Posted by: Ms. Crackers | November 3, 2008

{ dirty little secret }

I used to bite my nails a lot.  Not enough to make them hurt and bleed, but enough that I was constantly being chastised by my parents.  I have really nice nail beds, if I do say so myself; long and well-shaped, glossy and a very lovely pinkish colour.  I have found over the years that my nail biting was due to boredom or stress, and it was always a very conscious effort.  In fact, it all stemmed from the nail being slightly uneven, and my needing to bite it down to perfection.

As you can imagine, this was rarely a quick and easy job.

After getting yelled at for biting my nails on a regular, daily basis, I eventually switched to my second favourite habit, and the one that has caused me a great deal of pain.

I peel, bite and basically destroy my cuticles and the skin around my nails.  Right now, I can count the following battlewounds on my hand:

Left thumb – red, raw and bleeding cuticle and skin on the bottom left side.

Left index – right side is red and swollen about twice the normal size due to an infection from ripping out my cuticle.

Left middle – ragged nail and cuticle, both just begging to be torn.

Left ring – dirty, a few pieces of dry cuticle hanging about, but generally unharmed.

Left pinkie – same as the ring.

Right thumb, index, middle and ring – same as the above.

Right pinkie – right cuticle has been ripped off, mainly just painful and a little raw.

This is a vicious cycle, as you can see that rarely do my nails look perfect, and I tend to bite at them in hopes of making them even.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Ad nauseum.

I have tried painting my nails, but that just gives me something to chew on even more.  I have gone to the manicurist and that simply gave me MORE infections and allowed me to get a better handle on those cuticles.  I have left them alone for a few months at a time, but that never lasts.  I even put Little Dog and Big Dog’s Apple Bitter spray on them, but MAN does that stuff sting on open wounds.

As for weird obsessions like this, I am certain that it is better to deal with the cause than the symptom, but for me to deal with my slight obsessive-compulsiveness would result in a whole lifestyle change.  Perhaps, instead, I should channel this energy into something a little more…productive.

If Mom Crackers mentions my nails re: the wedding one more time, I might have a fit.
What do you folks suggest to save me from myself?



  1. The only thing that made me stop biting my nails:

    1) develop really strong nails
    2) develop really weak teeth
    3) biting the nails hurts the teeth
    4) ???
    5) PROFIT!

  2. I do this too, and it’s bad, bad, bad. I always think about that scene in Gone With The Wind in which Scarlett goes to visit Rhett in her dress made from the curtains, trying to fool him into thinking she’s still an important lady, and he figures out that she’s been “working in the fields” by looking at her hands. I could never fool Rhett either!

    I’ll never have completely healed hands but one thing that does help is to try to avoid getting hangnails in the first place (to avoid temptation). To avoid hangnails, it’s important to moisturize your hands a lot — after every shower and hand washing.

    One other thing that really, really helps is to wear rubber gloves when washing the dishes. I feel like a sixty-year-old grandmother while wearing them, and they are hot and uncomfortable, but whoa nelly, do they ever make a difference in the state of my hands, especially during the winter.

    Any other good tips you hear of — I’m interested!

  3. Unfortunately, ladies, I think that Lynn’s suggestion is much more practical than Shayla’s. 🙂 Score 1!

    Lynn, do you find that even once you’ve given your hands a break, they’re still showing the marks of your past damage? I know that even when my nails are nice and long and even, and when my cuticles are trimmed and moisturized, my fingers still have weird dents in them and the cuticles still look uneven.

    I suppose that’s the price you pay…

    I’ll have to keep diligently moisturizing them, it sounds like it helps you for sure! I actually bought some awesome-smelling Burt’s Bees cuticle balm for the winter…time to get a bit more serious with it, I guess!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s