Why is it bad to swallow fingernails?

Biting your fingernails: the causes and how to get rid of it

One in ten adults and even 15 percent of all children chew their nails or cuticles. Not only does it look unattractive, it can also pose a health risk. A dermatologist explains how to stop chewing and how to take good care of your hands.

The cuticle is a natural protection

The cuticle's role is to protect the nail's growth zone, as Dr. Reinhard Mrotzek says: "The skin protects against fungi and bacteria so that there is no infection or inflammation. If this natural protection is damaged by nail biting, these pathogens can penetrate unhindered. But it is also a protection against detergents or cleaning agents then no longer given. " Then, in the worst case, the entire nail can change. According to experts, one should also bear in mind that saliva has a corrosive effect. So if you put your fingers in your mouth all the time, you run the risk of the skin being severely attacked. If any change or inflammation occurs, one should definitely see a doctor.

Avoid manipulating the cuticle if possible

If you feel disturbed by your cuticles, you should definitely not cut them off. "If you really want to do something on your cuticles, you can gently push them back with a damp cotton swab," says the dermatologist. He also advises regular bathing in lukewarm olive oil: "The oil cares for the skin around the nail, preventing it from cracking. A moisturizing cream is also good." And if a small piece of cuticle sticks out on your finger, it should be left alone: ​​"Don't nibble on it or cut it off, just put it on. The rest is done by the skin alone," explains Mrotzek.

Proper care: Creaming helps against dry hands and cracked cuticles. (Source: imago images)

This is how you get used to chewing

Those who bite their nails are often ashamed of their unsightly-looking fingers. This is why many people try to break the habit of putting their fingers in their mouths, but it is difficult. "Good success is achieved above all with children with tinctures that you can buy in the pharmacy. They have a bitter taste and you automatically no longer bite your nails," says the expert. But it can also help if you paint your nails or stick a plaster over them to remind you not to bite anymore.

Tip: Does your child bite their fingernails regularly? This is how you deal with it.

Those who have successfully stopped biting their nails can help the nails heal: "Vitamin H in tablet form can help to rebuild and strengthen the nail," explains Mrotzek. In addition, nails that are already brittle and weak should not be cut with scissors, but rather shortened with a glass nail file, otherwise they can tear easily.

The causes of chewing are different

Whether it's a bad habit or a psychological problem behind it varies from case to case. Many sufferers bite their nails when they are in a stressful situation or use this technique as a repression mechanism. But there are also cases where chewing has become a habit and is practiced in different situations.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.