"Dermatillomania (also known as compulsive skin picking or CSP) is an impulse control disorder and form of self-injury characterized by the repeated urge to pick at one's own skin, often to the extent that damage is caused. Dermatillomania can be a compulsion of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
People afflicted with dermatillomania find skin picking to be stress relieving or gratifying, though it can still be as physically painful as it would be for a non-skin picker...
...The regions most commonly affected by this are the face, gums, lips, back, shoulders, scalp, stomach, chest, and extremities such as the fingernails, cuticles, and toenails. Physical indicators of dermatillomania most commonly expressed in these areas are swelling, scarring, bleeding, and callusing due to damage to the affected region's epidermis."
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
Bach Flower Remedies
[YEA] 08/04/2011: Kalki from Mumbai, India: "My relative had this problem. She's 45 years old and was a compulsive nailbiter and skin picker especially around her nails. Her fingers and nails were in a very sorry state. She tried Bach Flower Remedies. The remedies she took were Agrimony, Beech, Cherry Plum, White Chestnut and Chestnut Bud (Look up www.bachcentre.com for details on the remedies).
In two weeks, there was a major improvement. Her nails were no longer bitten to the quick. The skin around them started looking healthy with less picking. Even better, her family reported great improvement in her moods and behaviour. Now after 6 weeks her hands are looking normal. She intends continuing BFR as she feels "lighter".
I know BFR are person specific and address a person's emotional state. These ones may not be the best fit for another person. Still I hope this may be of some help to someone."
[YEA] 04/08/2012: Lecia from Copenhagen, Denmark: "I remember someone mentioning inositol helping with their skin picking. It may be worth a try."
06/21/2010: Jackie from Belfast, Northern Ireland: "i am constantly picking at my scalp. it is so bad the only way i can describe it is to say i am (burrowing holes) into my scalp. as soon as they strat to heal, it seems to be time to pick again! i want to pick deeper and deeper untill my fingernails are covered in blood. and my scalp feels raw.
also in areas of my scalp,some of the holes seems to be joing up together. they are making a little trail. at one time i had these on my butt,however, they seemed to have cleared up. and now it is only the ones on my scalp that bother me.
the processing of picking and the rawness of the sores leave me feeling distressed after the intense picking. the sores bother me when i was my hair and i have to make hairdresser appointment for the days that they feel like they are heaing before i get picking at them again. i would be grateful if anyone could tell me whatthis condition is and how can i treat it.
my doctor give me special shampoo but it did not help and neither did the steroid cream. i dont know what else to try.
they sting when i wash my hair"
08/18/2010: Jane from Blackfoot, Id 83221 replies: "It sounds like you have ocd(obsessive compulsive disorder). I have it too. It comes in many forms from picking out your hair, eyelashes, hoarding things, excessive worry about cleanliness, checking to see if the door is locked, etc. My mom said when I was a baby I pulled out my hair so much she had to put mittens on my hands. It is sometimes activated by certain things. I think when I got pregnant the second time it got worse. My daughter got strep throat and pulled out almost all of her eyelashes. I wouldn't have believed this but there is an ocd foundation which publishes a newsletter. You can write to them. (not sure of address. )You might look under earthclinic and hair pulling. I think my symptoms got a lot better with taking acv(apple cider vinegar). Hope this helps! God bless you!"
08/21/2010: Tom from Regina, Sk replies: "Jane:
All alphabet acronyms are just labels given by the mainstream medicos for "syndromes", a hodgepodge eclectic list of real symptoms (not in the patient's head! ). So ADD from one doc could easily be diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) as ADHD by another. Or OCD. Or anything else.
This site has a library full of recent news as well as science behind the effects of the thousands of artificial chemicals we are exposed to daily, and the imbalances and sickness and symptoms they cause:
Example right off the main site page:
Artificial colours pose risks of cancer, hyperactivity in children, and allergies, and should be banned, according to a new report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. A top government scientist agrees, and says that food dyes present unnecessary risks to the public. See Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks http://www.cspinet.org/new/201006291.html.
From July 21st 2010, a warning about artificial colours: "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children" must be used on foods in the EU. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:354:0016:0033:en:PDF. This warning is not required in Australia where it is still up to parents to read labels. So, I realize someone may have been diagnosed from an early age, but all that may mean is that the chemicals are still in the system. After that is gone through, if there's nothing extreme found there, then the next likely cause I think is a shortage of critical minerals, first in the diet then in the body. There are some very good multi-mineral supplements out there like the fulvics and a few pill/capsule supplements (but not those average "daily multi-minerals" you see mass advertised, IMHO. )
The key is to find one that has at least 60 mineral complexes, with as many as up into the seventies! A label check of those regular "daily multimineral pills" shows most have at most about 15 or so. OCD as a true symptom of a real mineral deficiency is no different than people with very poor deficient diets who have a craving for eating DIRT, because dirt can contain not only those missing minerals, but homeostatic beneficial bacteria. It's called pica. So there's 2 possible causes to start with, one of things in the diet that shouldn't be there, and one of things not in the diet that should be."
09/15/2010: Noelle from Denton, Tx, Us replies: "To Jackie from Belfast, I too suffer from the compulsion that you described. I researched it once and found the name "psychogenic excoriation. " I had done it since I was 10 or so. It gets worse in times of stress or anxiety. I'm 40 and have dyed my hair for the last 20 years or so (premature grey hair runs in the family) but last year stopped dyeing my hair. That seems to have helped, but sometimes I still get the compulsion. Best of luck to you... I have no suggestions but you are not alone."
03/05/2012: Kay from Destin, Fl replies: "Some people have an OCD, but many people do this unconsciously when they are bored and/or inactive for too long.
My roommate has scarred her arms really bad from picking while watching TV; so I bought her the little rubber finger covers (in the bandaid section) and a tube of antibiotic ointment... Now instead of picking, the rubber finger tips remind her to put on the ointment instead... It works; her sores are almost healed up now!!! Next I will buy her aloe vera so she can rub it into the scars while she watches TV; hopefully they will heal up too. Then we will buy a long sleeve shirt with tight sleevs and find something else for her to fiddle with/pick at to replace her habit of picking at her arms... If it doesn't work, I hope she will pick the lint balls off all our sweaters and towels instead!"
11/29/2012: Metoo from Victoria, Bc, Canada replies: "I do this too and it's gotten pretty bad, but I can't pinpoint why I do it. The previous poster's comments about her roomate watching TV reminded me that I was way better when I used to play GameBoy (dating myself! ) or crochet while watching TV. Thank you so much! I'm going back to multi-hobbying!"