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Dermatillomania/Skin picking

(9 Posts)
TheWitchsCat Sun 20-Sep-15 10:56:04

I have picked my skin since my early teens, squeezing spots, picking at scabs, at my scalp, and at any perceived imperfections, lumps and bumps, no matter how small. I've always hated it and been very embarrassed and ashamed as it obviously makes me look awful and I have lots of scars.

I also pulled my hair out for a short period but managed to stop myself. Again I was so awfully ashamed of this. I discovered there was a name for hair pulling when I was in my early 20s, I'd thought it was just something weird and awful I'd done rather than an actual "thing" iyswim.

Anyway after nearly 2 decades of skin picking I've just discovered that that is "a thing" as well, called dermatillomania/compulsive skin picking. This is something of a relief (it's not just me!!) But now that I've realised it's a thing I've tried really hard to stop, told my partner so she can keep me accountable, covered my mirrors, and just really really tried. And I can't do it. I'm still picking great holes in myself.

I'm very loathe to see my doctor as I feel I'm there every 5 mins (I'm not really but I feel self conscious) and if she does take it seriously she will only refer me for cbt which I'm a bit reluctant to do. At the very least I would like to make a real stab at it myself.

So, if you've had it or have it, how have you helped yourself to stop?

Elk Sun 20-Sep-15 11:13:17

Hi, couldn't just read and not post. I don't have the condition myself but my dd2 has Trich and anxiety. There are quite a few good support groups on the web if you have a look. I am a member of a support group on Facebook for parent of children with Trich.

To help my dd she is having counselling for anxiety which she is finding helpful. Personally I don't like the idea of being held 'accountable'. If I see my dd pulling I go up to her and give her a kiss/hug so she is distracted and that stops her. At school her teachers will give her something to fiddle with instead of her hair.

Some good 'fiddles' for her are blue tac, paper clips and those stress balls filled with flour.

It is hard but you can do it with love and help.

Remember at least 1 in 50 people have a similar problem.

TheWitchsCat Sun 20-Sep-15 16:53:21

Thanks Elk. I'm glad your daughter has support from you and her school smile

I did try asking my partner to tell me to stop if she noticed me picking but that didn't work at all so we've stopped that now!

TheWitchsCat Tue 22-Sep-15 16:07:14

Bump. Anyone?

Facefacts Mon 12-Oct-15 22:37:48

I'll bump as well. Does anyone know if hypnosis is any good for this?

Flumplet Mon 12-Oct-15 23:04:30

I do this and didn't realise it was a 'thing'....

Lilliput Mon 12-Oct-15 23:10:06

Wow, I didn't realise it had a name. I pick the skin on my fingers sometimes until they bleed. It looks so ugly. I'm a midwife so obviously use my hands a lot and can see women looking at how horrid they look. The alcohol gel stings like buggery too.
I've always done it and so do all my siblings. It drives my dh mad.

VegasIsBest Mon 12-Oct-15 23:29:18

This may sound odd but have you considered getting false nails? They make it really hard to pick up little things (which can be annoying for example if you drop a coin). But you may find that helps as you can't physically pick anymore.

Stellarella123 Fri 30-Oct-15 21:54:36

I do the spot squeezing, when I'm stressed I squeeze my face hoping to get a release of something usually resulting in a sore face, my dad does the same, picks at his scalp until it bleeds, my sister pulls her eyelashes out when she is stressed, great family with great genes haha,
I try to keep my hands busy & don't look in the mirror too long, iv taken up cross stitching, do anything that'll keep your hands busy! Paint ur nails. It's so hard as most of the time we don't know we're doing it.

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