How Do I Stop?

After suffering from this for over 20 years today I have found out that me biting and picking at my skin is a condition that has a name!

I cannot tell you how happy I am that there are more sufferers out there and that its a medical and not purely a mental thing that I do.

My history is that I bit my nails until I was about 13 when I started on the picking thing then at 16 I stopped biting my nails yet carried on biting the skin around my nails.

Since 18 I have severely bitten the skin around the fingers on my right hand, and over the years less and less the left.  I'm at the stage where I don't feel much pain even when there is blood with my right hand yet my left hurts at the lightest 'nibble'.  Recently I have moved onto some toes which is repulsive.  I pick at them as I am no longer able to get my feet close to my mouth - which I guess is a relief.

The only times I get reprieve is on holiday as my hands are too coated in sunscreen to chew them.  My kids have even commented on my poorly fingers and they say I need cream etc for them as they are sore. 

So I need and would like some help on what works and what doesn't

Gloves?  How can you function with gloves on your hands 24 / 7?  Plus I find that certain man made materials hurt my hands as the broken dry skin flakes catch on it.

Are there any creams, lotions or potions I can put on my hands that taste bad yet aren't harmful of ingested?

Other than that - hypnosis, hypnotherapy, CBT, medication......WHAT?

I'm not at the end of my tether but I am an educated 'grown up' person who can't stop biting and picking.  I also have an obsession with making skin smooth i.e. picking at scabs, spots and I find myself doing it to the kids and don't want them to be affected by this too.

Any help greatly appreciated! 

redfish08 redfish08
118 Responses Aug 24, 2008

I've suffered from dermotophagia for as long as I can remember. When I was about 15 or 16 I had a severe outbreak of warts on my fingers, I finally went to a doctor and they informed me that it had been spread to all fingers by my chewing habit. It had started with one wart on my thumb and quickly became out of control. I('m serious guys I had up to 17 distinct warts and I only have ten fingers!)Anyone reading this understands the ambarassment of the bloody and dry skin from obsessive picking, but try to imagine having warts everywhere on top of that! It was humiliating to say the least. When I found out they had spread from the chewing, the dowctors also told me that I was lucky I did not end up with them all over my mouth because it could have easily spread to it as well. That was my reality check, no it wasn't easy but the embarrassment and pain (from the wart treatments) was the only thing that broke the habit, and keeping bandaids on them constantly. Once all of my warts were finally gone I felt so liberated from my habit, like I had conquered a life long burden. However, it happened again. I had a big weightlifting competition coming up and was so nervous I started chewing again about two weeks prior to the competition. That was 3 years ago and I haven't been able to pull my fingers from my mouth since. We all want to stop and we've all read about how to do it, but the urge to have nice fingers that you don't have to hide must be stronger than the urge to chew. I know that reading other people's stories helped me to know that I am not alone so I hope mine helps others as well. Good luck to all that are trying to break the habit!

I, like so many others, am happy to finally know that they're is a name for my condition. Ive had it as long as I remember and yes, its a constant source of embarrassment. I would tell people its my dry skin and lack of vitamin E which causes my skin to crack and bleed but I know its my uncontrollable habit to chew and peel skin. I always have a nailclipper handy to peel away and even Exacto knives so I can shave off skin. After typing this it sounds so insane and creepy why ANYONE would desecrate their body in this painful and embarrasing way. Only thing I've found to help(temporaril at least) is to apply Neosporin to the open wounds and just bandage the fingers. The most Ive had at one time was 8! Uugghh! At least take the precaution and use the Neopsorin, otherwise it does get so painful, even to bend the fingers. Not sure its something you can beat unless you pray and find the self-discipline to stop. Best of luck to all sufferers out there.

I am from Finland, and my Dermatophagia have went worse way all the time. I'vw had it fo like 4 years and after reading what might be happening, i decided to stop it just you have to think about stopping it all the time, like when you feel like eating you just say NO for yourself. I have noticed, if i keep my hands busy all the time (phone, drawing, tablet, computer etc.) I wont chew my fingers so easily anymore.
Aloe Vera is another thing what can help, because your fingers heal easier and it tastes extremely bad, or anything similiar to aloe vera.
I hope I can help

I have this same thing. I started at around 7 or 8 years old, graduated from biting my nails to biting the skin. At one point I remember biting the skin on my toes. Is quickly stopped that. But now I just bite my fingers. It sucks lol.

Wow so many people! I eat my nails from my toes and hands, I also eat the skin around my nails on my hands and toes, and can make them so sore! I chew the skin inside my mouth and can make it really sore! But the most disgusting habit I've got is eating large bits of skin off my feet!! No one seems to have mentioned this! I hate how my fingers and nails look! I don't eat stuff from spots etc but do eat my sleepy dust! Only my kids know I do all this!

Gee I've been doing it for too long. As long as I can remember. Generally my fingers aren't so bad. Today however I picked and bit so bad it's red and hella sore. The normal trick that works is knowing that even though the skin thickens, in about 6 months it'll go back to normal (not 100% but at least 80%). So it's a concept of looking at your healing fingertips each day, forcing yourself to not touch them no matter what, eventually seeing results.
So since I subconsciously began again, I'm now vowing right here to not pick or bite my skin again. And I'll keep updates. I hate that I do it. So no more!!! No more embarrassment, discomfort or pain.
(And God knows I'm tempted to attack my left thumb. No. I will not!)

I'm 38 years old. I started biting my nails as a child. It continued through my teen-age years. Almost 16 years ago I started biting the tip of my left pinky finger. It's still raw to this day as I keep biting at it. Three years ago I started biting the middle finger on my right hand around the nail and on the tip, making that finger bleed. Both fingers are very sore now, and I'm worried I may have done permanent damage to them. I hope to see my GP or a dermatologist for advice on what I should do about my dermatophagia. (I love Google, that's how I found this page.) I'm glad to know that dermatophagia is the name of my condition, and that I'm not alone. I want to stop biting, as I am visually impaired and also read braille with my right hand and depend on my sense of touch. To all who have posted here, thank you.

I have the same problem. My fingers used to be usually red and bleeding all the time. My major problem was I never realized that I am biting around my finger nails till it starts bleeding. Recently, I started using a transparent foul tasting nail polish called Mavala Stop.
I still start to bite, but the foul taste of the nail polish alerts me to what I am doing. Initially I continued regardless... just had to... i guess u understand the feeling. But, now that i was aware of when started biting, I started to set incremental goals for myself to stop. It has been 2months without a drop of blood from my fingers. I still bite my fingers; but nobody notices it until they happen to have a close look at it. And I can sit through long boring meetings without biting.

I am a 20 yr old female and I too have been biting the fingers around my skin for as long as I remember. My mother bites her fingers and my brother bites his nails down to the nail bed, so I thought I did it purely because I saw them doing it. I now realize its connected to my minor OCD behavior. I stopped for a few weeks, but gradually started up again and can't stop. I'm so ashamed of how red my fingers always look and having band aids on different fingers every other day. I need help!

what I used to do is I would go outside and pick grass, I guess the taste of it made me not bite the skin, it works sometimes but my friend did this too and she doesn't chew them anymore..

Im too, I've been suffering for nearly 20 years. well band aid, papaya cream on the spot temporarily worked,but i think interventions that address the underlying root(eg emotional stress, low self esteem) would be the cure...but i only hear

I have been biting the skin on my fingers for 25+ years, and the only thing that has helped calmed this habit is the vitamin supplement, Inositol. It can be mixed in with food or drinks (I always put it in my morning coffee), and it's available online or at GNC. Since I know it works for me, I bought it in bulk from Amazon. Check out its uses and effects on webmd. I hope it helps you all like it's helped me!

I decided today that I'd find out if there was a name for this condition and I was shocked to see not only it has a name, but a lot of people do it as well, I thought I was turning into a cannibal! But it's linked to ocd I'm surprised. I'm 20, female, and I've been biting my lips, inside cheeks and fingers for as long as I can remember to the point of bleeding. It's got to the point where I can't use my left thumb after a few minutes of biting, or where it looks like there's one layer of skin left its THAT red. Then when it heals, my skin is so tough my thumb doesn't bend properly because it feels tight. I bite the skin just around my nails on every finger, but I eat the skin on my thumb and index on my left hand, and the same on my right but only recently started getting worse on my middle finger. It gets so bad on my right thumb that I peel the skin from the knuckle On the inside down to as far as the second crease. It's really bad I'm ashamed of it but I can't for the love of me stop. I found acrylic nails worked but I work night fill at a grocery store and the policy says we can't have them. And having sore fingers all the time is affecting my speed at work. It also affects my teeth and they start to hurt. I've even chipped my tooth biting my fingers that much and that hard.

Baindaids work.. Until you take them off, it's like after having a shower the skin is moist and easier to pick so band aids are a no. I've told my boyfriend and my mother to pinch me if they see me do it. Which stops me from doing it around people.. Sometimes.

My method is either leather gloves so no rough bits can get caught making you want to take them off, short nails (so you can't pick) or non oily sunscreen on your hands. Or just keep your hands in a fist holding your thumb and try your hardest to resist! Or always be holding something in each hand if you feel the need.

I've also heard Fergie the singer, does it and she went to the doctor and they gave her a fowl tasting hand cream. But she liked the taste of it. I'm yet to see the doctor after reading I'm not the only one.

You might as well be my twin. I'm the same age and do exactly what you do for work. When I wear the fake nails it gives my fingers enough time to heal and everything but as soon as I take them off my fingers are so bad because of how rough my skin looks and I start picking at them. I actually just found out today that this was actually a thing. I've been doin this since I was 6 and it's gotten so bad to the point my fingers are permanently scarred and pink even when they're healed. I think the worst thing I do is after swimming (or being in the shower too long) when my fingers are all white and puffy from the water I chew on them more. I have even sat down while watching a show or something on the tv with a pair of clippers and cut the skin off. I don't know what triggers it. Half the time I do it unconsciously. I really do wish that I could stop I'm just not sure how to

I do this too - I nibble around the edges of my fingers and I cannot bear any hangs or tags/rough patches, so I bite them
all off, which, as we know, creates more plus sore patches. I have done this as long as I can remember and it's pretty automatic now. Very embarrassing in team meetings, where I can easily forget this is not what all people do!

I used to bite my nails until they bled but now I have lovely long nails and red raw skin. I also chew the inside of my cheeks and lips, does anyone else do this combination? I have noticed it gets worse with stress but it's pretty much always happening regardless.

Nothing seems to stop it but I am starting an intensive moisturising programme to see if this helps to soften the skin and reduce the roughness and sharp, hanging bits which stress me out and exacerbate the action. I hope you all find a way to manage this, it's good to know this is not just me!

You should use the Burts Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream! Just put it on your nails and cuticles, and they will turn fine. As to say for the skin, I have been biting it too, but I put on vasoline on them every night and wrap them with a bandaid. Hope that helps1

I have this exact same problem.. however mine is worse. I've been biting my nails and skin for as long as I can remember. I remember my fingers were all red and when friends would ask "why are your hands red" I would lie and say I was eating hot cheetos. I've stopped for a little bit but then it just keeps coming back to me. The worst part is that whenever I go swimming, the bitten parts of my skin turn white... help me... I've tried putting hot peppers, horrible smelling lotion, gloves, etc..

relieved I'm not the only one. I think you can only truly stop this habit of you make yourself. And don't just give in to biting again. The only thing that's helped me for more than 2 weeks is fake nails. Because they are superglued. But once those come off eventually I just give in. I feel like if I was really dedicated and cared that much I would stop. I try to think about all the germs I'm putting in my mouth, but even that doesn't bother me enough.

My brother has the same problem too. He's 27 and I'm 18. My little sister did it for so long too, she actually started biting the skin all the way around her fingers for years. Then finally she wanted long nails so bad she forced herself to stop. She also puts on fake nails right when she starts biting them a little bit again. But she completely stopped biting so it's possible. You just have to really want it. She's 12 and she comments on my nails all the time lol

Me too. Started when I was 8 or 9 when my mom was dying. I'm now 61 and still struggle. I can quit for awhile, but always seem to have my hands in my mouth. I've never met anyone else who does this and i feel like a freak. I know this adds to my feelings of inferiority, social awkwardness, but have never been able to stop for long. It's ridiculous for someone my age to continue doing this!

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Hi I have been doing this for over 15 years now I am a forty something professional, yet I cannot stop this 'habit' my fingers are soooooo sore especially when I put my hands into water I could cry with the pain, yet I carry on doing this! I can grow my nails but I cannot stop picking (hands or feet) what is wrong with me? I would love to stop this horrible habit. Right now I have four fingers I have not yet bitten but the rest are throbbing in pain.

What has anyone else done to stop? Bad tastes don't bother me.

Iv been biting and also eating my skin and nails ever since I remember....As well as scabs which should be repulsive... but for me it's not.

Both finger and toe nails, scabs, and skin.

I usually start with the nail, then go to the skin around then furather down skipping the nucklles and eating the skin at the base of my fingers on the inside hands.

My finger tips have lost a lot of feeling. And heat seems to take a longer time to relay.

My hands are mostly calloused which works out pretty well giving what I do for a living with working with tools, and metal.
And carpentry here and there.

But I do remember being called "nubs" growing up and to this day hate swimming in front of strangers because my hands look madddd radddd when pruney.

I had no idea so many people had this issue. I do fine if I have nails put on but, as soon as I do not have them I start chewing. I did not do this for about 10 years, ( biting the sides of my nails ) than I quit getting my nails done and here I am again. I have been trying to find something else to help as I cannot really get any where after my stroke.

Wow I can't believe that your story is so similar to mine but I'm only 23 now. I bit my nails for as long as I can remember then when I turned about 18 started with my skin & now I can't stop. They're disgusting and always bleeding. I am at a loss of what to do. It's embaressing because I am a nanny and work with kids so I'm sure the mom is concerned with my hands as well. I need to stop and can't figure out how!

I have eczema breakouts on my fingers. I will bite and tear or pick the flaky skin off my fingertips. In the winter, they crack and bleed. It looks like I have a miniature Grand Canyon on my tips.
I've been washing my hands with an organic apple cider vinegar called Bragg's. I don't know if this is what has been healing them or the olive leaf extract that I've been taking. I can tell you, the vinegar doesn't taste great but it has healing properties. It kills lots of bacteria and some viruses. It absolutely stings the skin but nowadays it doesn't sting anymore. Maybe this will help you?

Wow I have been suffering with this for aslong as I can remember. I chew and pick on the skin around my nails to the point that my fingers are at all times swollen and broken. Just now finally researched and found out its a compulsive disorder. As a female my best solution is to get acrylic nails as they're quite thick and indestructible so I'm simply not capable of picking on them. Whenever I get the nails done my fingers heal nicely..

Try carrying grapes with you and eat them every time you get the urge. I used to have the problem in 4th grade and I realized it was not only because I was stressed but it was because I was hungry. But that's just me. I just found it helped for me.

My bf chews all the time and the sound of it is so irritating it sounds worse than a nibbling rat.... Getting him to stop is nearly impossible because when he chews he's so anxious that he doesn't want to try anything to fix the problem

Jessica's Nibble No More is your solution.

Ive been biting my fingers since I started going to school I tried talking to doctors but they dont give me help they just boys wouldn't holf my hand if I kept at it. Well im 18 now and I really really want to stop

I have this too... But my mum said that I don't. I clearly do- seing as my fingers bleed everyday, and they're all red. I feel SO much better knowing that there are other people that have this. That for once, I'm not alone. I'm 12 though. I've been chewing my fingers and nails since I was about 10. My nails are all short and my fingers are all red and bloody. I'm not sure how to get rid of this addiction. Even when I'm ocupied, I get caught biting.... Doing it in public and at school can be SO embarresing, so... And what's worse - I started to bite my feet and the inside of my mouth. Eating all the skin. :( please can someone help.

I've had a major case of Dermatophagia since I was very little. I was always made fun of by some of my "friends" because they had long beautiful nails and I had short little stumps. I am still trying to figure out how to cure this bad habit.

I do this too, all the time, in fact I was just doing it. I find that people who are right handed bite their right hand more and vise versa because it is your dominate hand. I find painting my nails is very helpful because when my nails are nicely painted I won't want to bite the nail or skin in fear of ruining my nails. Keeping busy helps ALOT. try to avoid situations that make you stressed or nervous for a while (it takes 3 days to break a habit so preferably 3 days) as being in those states can trigger you. If you get an urge, sit on your hands, breath, count to 10 and resume what it was you were doing. Also band-aids! and plenty! put those suckers on and leave them on or replace them because if you fingers are covered you can't get to them. These are all things that friends, family, and myself do to stop biting the skin or nails

My 8 year old daughter has been doing this for the past 6 months it's getting worse - we will be visiting the GP about it - any tips would be great

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This has been my little secret since I was like 6-7, I'm now 29. It started innocent enough, just biting my nails, then as I got older and my anxiety & depression grew, and so did my condition. I began biting & eating my nails, the skin around my nails and scabs. It grew even worse, and this is the part that worries me the most, I eat whatever comes out of my pimples/blackheads. Its almost like if it comes off my body (besides excrement) its fair game. I never told a soul, in fear of judgements, rejection & being misunderstood. But after reading your story, I felt like 1000lbs was lifted off my shoulders, I'm not alone. Thank you for your courage and strength in sharing your story! Good luck!

I've been doing this for years, I first saw my friend doing it whilst in primary school and wondered why she did it, so tried it for myself and at some point it just became an unconscious habit! I've recently got braces and realised I'm not able to bite my skin anymore, it's a relief and also annoying as everytime I find myself trying to bite my skin, I find my braces getting in the way! I'm hoping having braces will stop me from having the impulses now and I'll finally be able to grow my skin back (I truly hope!) However having braces isn't an option for everyone, obviously it's main purpose is not to stop this behaviours but that is definitely a plus. Good luck to anyone who also does it, I know it's so hard to resist an impulse that just happens unconsciously, that's why it's a problem.

I'm so happy I'm not the only one! In currently doing my gcses and needless to say I'm stressed! It started off as something I did in my sleep but now I occasionally look at my fingers and decide to chew them. It's awful to say but I feel so much less stressed after! I don't know what to do!

Yea... I have it too and just figured out that it was a medical condition. I'm only 14 so i'm trying to help my skin before it gets harder to repair in the future. Yet, i'm still glad that there are people out there suffering from this condition and I'm not a lunatic :P.

I can't believe that this is an actual condition! I'm only 17 now but have been biting my fingers since I was about 9! I have always been insecure and at first done it when I was extremely nervous or paranoid but then it started to become an everyday thing, I find myself doing it without even thinking which is quite scary! Now I am even more insecure as a result of this because the skin on all of my finger joints (the thumb especially) has a really thick layer of skin that I can't even get all the way into to make it bleed anymore, it is also discoloured in the sense that it is red raw all the time and the skin is always broken! How can I stop doing this? It is really affecting me :(

Me too, and I didn't realise it was a condition. I used to bite my nails in school too until I started wearing nail varnish and didn't want to bite my nails so started on my skin. I still can't help biting and do it more when I'm stressed or angry or there's a particular bit of skin that needs evening out. I didn't realise it was a form of OCD but I did know it was hereditary as my mum and aunty both did it.

I do the same!
So glad I have found this !!

My heart nearly stopped after reading this! I thought I was the only one. I'm only 21 but literally the exact same thing word for word has been happening to me for as long as I can remember: I've been continuously gnawing away at my fingers on my right hand for years and years - each time saying "this will be the last". It's in no way painful, unless I actually tear too deep or accidentally shed blood, sometimes it isn't even painful when there's any blood. Don't get me wrong, I don't do it for any self-harm-related reasons, but it always feels like some kind of "relief" when I do? I do suffer from pretty severe OCD, and before coming across this I read that this condition of biting is usually, but not always, related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It freaks me out a little how I am also obsessed with "making my skin smooth" and have been picking off scabs for as long as I can remember, basically leading to me causing my own facial acne for the last few years and leaving an un-countable number of small (and a few large) scars covering pretty much my entire body. In the last 5 years or so I've also moved onto my toes; I know it sounds vile, but it's just that same "relief" I get from that of biting my fingers as picking around hardening skin on my toes and heels. After looking this up a few minutes ago for the first time in my life and to discover there are people out there with (pretty much word for word) the same habits I do, it definitely makes me want to stop! I'm sure you've experienced those awkward, heart-wrenching conversations when people ask you "what's wrong with your hands?" and it's near-impossible to give a straight answer out of pure embarrassment?! I've gotten to the stage where all my right-hand fingers (except my ring finger - for unexplainable/unknown reasons) have the skin repeatedly bitten down so far that it's moving towards the actual palm of my hand! I just keep visioning in about a year or two my whole palm being raw and brittle, and who's to say I'll ever be able to stop at that stage??Anyway I just wanted to share my story too, and maybe give a bit of relief/support that there are probably a lot of people similar to us, who too, want to just stop and have the "normal" hands we long for when we look down them in shame or stare at the held up in them mirror. (I know I do, anyway!)

hello my name is jake and I have been biting my hands since I was 5-6 I am 17 now and lately I've been really proactive about fixing it , okeefes working hands has saved my life ... I use it once in the morning for two hours a light coating in the afternoon around 2-4 for 2 hours heavier coating and at night with gloves my hands were really bad and there almost perfect now , also dial gold soap has helped keep them clean and moisturized hope this helps

I too have suffered from this for my entire 42 years. I first really started to fight back when my kids were born 10 years ago and have done pretty this moment my nails look great. The thing that helps me the most is having Silly Putty in my hands. When I feel the urge to rip or pick at my cuticles, I play with the Silly Putty and it gives me the relief from the tension and occupies my hands. Also, use plenty of hand cream to keep the dead skin soft and less of a target.

I am so relieved that this "thing" is classified as a medical term. I've had dermatophagia for as long as I can remember. I too started out biting my nails and moved on to the skin around it. It's gotten so bad that I even eat the skin around my toes! I sometimes don't even recognize when my fingers are bleeding from it. For me, it feels like a second nature. I even do it in public or at school. I need help please

I've had this for as long as I can remember I think it started when I was 10 which is now 10 years ago. The ONLY time my fingers have been scab free and clean was 2 years ago when I broke my leg and I was on morphine for a week, I literally did not bite the skin on a single finger for a whole week, and as soon as I left the morphine drip in the hospital, I was back to biting. It's weird the connection there eh?

I started to eat the skin off my fingers when I was ten years old. I am now 23 and I still have that habit. After 13 years of abuse my fingers look awful. About a month ago I decided to stop and I haven't eaten them ever since. To keep on going I get my nails done every week. Because I am spending money on them I try not to ruin them. Plus whenever I have the urge to bite them I rub them with a moistmoisturizer to get them all oily. Also I am putting this nail polish that tastes really bad in case I get them close to my mouth. The thing that is helping me the most is taking pictures of my nails every day. That way I can see them getting better and feel motived to keep up the good job. I haven't eaten them ever since and hopefully never will. I hope this helps!!

Wow, I'm 52 years old and just found out this picking has a name. What a relief. I knew I was ocd but had no idea it was connected to my picking. I will now talk to my doctor about possible solutions. THANK YOU

Dear redfish, I too suffer from this problem, but it comes and goes depending on the problems I am going through. The way I am able to stop is to do a holistic approach. I keep a bottle of cuticle oil available at all times and apply it to my fingers as often as possible. The reason is the drier your skin is, the more you feel like biting it (it starts peeling). Then with a cuticle tool I cut the loose skins I might want to eat and when it is a little healed I "sand"my skin with a nail file to make it smooth and get the flakes out. And I keep on moisturizing the skin. At night I apply a heavy dose of a petroleum jelly cream and sleep with gloves. By keeping my hands moisturized I reduce the urge a lot. I also use a prayer rosary or mala that I can manipulate when the urge comes. You can find them online and some come as bracelets, available to you at all times. Again, with these steps I can stop but with stress and anxiety I will start again. Maybe if I keep on doing these things for a long time I will stop for good. Another thing I tried and worked in the past is to put a rubber band on your wrist and slap yourself every time you reach your fingers to your mouth. I hope it helps and I am sure you will find a way that works for you ! :)

I've been chewing around my nails for as long as I can remember. I've modeled over the past three years and my fingers have been an embarrassment to me. I found out probably a year or so ago that Dermatophagia actually had a name and that there are other people with this... disorder, I guess you could call it. This has affected my life tremendously and I would REALLY like to figure out how to overcome it. If anyone has any suggestions, help us out.

Also, there was something I tried a few months ago... It's called Hoof Hands Kick The Habit Nail-Biting Deterrent. It's a clear bottle with a red label. I know for sure can find it at Walmart. Basically it's this clear nail polish... which tastes absolutely awful. But here's the thing: I bite AROUND my nails... not my actual nails. So every once in a while I would get an unpleasant taste of it while biting, but that's very seldom, considering the polish goes on your nails, not around them. I've never put it around my nails, who wants a sticky mess all over their fingers? ...Oh, and it washed off very easily; in the shower, even washing your hands in a restroom. One more thing: If you touch your food with your hands while eating, you ruin your whole meal. And let's say you squeeze a lemon into your tea. The whole drink is ruined. It didn't work at all for me, obviously. I couldn't bring myself to put that crap on my nails, knowing it practically contaminates everything I touch. I guess if anyone has enough self-motivation to actually put it on your nails every day, there's a chance it could work. So... as you can see, I just don't like the stuff. But feel free to give it a try...

I'm Daniel, from Sweden. I am 30 years old and I have benen biting my nails and skin on my fingers as long as I can remember. I actually dont have any fingerprints on my fingers any more. I also tought I was the only one with this condition, I am in a way glad i'm not the only one. Love from Sweden

Im so happy to hear im not the only person who is obsessed with biting the skin around my fingers. Its completely embarassing. Im actually going to make an appt. With my doctor tomorrow. Ive been doing this for almost 20 years. Not only am I biting my skin I chew up the inside of my mouth and tear off the skin on my bottom lip with my teeth. The only way I can get myself to slow down on biting my skin is by painting my fingernails knowing that it will draw attention and I dont want people asking me what happend. Its kind of like tough love on yourself. I dont ever completely stop but my fingers start healing up a little more. The worst for me is when im in a situation that makes me anxious or stressed. I did it one time in a job interview to the point that my finger started bleeding so bad and it wouldnt stop. I was so embarassed and my interviewer who was actually a psychologist told me to seek help for this. I read everyones comments and I think the only thing that will help me would either be CBT or medication such as prozac or citalopram. I really hope it helps im tired of hiding my hands in my sleeves or pockets all the time.

I thought I was the only one who's doing this. With my 22 years I searched on the Internet today and found out that this "thing" even has a name. Anyone who suffers from the same symptoms, try hot pepper flavored nail polish - yes, it's a real thing and it didn't help me though, but for someone else certainly did...

I've been biting the skin around my fingers from the age of 8.... Over the years I have even bit that far up that I came to the beginning of my nail.... The last few years I have managed to stop biting so much and my fingers can look nearly normal. Although still very red! 😢 I went to the doctors a few year back for help and was told it was a Mental condition and that I was harming myself intentionally..... I have found that constantly moisturising and filing etc does help and I can go weeks without biting or picking but as soon as i bite 1 without realising then I start all over again..... This obviously isn't helping my nails as there are growing very bumpy..... Any advice would be welcome... 😄

If it is possible, try out gel nails or simply porcelain nails. (I assume you're a girl..) Just a short for start. It is impossible to bite. Literally impossible. Your teeth regret it otherwise. It helped me, I stopped biting for a couple of weeks. It came back though. I don't think there is a permanent solution for this condition.

I too have been doing this nearly my whole life. I started biting my nails and fingers when I was three, and I didn't stop biting my nails until I was 30. Once I stopped long enough for them to grow in longer and thicker, the urge to bite them just disappeared. I do still bite the skin, often to the point of bleeding, and I'm 32, and I fidget with my nails still, rubbing them on the sides of adjacent fingers to the point of having calluses on the sides of my fingers. My problem is that because I bite the fingers and destroy the edges of my nailbeds, the nails grow in warped and misshapen, and the sides that would normally be protected by skin are exposed and very sharp and annoying. Bitter polish, like Mavalo Stop, doesn't keep me from picking, and usually picking results in worse damage than biting as it's less precise. I feel like, as with my nails, if I could just stop long enough for them to fully heal that I'd have no reason to bite them as it's the irregularities that drive me bonkers and lead me to bite them.

hi my name is Mandy. Im 25 years old and im from holland. im biting my fingers, and chewing the skin for over 15 years.
I just found out.. (10 minutes ago) that there is a name for what i have!
its an amazing feeling. so happy. just wanted to say thank you all for sharing your stories! in going to read all of them. hopefully i will stop biting and picking my fingers soon.
ive bin to the doctor a lot. but they always said was its because of stress but i don't think that this it true..

i see that this story id posted on aug 2008!!
@redfish08: how are you doing now?

greetings and a good 2014 to eveyone
from Holland

Over the Christmas break, I had a particularly difficult time with biting. I have been doing this for more than ten years (I'm 25) and I have tried many times to stop with varying degrees of success. The other day, I Googled "Dermatophagia" and found a comment mentioning the use of sandpaper... This along with other comments about biting just to "even things out" or "the rough bits are irresistible" sparked an idea... My girlfriend got ( <---- This Mico Pedi thing for Christmas. I hijacked it. I have been sanding the rough bits off my fingers, and they are smooth. I put lotion on the help with healing, and I haven't had the urge to bite at all.

I hope this helps someone else, it's such a struggle, I know all to well.

I have it as well, and I too just found out there was a name for it. Yeah the foot thing disgusts me, but I still do it. I have calluses on my hands from going on the monkey bars when I was little, and I started chewing them when I was around 7 or 8. It escalated to skin around my nails, on sides of my fingers, on lips, and inside of my mouth. I have quit several times but always seem to start back. I start on the calluses but its always goes further to the palm skin around them. There are times when I bite too deep and it bleeds, which stings because one must chew through several layers of skin in order to draw blood from the palms. I've been eating my scabs since before I started eating my calluses. Products for softening hands are useless if I'm still biting, and they don't work very well because I don't think my hands are what the manufacturers had in mind. It often feels like my life works around it. I rarely ever use hand sanitizer because it doesn't taste very good, and I've gotten used to the tastes of many lotions and creams. I've found that aloe vera helps heal my hands pretty quickly, though they never stay healed for long.

I also have been doing this for as long as I remember. Gloves are usually what I try and use when I'm at home. But when I go to work or need to use my fingers for long periods of time I sometimes resort to band aids. That prevents both picking and biting. Hopefully that helps!

I've Been doing the same. It started when I was only 5 years old and never stopped the skin and biting since then never bite my nails but only skin, Idk why I'm now 21 almost 22 years old and it's never stopped , the constant bleeding pain when moving the fingers all that I also have borderline personality and bipolar , but this picking and chewing started as of a young age and sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it I thought it was just me but I'm so happy that there are others who have the same thing like idk how to explain , like sometimes I'll let the skin harden or pull it off and place it somewhere and then chew after it hardens idk I feel like a freak? Anyone else do this?

Maybe if you spend $ weekly manicures, even 2X a week, you will have less to pick at, and feel somewhat guilty to ruin your newly manicured hands after s[ending that money? I notice I stop for at least 2-3 days after a manicure, although, it usually just takes one little dry sliver of skin to irk me enough that I start chewing it, but I do it less than I used to.

You can also make your finger un-tasty! Did in something oily and bitter, like vicks or something like that?

Wow... Reading all these messages is a revelation to me... I have so many similar experiences. My right hand is worse than the left-particularly the back of my thumb... Sometimes I chew so much that I'm unable to bend my thumb :( It disgusts me but I can't stop. The irony is that my hands are one of my favourite body parts... So why do I mutilate them??? I have to have nail clippers nearby and a nail file-to try and make my fingers normal after I've butchered them :( So comforting to know I'm not the only one.

My son is 12 years old and bites the skin around his nails. Now, he has moved to his foot. He bites the skin around the toes, nail and now his heels! I have tried doctors, medications, chile, garlic, gloves, polish and even rubber bands! He has gotten so many ingrown toe nails! I have lost count! Can anyone HELP US

I've found that putting aloe vera helps me sometimes because it heals it quickly and it tastes awful. You should probably get him to use hand sanitizer often, especially after using money, because hand sanitizer tastes awful. If the taste doesn't deter him, at least he'll be ingesting less germs when he bites his hands.

Hi, I am 31 years old and have been biting my fingers for as long as I can remember. I have tried desperately to stop particularly in the past 2 years, I am due to get married in 6 months time. I often sit on my hands and hide them as much as possible to stop people asking why they are yellow, I'm dreading my wedding day! I feel really emotional to know that this is a condition and that there are others like me! Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences

I also suffer from this and i also suffer from bruxism. I wonder you guys suffer from bruxism too..

I have exactly the same problem and very please to here it isn't just me out there that does this, I have found the only way to stop myself for doing so badly ( causing myself to bleed and soreness) is when I have nail extensions put on, it stops me from being able to pick at them as much, but as soon as they come off I go straight back to doing it :-(

Both my boyfriend and I have it! I started at the young age of 7 but now that im older I have become very self conscious of people looking at my hands so I wanted to stop.I tried a lot of things but what I found worek best is locking my hands together or keeping my hands busy.Its still a work in progress but, its good to know there's other people that do this!

I've finally found other people who have the same problem! It's only been three days since I stopped, and it's getting increasingly harder to NOT bite around my nails. But the thing that finally made me stop was a friend telling me I had to, and she listed the detriments that occured from my skin biting. It made me realize that she was right--it's gross, it hurts me, I bleed everywhere and freak everyone else out. For me, I just needed to get into a mindset of "YOU NEED TO STOP THIS NOW", rather than "Oh, it can't hurt, why don't I just bite that off?" I like to play with a rubber band now to keep my hands occupied. Also, typing (although it hurts sometimes) helps me occupy my fingers so I don't bite them. Good luck to everyone here.

You have Dermatophagia. This Is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD). Sufferers typically bite the skin around the nails, leading to bleeding and discoloration over time. There is treatment for this disorder. Here are some: Topical applications to discourage nail biting
Bitter favoured clear polishes marketed to stop nail biting
Ordinary nail polishes can act as a deterrent
Mouth guards
Rewards system - especially in children
Distraction techniques
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Habit reversal training
Stimulus control
Self monitoring
Competing response - providing an alternative to nail biting such as gum chewing etc
P.S I am 13 and I deal with this to. I hope this is a good message to you!

I have something to share.I use blade and cut of the waste skin or my fingernails even before it reaches my mouth...even my fingernail levels have raised works for me hope you all can try

I just found out this has a name and Im in shock! your story is exactly like mine...I still have it and it's HORRIBLE I love cooking and it hurts when I cook...<br />
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Anyhow, what HELPS A LOT fot this (at least fot me) is to have a nail file with you ALL THE TIME, the big black ones that have 2 sides, and just file the skin when it's dry, it will make your fingers smooth and you wont have any flakes to nibble, oh! and STAY AWAY form cuticule trimmer, they are my weakness and I used to have one at home, at the office, in the car, everywhere! but it's better to have the nail file, I forget to use it sometimes and my finger look like Im in pain as I type, so I'm gonna make a quick run to a store and buy a few becuase when I get serious about it and file the dry skin when i feel like biting it really makes an incredible improvement. It's very hard to change bitting for filing (I KNOW!) but just think about how they look, the bacteria and the pain and It helps a bit...<br />
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Hope this helps!!!...<br />
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i never knew this had a name ive been doing it since I was 12 and now im 15 i seriously need to stop i noticed it looks really disgusting when i soak my hands i think chewing gum helps. but im going to try that nail polish thing that tastes bad so i can stop

Hi guys :), I have a similar story to share. I've been biting my fingers ever since I was in grade 1. I randomly started to bite them one night lying in bed and then the next night my parents noticed and told me to stop, but I was already hooked. My problem was so severe that a lot of my classmates asked me what was wrong, but I could never tell them the truth and ended up saying that I had burned my fingers. I used to bite my knuckles and all around my nails and fingertips (more heavily so on my right hand) until I got braces for two years which prevented me from being able to bit them very well. I never had perfectly healed hands though - instead of biting, I'd pick around my nails. Thankfully, my knuckles healed though. However, now I'm off braces and retainers during the day, so I have nothing but self-will to prevent myself from biting them. I still bite around the nails and I also pick off my cuticles (developed this habit after figuring out that my nails look longer without cuticles and to this day I still haven't bought a proper cuticle pusher). This is terrible because now the skin around my nails is all red and I can't wear any nail polish because they attract people's eyes to my red fingers. I'm going to try wearing my retainers during the day now as well even though I'm only supposed to wear them at night now in order to keep my mouth away from my hands. My parents also used to buy me a terrible-tasting clear nail polish that they told me to put on my nails and skin, but I didn't have any self-discipline when I was a kid, so I never put it on. I'm sure that you can find this polish in any drugstore, though :). Also, maybe invest in an Invisalign or something similar (especially if you have crooked teeth). You can absolutely not chew on your fingers while wearing those so all you have to watch out for is that you don't start picking at your fingers!

Heya there! :) I have a worthwhile experience worth sharing. I suppose when I discovered my serious case of nail and skin biting had a name: Dermatophagia, I was immediately repulsed at the thought of having an "Impulsive control disorder", that I almost instantly stopped.
I haven't bitten my nails since last Tuesday, and they're already starting to look quite healthy! I had to kind of spend a long time with my myself, meditating over the fact that this was something quite serious in my life in order for me to grasp just how important it was that i stop.
Keep at it, tell yourself to stop every time you get the urge to start biting and you don't know, you may well stop. Some people can pick up habits faster than others (I'm quite lucky, because I'm a quick learner), but stopping is a sign of mastery over yourself, (and those benefits will show, believe me).

Hi peeps !! My story similar to most of you here. I started off nail biting at a very young age then begin to bite and pick the skin around fingers especially my thumbs! I always felt self conscious about it because obviously its not normal. Years back i figured nail biting wasnt cute or girly so i stopped and began getting acrylic nails. This helped with skin biting as well. Just maybe at the beginnig of this year i started chewing the inside of my cheeks! I knew this had to be something serious so i googled it and i found i had this condition. I have stopped wearing acrylic nails becausethey arent natural nor healthy. I am proud that i no longer have the urge to bite my nails, in fact they are very healthy. But it makes my skin biting worse ! I pick and bite until it bleeds, i think im used to the pain by now. Whenever i get in the pool or bubble baths for a period of time they look HORRIBLE. At this very moment im searchin my thumbs for places to bite. I cant help it. Now they are also sore and raw. Yes its ofcourse embarrasing for me. May i add i love seafood especially boiled hot crabs. You can imagine the amount of burning i feel while eating them.

Now as far as the solution discipline yourslef and invest in emery boards to keep smooth so you can resist urge to bite. I? Gonna try to stop today

:/ any improvement?

try Prozac or Citalopram, or something similiar SSRI is the class of drugs. My .02.

I am 41 and dealing with this as well. Tried citalopram for awhile and worked pretty well. Went into a drug study that gave me Prozac plus the study med. worked great. After the study I went drug free. And was ok for about 6 months. Now back at it again. Going to dr tomorrow to get on another drug.

Wow....and I thought I was the only one who had this problem. I am 35 years old and as a little girl, I used to bite my nails down to the nubs. I don't remember when I finally stopped biting my nails, but soon after, I started biting my skin instead of the nail. It was something that I didn't really think about until it would hurt and start bleeding. It's very embarrassing when someone takes notice and asks what happened. Now that I am older, I know that it is a compultion and it is triggered when I am anxious and nervous about something. I also know that part of it is a coping mechanism, as I was sexually abused as a child. So now I notice when I start picking or biting and I ask myself, "what is the problem?" It takes my mind off of the biting and brings me in the "present". Another thing that helps for me is to keep my hands busy doing something else....doing housework, some type of craft, working out....etc. If I'm not sdoing anything at the moment, I keep my hands on my lap with my fingers spread out, so I don't feel the jaggedness and want to pick or bite it to make it smooth. Hope this helps someone. I know for me it helps that I'm not alone. One day at a time.

I too recently discovered, that this obsessive behavior that i have suffered from most of my life has a name. I often, chew off the skin on and around my fingers, as well as the palms of my hands and all around my fingers underneath my hand, on my palm. I find that i do this most often, when i am anxious, or nervous about something, or when i take my add medication. The only way i have found that i am able to stop, is to sand down the areas on my fingers t hat i have chewed away, until they are very smooth. I use either sand paper, or those pumice stones that they use for dry heels. I also put lotion on my hands to deter myself from biting again, because the taste of the lotion, reminds me not to bite. If the situation is just too obsessive, and i cant stop, i as a last resort, put on gloves. Thats about the only way, i can keep from doing this.

I am having hypnotherapy tomorrow to help cure this :)

I too have been very self conscious about my fingers every since I was like 13 or 14, and at that point I didn't think much of it because my mother always told me it was something that I would grow out of. Now I am 24 and still have the same problem, except even worse. I think a lot of it is mental and sticking with your solutions. Although I still have a problem, Im able to tame it at times by simply sticking to only biting 2 fingers(thumbs) and letting the other fingers heal. I also have just carried around gum with me 24 7 and whenever I had the urge to bite, I would just chew on a piece of gum. Eventually, your fingers start to look better and better over time and you want to keep them looking good. Even now, I am still nervous about going into pools or hot tubs because of the way they look after, totally gross! I think once they get a little better, I will treat myself to a manicure. Although that may seem like a very feminine thing to do for a guy like myself, I think it will be a way to make my fingers look normal and it will make me want to keep them that way.

when i am 10th grade,i started eating my own skin around my finger ,and it was so painful,but still i cannt resist it,my grandmother seen my symptom of eating skin of myself says it is not a good sign to your own nail skin by her own experience of life she is saying.definately i loose my mind to concentrate on a particular area bcos my mind is always there to find new loop hole or hooks of the nail skin .<br />
i am a jain from india ,in our religion violence to a tiny organism is big wrong,untill possible u should aviod to torture anybody mentally and physically also, and i have read in my religious books,that our body is full of tiny organism on that,and if we eat our skin or rub two finger to find loop hole they become dead.and why should we make torture tiny creature or organism without any interest,in our relision five paap or sins are there violence,lie,theft,collection of non useful things(parigrah),wrong sexual affair of mind and physical both.for more knowdlege visit any jainism site. <br />
i still have sometimes but very rare to bite my nail and skin ,but i use to rub two finger with each other, and if i found any loop hole of hooks in skin i have again urge to bite it,so if i found such loop holes i use nail cutter to cut very that hooks part and then relaxed littlebit.<br />
after that i somewhere read that end point of finger is end point of our wire system of body u can see it in acupressure or actually i forget where i read that may be ayurveda .and if we rub our finger with each other we are disturbing our end points of our body that is entina (i dont know exact)u can read more on this stop rubbing that two finger to not to disturb your body entina.<br />
try this

I REALLLY wish there was something to do, to fix this.. =/<br />
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I've managed to fight it off before to the point where there's only 2 fingers left to heal and then i mess them all back up.. *sigh*<br />
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I've been doing this like most others since a very young age and through all my years in school. It embarrasses me, people always question why my fingers are so beat up. In high school I became very self conciseness of this curse and despite the embarrassment I was unable to fight it off. This disorder prevented me from having a girlfriend because I didn't want her to have to hold my bloody beat up hands. I'm 21, started a new college this year, somehow managed to stop biting and picking because I didn't want the same feelings I had throughout my childhood and teenage years in college. It's two weeks in and I've messed them all back up again, it disappoints me to know despite all the self awareness and the attempts to save my hands I am unsuccessful. I've managed to be completely self aware of me doing this, but have been unable to prevent myself from doing it. I find myself paralyzed once again from attempting to flirt with girls in class, at party's or in other situations. I don't want people to react in a negative way over my fingers because I know someday I'll be able to conquer it for good. <br />
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Is there a solution to my paranoia, does anybody else find themselves distancing themselves from people due to this disorder? Should I not worry about it as much as I am?<br />
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I would believe most this disorder comes from anxiety and stress, which for me is a vicious battle. I find myself stressing over what people might think of my fingers and pick, pick, pick away..<br />
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HEH, I've never shared my thoughts on this, but knowing i'm not alone I feel somewhat relieved that there is a place can come to share my story.

Yeah, so... I'm a 25 year old man and I'm just getting over a staph infection under my left middle finger. I've come to the realization that it's time to stop chewing on my fingers. I've been doing it my entire life. Even all throughout Marine Corps boot camp and all of the filthy disgusting places I've gone since. I've found glives seem to be my best option. A little bit of conductive thread and you can use a touch screen no problem. Looks stupid as all hell, but so does a grown man nibbling at his finger tips.

I think it is definitely related to anxiety. For a couple of months I was able to stop, suprisingly without a lot of effort. I started up again, however, during the time when I was stressing out about college acceptances and have not been able to stop since. I know that this is a terrible way to deal with anxiety. Not only is it an unhealthy thing to do, but it also wastes my time and I never solve my problems by just sitting there and biting my fingers. I'm in this awful mess of knowing why I shouldn't do it, but not having the determination to actually stop. I've even tried to come up with explanations ("The skin around my fingers is so thick!") that make it seem not so bad, as I've managed to convince myself of believing. The worst thing happened last time I had a check-up with the doctor. She saw my fingers immediately and asked about them. Obviously, the appointed ended with my mom giving me "See, I told you so" looks and me in tears. <br />
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I'm extremely happy that I found this web page and I love all of the encouraging comments other people have made! I'm trying to remember how I was able to stop before. I think it really has to do with just keeping yourself productive all of the time. I tend to find myself biting my fingers when I encounter something that I don't want to do, because then I just sit there and bite and bite. Maybe other people have other reasons for why they do this. But no matter what or how strong these reasons are, we all DO have the will to stop them from driving us to ruin our fingers! Good luck to everyone :)

This is the first time sharing my experience with other people that have this too, it's a little lengthy and mostly what other people have shared before, except that I am indescribably proud to say that at 23, my fingers are completely perfect and without scabs/wounds or otherwise for the first time almost 20 years.<br />
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I had the same reaction as you guys when I found out a couple years ago that I wasn't alone with this thing. My first memory is actually of me chewing my knuckles, and then I started chewing my cheeks and chewing/picking my fingers at least by age 6. It was always just a thing I did and I never really gave it a second thought until I moved to a city with transit for school when I was 18 and started being really embarrassed about my bloody fingers that would be right in peoples' faces when I was hanging onto a railing or pole on a packed streetcar or subway train. I'm sure most of you have had the same experience so I won't go on about it. <br />
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In short, I started trying to consciously stop chewing my fingers, and then realized that most of the time I was doing it without being conscious of it. There was not a single day in the past 18 years that I can remember my thumbs not being completely shredded because my index fingers seemed to have a mind of their own. Whenever I consciously stopped chewing my cheeks, my fingers would unconsciously make up for it by picking more, and vice versa. <br />
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I finished my undergrad in April, and I wrote my MCAT and decided to break up with my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years at the end of May. As you can all imagine and relate to, the stress from all of that left my fingers looking leprous. June 2nd was the day I stopped. I can't tell you if it was because all of the previous three stresses ended simultaneously or because that night I met a man that I have no difficulty imagining spending the rest of my life with. I can tell you that at the pub where we met, I pointed my fingers out to him pre-emptively and apologized for my OCD (which it is), I don't even remember his response, whether it shamed me more than it ever had before or if he accepted it related it to some OCD thing of himself, and over the next few weeks I just gradually. I still bite my cheeks, but I have no desire to pick at my fingers.<br />
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Once I noticed they were getting better, I started cutting my nails every or every other day, and whenever there was loose/hanging skin (which is incredibly tempting, I know) I just took the nail clippers and clipped it off so there was nothing to pick at. I used to remember thinking that if I picked at the 'imperfect' flap of skin or something that my finger would look better, but it would just end up being bloody and worse. Tell yourself that your finger will NOT look better if it's torn off, and just cut off the skin instead, it really helped.<br />
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So, I can't concisively say how I stopped for sure, but I can tell you that it's possible, and is definitely stress related. I'm in a really happy place in my life, and I think that helps enormously. Thinking about the problems with your fingers or wherever you pick at just makes it worse, so do what makes you happy is all I can say I think!<br />
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All the best,<br />

I am NOT alone and there is a name for it! amazing . I am almost 30 and have been biting the skin around my nails and chewing my cheeks since I was very young. The cheek chewing began around when my first marriage ended. I am sure its linked to stress. <br />
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some of it though the cheek chewing I do when I'm just thinking, watching tv etc. I also twirl my hair in my fingers and as a baby and child my mom used to say I'd play with tags on stuffed animals etc.

I have been living with this condition for EVER!!! And yes, I know what it is and yes, I would LOVE to try CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.. but try finding one that is covered under OHIP and doesn't have at least a year long waiting list (which by the way I am on already). SO life sucks until I get into it and see if it really works. <br />
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Believe me- I have tried all the "quick fixes", wearing gloves, putting stuff on my fingers that tasted bad, wearing fake nails, band-aids, etc, etc... I always find a way to rip through the barrier and start gnawing away. My fingers are so raw and sore sometimes I can hardly do anything, such as, tying or zipping shoes/boots, doing up buttons, zipping up jeans, even holding a pen can be painful. I'm all the way up to the knuckles on some fingers. It F'N HURTS!!!!<br />
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I will be tearing into my flesh, skin between my teeth, with blood literally running down my hand, and CRYING because it hurts so bad- and yet- I CAN'T STOP!!!! I HATE IT!<br />
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I will do or try anything to stop doing this. Just find a way to pay for it and I'm in.

Hi, I'm 22 years old and I've been doing this since I was about 9 years old. I thought this was a phase I was going through until I realized it has never stopped. I get chastised for this bad habit and I thought this was something that only I was going through. I know that my fingers look bad for it and I hate the result of my habit but I have not been able to stop.<br />
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I'm SO happy to know that there is a name for it and there are other people going through my struggle as well. I would like to know what are ways to defeat this without immediately jumping to therapy?

I've had similar problem. It helps to keep busy with things that will reduce anxiety or stress. But be careful not to "self-medicate" with things that may seem to eliminate stress but then end up increasing it with guilt or other negative emotions.<br />
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My experience is that the root problem is low self-worth, and anxiety are what causes this problem to get out of control. Get rid of any bad habits, reduce caffeine intake, improve diet also helps. Keep a diary of when the problem is worse, and what activities you were engaged in, and what your diet consisted of which may have contributed to the problem.<br />
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Surround yourself with people who really care about you. Stay away from people who do not have your best interests in mind. Bible reading and prayer are of great benefit. Search for God if you haven't started, start now. Anxiety, stress, low self-worth will eventually kill you one way or another, so the problem is much more serious than just a skin problem. The deeper issues need to be addressed. <br />
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Finally, stay away from alcohol, as it will only worsen the problem.

I've had this same problem since i was about 12, i stopped biting my nails and moved onto the skin instead. So far I haven't found anything that helps although I did stop for about 6 weeks then got all stressed and started again. I've recently starting biting my bottom lip too which is really worrying me so I'm determined to try everything I can to stop now. And as for behavioural therapy, not everyone can afford it I know I can't. I will try simple will power first. If I find anything that really works for me I'll let you all know. Good luck everyone :)

I'm 17 and have been biting my skin for nearly 9 years now, I don't know what started it off and I never thought to look it up online but now I've found what it is I want help to stop! <br />
I'm soon to be 18 and my skin biting/picking is really affecting my work, I'm studying science at college so I work in labs full of dangerous chemicals and diseases that I could pick up but it doesn't stop me! Sometimes I don't even realise I'm doing it :/ before I would only nibble for a bit, just to get rid of any odd bits that stood out but now I can keep biting my fingers/cheeks/lips until they bleed! Most of the time my fingers are that sensitive I can't do anything with them, which is a pain as I need to do most of my work on computers and it can be very painful to type. <br />
I've tried wearing band aids but they don't help as I move onto my knuckles or mouth. I can't wear gloves as my skin catches on them! I don't know what to do! :(

hi, i'm a 13 year old girl and i've got Dermatophagia. i've had it since i was 7 and it's out of control, my fingers are sore and they're kind of numb:S i need help because it's a horrible habit:/ help?:)

I have been doing this off and on for 45 years. I am pleased to see a name associated with it, but I'm not convinced it's least not completely. As I stated in a reply to this thread's self appointed therapist, I have my doubts that snapping myself with a rubberband is going to change something that already has pain associated with it. If discomfort would change it, NONE of us would do it. The issue is healing the skin so there's no trigger to pick and gnaw.<br />
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I agree that having my nails done DOES help. I am not sure if it's related to having my cuticles cared for by a professional, having all those little hangers clipped off and filed down has to help. They also use an oil on the cuticle before they apply the nails. I have always wondered if that contributes to the healing. I have found that if I can let mine bandaids, gloves or sheer a point where they aren't bleeding and raw, an emery board or nail file will sometimes smooth the rough spots enough that lotions, oil or creams actually will help.<br />
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The cuticle creams that help me the most have some sort of alpha hydroxy acid in them...but not all of them do...and I do it at bed time, cuz yeah, gloves are a must. These cremes do sting if it's raw, so it's helpful if you can get them to a point where they aren't open. Sometimes soaking them first helps too.

So. I soaked my hands last night for a long time. A couple hours. I actually got into the jacuzzi, just cuz I could. I kept my hands in the water for most of that. What that seems to do is puff up the dead parts and yeah, I wanted to gnaw that off. I didn't. I dried them and yeah, found myself picking a bit, but went to bed and got up this am to really dried, hard scratchy skin on my cuticles and knuckles. I used an emery board to file all of the hard skin off...really gently on the parts that are still sore. Washed my hands and put vitamin E cream on. They have to be really dry to file off, but it works if you make this the obsession, rather than the picking/chewing. Keep the hard/cracked part filed down and smooth...then a nice soothing lotion. Anyhow. My 4.5 cents.