are suffering the same things you
are! After reading all your comments I relized I wasn't
different for sure!

Hope all these things I said will help you! Good luck :)

Anonymous said...

I am one of those pickers as well...not just the fingers but my lips when they become dry and chapped. It's like a stress relief, it can't be helped, right away anyway.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how many other people have this problem too! I think it is totally disgusting and unhealthy, but I've tried everything to stop doing it, but can't. (acrylic nails, manicures, lotion, band aids, etc. I have been picking the skin around my nails for as long as I can remember. I will be doing it without even realizing it. It's really bad when I'm driving. I didn't notice I did it until I saw skin pieces on my car floor mat...GROSS!! I consciously have to tell myself to stop and put my hands down. I'll go a few days without picking and my skin will heal but then I just want to pick that off too. It's so frustrating, especially because many people have this problem, but there's no easy cure...hopefully we can stop doing this to ourselves, so we can have healthy fingers and nails.

Anonymous said...

yup - i do this too! i have been picking my thumbs (well, i generally focus on my thumbs but in reality, it's the cuticle skin around my other nails too, when required) since i was about 15 i guess (now 38). i do it to smooth out the skin. i never go past the first knuckle. it's very satisfying to do, but sometimes i've made them bleed and taken pretty decent chunks out of my thumbs (mostly the inside rather than the outside of my thumbs).

i have for the past two months been wearing plasters (band-aids) to cover them up. if they are covered up i don't think about them. but i do go for my other fingers a bit. but nothing like what i do to my thumbs.

this is a good deterrent but i have not broken the habit, as i went without the plasters for a week and was still picking, but without realising.

someone said it takes three weeks to break a habit. i think it will take longer than that for me!

good luck y'all!

Anonymous said...

Today while I was picking at my skin (majorly stressed about an exam next week!) I started to wonder if I am the only weird person in the world who does this!? I know it's an awful habit, but I am a bit relived and happy to know I'm not the only one :) I really wish I could stop doing it though. It really used to hurt my Dad to see me harm myself....and now it terribly hurts my ever loving husband :(

Anonymous said...

Band Aids help

Anonymous said...

I'm worried because I actually enjoy picking the inside parts of my thumbs. I started from about the age of 5yrs and I previously used other items to really dig into my thumbs.

I decided to change my habits when I was in my late teens at Uni, but I've since relapsed (29yrs). I'm now picking my right thumb which I don't like doing as I'm right handed and I feel very conscious of it.

I know it's weird, I haven't been able to talk to anyone about it. It's difficult to explain.

Anonymous said...

I've picked my fingers for around 8 years and I hate it. I pick every finger and it's getting down to my first joint and sometimes on the finger print area. I hate it so much that it makes me want to throw up but I just can't stop doing it. All my fingers are red and sore and I hate seeing them in pictures due to the embarrassment.
I've tried wearing gloves, putting on lots of moisturiser and cutting my nails short thanks to a suggestion on this site. Although I don't do it a much, I still often relapse and am devastated afterwards.
Is there no miracle cure? I just know I don't want to e doing it anymore.
It's really helpfully to know the I'm not to only one doing this.

angi said...

today was the first time i talked about this to my best friend she always asked me to stop , actually every one i know asked me to stop ,and each time i say to them it is my hands my fingers and it is just a habit ,,
and today out of the sudden i looked at my friend and said i should stop doing this .. she looked at me surprised
I'm 23 years old ,i been doing this since i can remember which is the third grade ,i have always bitten and eating the skin around my fingers, i used to bite my nails too but i stopped before high school.
and i eat the skin on my lips sometimes until my lip bleed or it hurts.. i thought it was just a habit a bad one , but today i decided to search online ,
can't describe my feeling when i found out "this" and it is a disorder not just me..
i can't stop .. everyone around me keep noticing my "habit" as i call it . and i do it all the time even when i'm watching TV .. bitten my lips and taken the skin off that i do when i'm extremely nervous or anxious ,
so the disorder is as said "a form of self-harm driven by stress and tension". It's weird because I'm not always under a stressful conditions or at least was not when i was 8 years old .
my favorite places to picking : thumbs , pointer fingers in both hands and the area around my big toe nails and small toes .. they look really creepy and gross ,, I have picked so much the pigment is gone and 3 of my nails grew with wrinkles which i cover with nail polish coz it look gross .. so i decided to quit this habit or disorder .. thank you people for letting me know i'm not alone it really help .. thanks for the tips .. hope the best for you all (:

Anonymous said...

today was the first time i talked about this to my best friend she always asked me to stop , actually every one i know asked me to stop ,and each time i say to them it is my hands my fingers and it is just a habit ,,
and today out of the sudden i looked at my friend and said i should stop doing this .. she looked at me surprised
I'm 23 years old ,i been doing this since i can remember which is the third grade ,i have always bitten and eating the skin around my fingers, i used to bite my nails too but i stopped before high school.
and i eat the skin on my lips sometimes until my lip bleed or it hurts.. i thought it was just a habit a bad one , but today i decided to search online ,
can't describe my feeling when i found out "this" and it is a disorder not just me..
i can't stop .. everyone around me keep noticing my "habit" as i call it . and i do it all the time even when i'm watching TV .. bitten my lips and taken the skin off that i do when i'm extremely nervous or anxious ,
so the disorder is as said "a form of self-harm driven by stress and tension". It's weird because I'm not always under a stressful conditions or at least was not when i was 8 years old .
my favorite places to picking : thumbs , pointer fingers in both hands and the area around my big toe nails and small toes .. they look really creepy and gross ,, I have picked so much the pigment is gone and 3 of my nails grew with wrinkles which i cover with nail polish coz it look gross .. so i decided to quit this habit or disorder .. thank you people for letting me know i'm not alone it really help .. thanks for the tips .. hope the best for you all :)

Anonymous said...

What truly helps! I'm so frustrated, it's a bad habit I can't break. My fingers are all raw right now and now I'm starting to pick the bottom of my feet. Only in the winter! Thank you for all sharing as it makes me feel like I'm not the only one.

vmurphy said...

Yep, I do this too in times of stress as well as bite my lips. I remember my grandfather continuously rubbing his index finger around the skin of his thumb where I pick. Is it hereditary? I know he was agitated. Is it stimulant related? I drink way too much caffeine (and so did my grandfather). I try to cover with triple antibiotic ointment and a band aid at night. Seems to help a little.

Anonymous said...

I have it too. I've been picking my skin since like 8th grade. I'm now a senior and my goal is to have perfect hands (stop the picking) by the time I go to college. All of your tips and just knowing others have the same problem really helped me realize how badly I have to stop.
I usually pick when my hands aren't busy. So that means like all day during school :(
And when I start bleeding I end up just wiping it on my pants, because I don't have bandaids and I'm in class.
I tried to stop last year before prom, and it sort of worked, but I started again right after.
I really don't think this disease has anything to do with being a stressful person. I pick because I'm bored. Also I think we are all just perfectionist and we want our hands to look perfect, so we pick off the skin thats healing, because we think it will look better that way.
I think we just have to realize that our hands are just getting worse.
I don't know how I'm going to stop, but after writing my feelings down about this, I know I have to try and stop. This is problem annoys me alot.

Anonymous said...

Hi all. Nice to know I'm not alone. I've been biting my nails and picking at my fingers for as long as I can remember. I also pick at my face and head, m mozzie bites, freckles... everything. My doctors say Its anxiety related but I do it all the time. I scratch In my sleep and wake up to blood spotted sheets and often wake up actually biting on the skin around.d my nails. I will get so focused on 'smoothing' the skin that I use clippers and scissors and other stuff to cut the skin or lift It up so I can bite it. It hurts all day, every day. And I havent found anything that works except fake nails - the ones they stick on at the manicurist. If you get them rounded off you cant scratch at them but eventually they get a good little edge on them and I rip them off. That, is some serious pain. I also tend to stick stuff under them and dig at them - but It helps a tiny bit and for that Im grateful. I cant wear them at wo4k as I'm In food manufacturing and no allowed. Ive tried to talk to my boss about it cos I dont actually handle the food... but he says I must lead by example so I can't hace them. No one understands. I sit at work cutting my fingets with scissors till they bleed and something he/ps... and I'm not allowed to do It. Its so hard. Apologies for the spelling. Hard to type properly with 7 bandaged fingers :( I hope you all find helpful suggestions from on here. I've basically given up.

me said...

I don't know why it never occured to me before today that this "bad habit" I've had for over 20 years might actually be a "thing."

You're blog was the number one result when I decided to google "picking skin around nails." I'm not sure how you feel about that, but thank you for giving the correct name and wiki link. I've always thought that I wasn't able to stop because I lacked discipline and self-control. It gives me some piece of mind knowing that what I'm dealing with is actually a disorder, and that other people are struggling with it.

Anonymous said...

i am doing this too and was waiting if someone would post a picture. i want to see some

Anonymous said...

I pick the skin on my right thumb. I actually try and separate the skin from the nail with other fingers. I'm not satisfied until the skin breaks alittle and starts to hurt. This is so frustrating and seems to never end, but I'm not comfortable unless I'm doing it. I am about to ask the doc about it... It's driving me crazy. I uses to pick the skin on the sides but since ive been picking under the nail all the rest has stopped. So I'm sort of afraid if I stop this something else will start?

Anonymous said...

I do this too! I'm 16 and have been doing it all of my life, teachers, adults and friends have are always saying to me to stop and slapping my hands when I do it but nothing works!
I also pick scabs, pretty much anywhere! I can turn a paper cut into a massive scar and the ends of my thumbs are a different colour to the rest of my hands where the skin is still fresh and hasn't had a chance to tan up yet. I really hate doing it but I can't stop myself! I also bite/pick my nails. Whenever there is anything on my hand which isn't completely smooth, I pick it. I often get little pockets of puss on my fingers which I have to tear open with my teeth.
Does anybody else here really love squeezing spots too? Because I do feel like that could be connected... Hmm, is this the sort of thing you go to the doctors about? Because I pick my hands mostly, but also around my jawline and lips.
My boyfriend tries to help me quit but I can't stop myself since it isn't a conscious decision.

Anonymous said...

I see Im definitely not alone on this good but not good that so many do this. Ive always had little nervous tension that caused me when I was a kid to bite my nails
& pull hang nails, my sisters did too. We are survivors though my sisters & I were in foster homes but did have stableness with a family we eventually were separated
but kept in touch. When I get to thinking too much
how to solve things I pick and pull skin again even when it hasn't healed, it's an urge that comes on from intensely thinking too much trying to solve something. I know I should relax but when I do it Im not conciously thinking about what Im doing maybe it is relief or an escape, but need to stop! Yes I have used ointment & bandaids too. Also your right it isnt easy to stop, I'd like to stop for good. Sometimes I have thought I have a defficiency in something or silly but that I'm a canabel biting my skin, had been tempted to ask my Doctor but decided to look it up on here. It has been very helpful reading what others go through, good luck to all, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I've been struggling with this same affliction for my entire life. I'm 22 and I'd really like to be able to leave my fingers alone. It's a love-hate relationship. It can feel soooooo good to tear away all the little 'imperfections' from my fingers, but it's disgusting and I resent myself for not being able to stop. I'm generally not very stressed, but I do it all the time. It's not bad when I'm at work or busy doing something, but once I sit and watch TV or relax, it's uncontrollable. I'm not really sure what to do, but I do find comfort in knowing others do this as well.

Anonymous said...

Had no idea that other people did this! I wouldn't say mine is bad... just when I'm feeling under a little pressure. Right now, I'm writing and essay and I know that's why I do it. Just at the cuticle edge of my left thumb is where I pick, and only a couple of millimetres along, but definitely don't want it to get worse! Hope everyone manages to stop! I've found that painting your nails helps, so maybe grow your nails out and try that. Good luck! :)

Anonymous said...

I am 51 years old and I have done this since I was 5. It is a disorder. It isn't something you can just wake up and decide not to do. As with any physical habit, it takes planning and therapy to quit. You have to want to and for some reason, when I do this, it release good dopamine in my brain and gives me pleasure so why should I want to quit?

Ruby said...

I've picked since I was a kid. The problem is it only gets worse as I get older because I'm faced with more stressful day to day activities like work and school and relationships etc. I use Sharp objects now, like scissors, eyebrow pluckers (can't recall name lol), and my favorite is my little nail clippers. When I was in high school and stuck in class I would construct a pointy tip out of folded paper and dig at my skin. It's gross. I need it to stop cause sometimes I can't use my finger cause the tips sting so bad! But I can't stop! When I don't do it I get anxious. Sometimes it keeps me awake. Just that thing, trying to get the lifted little piece of skin is so addicting to me. It hurts me but makes me feel less better. I don't know what to do or what to even call it. I don't chew at my actual nails or cuticals. I just severely pick at the skin till my whole fingers pulsing and bloody. I need help. I need it to

Anonymous said...

Oh this is so weird, I've never met anyone else who does's been a bad habit ever since I can remember. The only thing is, that when i pick at it I like to make it all rough and scratchy and then run it over my mouth to feel it and then lick it a's the weirdest thing. It makes it look like I'm biting my nails though even though I've never been a nail biter.

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you guys. I have done this since I could chew. My parents have always said I would grow up to have club fingers. I can't imagine what that would be like. I used to mess with all of them but now I seem to only pick my thumbs(don't knwo how that happened.) I have the prettiest nails though. So strange I know, I love to show them off but can't because I don't want anyone to look real close. It sucks that I think I'm helping it when I do it although I'm the reason it's like that. Something that has pissed me off a lot throughout all this time is when friends or family tell me to stop. I'm like just stop watching me! This is a problem. I hate getting my nails done too b/c the nice asian ladies are always like, WHAT HAPPENED?? I hate the way my thumbs look. They get all the heat that all my fingers together use to get. I came online about it searching for a solution though, not just everyone's different stories but maybe we just have to do our own thing to stop. Anyway, here's my story. Good luck all.

Anonymous said...

I pick my fingers too, I've don't this since I was 14 now I'm 27! I've gotten better more recently now I have a supportive partner but work stresses don't help.

I use plenty of hand cream and put plasters over the bad areas that I pick. I get embarrassed when people notice what I do particularly if they ask why I do it because I honestly don't know.

Again like a lot of all the other comments when I hav a bad picking day I convince myself picking will make my nails look better

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you all I'm gonna beat this & so can you!

Julie said...

I have done this for as long as I can remember. I'm 28 now. I unconsciously stopped for a while when I was on a medication called Wellbutrin for anxiety/depression. I went off the medication about a year and a half ago. Even though I no longer feel depressed or anxious (at least no more than any "normal" person) I unconsciously started to "flick" (as my husbands calls it) around then. I don't know if the medication had anything to do with it or if it was unrelated. Fortunately I don't typically pick until it bleeds but if you do, then maybe you could check with your doctor about Wellbutrin and if it might help. I'm no doctor and I doubt it would be a cure all, but it might help?

Anyway, I usually don't even realize I'm picking at my cuticles/skin around my nails until it hurts or my husband nudges me to stop. It really bugs him. It is a compulsion that is SO hard to control, even now as I type my thumb creeps to evaluate any rough edges to pick at... I'm trying to find a good cream to apply to keep the skin soft and pretty. I'm in sales and it is not appealing for my hands to look gnarled.

I could have cried reading through everyone else's posts, I really thought I was alone in this. I sincerely appreciate anyone who has taken the time to share their story. I hope mine can help someone. Best wishes to all.

Anonymous said...

I've been doing it ever since I was a small child so probably 40+ years. I am NOT stressed or anxious. It is simply a habit. Not sure why we always look for a stress reason versus a habit (now called an OCD). I am not sure how to stop as I have tried 100+ times in my lifetime. No, fake nails and constant manicures do not help. It's something missing in my brain I think!! LOL

Anonymous said...

I gues im not the only one :(

Anonymous said...

Like many of you, I am also glad to find out that I'm not the only one who does this! Strangely, acknowledging that it's a disorder somehow gives me motivation to finally stop. Thank you for the suggestions. I am going to try using cuticle cream and a nail file when I feel the urge.

Anonymous said...

I too have been a skin picker for as long as i can remember,and now Im 25 years old. I have stopped for months at a time but have gone back to biting the skin around my nails. Im so embarrassed because there are scabs and old dried blood that a visible from where i bite that day. Its kept me from holding hands and being more intimate with my boyfriend. I seem to never get a break since when the skin scabs over there's only a sense of urgency to pick the new scab over skin. Its a continous cycle of trying to make the appearance of my nails look better by picking but skin around my nails are weak from all the years of picking so it only makes it worse. I worried about contracting infections such hiv and serious staff infections from having open wound exposed on my fingers but i just in my moments of stress go back to picking. For everyone on this blog post who pick you have a friend in me because we know what it feels like to suffer from a bad habit

Anonymous said...

ive done this for years and learned that fake nails keep me from doing it

MrsEmory said...

I have been doing this since I was probably
5 or so, I'm 28 now. I do this to all my fingers, my right thumb is the worst, I also do it to my lips :( I always thought it was gross and that I was the only husband will see me doing it and say babe please stop but no matter what I can't. If we are in the car and h sees me doing it he will just simply reach for my hand and hold my hand but then if it is really bothering me I will continue to bite at my right parents used to get aggravated with me and tell me to stop. I never realized it is actually a form of destruction :( the only thing that worked was getting fack nails put on but now I have to get them healed before I get them put on again, or the person doing it will question me. I had a set put on for I think 6 months, I kept them very clean and the place.I go is really good, if they think it will cause issues then they will make you get a new set but since I wa taking good care of them I got to keep them on, this helped a lot but the second I decided to take them off because they were healed and it was getting expensive......I fell right back into it :'( this makes me so sad! I have never used drugs, I have an organization called SAVD Siblings Against Violence and Drugs and I also have helped kids with their issues of cutting themselves.....but it never crossed my mind that I too have a very serious problem :( I do this when im bored, mad, sad, anxious, watching tv, riding in the car, I just.want to stop but honestly felt should help pay.for manicures to help this :)

Anonymous said...

I'm really happy to find other people with this problem. I never thought of it as anything but a nasty habit until taking psychology courses last year and hearing mention of it in a text book. I've been doing it for 13 years (since I was 7), and started when my grandma began scolding me for biting my nails. I figured, if I can't bite my nails, I'll bite around 'em instead.

Strangely enough, my cousin does the same thing too. Shes ten years older than me, and I found out a couple years ago she picks her toes in the same way I pick my fingers.

I don't think I'm a necessarily high-stress person, but it definitely gets worse when I'm freaking out over exams or something. Maybe you're right about the usual daily stress getting channeled into picking. I never considered it.

Anyway, all I know is I have my second midterm in two days scheduled to start in 10 hours, I haven't studied enough, and my fingers are a wreck because of it. Thank god for bandaids.

Anonymous said...

I've tried the band-aids, the lotion and gloves and getting manicures, especially with the gel nail polish. All seem to work for awhile. Try putting a rubber band on your wrist and every time you want to pick your nails, snap the band. It really helps break the habit.

Anonymous said...

The one thing that worked for me is to get phoney nails put on. The sensation when picking was completely different and didn't have the same satisfying effect. Time for me to get them put on again because my nail area is ravaged again. They must put phoney nails on guys too?

Anonymous said...

I have been doing this since I was eight. I am now 36. I have a manicurist that puts the acrylic nails on extra thick for me. I keep also keep them very short ( as short as she can get them without cutting me or breaking skin). This is the only thing that works with any significant results. I have to make sure to keep the nails up because I will start picking as soon as they grow out. Doesn't help to just keep real nails trimmed. The extra thick acrylic makes it difficult and therefore hard to do subconciously. Also for some reason it is not nearly as gratifying with the thicker nail. A big pull is the "feel" of the skin tearing between my nails. Most people would not understand, but I suspect those of you here will. Also, I try to put heavy lotion on every time I think of it to keep the skin from getting the dry spots and keeping down the urge to smooth them.I have been a slave to the acrylic nails since my junior prom. That is the first time I had them done and I noticed the difference. Over time I have come to realize keeping them short helps even more. Most people consider it a waste of money since they are so short but I consider it a game changer. Now I don't worry about shaking hands or being embarrassed. Hope this helps someone.

Brenda Torres said...

The same for me but i pick in the left corner of my nail its gotten worse because i will start taking peices of my nail off and now im missing a pieace of nail i cant stop doing it tho cause it feels good

Anonymous said...

You can also try nail paints and nail tapes as they have bitter taste on tongue and remind you not to bite your nails.
People are coming up with an idea of matching nail polish with their dress and whether it suits to your personality
or not. Perhaps you want to check out my breathing tips & exercises.

Here is my blog post - stop biting nails

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