Pain relief for nailbiting episode?
June 23, 2009 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I snapped and bit my nails way too short after having kicked the habit for several months. Now all my fingertips are seriously painful. Is there any kind of ointment or something I can buy at a drug store to cut down on the pain?

If not, is aspirin or an NSAID a better bet for pain reduction?

My fingertips are not actually bleeding, there's just a lot of tender skin exposed that was previously under the nails. Both the application of pressure and the skin shifting around when I bend my fingers are pretty excruciating right now. (I am totally re-quitting nail biting. Ouch.)
posted by rivenwanderer to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If exposure is causing the pain, I'd try plastering them with Skin Shield. It works pretty well for ripped hangnails.
posted by ignignokt at 10:05 AM on June 23, 2009

I can't recommend any type of remedy specifically for the pain, but I will tell you that when I did the same thing I went and bought a box of those fake, press-'em-on nails and wore them for a few days until that tender skin hardened up a little. It's kind of dumb, I know, but it worked for me.
posted by alynnk at 10:09 AM on June 23, 2009

What about a spray like Bactine? It works on scrapes and such. Toothache or teething gels might work too, they're mostly topical anesthetics, and it would be easier to apply than the spray.
posted by donnagirl at 10:27 AM on June 23, 2009

Anything that keeps the skin moist and covered will help. If you don't have to go out in public, I suggest band-aids (pads across the ends) and any kind of petroleum-based ointment, including plain old vaseline. Maybe soak them in warm water for a while first.
posted by amtho at 10:27 AM on June 23, 2009

use a fine nail file to smooth the skin and nail edges, and then apply chapstick to soften the skin and make it less tender. If the skin is very red, though, it may be a bit irritated, so you may want to dab them with hydrogen peroxide before the chapstick. this will itch a bit, but will feel better after. My fingertips crack in winter, and this helps.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:39 AM on June 23, 2009

Best answer: Seconding Skin Shield, though be warned: when you first put it on, it can sting like hell. Then the pain magically goes away.

Also seconding the cover + vaseline treatment if you can do it. I wouldn't recommend band-aids, since they're unwieldy, but those rubber thimble things you use to sort papers or finger cots (they're available at most drugstores and look like little condoms) will keep the moisture in. This also works really well for dry/cracked fingertips.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:40 AM on June 23, 2009

I use New Skin. Works great. You can buy it at any drugstore.
posted by govtdrone at 11:02 AM on June 23, 2009

Don't forget good old anti-inflammatory meds such as Advil, which will also help.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 11:12 AM on June 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the pointers to Skin Shield! It isn't perfect, but it's definitely an improvement (though the initial application hurt a lot). I'll try the cover+vaseline tactic overnight.
posted by rivenwanderer at 12:28 PM on June 23, 2009

I think Neosporin works better than Bactine, because it has a little pain killed in the ointment.
posted by juliplease at 1:32 PM on June 23, 2009

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