Many people have the habit of picking at their skin. However, the problem starts when the picking becomes so persistent and intense that it leads to bleeding, sores and scars.
For people who have this condition, it might be embarrassing for them to discuss their issue with others. Here are some things that you should know about the skin picking disorder:
What Is Skin Picking Disorder?
Skin picking disorder or dermatillomania (its medical name) is a serious skin issue. It is characterized by repetitive touching, rubbing, scratching, picking at and digging of skin.
Some people might engage in obsessive skin picking because they think their skin has some imperfections or irregularities. Repeated scratching, rubbing and digging can lead to discoloration of the skin and might cause scars.
Generally, dermatillomania is classified under Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior (BFRB). Disorders under this category include the ones that can cause harm or damage to the person’s body or physical appearance.
Feelings of anxiety, fear, excitement and boredom often accompany skin picking disorder. There are some instances where people have been picking their skin for hours.
What Is the Disorder’s Onset?
The onset for skin picking disorder is not fixed. For some, it might begin with the appearance of acne in teen years.
For others, it can be 30 to 45 years. This is because these years can be quite stressful for some people. From marital conflicts to death of family members, there can be many stressors that trigger skin picking disorder.
What is its Prevalence?
Skin picking disorder affects many people around the world. According to skinpick.com, it affects around 2% to 3% of the general population. However, due to embarrassment, many cases might go unreported.
What Are the Causes?
The causes of the disorder are not very clear. From hereditary links to it being a poor coping mechanism, there are quite a few theories regarding the causes of the disorder.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Generally, there are two ways of treating skin picking disorder. They include therapy and medication.
There are some FDA-approved medications that are used to treat skin picking disorder. One example includes SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) like Prozac.
In habit reversal training, the therapist helps identify stressors that trigger the disorder. He/she then suggests some alternatives for skin picking, such as squeezing a rubber ball.
Stimulus control involves making changes to your environment. For instance, the patient can be advised to wear gloves.
Rekha Shrivastava from Blossom Hypnosis, one of the most renowned hypnotist and rehabilitation counselor, offers hypnosis services for skin picking. Communicating directly with the subconscious mind, she helps patients figure the true causes of their disorders and advises on effective treatment approach to take.