Wolf Biters: how to stop biting the skin around your nails

By Sophie Hall, 5 February, 2016

You may think it's just a compulsion, or something only you do, but you'd be surprised. If you bite the skin around your nails, you're actually part of a very large clan. And they have a cool name, too: wolf biters. 

We've all heard of biting your nails, but there is the lesser known problem of biting the skin AROUND your nails. And yet, you'd be surprised at how many people do it. This morning I found out that half of my colleagues do it. Chances are if you've clicked this, you do it, too.

The strange addiction is called Dermatophagia, which is Greek for 'skin eating'. Yes, gross, we know. The impulse can take many forms – those who bite their skin, or those who pick their skin. It can even take the medium of chewing your hair. We all have our foibles!

So, if you're a wolf biter, here are some tips and tricks to stop you from going all Hannibal Lector on your fingers.

1. Get yourself a good cuticle cream 

First, you're going to want to repair the damage, because if you're anything like me, you have 10 very sore red fingers. A decent cuticle cream will also help soothe the pain around the nail as well as the cuticle itself.

Try Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream to make them smell nice too, for £6.10.

2. Try and distract yourself

Wolf biting is something we tend to do subconsciously, so it can be hard to kick a habit you're not even aware you're doing. Try locking your fingers every time you feel the urge to bite.

3. Paint your nails 

We all know that nail varnish doesn't taste nice, and if you're biting your fingers all the time, it could be useful to have a bit on your nails to try and put yourself off. Plus your nails will look pretty which might give you the incentive not to bite.

Try Rimmel London Nail Nurse (£3.14), which will give you a clear coat as well as moisturising your nails back to health.

4. AND THEN feel the pain of the nail polish remover

As anyone knows, if you have even the most minor cut on your hand when you're using nail polish remover, it will sting like hell. And for anyone who bites around their skin, it will sting like the SEVENTH CIRCLE of hell.

And that pain will maybe, just maybe, be a good motivation for not biting them in the future. Also, it usually tastes dreadful too.

Try Quickies Nail Varnish Remover pads for just £1.99

5. Become aware of how bad it is for you to actually bite your skin

Here's some food for thought – as satisfying as it is to bite your hands, it's not actually doing you any good. Paronychia is a nail infection you can get from constantly gnawing at that specific area. Symptoms include hands that can swell, due to the pus gathering from inside. Still wanna bite those hands?

6. Cover your hands

And of course, if all else fails, you can always quite literally put a barrier between you and your fingers.

We're not saying oven mitts on your hands – but just try and create a distance. Even putting rings on your fingers will probably put you off, lest you punch yourself in the face with the protruding bling. Plus, you'll look fabulous.

Good luck, wolfpack!

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