Although we always advice our readers to avoid picking at their acne at all costs, I can’t help but pick at my skin right now. And while picking at bumps from time to time is a common thing that we all do. It can turn into a chronic situation for some people, this can irritate existing sores and even cause new ones to form leading to scarring. When this picking continues it can develop into a mental health called skin-picking disorder or aka excoriation. What is that? And How can you treat it? Keep on reading.
What Is Skin-Picking Disorder?
It is a mental disorder that is related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which consists of frequent picking at one’s skin. People who suffer from this disorder just can’t stop picking at their faces, arms, backs, legs or feet. They are faced with repetitive picking, repeated attempts to stop and of course a lot of skin damage.
This body-focused repetitive behavior can be developed in several ways; after rashes, skin infections or injuries you may pick at the rash which causes more injury and keeps your skin wounded leading to more picking and the cycle continues. Another cause for this disorder is stress… You may find that this repetitive behavior helps you to relieve stress and control what’s out of control.
How Do You Recognize It?
Understanding the signs of excoriation helps you recognize whether a certain behavior is normal or if it is something more serious.
I know it is so hard to avoid picking completely even with all the “don’t pick” advices out there. So yep we all do this, but you need to know the difference between normal picking which is rarely problematic and the picking disorder. Scabs often itch while the skin heals, leading many people to scratch at their skin. People who suffer from the disorder on the other hand, usually pick at scabs until they bleed. Sometimes, they even let the pimple heal only to pick it again.
Things does not stop here, people with this disorder may try to remove any “imperfection” on their skin by scratching it. Also, they spend a lot of time picking leaving their skin with a lot of scars and infections. This makes some people with this condition avoid any social event as their skin is covered with scars and lesions.
How To Treat It?
Overcoming this cycle of habit can be really challenging. As they say knowing the cause of the problem is half the solution. Before you decide on the best way to treat this disorder, you need to know what triggers it. If it is caused by a skin condition such as acne, then a dermatologist could help. But if it is triggered by stress, sadness or anger then a mental health consultation is what you need.
To better identify the triggers you need to pay attention on where, when and how is this happening. Once the triggers are identified your doctor will either go for a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which include some behaviors that you can do to decrease the picking like keeping your nails short, wearing gloves or distracting your hands with silly putty or fidgets. Another type of therapy is Habit Reversal Training, in this one your doctor will recommend you some harmless habits that you can replace picking with like reliving stress with a rubber ball or keeping your hands busy with anything.