People that suffer from dermatillomina or Skin Picking Disorder (SPD) exhibit symptoms that include repetitive touching, rubbing, scratching, picking at and digging into their skin. Some people do this to remove irregularities or perceived imperfections while others do it obsessively for other reasons. The behaviours associated with dermatillomania often result in the discolouration of skin and eventual scarring. Severe tissue damage can even occur in the most serious of cases. Dermatillomania is often referred to as a Body Focused Repetitive Behaviour (BFRB). These are disorders in which the person’s behaviour has the potential to harm or damage their body and physical appearance. In this way, skin picking disorder is very similar to hair pulling disorder (Trichotillomania). BFRBs occur for a variety of reasons. They often correlate with feelings of anxiety, excitement, and boredom. Some people even find that repeatedly picking their skin is pleasurable.
In this clip we see an excoriation disorder sufferer, Angela Hartlin, who has come to terms with the effect that her condition is having on her body. While she has sought assistance form a doctor, she has unfortunately been met with an assumption that she could just simply stop picking by being told to do so. It is sad to see that her doctor was not able to correctly treat her or able to refer her to a therapist that could more effectively treat and assist her and the condition that she has.
Dermatology is a branch of medicine that specializes in keeping the skin healthy and treating diseases related to the skin. It also tackles diagnosis, treatment and maintenance related to the nails, hair and mucous membranes. Disorders of those parts of the body are managed via investigations and therapies, which will include histopathology, laser therapy, medication, radiotherapy, surgery, and immunotherapy. Cosmetic procedures are also part of the treatment. Dermatologists have completed medical school. They must have fulfilled a dermatology residency program that usually lasts three years and have passed dermatology boIf you go and seek advice from dermatologists for your skin disorders, you should first make sure that they are licensed to practice medicine, have passed the dermatology exams and a member of the FAAD (Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology). Some dermatologists in the US are not licensed to practice medicine. They’re not even qualified to treat skin disorders. Thus, you must look into the doctor’s qualifications first before seeking treatment from him/her.
Skin picking disorder is a poorly understood medical condition. This serious mental health condition, categorized as a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) causes the person to compulsively pick at the skin, often causing damage. Historically this condition has not been well known, with many sufferring in silence due to the intense shame and guilt often associated with it. Even within the medical fraternity there has been inadequate awareness about the condition. The lack of awareness of dermatillomania has resulted in it being one of the more underdiagnosed conditions of our time. Treating dermatillomania requires working with trained therapists who are skilled and knowledgeable about the condition.
Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP) Disorder or excoriation disorder is a very lonely condition. Most people who have CSP are not even aware that they have a medically recognized clinical condition. The shame and embarrasment that is often characteristic of this disorder results in most sufferers going undiagnosed and without help or support for many years, feeling alone and increasingly desperate for relief from this all encompassing 'habit'. Personal desperation to stop picking combined with a lack of awareness about the condition among health professionals, makes people with skin picking disorder and other body-focussed repetitive behaviours (BFRBs) vulnerable to the myriad of scam artists in the world.
Dermatillomania, also known as excoriation disorder is characterized by the repetitive picking of ones skin despite the harm and damage it causes to the skin. Many people view this as just a bad habit, but for many it extends far beyond that, such that it causes in impairment in daily function. A key factor that separates this condition from other self harming behaviours is that even though it causes harm to the indvidual's body, that is not the intention of the picker. On the contrary, the individual tries to stop but does not succeed. So a question aften asked by those challenged by the condition is, "Whay can't I just stop? What is the secause?"
Skin picking or excoriation disorder, formerly known as dermatillomania, is characterized by the compulsive urge to pick at ones skin to the extent that lesions or scarring is formed. The most noticeable picking area is the face because it is hard to hide the evidence of the picking bar using heavy make-up. However, skin picking disorder can affect any part of the body. Skinpick.com regularly conducts polls and surveys to keep a tab on the pulse of skin picking as a disorder and to better serve the community. Data indicated that for visitors to the site the most affected body parts are face, scalp, arms and legs.
For many people skin picking disorder is a cycle of picking-to-remove-imperfection, only to perpetuate further imperfection. This impervious cycle of skin damage makes it incredibly difficult for the individual to stop picking as the urge to pick at the skin while it is still healing is too strong to resist. One blogger known as dermagirl recently blogged about the difficulty she has not stop picking despite identifying strong motivations for stopping. However she also goes on to acknowledge that even though she still picks daily, she has made a lot of progress over the last few years. In this blog, dermagirl talks about acceptance and how this is an important concept to embrace when skin pickng is a daily struggle.
Skin picking disorder affects all ages, with onset known to be common in children and teenagers. Often onset in the teen years correlates with occurrence of skin problems like acne, which is common in adolescence. Adolescence is a time where the fragile self identity and self esteem of an individual develops. But it is also a time when social bullying is most rife. It is not uncommon for teenagers to pick or pop pimples, blackheads or other skin imperfections in an attempt to perfect the appearance. However when this action provides a source of satisfaction or release from emotional or mental distress, the behaviour may evolve from a bad habit into a disorder. One of the key criteria for diagnosis of skin picking disorder is the presence of recurring skin picking leading to skin lesions or damage. Most people with skin picking disorder try to cover up and hide the evidence of their behaviour from others because the effects of compulsive picking on the skin can be unsightly and a great source of embarrassment to the individual.
Picking or popping at pimples or peeling dead skin cells are not uncommon habits. Most people have engaged in some form of skin picking behaviors at one time or another in their lives. However, for some the frequency and consistency of the behavior is concerning and these individuals start to question whether there is more to their actions than simply a bad habit.
To answer this question, first one needs to establish what a habit actually is. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a habit is "a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up", and in psychological terms it is "an automatic reaction to a specific situation". Habits do not magically appear, at one point the behavior or reaction was new, but with repetition and positive reinforcement the behavior becomes more automatic. Compulsive skin picking also does not have a sudden onset, and many people with skin picking disorder would be able to relate to the definition of a habit as an apt description of their experience with skin picking.