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to ask your advice about ds face scratching

(26 Posts)
Soleurmange Tue 30-Dec-14 20:54:13

look im really sorry i am posting for traffic - ds age 4 appears to actively enjoy scratching his face. he has little sores all over it, and despite lots of attempts on our part to prevent it including calomine lotion, trimming and filing his nails, plasters over already scrathed spots, mittens at night, threats of punishment, rewards for not doing it, nothing stops him scratching.

he has had a food allergy (to strawberries) which made his cheeks pink, so i wonder if it is an allergy? there is nothing on his face which looks like hives or eczema. should I try periton or anything else similar? this current bout of scrating started after an accident where he got a lot of grazes - he fell in a river - could it be something to do with that, although that was 2 months ago now? or is it some kind of stress/ anxiety reaction, which really worries me? in general he is a happy boy but he is going through a very errrrm oppositional stage and so lots of warnings, time outs, as well as us trying to use reward charts to try and make things more positive. we have also recently had baby number 2, dont know if that could be linked.

im getting increasingly frustrated as he is picking endlessly at sore spots he has picked on his face - although not terrible at the moment I'm worried its not going to stop and will get alot worse. any advice very gratefully received

tippytappywriter Tue 30-Dec-14 21:00:23

My dd did similar when she was 2. Pleased to say she did eventually stop. Not sure why or if we did anything different from what you're trying. Just one thought about it though... have you tried ignoring it? Hope he stops soon. flowers

6031769 Tue 30-Dec-14 21:06:24

there was an episode of Jo frost with a little girl who did this, with her it was a habit that she used to do without really thinking say if she was watching TV. with this girl they got her one of those thick make up brushes and it ends up she would sit and rub her face with that rather than the scratching

TheIronGnome Tue 30-Dec-14 21:19:51

Firstly, you need to totally ignore it. Chances are, what was habit is now (at least partly) attention seeking.

Make sure he is getting enough attention, especially with a new sibling in the picture, and yes, sensory diversion (like what Jo frost did with the make up brush) can be excellent. So anything that he can do with his fingers/hands at times where he would normally pick.

Purplepoodle Tue 30-Dec-14 22:02:31

My ds did this too recently (he's 3.5). Ended up putting little sticky dressing over each big sore - kind that's a breathable dressing with adhesive around the edge from pharmacy. The rest we kept putting on sudocreme or metanium Covering was the only way we managed to get them healed.

Purplepoodle Tue 30-Dec-14 22:03:57

And ignored it or distracted him

whatsinanamearose Tue 30-Dec-14 23:33:21

How long has it been occurring?

As you said it started with some scrapes to his face, have you taken him to the gp to eliminate Impertigo? Its a soft tissue infection and can be really itchy. It is very common on the face and is extremely contagious which is why I would get it checked.

Another consideration may be HSV1. Again, very irritating and highly contagious while a breakout occurs.

I don't like to scaremonger, it could be a number of things. These are just two of the most common that are missed invariably due to parents not seeking gp advice.

I hope the scratching stops soon

whatsinanamearose Tue 30-Dec-14 23:35:25

To clarify, when I asked how long it has been occurring, I meant from the first bout of scratching.

mummytime Tue 30-Dec-14 23:44:16

It could be a reaction to anxiety - the make up brush or a fiddle toy could help.
If it's linked to an allergy, then stopping the itch could help.

Soleurmange Fri 02-Jan-15 14:56:42

thanks so much for your advice - i will make a gp appointment, we hvae been tryhing with the make up brush but he doesnt seem too interetsed - but us absolutely not mentioning it for the past few days seems to have reduced the scratching. thanks so much for all replies, really appreciated flowers

emeline Fri 02-Jan-15 14:59:04

Sounds like an anxiety response.

Imagine yourself doing it. How would you be feeling?

Not a happy bunny.

Bulbasaur Fri 02-Jan-15 15:34:30

It does seem a bit OCD-esque, if it's anxiety related. There's a similar disorder called Trichotillomania where people just tug and twist their hair until it comes out.

Soleurmange Fri 02-Jan-15 18:02:37

yes ive heard of that - i have given him a new make up brush that he really likes and he has been using that instead of scratching, so perhaps some progress smile

Iggly Fri 02-Jan-15 18:04:27

Take him to the docs. Does he have any other allergies? My two DCs get itchy on their face if they've had strong cheddar (paediatrician says it is high in histamine) so you need to rule out medical causes.

DoJo Fri 02-Jan-15 19:14:02

My son picked at a scab on his leg for weeks, opening up every time it had nearly healed and fiddling with it whenever he was tired or upset - I think it was just a weird kind of comfort thing with him. In the end we put a plaster over it for a couple of days until it was healed enough not to open up again and he just stopped. I am a picker and fiddler, so I understand the urge, but I think distraction, not making a fuss about it and treating any bits which look sore will probably yield better results. Good luck!

WillWorkForMoney Fri 02-Jan-15 19:43:40

My dd (now 6.5) has been doing this since she was about 3. During the summer she isn't as bad but come winter its terrible. I just said to dp its like someones let loose with a machine gun on her face. She is going to have loads of scars on her face when she's older, but nothing i have done so far has worked. The scabs are on her forehead and top of and on the nose, so plasters cannot really go on there (even if i put them on she pulls them off). Going to try the makeup brush, though i dont think she will take to it.
If it is anxiety, how do i go about finding out what it is about?

Soleurmange Fri 02-Jan-15 21:17:47

will work - is it possible your dd has allergies ? my ds has this worse in winter too, and im wondering if itchiness becuase of allergies might underpin it. it was bad last winter too, but unnoticeable in summer

WillWorkForMoney Fri 02-Jan-15 21:29:51

She does suffer with excema, but usually just on her legs. You've got me wondering too now. Would it be worth a trip to the doctors? Or is it just something I'd have to manage? Would antihistamines work? Presumably they'd only work for the initial pick, not the subsequent scabs?
Ive given her a makeup brush to see if that stops her picking.

WillWorkForMoney Fri 02-Jan-15 21:35:57

Sorry for all the questions, I'm just musing...

Soleurmange Sat 03-Jan-15 20:36:39

good to muse - ds is loving the make up brush now, but im def taking him to the docs in the ny. im sure itchiness caused by allergy or other is causing this. im going to try e45 cream on his face to see if it eases (as that is where he has suffered from allergic reactions before) in the mean time

WillWorkForMoney Sun 04-Jan-15 02:11:46

The brush never worked for dd, however telling her I'll give her a 5er once they are all clear seems to be working wink . I'll find out in the morning as 1st thing is usually when she does it.

aNutAboveTheBreast Sun 04-Jan-15 03:04:56

Dermatillomania is the name of the skin picking condition. It is associated with anxiety but it can also be brought on by tiredness or boredom.

You can try the make up brush or a fiddle toy, or see if there's a pattern to when he's doing it, same time of day, when watching tv for example.

It often resolves itself in young children though, so if you think it is dermatillomania then I would agree with the other posters saying to ignore it.

Gloves can also help to reduce the damage to his skin and may put him off scratching altogether - they did for me. smile

Soleurmange Tue 06-Jan-15 15:28:44

Thanks anut - thats very helpful. We have noticed a huge reduction in scratching thanks to the make up brush, and us effectivley not mentioning it except to ask if he would like his brush when we have noticed it. He seems to feel as though we have listened and sorted out something for him which was bothering him, but he didnt know how to say, if that makes sense. im going to keep an eye on it for the next week and if he has stopped picking i wont taking him to the docs for allergy/ skin condition testing but if he is still at it, i will.

willwork, let us know how it goes with the bribery for your DD grin

Soleurmange Wed 28-Jan-15 21:01:56

Sorry found the cure, had to post - he didnt reliase that by scratching he was making it worse, he thought he was fixing it, bless him - got to the bottom of that, explained about how skin heals and promised him a trip to a theme park in half term if they heal in time - scratching stopped, touch wood. phew.

Soleurmange Thu 12-Feb-15 14:12:31

im sure noone is interested but just in case - that has absolutely worked. all scabs have healed, no more scratching at all and half term trip booked to theme park. so relieved grin

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