That is a staggering three million people in the UK alone.
Studies suggest many people who bite their nails do so because they are perfectionists and feel frustrated when they don’t achieve their goals.
The compulsion to gnaw at your nails also known as onychophagy or onychophagia has long been thought to be a sign of boredom, stress or anxiety.
Aside from making the nails and surrounding skin unsightly and sore, biting at them can also cause infection and permanent damage to the nail bed.
It can even harm your teeth, causing them to become misaligned or the enamel to crack – so there are many reasons why it can be important to kick the habit.
For one Texas teen, it almost led to her losing a finger and she has now taken to TikTok to warn others of the dangers in a viral video.
Lauren Nichols, 18, shared the video on her personal TikTok feed saying:
“To my fellow nail biters, stop what you’re doing. I almost had to get the tip of my finger amputated because I bite my nails”.
On January 8th, Lauren awoke to a suspicious looking ‘green spot’ on her cuticle that she initially thought was a harmless bruise.
@laurennnnicholsplz watch… it could save your finger’s life 🥺 #seeya #WhatsYourStuf #fyp #foyoupage #foryourpage #foryou #foryoupage
She soon learned that it was actually paronychia, a skin infection that occurs around the fingernails or toenails that is caused by injury or irritation after visiting the doctor because her ‘antibiotics weren’t working’.
Two days after first spotting the green lesion, Lauren noticed the area was becoming increasingly ‘more swollen’ and ‘the green part had expanded’.
Only a day later, Lauren continues to share images and clips of her worsening finger with her TikTok followers captioning: “Plz watch… it could save your finger’s life”.
On January 11th, snaps of her finger show an increasing amount of swelling in the tip of her finger and it appears much more red.
She then decided the antibiotics weren’t working and after trawling YouTube thought it was a good idea to try and pop it.
“But then I go back to the doctor, and it turns out I have to have a surgery”, she says.
“I dead a** almost had to have my fingertip amputated because I bite my nails”, she stresses at the end of the clip.
Her warning video has received more than 2.3 million likes and nearly 22,000 comments since it was posted.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Lauren said:
“My doctor told me that he has to amputate the tips of people’s fingers because the infection gets too bad and that I’m lucky I came when I did”.
She has since taken her doctor’s advice and bought herself a fidget cube in a bid to stop her biting her nails any further.
Having a good chomp on your nails may on first thoughts be quite harmless but it can even leave you fighting for your life.
Images via TikTok