I was asked not too long ago about a condition people don't often talk about -- skin picking. The woman I was talking to shared with me how she had been doing this for years and had no idea why. I was reminded of an article I researched and wrote some time ago and have updated it for this blog. Skin picking is something we don't often talk about, but it actually is more common than one would think.
So what exactly is skin picking and, more importantly, why do people do it?
Chances are you are unfamiliar with the word Dermatillomania. The word actually refers to the impulse control disorder commonly known as skin picking. Let’s take a look at this growing form of self-injury.
Skin picking is a very serious problem. It is also very misunderstood. People who have this disorder truly cannot help themselves when it comes to overcoming the urge to touch, scratch, scrape, or pick their skin with their fingernails. Dermatillomania is often closely related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and people who have this condition find that picking their skin can help alleviate stress or anxiety. They may find the actual act of harming their skin to be soothing or pacifying. Some, though, pick their skin solely out of boredom and do not even realize that they are doing it until the episode is done.
People who engage in skin picking may be so consumed with the act that they spend hours each day doing it. It may negatively impact their relationships with friends and co-workers because so much time is taken up with the picking. Their work and social lives may suffer.
Skin Picking Treatment Options
If you or someone you care about has a problem with skin picking, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she may recommend that you see a psychologist so you can find strategies to control your impulses. Cognitive behavior therapy and SSRI medications such as Prozac are common treatment options for those with severe forms of skin picking.
Unfortunately, so many people believe that if a person wants to stop their skin picking, they can just make themselves do so. It is important to think of skin picking as any other addiction or compulsion. There is no simple fix.
Research shows that a combination of behavior therapy and medication can truly help people overcome Dermatillomania.
Skin Picking Treatment Products
Skin picking often leaves behind visible damage long after the problem has been resolved and picking has stopped. Scars are the most visible aftereffects of skin picking, as is inflammation. Look for soothing, all-natural body oils to help calm the skin. A body cream rich in protective Vitamin E will also help to improve the overall condition of your skin. Until the scars have cleared, a body makeup may be used if the scars are having a negative impact on your self esteem.
My Product Recommendations
ZENMED Skin Eraser - face
Tarte Marajuca Rainforest Glow Matte Waterproof Body Perfector - body