View Full Version : skin picking...revisited


Fuzzy12
12-09-14, 07:11 PM
I just don't understand why I do this. What sort of filthy pleasure does my twisted brain get out of picking, scratching, plucking or squeezing my skin till either blood or pus comes out? It's disgusting and it makes me look disgusting. My skin was finally clear..after a long time. Ive recently lost some weight and after a long time I've been feeling pretty. I actually told myself today morning not to pick. I'm 36 years old but my skin breaks out like a teenager just because I can't keep my hands off it.

I just don't understand why. I wasn't stressed or anxious. I wasn't distracted or trying to focus hard on anything. I just destroyed my skin by systematically going over every bit of healthy skin and picking at it. And once my face was done I continued with my shoulders. Even when I was staring at my face, assessing the damage I'd caused and cursing myself, i still continued picking. Just couldn't stop. Why??? It's going to take weeks again to heal.

The only thing I can think of is that I was pretty tired and just didn't have the energy to control my impulses but that still doesn't explain why I have these impulses. Besides this isn't an urge I can ever control. When the urge hits, I pretty much always give in to it.

I know, it's not a big deal and of all the flaws I have this one is relatively less damaging to my life overall but if I can't even stop a tiny little bad habit that is adding absolutely no value in any way how will I ever tackle the big stuff? And big deal or vanity or not, I don't want to make myself look more ugly. :mad::mad:

Traveler5
12-09-14, 07:45 PM
Nervous condition? Maybe on the surface you don't feel anxious but deep down you are and those feelings just well-up and make you want to pick to relieve it?

I'm just guessing but I feel it's related to anxiety. I know you've been through a lot lately and you still are going through a lot of Hell, maybe this is one way how you handle it. You have so much going on inside your head that it's got to bubble over in some way, shape, or form.

We've got to find a way to get you better.:)

Louder Than Love
12-10-14, 01:46 AM
It's called Excoriation disorder, and is characterized as a by-product of OCD. I used to do it too until I started taking something for anxiety.

Jenn1202
12-10-14, 01:49 AM
I pick and pluck my skin too, but only the skin around my hands and fingers. It's a nasty habit that I wish I could stop. I usually do it when I'm trying (and often failing to focus) or when my hands feel like they absolutely have to move and I can't find anything else for my hands to play with. I can actually be very calm when it happens, so I doubt that it's related to stress or anxiety.

Traveler5
12-10-14, 03:33 PM
It's called Excoriation disorder, and is characterized as a by-product of OCD. I used to do it too until I started taking something for anxiety.

I remember once I was standing next to a real pretty girl while waiting in a long line to get into a movie theater. I noticed the tops of her hands and fingers were scarred real bad and she kept rubbing them. After a while of talking about various things I asked her if she was cold (we were outside and it was winter). She said no and I said I just wondered because she kept rubbing her hands. She said she had a disorder (could be Excoriation) that caused her to bite and pick at the skin on her fingers and knuckles. She explained she had been trying to overcome it for several months by forcing herself to just rub her hands instead of picking at them. She called it a nervous habit. I felt bad for her because her fingers looked as if they had been badly burned in places -- she must have been tearing away at the skin in those spots. I hope over time the sores healed and went away.

Louder Than Love
12-10-14, 04:59 PM
It does heal up when you leave your skin alone long enough. Amphetamines are also notorious for making people dig into themselves. I never went so deep that it didn't heal or leave scars, I knew a girl a few years back that ripped herself up good, she was tweaking though, taking her whole script in just a few days.

Rebelyell
12-10-14, 11:11 PM
I do and have this problem too fuzzy.i take ssris but I'm constantly anxious under the surface.maybe it's my ssris that make my skin break out like a teenager with acne

Carol
12-11-14, 01:45 AM
Dermatillomania (skin picking disorder) and Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder are considered impulse control disorders (ICD) and can be a feature of ADD (impulsivity).

NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine, a stable form of the non-essential amino acid L-Cysteine) has been found to be an effective treatment for many with ICD. Improvement is usually seen after 3 months of 1200mg doses (600mg morning and night).

Stevuke79
12-11-14, 12:18 PM
I have no solutions. I pick my hair,.. used to be my skin. I used to also go for my shoulders when I was done with my face.

Now I have these weird bald spots on my head,.. and after a new haircut it looks normal again,.. but again I go at it. I hate it and I really hate how weird I look. It also looks weird while I'm doing it,.. once I actually felt like I was getting a repetitive stress injury in the third joint of my index finger. I'm not kidding!!

I have no solutions, but I can relate.

Louder Than Love
12-11-14, 04:24 PM
This is just me speaking from experience. There isn't a cure for it. you have to break yourself of it or you're seriously going to jack yourself up with sores and scars.
Anti-anxiety meds help me some, i'm written .05 Xanax PRN up to 2 mg, but really I had to break myself of it, I was starting to really tear myself up, and I do have a few scars, they aren't that bad, but id have 12 or 15 HUGE bleeding sores picked on my back and truly not even be aware I was doing it, this is one condition that sucks. the cure for it sucks too. but...

Smoke cigarettes, chew on a dog bone, draw stick figures in compromising positions, whatever..... do whatever you got to do NOT to pick at yourself, man.

DECENT07
12-17-14, 05:52 AM
Ok so plucking out my eyelashes when I feel the annoyance is a symptom of my ADHD? Good to know phew! I've found benzo to be helpful with skin picking on my face. It sucks because I do have eczema that can be bad at times and I itch like crazy, it's really really hard to control that :-/ I found this site very helpful with face picking, after reading all of it and my dermatologist telling me my acne is from picking, I no longer do this. Can't post link, search "stop picking on me".

Fuzzy12
12-17-14, 07:39 AM
Apologies for not replying earlier. I start too many threads and then struggle keeping up with them. Thanks so much for the replies though. They really helped.

Nervous condition? Maybe on the surface you don't feel anxious but deep down you are and those feelings just well-up and make you want to pick to relieve it?

I'm just guessing but I feel it's related to anxiety. I know you've been through a lot lately and you still are going through a lot of Hell, maybe this is one way how you handle it. You have so much going on inside your head that it's got to bubble over in some way, shape, or form.

We've got to find a way to get you better.:)

Yes, probably. I guess, I rarely pick when I'm super happy or well stimulated.

You know, it's strange but when I read the bolded bit (on the day I posted this thread), I was really, really moved and it made me feel tons better. Thank you!!!

TXJK14
12-17-14, 12:11 PM
I am sometimes on the receiving end of the picking. My friend does this, she'll pick at herself a lot but if Im around and have a spot somewhere she can see she HAS to pick it or it'll drive her crazy.

She doesn't do it so much now but it was bad early on, so bad that in my sleep I started dreaming she was picking at me and I would start struggling in my sleep (Apparently one night it was so bad I punched her in the chest while I was asleep, and yes, I still feel bad about that).

Baker Bird
11-01-15, 08:59 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I pick at scabs on my scalp. I have as long as I can remember. I don't pull the hair out, I just worry spots on my scalp until they scab over, then I pick at the scabs. It's gross and disgusting, and I never told anyone about it until my psychiatrist asked me last week. I thought it was just me. Maybe when I find the right meds I won't need to do that anymore?

TangledWebs
11-01-15, 11:16 PM
This is an old thread, but I'm able to relate, Fuzzy! I was obsessed with picking at ingrown hairs on my legs for a while. I don't have ingrown hairs anymore, thankfully, but I still enjoy waxing and plucking my leg hair out.

Weird! :umm1:

KarmanMonkey
11-06-15, 11:13 AM
I too can relate to this; It may be an anxiety thing, but it's also at least partially an impulse control thing for me...

It's not specifically skin picking, but I've got to be picking or biting at something... I still have callouses on a couple of my knuckles from where I gnawed skin off over an extended period of time... I've also bitten nails, picked at skin and scabs, and even when I have a great scalp I sometimes have an irresistible impulse to scratch it to bits.

And if I don't respond to the impulse? Then it feels like there's an army of insects crawling over the spot or something... It just feels so incredibly uncomfortable and distracting. *sigh*

Finding something else to focus on helps. Once the sensation is there, though, once I see a loose cuticle or hangnail or something... I can't un-see it.

FogNoggin
11-06-15, 03:23 PM
Oh I just love ingrown hairs!

For the longest time I was picking at a bump between my neck and head, behind mostly my head part, hoping to dig out the prize, also had a bump on my penis that I couldn't leave alone (still can't leave the penis alone ;) )

When I got on Bupropion, I stopped picking!
Amazing how the bump disappears when you take a hands off approach, the supposed cure or remedy (picking) caused the problem.

But now I have been off it for about a month, been careful not to go overboard with an irritation (ingrown hair?) on the back of my leg, but mostly instead of picking I am spinning.

The overactive mind needs stimulus, sometimes picking is the default.

aeon
11-06-15, 03:41 PM
Back before I was treated for my ADHD, I often had bleeding fingers and toes, so savage was my “treatment” of cuticle and nail with tools, some fit for the purpose, some not.

Once I started meds, my fingers and toes didn’t bleed any more, but I would still “work” on things with a frenzy. Meds allowed me to see that my behavior was related to anxiety.

Now that I am on the right med and dose, I don’t pick any more, and my fingers and toes are groomed properly, and nothing more. These days, I only ever tend toward that if I am over-tired.

I never had any desire to pick anything else.

My sister used to be a picker and plucker something fierce. And for sure, I never pulled out any of my hair, except metaphorically.


Cheers,
Ian

Maritsou
11-06-15, 03:52 PM
Hi,
I had this really bad when I was 15-16 up until my early twenties. I still do it sometimes now in my late twenties but I can control my impulses more. It is called dermatillomania and it is a form of OCD because as you describe it is compulsive and you can't stop once you start. My therapist told me which makes perfect sense that it is a mechanism to silence the chaos in your head and in your body. When you are doing it you are so focused 100% on what you are doing that everything else disappears. Especially as people with ADD the chaos never stops, it can be very addictive. Have you tried therapy? It would really help you. I think it is the main reason I stopped.
All the best xx

KarmanMonkey
11-06-15, 04:56 PM
The overactive mind needs stimulus, sometimes picking is the default.

I think this is a big component to mine, and it fits with a lot of other experiences; that the primitive part of my brain seeks stimulus, and it's indiscriminate about whether the stimulus is good bad or plain 'ol destructive!

FogNoggin
11-06-15, 05:41 PM
Yes Maritsou (http://www.addforums.com/forums/member.php?u=91525) it does cause focus, I could be watching a video and totally lose myself in picking. Then the video ends and I am still at it.
So absorbing.
And what I meant above by 'prize' is that dopamine rush when you finally pick out the culprit (or you think you did), that ingrown hair, that pus, that lump, the irritation.

In my case of my long term picks, the prize was futile, the picking was the irritant.