Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Is there a way to grow out my nails after biting them for most of my life?"

ZocdocAnswersIs there a way to grow out my nails after biting them for most of my life?


My nails grow back but they are very very thin. They also have a hard skin that grown under them that I feel should be clipped away as they grow. How can I grow them out correctly or assist in this process? I have tried "nail strengthening lacquers" but that always seems to peel back after time. I have also tried calcium supplements. I would like to see something more permanent.


If you have truly fragile nails there is unfortunately not much you can do about this, as it is often hereditary. Sometimes there is a role for nail strengthening lacquers, but they do not work as well as they are marketed to work. The principle thing when trying to grow out your nails successfully is to avoid messing with them. Especially if you have a tendency toward fragile nails, you must avoid manipulating them in order for them to grow. This means you should not be trimming or clipping your cuticles or the skin under the nail. You should also avoid biting or picking at the nails, and you should be careful when performing work with your hands (wear gloves when performing household chores, for example). Occasionally, a vitamin or nutritional deficiency or another medical problem (such as thyroid imbalances) can be associated with weak nails or nails that do not grow in properly. Therefore, if you have not had a regular checkup with your primary care doctor in a while, you should do this. At the checkup you can mention the problems you are having with your nails to determine if there is an underlying medical reason, although this is unlikely.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.