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lostinvirginia , 19 Feb 2012

picking at finger skin

i keep seeing a bunch of posts about people biting and picking at the skin around their nails, which is what i have done since i was about 11 or 12 years old... maybe even before that time. but i haven't really noticed anyone who has overcome this and has been able to give good advice as to what could or can be done to stop doing this? i'm 29 years old and i continously pick at the skin on my fingers. not just one finger in particular - but all of them. i am embarassed and keep them hidden in a hoddy pocket or coat pocket most of the time. the skin around each and every one of my fingers are red/pink. most of the time, they are red though from me picking and biting so much. oddly enough, i don't bite my nails, even though i don't have long fingernails and they are always short. i will talk to other girls around me and notice their fingernails are always done, etc. and i just want to be able to do that. but i am too scared to go to a nail salon because when i did back in the day, the woman just held my hand up and started to shake her head and i ended up walking out... but would love to know of any success stories that people may or may not have at this time. i would love to stop, but would rather not go to a therapist or CBT center [cognitive behavioral therapy] to get the treatment that may help. thanks so much in advance!
4 Answers
February 20, 2012
i'm a 30 old girl from the netherlands. I have the same problem, which got worse when I was about 20. Last year I read somewhere that getting acryl nails would help against picking my skin. Simply because your fingernail gets much thicker, and it's much more difficult to get grip at your skin. I didn't want to spent that money before trying, so first I tried a couple of days with plastic fingernails which you can easaly remove. I noticed immediately that it was more difficult to pick my skin. But the best effect was that I felt relaxed, and even forgot about my hands (and a lot of other places that I pick my skin). So Indecided to go to the nailsalon and get my first set of acrylic nails. I experienced with my new nails that it was even better! It took about 2 weeks before my skin closed, but the redness was gone in a couple of days. It is even good for me and my husband because me picking irritated him so much and that made me hide it from him... but ofcourse he would often see the results of my moments, and he didn't understand it or knew what to do. He has been very supportive, even though he hates long fingernails :-). But The best effect I have from my new nails is the relaxed feeling I have in my hands. I notice I still touch my fingers with my nails, some of the fingers that have been open for a long time the skin is still a bit hard. But the sensation I used to feel is now different, and that is not from therapy, it's just because it feels different! I can't say I'm completely free off picking my skin, sometimes the allergy on my hands returns. But when I get it open it's not for that long, it's more easy to let my skin heal because it doesn't feel like it used to. Sometimes when I get to this point I ask the girl from the nailshop to make my nails even thicker, and that helps. But that only happend ones in a year. Long story, sorry about my English, but I really hope it will help others to!
February 20, 2012
And I forgot this: if you are ashamed to the girl in the salon just ignore that! She's there to give you beuatiful nails and a lot of the girls have seen a lot of different hands. I always talk a lot even to those girls about this problem, my experience is that they have seen it before. They also do manicure where they cut skin and see horrible feet. Maybe if you go for the first time you can go somewhere in another place where you won't have to come back?! I hope you will try it, because before I cut my nails short to stop the picking I had beautiful nails of my own, and now I have them back!
February 26, 2012
I am 45 and cannot remember a time in my life that I did not pick my cuticles. EXCEPT once in college when I managed to grow them very long - so i wasn't physically able to do it. Other than that the only way I have controlled this is through fake nails: gel or acrylic. What others have said is right; the nails are too think and not sharp enough to pick. Although I prefer the look of shorter natural looking nails, I actually ask the technician to make them thick so I can't pick! I have also been in your shoes and have been refused service at a nail salon. The reason was because my hands were actually bleeding. I do understand that this is a health hazard for them so I just worked hard to get them to heal enough to stop bleeding and went back. I also agree that when I have them on and can't pick I feel much calmer and less tense. I don't know why this is, you would think that it would be easy to just stop doing it and feel calmer, but it isn't the case. And yes, my husband gets very angry with me for doing it. I tend to do it when bored, or stressed or watching TV - that is the worst. He will yell at me "STOP PICKING" and although I know he is right it makes me SO MAD that I just keep doing it. I just went 8 months with natural nails and disgustingly picked cuticles and decided today I'm going back to fake nails. I am definitely somewhat embarrassed going in there today, but the good thing is that I know when I go back in two weeks for a fill I will have nothing to be embarrassed about :)

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