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What Is Skin Picking?

Updated on September 13, 2021
IrisHopp profile image

Iris overcame skin picking. It was very hard to find help. She hopes to help others that by sharing her story overcoming this disorder.

What is Dermatillomania aka "Skin Picking Disorder"?

Dermatillomania is repeatedly picking your skin to the point of causing damage. In this article I will try to offer you information and support about this condition that can really affect your body and your quality of life, not only the physical appearance of your skin. It becomes a condition where you can't quit. This can be similar to when one is addicted to coffee, nicotine, playing video games. It hurts your daily life because you avoid seeing people out of shame for your skin marks or you are overwhelmed with negative feelings about your skin picking.

How do I know if I have Dermatillomania "Skin Picking Disorder"?

  1. Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself that may help you self-diagnosis what you are doing:
  2. Has the skin picking has resulted in skin damage?
  3. Have you tried to quit before only to relapse after a while?
  4. Has you daily life and well being been affected?
  5. Do you feel yourself as being obsessed and compulsive about skin picking?
  6. Is the skin picking a result of a different disorder or medications that you take?

I keep Trying but I Can't Seem to Quit

Dermatillomania can be either a compulsion (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder--OCD) or addiction. Depending on the type you have will determine the treatment. The treatments are not the same. Healthy coping techniques and strategies can be sued to overcome an addiction. Those same strategies can be used to beat the skin picking addiction.

Why Can't I Just Stop?

As with other additions, your brain releases the chemical dopamine which can make you not only "feel good" but perhaps excited. This euphoric feeling makes you want to do that action over and over again. There are also unhealthy behavior patterns that we have been engaging for years or even since childhood. As the age old saying goes "old habits are hard to break". People who have quit smoking have reported that it was easier to quick than skin picking!

How do I recover from skin picking?

Seeking out a therapist is a good place to begin to get help with this OCD. A qualified and trained therapist can offer you many examples of what you can do to retrain your mind use healthy habits to heal. Don't be deterred if you are not able to find a therapist that will take your condition seriously. Many professionals surprisingly do not know about this condition or do not know if it even needs to be treated.

Even if therapy is not an option, you can look online and seek out self help groups to garner different quitting strategies. Some treatment options to look into are, mindfulness, self-care, postpone the actions, and thought stopping. You can use other techniques to battle the anxiety such as counting, positive affirmations, and deep breathing. Another good therapeutic approach is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Another place to start is with your medical doctor or psychiatrist. They may be able to offer you medication such as certain OCD meds, anti-anxiety meds or antidepressants.

People Keep Saying "Just Stop!"

"Just stopping" an obsessive Compulsive Disorders and addictions rarely, if ever works. It is important to find other ways to "feel good" that can be similar to the dopamine effect that is created when you do behaviors that are not healthy, such as skin picking. Another good option is to go to a dermatologist to offer recommendations and meds to keep your skin clean and clear. This will help avoid the need to pick at your skin since imperfections can be a trigger. Find fidget toys that can keep your hands occupied.

Explore Ways that Work for You.

Never give up looking for help and strategies that work for you.

Know you are not alone and you can overcome this!

Keep telling yourself you are beautiful and amazing!



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