How Long Does It Take to Grow Long Nails?

Thumb or finger with clipping pathMany nail biters wonder how long it will take until their fingernails have fully grown out and returned to their “normal” shape. To answer the question, let’s first examine how exactly fingernails grow.

Fingernails are composed of protein fibers called "keratin" which is the same protein hair is made of. Growth occurs from the moon shaped area seen at the base of the nail, the so-called "lunula". As new cells grow, the older cells harden and push outward—creating the nail plate, the actual fingernail, which is made of about 150 densely packed layers of protein.

So how fast do the nails grow?

On average, the fingernails grow 1mm per week, while this number may vary slightly due to factors such as age, weather, health and diet. A good estimate would be that it takes about 3-5 weeks for the nails to fully grow out depending on the degree to which you bite your nails. Many nail biters observe that their nails grow faster than normal. This notion is supported by a clinical study done in 1980 y W.B. Bean (a practicing medical professional). He observed nail growth patterns over many years and noticed that the growth of nail biters' nails was accelerated by as much as 20%! The reasoning behind it being that nail biting increases blood flow to the fingertips, thus speeding up nail growth.Thumb or finger with clipping path

After the nails have reached the edge of your fingertips, it will take an additional 2-4 months until they have returned to their prior, normal appearance.

This is due to the fact that nail biting changes the shape of the nail bed: As you chew off nail corners and tear off skin from the nail bed, the width of the nail decreases and the nail bed starts to shorten, possibly interfering with nail growth and leading to irregularities or, in some cases, color changes.

Long-term cuticle pickers may also notice that calluses have developed around the sides and tips of their nails, blocking further outside growth and making it all the more difficult for the nail beds to go back to their original shape.

Taking these factors into consideration, be prepared for it to take 3-4 months for the "final marks of abuse" to truly be behind you. The pride and confidence that will come from your new-grown, beautiful nails will more than make up for your effort and patience.

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5 Responses to "How Long Does It Take to Grow Long Nails?"

  1. Sara86 says:

    Since I was about 7 years old I’ve been biting my fingernails. I can’t remember the last time I used a nail clipper for my nails. I bite them almost every single day. Sometimes I bite them so short that it hurts to touch things. Tonight I chewed down my nails till they were bleeding. I’ve tried to stop but if I don’t bite my nails, or when they get too short to bite, I’ll go for the skin around them I can’t help it.

  2. Natan says:

    Well, nail biting is casued by being nervous or having a bad temper. One option would be to try to express your feelings in a way that is different than biting your nails. The other thing would be buying a special type of nailpolish like “stop-bite” which tastes disgusting so you will know that when you bite your nails you will be disgusted. The other option is getting fake nails because those are IMPOSSIBLE to bite. They hurt WAY too much. So by doing any of these or even most of them, you will do yourself a favor and stop that terrible obsession. Email me if you need anymore help.

  3. Auth says:

    Yes Don’t bite them?Whenever you feel like it, tell yourself “NO” and dont’ do it.Never, ever say “just one more time, and I’ll stop”, awlays prevent it.. and if not, find out the cause or put something like tape over them so you can’t bite them.

  4. Frosties says:

    Worn stick on nails for three weeks now. Hoping to wear until mid July and have manicure on my holiday to Centerparcs. This is my goal.
    changing nails and treating nail/cuticles each week. Quite expensive but getting used to feeling of a nail and navigating buttons, picking up objects because not used to nails.
    Bitten my nails since a small child. Tricky to stop.

  5. Tammy says:

    I have always been a nail biter, but recently I have been growing out my nails. 
    My tip was to put nail varnish on them, by putting varnish on it I didn't feel a need to chew as much and didn't want to chip the varnish. It took some time to get out of a habit of chewing but I managed to stop a couple of nails at a time. When my nails began reaching a nice length where a nice amount of white showed I moved onto a nail strengthening varnish as my nails were very weak and i kept trying to bite them again. 
    I've now pretty much stopped biting them and there is just one nail that isn't visible over the end of my finger, it's taken a lot of attempts and self prevention but I'm eventually getting there after a good few months. Obviously each is to their own ways but I thought I would share my experience. 
    I do find it helps to try and do one or two nails a time, it allows you time to cut down on the biting phase without completely stopping- you wouldn't just stop eating junk food immediately- you would cut down! 

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