If You Are A Nail Biter, This Type Of Manicure Could Help You Grow Out Your Nails

If you bite your nails, you aren't alone. Nail biting, clinically known as onychophagia, often begins in childhood, according to a 2021 study published in the journal Science Progress. However, more than 64% of doctors report seeing nail-biting in their practices, meaning not everyone grows out of the habit.

As Psychology Today reports, onychophagia may be genetically passed down in families. People often turn to nail biting to relieve stress and tension, but it's also not uncommon for some to do it out of boredom. If you habitually bite your nails, it may be a sign of an underlying condition, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or anxiety. Many of these conditions and their symptoms can be managed over time.

While only a doctor can diagnose these types of conditions, you might simply be wondering if it's possible to grow out your nails, especially if you've been biting them for years. Home remedies range from wearing mittens to bitter-tasting nail polish to break the habit. If all else fails, however, there may be a manicure you can try to grow your nails out to the length you desire. Enter the structured gel manicure, which is specifically designed to stand the test of time and strengthen your nails, per Sunday Beauty. Even those who aren't chronic nail biters can benefit from this type of manicure, which can last more than a month when cared for properly.

What is a structured gel manicure?

While a structured gel manicure is similar to a standard gel manicure, there are three features that set it apart, per Paola Ponce Nails. First, a viscosity gel is initially applied to give the nails more strength, and it's noticeably thicker than traditional gel polish. Next, structured gel manicures are always thicker than traditional gel manicures, but this doesn't mean they're messy, inflexible, or uncomfortable. A properly executed structured gel manicure will be thick in all the right places to give your nails the strength they need.

Finally, this type of manicure requires the construction of an apex — the area of the nail where the gel application is at its highest peak. An apex is necessary to provide further nail protection and strength. Without an apex, your nails will appear flat from the cuticles to the free edges of your nails, according to Sunday Beauty. Your nail technician will be able to balance the thickness of your gel polish with the apex to provide your nails with natural support.

After you receive your structured gel manicure, you can expect it to last anywhere from four to six weeks, per Sunday Beauty. To extend its lifespan, be mindful of tasks that cause wear and tear, such as cleaning or washing dishes without gloves. Also, you'll want to book an appointment with your salon to properly remove your polish when the time comes.

When to address your nail biting

If you only bite your nails during occasional moments of stress, growing them out may not be a recurring problem. On the opposite end of the spectrum, frequent nail biting may require medical attention, as it may be indicative of an underlying condition, per Psychology Today.

While long-term damage from nail biting is rare, it is not impossible. You may develop an infection as a result of accidentally ingesting bacteria on your nails. Tooth damage is also possible in some cases. If your onychophagia is the result of a condition, such as anxiety, your doctor may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This can help you identify the triggers that cause you to bite your nails. Occasionally, this form of treatment is combined with habit-reversal training, as well as relaxation techniques to prevent nail biting. By addressing the underlying causes of your nail biting, you can give yourself the opportunity to grow your nails out as long as you want.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.