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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Skin Picking (Dermatillomania)

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Author Topic: Skin Picking (Dermatillomania)
Member # 71289

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I have been a skin picker since I was 12 years old. Any time I see a pimple or a blackhead, I will not be satisfied until I've popped it or extracted it. The same applies for chapped lips. I know it's just dead skin flaking off to make room for a fresh layer, I know my lips are just dry and I should drink more water. I know all of this in my mind, but I still try to help the process along by picking. Even when my skin is mostly clear, I will stand in front of the mirror searching for any blemish I can find. Sometimes I will stand in the bathroom for an hour or more, in a trance-like state, picking at my skin.

I was always very ashamed and embarrassed of this. I thought it was just a personal habit I had, and no one else would understand, until I saw a fellow skin-picker on the TV show "Obsession." I looked it up, and sure enough, thousands of people have this problem. When I confided in my boyfriend and my mother, they told me about similar compulsions they both had and were able to control.

It is such a relief to know that I am not the only one with this condition; that I'm not a freak.

I know this isn't related to many of the topics on this board, but I just want other skin pickers here to know that they are not alone.

Does anyone here have this problem? If so, have you found any alternatives?

"Love is blind. God is love. Therefore, Ray Charles must be God." - Graffiti

Posts: 18 | From: US | Registered: Jul 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 78400

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I've had this about as long as I can remember, although I think it got worse in secondary school. Nails as well as skin; I used to walk around with red raw, nailless fingers, telling anyone who asked that I had burst blisters from bike-riding. I haven't gone bike-riding regularly since I was about six. Nobody ever called me out on it, though.

I didn't know the name of it until a blogger I follow wrote about suffering from it. Weirdly, just knowing it had a name seemed to help a lot - I still pick sometimes, but recognising that it's an actual condition other people get means I'm not consigned to it, not like a regular old nervous tic. Then again, I'm not under the pressure I was during early secondary school any more, so it might be a coincidence. [Smile]

What I've started to do, with fluctuating success: whenever I get the urge to pick, I rub my fingers on a table, trousers or anything else nearby. Looks funny, but it seems less destructive. I also thought about putting petroleum jelly on them because I hate the feel of it, but then everything I touched would be covered in the stuff and I'm not sure how much good it would do...

Posts: 2 | From: Nottingham, England | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 79431

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I have this as well, though I can't remember when it started. Several years ago, that's all I know.

My biggest problem is my lips, where I also have dermatophagia (skin biting). And I bite the skin around my nails (not actually my nails though, weirdly). I also pick my elbows, ankles and legs, often until they bleed. And my face, to some extent, though not too badly.

I've tried chewing gum to stop me biting, but it doesn't help me very much. It might help someone else though. [Smile]

Many people suggest wearing gloves. My main problem is biting my lips, so that's not much help to me. And they'd annoy me too much anyway. One thing that does help me to stop picking a bit is to have something in my hands to play with. Also if I paint my nails - for one thing, it keeps your hands occupied for a while, then afterwards they feel all strange and you know you'll smudge it if you start picking.

Posts: 4 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 51769

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how weird, i thought i was the only person with this. i never talk to anyone about it, ever. i do it pretty much everywhere. i have phases where its really bad and i have to wear layers of makeup to cover it, and other times not. i often feel really ashamed too, because its obvious that the blotchiness from it is there, and it doesnt make me feel too good about my appearance.

the only thing that stops me doing it is when im distracted by something else, like im at someone else's house or occupying my brain with something. glad im not alone anyway

Posts: 176 | From: UK | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 71289

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Thanks, guys! These are actually really helpful for me.
One thing I try to do is take my phone with me when I go to the bathroom and set a timer so I don't stay in front of the mirror too long.
Sometimes I "forget" my phone, though. [Razz]

"Love is blind. God is love. Therefore, Ray Charles must be God." - Graffiti

Posts: 18 | From: US | Registered: Jul 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 89499

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Try gloves. I pick because I'm obsessed with spots on my skin that feel rough or look uneven. Gloves give a nice smooth feel that is very calming and soothing. They also prevent you from picking other parts of your body.

Smile. :)

Posts: 11 | From: Chapel Hill, North Carolina | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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