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Picking your skin on a regular basis can be an indication of stress-related problems. It’s a benign habit for the great majority of people. However, the behavior can sometimes spiral out of control, resulting in bleeding, scars, or other damage to the skin. It’s called dermatillomania or excoriation disorder when it reaches that point.
This practice usually begins with the goal of fixing a skin issue, such as a pimple, a lump, an irregular cuticle, or something that “just doesn’t feel right.” When picking results in bleeding and scabs, the scabs might become targets for more picking. This process has the potential to become a recurrent cycle.
Dermatillomania is a type of BFRB (body-focused repetitive behavior). Cheek biting, trichotillomania (hair-pulling), and nail-biting are examples of BFRBs. Remember that each of these actions is widespread; they are only disorders if they cause the person significant distress. If, for instance, cheek biting causes recurrent bleeding or hair plucking causes obvious bald patches, the behavior is causing serious problems.
The specific etiology of skin picking disorder has yet to be discovered. However, it is possible that it develops in conjunction with other medical or mental health disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or autism. Skin picking is thought to affect 1.4 percent of the population in the US or about 5 million people in the US alone. Adolescence or early adulthood are the most usual times for the problem to appear; childhood occurrences are less common.
When picking skin is more serious, the repeated damage to the skin results in “excoriated acne,” or skin abnormalities. These anomalies are frequently the object of more skin plucking, establishing a difficult-to-break cycle. Skin damage or bleeding can sometimes become severe, resulting in a so-called “excoriation wound.” Excoriated skin might take a long time to heal. The scars that are left behind might sometimes be lifelong. Skin that has been excoriated is skin that has been injured by dermatillomania.
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