Whether you pay your nails too much or too little attention, forming unhealthy habits is frustratingly simple. In this blog, we will talk about some of the unhealthiest nail habits you may not even realize you’ve been committing. Once we recognize these destructive behaviors, we can change them. To learn more about how to avoid unhealthy nail habits, read our guide. 


Nail-biting or onychophagia is common among kids, teens, and adults. This bad habit is addictive for many people who find biting their nails to be calming. However, this habit is unhealthy for several reasons. The first concern is the germs, dirt, and dead skin living under your nails.

Whenever you bite your nails, you introduce your mouth to bacteria that can increase your chances of becoming sick. This habit also creates long-term damage to your nails. Bumps and ridges often form in these nails because of excessive damage to the keratin and nail bed.


Since everyone bites their nails for different reasons, the method for stopping this habit might differ depending on how you treat your nails. For example, some nail bitters decide to cut their nails short enough that they can’t bite them.

Others prefer to invest in manicures because the time and money they spend on polish deter cravings. If neither of these options seems like they will work for you, try chewing on toothpicks instead. Anxious coping mechanisms are hard to beat, but for the sake of your nails’ health, it’s worth the time and energy.


While getting manicures and painting nails helps some people break bad habits, it can also trigger new vices. If you’ve ever looked down at one of your nails, noticed chipping, and proceeded to scratch and pick at your polish until your entire nail is nude, picking your nails is your bad habit.

While this habit may seem less severe than nail-biting, it can create severe and long-term damage. You can even remove the top layer of your nail bed while picking at your nails. 


Using hard nail polishes to prevent chipping and eventual nail picking could help you avoid this unhealthy nail habit. Carrying nail polish remover wipes in a purse or bag could also allow you to remove polish gently rather than scratching and picking. The more you resist this unhealthy habit, the smoother and firmer your nails will be. 


If you do not bite or pick at your nails, you may prefer to pick at your cuticles. Scraping and scratching cuticles is common and habitual for many people. Whether your cuticles reflect your anxiety or you pick at them in boredom, the damage you do could be long-lasting. 

Scraping and biting at your cuticles can cause ridges to form in your nail bed over time. Tearing openings in the skin while picking at cuticles can also create infections in your nails and fingers. 


If you don’t know how to stop this unhealthy nail habit, start by finding appropriate cuticle tools. Investing in cuticle removal tools will prevent you from chewing or tearing at your fingers. These tools help to remove dead skin without causing damage, giving you nothing to pick at. You may also consider getting regular manicures or nail maintenance from nail technicians who can professionally treat and heal your cuticles over time.


Removing a gel manicure is a complicated process. To keep nails healthy and strong, you’ll need to follow specific steps of soaking and removing gel polish. If you have a habit of peeling your gel manicure off, you leave your nail vulnerable to terrible damage.

Peeling gel nail polish off without a proper soaking method can tear at the top layer of your nail bed and create permanent ridges and bumps in your nails. Your nails are also dehydrated and brittle after peeling gel nail polish and need intense moisture to prevent tearing. While it may be satisfying to peel an entire nail of polish, this habit’s long-term effects are incredibly damaging.


If you are addicted to peeling gel manicures, you may benefit from switching to polish that you won’t be able to remove or pick at without using an acetone solution. For example, dip powder nails use acrylic powder and strong bonding chemical adhesives to create long-lasting and peel-resist manicures.

You can apply this type of nail dipping system  with an at-home starter kit and then seal nails with strong polish. Peeling or picking at nails will become a habit of the past when you have chip-proof polish.


Nails need time to breathe. If you consistently leave polish on and replace color after color, you’re keeping your nails from getting the air and moisture they need. Remove manicures and pedicures after three weeks, and rest before painting your nails with a new color. If you do not give your nails time to breathe without polish, you may notice white spots on your nails. These white spots are a sign that your nails are dry and compromised. Dry nails can lead to splitting and tearing.


Note when your nails begin to naturally chip. Once chipping begins, remove your polish and challenge yourself to refrain from repainting your nails for three days. Instead of applying polish, practice healthy cuticle care and moisturize your hands and nails thoroughly. Once you have given your nails time to breathe, they will be healthier and ready for a manicure.

Habits are so ingrained in our everyday lives that we often forget the excessive damage we are inflicting on our nails. While it’s hard to redirect these unhealthy nail habits, it is not impossible. The sooner you recognize what bad habit you may be subjecting your nails to, the sooner you can find new ways to promote their natural health and grow healthier, longer, and stronger nails.

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