Post # 1
I am anon right now and need help :-(. I am a waiting bee, anxiously awaiting my ring but am so stressed out about the inevitable hand pictures and manicures and anything involving people looking or touching my hands at all.
Why? I have an embarassing slightly ocd habit — I chew my fingers. It is unconcious and usually in periods of deep thought or stress. And it has left my fingers with calloused bumps. People think they are warts sometimes…they’re not, I’ve been to dermatologists and it is definitely from the chewing.
There’s nothing I can really do at this point. I’m trying to get myself to stop chewing my fingers or chew gum instead but it is hard and even if I stop that doesn’t heal my fingers. I’ve been using nail sissors to cut dry dead skin off every night and they’re looking better but they’re not going to be fully gone before I get the ring on my finger (luckily I don’t have any on my ring finger as I don’t usually chew that finger).
Anyways, Bees, am I alone in this? What should I do? 🙁
P.S. I’ve done a lot of googling and have found out this is something a lot of Asperger’s Syndrom sufferers do. I don’t think I’m Aspie, but I thought it was interesting…
Post # 3
It’s a surprisingly common habit. Some people chew, others pick with their nails–some Aspies do it, but most people with this habit are not Aspie.
A few things…paint your nails with polish (keeping the area nice helps with motivation). Put on moisturizer throughout the day…it will help with the callouses and usually has a taste to it that is unpleasant when fresh so you’ll taste it and take your finger away from your mouth. Put vaseline on your finger where you chew before you go to sleep…it’s a surprisingly fast way to heal cuts/scrapes so it will likely help here as well.
Post # 4
Personally, and this is not meant in a negative way at all, I would go see a psychologist asap. I would view this as a form of self harm. It’s also not a healthy coping method. They may be able to perscribe a medication that could help with the anxiety or know of some treatment to help with the pattern.
I seriously wish you the best. Dont try to fret about it too much.
Post # 5
I have a similar bad habit of biting the skin next to my fingernail. This has been a habit since I was a little girl along with biting my nails. Recently, I’ve even developed a cuticle infection because of it. It’s happened about five times now in the past 6 months. It’s really painful. Anyway, what I’ve found that really helps me is to keep fingernail polish on my nails since it grossed me out to think out ingesting it. Also, I’ve heard of this product which is supposed to taste so bad that it will break your habit, but haven’t tried it myself:
Post # 6
@beeanonembarassed: BTW, it’s called dermatillomania, it is reported to occur in ~5-16% of the population. It’s usually related to stress, or almost a nervous tick. You’re definitely not alone, and whether or not you need treatment beyond home remedies depends on how much it interferes with your life. If it only bothers you when you think about someone taking close-up photos of your hand (doesn’t hurt to type or do fine motor things, you aren’t avoiding situations where people will see the calluses or picking), you’re probably quite fine.
Post # 7
I pick my cuticles when I’m stressed out or anxious. I had a really bad infection once and because of that I really try not to do it anymore. I put cuticle oil on my nails a couple times a day and it helps keep them from getting dry. If I notice I’m doing it more often, I will try to get a professional manicure since it makes me want to keep my fingers looking pretty.
I don’t think you’re alone OP. Lots of people have nervous tics. That just happens to be yours. That stuff a PP mentioned that tastes bad does work. I was a thumb sucker until I was almost 8. I decided one day I didn’t want to suck my thumb anymore and asked my mom to help. She found that stuff and it made a huge difference.
Post # 8
Do you mean the cuticles or lower on the finger? I’m just curious. I think biting the cuticles is, pretty common. If it’s the cuticles, would getting a manicure help? If it’s lower, I’m not really sure. Maybe wear a ring as a visual reminder to stop doing it.
Post # 9
I used to bite the skin around my nails a lot but I have almost completely stopped. I started painting my nails every few days and I think between the taste/not wanting to ingest nail polish, and having attractive nails that take time, I have pretty much broken the habit.
Post # 10
I also pick and bite my fingers and felt the same way when i got engaged. I was so upset because i knew people would want to look at my ring and i was so embarrassed.
I started wearing gloves whenever i could..like at home or in the car..when i tend to pick them the most. I also got a manicure ( which i was also totally embarrassed about). It helped for a while and now that my wedding is in 2 weeks i’m back to the routine so my fingers look better.
I actually talked to my Dr. about it and it is a type of anxiety and she said she could give me some medication but she really didn’t seem to think it was that bad so I didnt get the meds.
Oh…I’m also telling my photographer….no hand shots!
Post # 11
Definitely see a psychiatrist to rule out OCD or an anxiety disorder. In the meatime, cover your fingertips (if this is where you bite) in cuticle oil 2-3 times a day to prevent you from biting and to help the skin heal. Also, you might try putting a rubber band around your wrist and snapping it any time you feel the need to chew.
Post # 12
I pick at my fingers too. I remember starting in fifth grade – I’ve tried stopping, but i feel a little anxious. Like you, I’m embarassed by people looking at my hands and I won’t get manicures.
The part of finger I pick is right by the first crease on my index fingers (does that make sense?) – just know you aren’t alone.
Post # 13
Medication might help if it’s an anxiety issue (I say this as a person with anxiety issues who is on medication and loves it). If it really bugs you that you do this and is making you worried, I’d go back to the doctor and try the meds, because you shouldn’t have to live that way! If you think you can deal with it another way, though, then I’d try that first and see if there is an easier and less expensive solution than medication. (When you say it’s an OCD habit, are you saying that you have OCD? If so, then I think medication/therapy would really help.)
I have one area that I pick on my hand where I have developed a small callus, but it’s on the inside of my finger, so no one sees it. I’m pretty sure they won’t go away otherwise – it’s just a buildup of dead skin that is supposed to protect your skin from being broken, so there’s no reason for it to go away even if you stop chewing. My best advice on the cosmetic front would be to remove the calluses. You can use AHA products, a callus file, etc – go to a dermatologist or aesthetician or a nail salon, and see if they have suggestions for you.
Post # 14
@misskoala: I pick the crease of my left ring finger with my thumb. I think it’s more common than the OP thinks 🙂
Post # 15
@vegempanada: I pick with my thumb too.
I’d never really thought of others too. My husband doesn’t seem to mind so I don’t really care if anyone else does. I just avoid situations that I have to explain the callouses on my fingers. I don’t know – it’s weird. I did some reading since I didn’t know there was a specific name for it and the description about it being addiction seems to fit. I just get the feeling I need a fix – kind of scary. There’s also a spot on my scalp I pick at sometimes.
Post # 16
I used to do it too, since I was about 10 or maybe even younger. Wanna know how I stopped? My fiance slapped my hand away every single time he saw me doing it, and after about a month or so I completely stopped. I still do it from time to time and when he catches me he slaps my hand away… It’s a little bit momish but it works. Maybe just tell your man to not let you do it at all costs…