Personal Development

A Small Guide On How To Stop Picking Cuticles!

Whether you do it out of anxiety or out of habit, cuticle picking can lead to unhealthy nails and a shabby experience.

Written by Ashwathy Vijay

On May 4, 2023 – 9 minutes read

A Small Guide On How to Stop Picking Cuticles - Feature

Picking cuticles can be a challenging habit to break. It can cause pain, bleeding, and infections, resulting in shabby-looking hands and a lot of embarrassment. People who engage in this habit often do it without realizing it and may find it difficult to stop. However, if you are wondering how to stop picking cuticles there are effective strategies that can help you overcome this behavior and regain control over your skin.

In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to stop picking cuticles, including practical tips, techniques, and strategies that you can implement to break unhealthy habits and achieve healthier, happier skin.

How To Stop Picking Cuticles: Understanding The Root Causes

Cuticle picking is also known as onychotillomania(1). It is a compulsive behavior involving picking at the skin around the nails. Even though the exact causes of cuticle picking are not fully understood, there are several factors that contribute to this behavior. One of which is anxiety and stress. Individuals who experience a high level of stress or anxiety may engage in this behavior as a way to cope with their emotions.

Anxiety cuticle picking is a common condition in individuals who are constantly stressed. On the same note, individuals who are bored, restless, or seeking stimulation may pick at their cuticles as a form of self-soothing. Whatever the cause, cuticle picking is a habit that can potentially cause horrid infections. 

How To Stop Picking Cuticles: Understanding The Root Causes

Another cause of cuticle picking is a habit or routine that has developed over time. For example, someone who bites their nails may also pick at their cuticles without realizing it. Is cuticle-picking OCD? It has also been studied that certain mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder(2) (OCD), may also be a factor in cuticle picking. 

Cuticle picking may also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as a skin or nail infection, dermatitis, or psoriasis. When finding ways how to stop picking cuticles, it is best to consult a healthcare professional. 

If you have the habit of cuticle picking, it is best to figure out your personal reasons for doing so. Pay attention to the situations you are tempted to pick your cuticles and understand what is stimulating you to do so. This is the first step to 

How To Stop Picking Cuticles: 10 Strategies That Can Help!

There are so many different ways you can put a stop to the habit of picking your cuticles. From identifying what triggers you to get a manicure you can’t surely ruin, you can rid yourself of the annoying habit with a few conscious decisions. If you feel the need for professional medical help, it is best to consult your doctor and take the necessary tips.

  • Identify your triggers 
  • Keep your hands busy
  • Try out relaxation techniques
  • Get gloves
  • Manicures are the way to go
  • Trim your nails
  • Use cuticle oil
  • Conscious goal setting
  • Seek professional help
  • Get bitter nail polish
How To Stop Picking Cuticles: 10 Strategies That Can Help

Identify Your Triggers 

Wondering how to stop picking cuticles? Pay attention to the situations or emotions that trigger your cuticle picking. This can help you anticipate and avoid those triggers. For example, if you notice that you pick your cuticles when you are stressed, you can try practicing relaxation techniques when you feel anxious to reduce the urge to pick. If you are someone who picks their cuticles when they are bored, find ways to keep yourself occupied when it happens.

Keep Your Hands Busy

How to stop picking cuticles without making you bored and keeping distracted? Keep your hands busy with activities such as knitting, drawing, or squeezing a stress ball. This can help divert your attention away from your cuticles and reduce the urge to pick. You can practice other fun ways of keeping your hand busy to avoid cuticle picking. Get into sketching or find a fidget spinner to keep you busy.

Try Out Relaxation Techniques

if you are stuck and helpless keep on picking your nails and wonder how to stop picking cuticles. You can engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to reduce stress and anxiety. These techniques can help you stay calm and focused, reducing the urge to pick. This strategy helps you treat the root of the cause, providing you with a lasting solution.   

Get Gloves

How to stop picking cuticles by wearing gloves? how does that work? Wear gloves or bandages on your fingers to prevent access to your cuticles. This physical barrier can help break the habit of picking. You can also opt for other physical barriers that you have in your wardrobe to avoid the habit. Cuticle-picking rings are also a popular solution. While walking around with bandages around your fingers might look ridiculous, it might be the best solution to avoid cuticle picking.

Manicures Are The Way To Go

How to stop picking cuticles? umm..get a manicure! seriously? yes!!

Regular manicures can help keep your cuticles healthy and well-groomed, reducing the urge to pick. When your nails look and feel good, you are less likely to pick at them. If you don’t want to get a manicure right away, try other strategies to avoid cuticle picking and reward yourself with a manicure at the end of it. A beautiful manicure might be all you need to break the habit. 

Trim Your Nails

Still no answer to your question about how to stop picking cuticles. Keep your nails trimmed short to reduce the amount of cuticles available to pick at. This will automatically make it more difficult to pick at your cuticles. If you also have the habit of biting your nails, this is the perfect fix. Most individuals develop the habit during stressful times. Consult your doctor to get a lasting solution.

Use Cuticle Oil

How to stop picking cuticles for dry flaky hands? Dry or flaky cuticles can be tempting to pick at, and using cuticle oil can help keep them moisturized and healthy, reducing the urge to pick. The act of massaging the oil into your cuticles can also be a calming and soothing activity that can help you relax and reduce stress, which causes cuticle picking in the first place.

However, it’s important to note that cuticle oil alone may not be enough to stop the habit of cuticle picking, and it’s important to incorporate other strategies, such as identifying triggers and practicing relaxation techniques. Heading out to get skincare? Don’t forget to grab some cuticle oil!

Conscious Goal Setting

Maybe the best answer to your question about how to stop picking cuticles is a perfect goal. If you’re trying to overcome the habit of picking your cuticles, conscious goal-setting can be an effective way to go about it. It involves identifying a clear and specific goal, understanding its benefits, and developing a plan of action to make it happen.

Break down the goal into smaller milestones and track your progress to stay motivated and on track. Additionally, finding alternative ways to keep your hands busy and avoiding triggers that lead to nail picking can be helpful. Sharing your goal with a friend or family member can also help keep you accountable. Seek professional help

Get Bitter Nail Polish

How to stop picking cuticles with nail polish? sounds strange right? but it works fine! Apply bitter nail polish to your nails to stop yourself from biting and picking. The unpleasant taste is just what you need to stop the terrible habit. While this might seem like an extreme measure, many individuals opt to do this to avoid the habit of picking their cuticle. 

How To Stop Picking Cuticles By Seeking Professional Help

If you have the habit of picking your cuticles until they bleed, seeking professional help is advisable. You can meet with a therapist or counselor to develop coping strategies which Seek professional help if you have a hard time stopping. A therapist or counselor can help you develop coping strategies and address any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to your cuticle picking. 

How To Stop Picking Cuticles: Maintaining Progress

Once you have identified the cause of your habit and an effective strategy to overcome it, the next big step is to find ways to maintain progress. You are required to practice a few conscious behaviors to avoid relapsing into your old habit. The following are ways you could help maintain progress. 

How To Stop Picking Cuticles: Maintaining Progress
  1. Awareness: Be aware of when and why you pick your cuticles. Understanding your triggers can help you develop strategies to avoid them. Try to avoid situations that give you anxiety, or remember to carry a stress ball to help you overcome that moment.
  2. Substitute behavior: Find other activities that can keep your hands busy and distract you from picking. Try scribbling on a piece of paper or engaging in any exercise that keeps your hands busy. Once again, stress balls are a great solution in public situations. 
  3. Self-care: Taking care of your cuticles and nails can reduce the urge to pick. Regularly moisturizing your cuticles, trimming your nails, and keeping your hands clean can help prevent dryness and hangnails, which are often triggers for picking. Make it a point to keep a hand cream at your office desk, and make sure you moisturize your hands sufficiently. 
  4. Mindfulness: While this is easier said than done, mindfulness is a great technique to help you overcome any detrimental habit. Practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to reduce stress and anxiety, which can contribute to cuticle picking. 
  5. Accountability: Sounds extra? Not at all. Sharing your progress with someone you trust and asking them to hold you accountable is a great way to maintain progress. This can be a friend, family member, or therapist. When you’re thinking ‘How to stop picking cuticles’, share your worry with a friend as a starting point!
  6. Patience: It is important to understand that getting over a bad habit takes time. Give yourself the time to slowly overcome the habit of picking your cuticles. 


Why do I constantly pick my cuticles?

You might be constantly picking your cuticles due to stress and anxiety. Many individuals find cuticle picking as an effective coping mechanism. 

How to stop picking cuticles?

There are many ways you can stop picking the skin around your cuticles. From physical barriers to using bitter nail polish, there are many ways to go about it.

Why do I pick the skin around my nails?

Most individuals pick cuticles due to stress and anxiety.

How do you heal cuticles after picking?

Vaseline is a great way to heal your cuticles after picking. You can also use other over-the-counter medications to heal them. 

Is skin picking a form of OCD?

Yes, skin picking is considered a form of OCD. It is an impulse control disorder.

Thoughts On How To Stop Picking Cuticles?

Picking your nails can be a difficult habit to break, but with the right strategies and mindset, it is possible to say goodbye to this unhealthy behavior. By setting conscious goals, understanding the benefits of healthier nails, and implementing strategies such as awareness, accountability, and mindfulness, you can maintain progress and enjoy the confidence and beauty that comes with having well-groomed nails. With patience and dedication, you can successfully overcome this habit and embrace a more positive and healthy approach to your self-care routine. So, let’s say goodbye to nail picking and hello to beautiful, strong, and healthy nails!

  1. Elsevier B.V.(2023).Onychotillomania: An underrecognized disorder. Available at:
  2. Elsevier B.V.(2023).Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Available at:

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Hi, I am Ashwathy, a girl you will find sitting at the edge of most conversations, listening in but seldom participating. I speak millions when I write and make up for the minimal syllables I utter on most days. So, if you read something I penned, that’s your window into my soul and your map on how my mind works. Read on to get a glimpse into my perspectives and for rants of a curious mind

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