The general public has a tendency to minimize the significance of the medical condition commonly called acne. It surprises many people to learn that it is, in fact, a very complicated medical condition that comes in different forms and is caused by different situations. Common acne is often diagnosed as acne vulgaris, with the word acne meaning the outbreak of pimples, of course, and the word vulgaris means common. There is another very disturbing form of acne that gets the name acne excoriee. Acne excoriee is commonly called picker’s acne. The condition usually starts out like other acne outbreaks. A pimple erupts, first one, then another. For most people, this begins during the adolescent years, when the body is undergoing major hormonal changes, some of which trigger the onset of acne vulgaris. For most people, too, this eruption of blemishes comes at a time in life when even the little things seem big. It’s almost impossible not to poke, prod, and squeeze a bit. The problem with picking acne blemishes is that it’s unsanitary and infection can set in, causing a bigger blemish. Another problem is that it’s unsightly, although probably not so much to friends and family members as it is to the adolescent sporting a blemish or two. When the acne blemishes occur on the face of someone experiencing episodes of self-doubt, emotional turmoil, or low self-esteem, however, picking the blemishes can lead to a disturbing obsession that is self-perpetuating. A vicious cycle of eruptions and picking and open sores begins that can be very difficult to stop. Excoriated acne is often accompanied by other medical maladies that are more serious, even life threatening. Major medical conditions such as depression, autism, attention-deficit disorders, and other anxiety- and mood-related may be hiding beneath the ravaged surface.
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Acne excoriee usually begins during adolescence, when ideas of self-image are in upheaval and undergoing change, matching the changes going on with the physical body. A fragile self-image may create an atmosphere where every imperfection perceived, real or not, is distorted in significance. By picking away at the blemishes on the face, no matter how small, many people find satisfaction, as if they are picking away at their troubles or their emotional pain. Others pick because they are uncomfortable with the adult body emerging from that of the child. They cause physical damage to their faces in order to fend off any advances from the opposite sex who might find them attractive in a more mature manner than they are emotionally prepared to confront. The underlying emotional trauma manifested in picking acne lesions may also be a coping mechanism designed to quell the pain of physical or emotional abuse in the picker’s life. This trauma may be happening at the time the picking begins or it may be a timely outlet for previous trauma. One sign that distinguishes excoriated acne from acne vulgaris is by the presence of hyperpigmented brown spots on the face, chest, and other places where acne eruptions are likely. These brown spots are scars from previous blemishes that have been picked to the point of permanent tissue damage. Adolescence is a very confusing time in the life of a child. Adults who spot the telltale brown spots of scarring in the absence of excessive active acne lesions should take heart. The child is probably very troubled but doesn’t know who or what to do for help. Or even that help is in order. For more information about Acne Excoriee, causes and treatment, get the Complete Guide to Picking Disorders today.