Here’s How To Treat Skin-Picking Disorder

Skin Picking Disorder
Here’s How To Treat Skin-Picking Disorder

Skin picking disorder (Excoriation or Dermatillomania)is a mental illness in which a person can’t stop picking at a scab or a patch of skin on their body. This fixation prevents wound healing, causing bleeding, infection, and scarring. Despite the fact that it is not life threatening, if left untreated for a long time, this ailment can have a negative impact on mental and physical health. The following treatments can help you overcome Dermatillomania. To learn more, go to PowerPAC plus!!!

What is Skin Picking Disorder?

What is Skin Picking Disorder?

Excoriation disorder (also known as persistent skin-picking or dermatillomania) is an obsessive-compulsive disorder-like mental disease. It’s characterized by body-focused repetitive activity, such as picking at one’s own skin, which produces skin sores and major disturbance in one’s life.

Picking at healthy skin, small skin imperfections (e.g., pimples or calluses), lesions, or scabs is a common occurrence. This is a chronic condition, with periods of remission interspersed with times of increased symptom intensity. Individuals with this illness are known to spend a substantial amount of time, often even several hours per day, picking.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders are a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCDs). This condition can have a substantial impact on a person’s mental health, well-being, and quality of life when it results in significant scars and damage. Skin-picking tendencies can come and go for weeks, months, or even years if left untreated.

Where it happens on your body

Picking tends to focus on certain areas of your body. Those areas are the ones that you can most easily reach with your hands, including:

  • Head: Face, scalp and neck.
  • Arms: Fingers, hands and forearms.
  • Legs: Thighs, calves, feet and toes.


A person must exhibit the following signs and symptoms to be diagnosed with excoriation disorder:

  • Picking at the skin on a regular basis, resulting in skin lesions
  • Attempts to stop the habit have been made several times.
  • Clinically severe distress or impairment is caused by the symptoms.
  • A chemical, medical condition, or dermatological disease is not to blame for the symptoms.
  • Another psychological condition does not adequately explain the symptoms.

Check if you have skin picking disorder

  • Most people pick at their skin now and then, however you could have a skin picking condition if you:
  • can’t seem to stop picking at your skin
  • Picking your skin might result in wounds, bleeding, or bruising.
  • To “smooth” or “perfect” moles, freckles, spots, or scars, pluck them out.
  • You may not be aware that you are picking your skin or that you are doing it while sleeping.
  • When you’re anxious or stressed, pick at your skin.

You may pick your skin with your fingers, fingernails, teeth or with tools like tweezers, pins or scissors.

What causes the condition?

Excoriation disease has yet to be identified as a specific cause. Evidence suggests that the disorder is more common in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder and their parents, siblings, or offspring than in the general population, implying that the disorder has a genetic component.

Other major factors include: 

  • Changes in the structure of the brain. Dermatillomania patients are more likely to have structural variations in brain areas that influence how they learn and acquire habits.
  • Anxiety, stress, or another ailment. Dermatillomania could be a coping mechanism for a variety of problems or mental illnesses. It could also be due to boredom or other problems.

Other conditions that happen with dermatillomania

Dermatillomania patients are more prone to suffer from other mental health or medical issues. Here are a few examples:

  • Hair-pulling (trichotillomania) or nail-biting (nail-biting) are examples of OCD or OCD-related illnesses (onychophagia).
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety disorders are a type of anxiety condition.
  • Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that affects both men and women
  • Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic disorder.

How is dermatillomania treated?

Dermatillomania is often treated with a mix of medication and treatment. According to research, combining the two treatments is more effective than using one form of treatment alone.


The most common medications that healthcare providers prescribe to help treat this condition include:

  • Antidepressants. Selected serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most likely treatment options (SSRIs).
  • Anticonvulsants. Lamotrigine is a drug that aids in the control of uncontrolled muscle movements. It appears to benefit some people with dermatillomania, according to research.
  • Antipsychotics. These drugs work by altering the chemical equilibrium in your brain. Many illnesses, such as dementia, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, are often treated with these drugs. Researchers are also investigating how they can aid in the treatment of disorders such as dermatillomania.
  • Nutraceuticals. These are food-related items that can have an impact on medical or mental health issues. N-acetylcysteine, an amino acid supplement, has been reported to help diminish the impulse to pick in people with dermatillomania.


Depending on the therapy approach utilized, psychotherapy can assist treat this illness in a variety of ways.

  • Reversal training is a technique for changing one’s habits. This strategy entails assisting you in being more conscious of your habits and patterns of conduct. This therapy trains you to break behaviors like skin plucking by helping you become more aware.
  • Peer support and group treatment Specific sorts of group treatment or support may be beneficial to those with dermatillomania.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy (CBT). This approach entails teaching coping mechanisms and methods to aid in behavior change.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on By acknowledging unpleasant sensations that feed the behavior, this therapeutic strategy helps patients change behaviors like skin plucking. Mindfulness and other coping skills play a part as well.

Other treatments related to dermatillomania

People who have suffered substantial damage to their skin or the tissue beneath it may require additional medical attention. Your healthcare professional is the best person to discuss the therapies they propose, which could include surgery, skin grafting, antibiotics, and other procedures.

Other treatments related to dermatillomania

Things you can try if you have skin picking disorder

  • Try squeezing a soft ball or putting on gloves to keep your hands occupied.
  • Determine when and where you pick your skin the most, and try to avoid these triggers.
  • Each time you feel the temptation to pick, strive to resist for a longer period of time.
  • When you have the temptation to pick your skin, take care of it — for example, by applying moisturizer.
  • inform others – they can assist you in recognizing when you’re picking
  • To avoid infection, keep your skin clean.


  • do not let your nails grow long – keep them trimmed
  • do not keep things like tweezers and pins where you can easily get at them


If you believe you have skin picking disorder, it may be difficult to find a doctor who is familiar with the condition. If none of the people on the list are available in your area, look for an obsessive-compulsive disorder therapist. They are frequently trained in comparable treatments. Any skin lesions, sores, or scars produced by repetitive picking should be seen by your primary care physician or a dermatologist.

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