End Nosepicking Now!
October 6, 2011 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Please help me enforce my self imposed ban on nasal excavation!

I've had a couple of embarassingly bad habits since I was a kid (so around 20 years now): biting my nails and picking my nose. For the nails, I've eventually settled on the method of cutting them short so I can't bite them - this works if I remember to clip them often enough. However I've never successfully stopped myself from the other, not for more than a few days anyway. I just forget, and it happens without thinking.

Short of coating the ends of my fingers in chilli oil, what can I do?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Put a rubber band on your wrist and snap it everytime you catch yourself mining for nose nuggets. In a week you'll be cured.
posted by Floydd at 1:07 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

As long as you're not doing it in public...I mean who cares? Plenty of people do this.
posted by radioamy at 1:10 PM on October 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

Don't pharmacists sell foul smelling finger glue for exactly this purpose? I'm sure there were kids at school who had to use it.

Beyond that, try keeping a little notebook. Write down the time and duration of your nosepicking each time you catch yourself doing it. The goal being to make yourself conscious of it. That then lets you become aware of when and why you do it, and take steps to stop yourself before you do.
posted by Ahab at 1:12 PM on October 6, 2011

Heh. I have struggled with BOTH of these bad habits in the past. Ashamedly, I can't say I've broken either permanently, but I've cut way back and figured out how not to do them in public. That's something, right? Right?

What's helped me with the nose picking most is to keep things most and clear up there so there's nothing to pick. A neti pot works well for this - you can also get squeeze bottles of saline solution if the neti pot seems too weird.

Also, keep some tissues near you at all times. Try to use those if you have an itch or a legitimate need to pick. As you get used to using them more, you might do the mindless picking less. Reaching for a tissue takes JUST a bit more thought, and you might decide you don't need to pick after all.

Alternatively, keep a small mirror near you as much as possible (certainly in those places you're most tempted to pick - sitting at my computer is a biggie for me), pointed at your face. If you catch a glimpse of what you look like while picking enough times, that might help motivate you.
posted by Knicke at 1:13 PM on October 6, 2011

sorry, "most" should be "MOIST". Keep things MOIST up there.
posted by Knicke at 1:13 PM on October 6, 2011

You're not digging in your nose for no reason, I'll bet... you've got dried-up pointy boogers in there that are making you uncomfortable. Naturally you want them out!

Get a couple of bottles of saline nasal spray. Keep one in the bathroom you use to get ready for the day, and every morning squirt some up each nostril, wait a minute for it to loosen things up, and then blow your nose. After you get everything out, put a little bit of petroleum jelly on a cotton swab and apply a thin coat to the inside of each nostril... all the way to the back where the boogies like to hang out. This will make them much easier to blow out later in the day. Do this same routine before you go to bed at night.

Carry a small bottle of the saline with you during the day. Towards mid-day or whenever you've got a pointy little nugget poking the inside of your nose and driving you crazy, head for the nearest restroom and give yourself a little squirt followed by a good blow.

Also, think about this to keep you from picking bare-handed: a lot of people carry staph germs in their noses and don't know it. If you get this staph-infected mucous on your fingers and then use them to scratch an itch, you can infect your skin with lovely things like boils and impetigo.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:24 PM on October 6, 2011 [6 favorites]

Cut a spicy pepper (hotter and fresh is better), rub it on your fingertip most used for the habit. Let the positive punishment begin.

NOTE: do not rub eyes while doing this.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:25 PM on October 6, 2011

Eeep, just noticed that you specifically mentioned up to/not including the 'chili oil' method. Forgive my lack of perception.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:43 PM on October 6, 2011

Adding on to what Serene Empress Dork said -- is it possible you have allergies or sinus issues causing you to have more boogers that the average bear? Some people have 'cured' their allergies with twice daily use of the neti pot (or the squirt bottle type is super easy to master), but even if it doesn't cure or there are no allergies, it will reduce the booger population.
posted by MeiraV at 1:52 PM on October 6, 2011

Neti pot. It will possibly help you solve sinus/nose issues that you aren't aware of having right now, and at the very least, it will reduce your boogers and make the remaining ones less sharp and sticky and more liquidy, which are easier to blow out than pick.
posted by colfax at 2:37 PM on October 6, 2011

Don't just use those little Afrin sprays

More to the point, don't use Afrin at all, for something like this. Afrin is oxymetazoline, and use for more than a day or three can form a chemical dependence such that you'll be ridiculously congested if you stop taking it until you work it out of your system. This can take quite some time. Having screwed up with this in the past, let me assure you that it is No Fun At All.
posted by valkyryn at 3:53 PM on October 6, 2011

NOTE: do not rub eyes while doing this.

Or anything else. If you know what I mean.

OP, I'll say it if no one else will. I pick my nose all the time.

I work in a field where there is a certain measure of dust and debris around and sometimes, you just gotta go in there and get it. Keep it private, be aware it's not socially acceptable and knock yourself out -- you know, kinda like that other thing we all do and don't talk about.
posted by cedar at 5:34 PM on October 6, 2011

I did it too.It was very dry and it got itchy. Then I got this really weird pimple in a completely unrelated place. My doctor told me that it was caused by a bacteria that lives in people's noses. She accompanied this by "I'm not saying you pick your nose" I looked at her like "I totally do", and then she gave me this antibiotic that I had to put inside my nostrils twice a day. It was hell, it was. Really uncomfortable. But after ten days with the antibiotic (the last day was this last Tuesday) My nose does not itch anymore, I don't feel it dry at all, and I just don't have the urge anymore.

Maybe you have "something" living inside your nostrils, like I did?
posted by Tarumba at 5:42 PM on October 6, 2011

and for more humiliating personal info, this is exactly what I had. staph, apparently.
posted by Tarumba at 5:46 PM on October 6, 2011

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