How To Stop Biting Skin -ASK ANA ***
Ask Ana: How to Stop Biting Skin
Hi Ana! I have been reading about your Bliss Kiss™ products and received it yesterday in the mail!!
Last night I took photos of my nails with a macro lens and was shocked at how terrible my nails were that close up! I immediately applied the oil. then before bed I applied it again..this morning I woke up and my nails look so much better already! Thank you!!!
Even though I am in the middle of my 3 Day Get Naked Challenge, but had a couple of questions that I didn’t see on your website (if they are there, please point me in the right direction).
1-Right now, my cuticles are really thick. In the past I would pick/pull/bite them off. What do you recommend while I am going through this naked phase? (I pulled one off already and was so disappointed with myself.)
2-Once my cuticles are healed, what is the best method of cuticle care?
3- I am oiling my nails up to the first knuckle and rubbing the residual into my hands, but I am used to using lotion. Can I still use lotion? Or will the oil on my fingers help the dryness of my hands? -Sommer
I’m looking forward to seeing your results!
What Biting Does
What you are biting is actually the proximal fold of the eponychium. The entire planet has been taught incorrectly that it is the cuticle. That band of skin is a required guardian seal that keeps bacteria and germs away from the nail matrix. This is where new nail cells are formed.
The body’s response to the biting damage is to grow thicker layers of skin cells so it can protect better. Essentially, your body is trying to turn that skin into calluses to protect from the wear and tear we can inflict on ourselves with our fingers or teeth.
Every time you want to bite, pick, pull, etc to that skin, these are your triggers that the skin is drying out and needs more oil. Ultimately, you want to keep a really thin layer of oil on this skin at all times for quite a while.
For me it usually means to oil every few hours. I oil A LOT more during the winter when that skin dries out really easily.
I also try very hard to not use harsh soaps to wash my hands. Over time, your body will recover and that band of skin will return to it’s normal size.
You might want to read Kimber’s story. She was a serious skin nipper and a swatch blogger—a dangerous and painful combination.
What Is The Cuticle?
The cuticle is actually a transparent layer of skin from the underside of the eponychium that sticks to the nail plate while it’s growing. We remove the cuticle before a manicure because polish doesn’t stick to skin.
The cuticle can ONLY be removed with gentle scraping with a special tool and a cuticle remover to dissolve the skin. Removing the cuticle is critical when you are using regular polish.
Actually, removing the cuticle is very important when applying acrylic or gel nail enhancements too. The product will bond to the nail plate better and last longer between servicing.
The best ingredients to dissolve the skin are sodium hydroxide (lye) or potassium carbonate (potash). With a pH of over 12, these substances work to soften and break down dead skin.
Our challenge is that these skin dissolving ingredients don’t care if the skin is alive or dead. If the cuticle remover gets on your live skin, it will dissolve it too.
This results in those tiny, shredded looking hangnails around the cuticle line that are painful and can bleed. It’s very important to only allow the cuticle remover to be on the nail plate.
Can I Use Lotion?
Absolutely, keep using lotion! Just apply your oil first since the jojoba actually penetrates the skin.
The ingredients in your lotion don’t penetrate, they just create a barrier that traps your body’s natural moisture and oil in your skin.
Since the first ingredient is usually water, this is why lotions rinse off so easily when you wash your hands.
I always look for a lotion or balm that doesn’t contain water. Look for wonderful oils and butters in the ingredient list. They will keep your skin soft and create a water resistant barrier for a few hand washings.
Keep up the great work! It will pay off.
Besides anxiety or boredom—which is worthy of a completely separate article—we tend to bite our skin because it’s dry and hard.
When we moisturize the skin with a high quality, jojoba wax ester based nail oil, the skin will get softer, and we will leave it alone. Remember to use your biting or picking as a mental trigger to use oil. Your skin and nails will thank you.
I hope that helps! ~Ana