Essential Oil Blend to Stop Biting Your Nails
Nail biting is a common habit in children and adults. According to one estimate, up to 30% of the population in the United States bites their nails.
While it may seem harmless, nail biting is unsanitary and can contribute to the spread of germs and infections. It can also lead other people to perceive the nail-biter as nervous, immature, or unprofessional. The good news is there are many ways to stop biting nails, which is also known as Onychophagia.
If you, your child, or someone else in your family is struggling to quit this bad habit, try essential oils! Essential oils can be blended into a topical “stop biting” nail polish with a strong aroma that will help deter the user from biting.
Essential oils can also be used as aromatherapy to soothe anxiety and stress. After all, many people bite their nails when they feel overwhelmed or anxious. By promoting relaxation and turning the volume down on noisy thoughts and distractions, essential oils can help you stop biting nails by eliminating the stimuli that triggers your nail biting habit in the first place.
Why Do People Bite Their Nails?
To stop biting your nails with essential oils, let’s first examine some of the common reasons why people bite their nails. By understanding why you or your loved one may have developed this habit, you can learn to stop the behavior at its source.
Most people bite their nails during early childhood, but outgrow nail biting around age 3 or 4. However, some individuals continue biting their nails well into adolescence and adulthood. Nail biting usually begins as a coping mechanism or self-soothing behavior. People bite their nails when they feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or bored. It often occurs while zoning out or getting lost in thought.
Nail biting can also be caused or made worse by ADHD, separation anxiety, tic disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, or obsessive compulsive disorder. Severe, uncontrollable nail biting is considered a Body Focused Repetitive Behavior or BRFB. When nail biting becomes a BRFB, individuals may experience the urge to bite their nails as a repetitive compulsion.
Regardless of the cause, nail biting generally has a psychological element at its source and many people bite their nails unconsciously, without being aware that they’re doing it. In other words, to stop biting nails often takes more than simple willpower.
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Using Aromatherapy to Stop Nail Biting
Essential oils can help you stop nail biting by calming the central nervous system and quieting anxious thoughts. They also help you connect with your senses and remain rooted in the present moment, which can reduce unconscious behaviors like nail biting.
Try diffusing essential oils or applying a drop of your personal favorite aroma for relaxation, to soothe the tension and reduce the overwhelming feelings that may lead to nail biting. You can also incorporate essential oils into your daily routine as an alternative habit to nail biting.
For example, train the nail biter in your life to recognize when they feel the urge to bite and chew. Then, instead of biting nails, reach for a bottle of essential oil or an essential roll-on. Uncap the oil, then take a deep breath and inhale the calming scent until the compulsion to nail bite passes.
You can also diffuse essential oils in your home or workspace to reduce daily stress that may lead to nail biting. They can also help you get better sleep at night, which can lower cortisol levels during the day and improve your overall well-being. Essential oils also help many people experience deeper levels of meditation, which can help manage symptoms of anxiety disorders, ADHD, and other conditions that contribute to nail biting.
Natural “Stop Biting” Nail Polish
Another one of the most successful ways to stop biting nails involves special “stop biting” nail polish, which is applied directly to the nail or cuticle area to deter biting. Essential oils can be used in anti-nail biting polish as an all-natural alternative to formulas with harsh chemicals.
However, it’s important to take caution and avoid ingesting essential oils. Essential oils should never be used internally. Anti-biting polish should not be used on young children or adults with severe nail biting compulsions.
Instead of relying on a bad taste, essential oils to stop biting nails utilize strong, sharp aromas to deter the nail biter. When you lift your hand to your mouth, you’ll smell the essential oil or essential oil blend. This will “wake you up” from the unconscious habit and remind you not to bite!
To use essential oils topically to stop biting nails, make sure to dilute them properly in a carrier oil such as Jojoba Oil or Fractionated Coconut Oil. (Click here to learn more about dilution rates.) Once diluted, apply a drop of oil directly to the nail and massage until absorbed. Reapply as often as needed after washing your hands, or after the aroma of the essential oil has naturally faded.
The Best Essential Oils to Stop Biting Nails
So what are the best essential oils to stop biting your nails? Any essential oil with a strong, sharp, or medicinal aroma that isn’t easily ignored can help you or your loved one stop nail biting. Although this may vary based on personal preference, we recommend the following oils:
Tea Tree Oil
With its sharp, herbaceous, slightly medicinal scent, Tea Tree Essential Oil is often used topically and makes a great addition to essential oil blends to stop biting nails. The aroma of Tea Tree Oil will discourage most nail-biters right away!
Additionally, this essential oil has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, which means it can help sanitize hand and improve hygiene.
You may know Neroli Essential Oil by its other name, Bitter Orange. Although it’s extracted flowers, not orange peels, Neroli Oil has a strong aroma that’s citrusy, astringent, and flower.
It can also be an “acquired preference” for many, who find Neroli Oil lives up to the bitterness in its alternative name. Like Tea Tree Oil, Neroli Oil is also antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal.
Clove Bud Oil
Clove Bud Oil has a deep, spicy, pungent aroma that’s impossible to ignore! When applied to the fingernail or nail bed in a carrier oil, the scent of Clove Bud Oil will make any nail-biter stop and think twice.
Because Clove Bud Oil is considered a “hot” oil, it may cause sensitivity when used topically and may therefore require additional dilution in a carrier oil. We recommend patch testing Clove Bud Oil prior to extensive use on the skin or nails.
Finally, no list of essential oils for nail biting would be complete without Oregano Essential Oil. Steam distilled from the leaves and flowers of a popular herb you may already have on your spice rack, Oregano Oil has a sharp, herbal, slightly spicy scent.
Try Oregano Oil in a carrier oil or combine with other essential oils to help prevent nail biting. It’s important to note that Oregano Oil is another “hot” oil, similar to Clove Bud Oil, so patch testing is advised.
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Stop Nail Biting with Essential Oils and Essential Oil Blends
Through a combination of stress relief, replacing bad habits with good ones, and the natural power of essential oils, you or your loved ones can stop biting your nails. Remember to take it one day at a time. You can also consider rewarding yourself with a gift, like a new diffuser kit, when you’ve reached a milestone such as 30 days of no nail biting.
Good luck and cheers to a life of new, healthy habits!