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sandy.langley , 09 Aug 2008

Pick back of arms - can't stop!

Growing up, the back of my arms were always a little bumpy, a little red. A little embarassing if anything, but no big deal. I can't even remember when it started, but it was probably my first year of working full time after university that I found it incredibly relaxing to pop the little red bumps on the back of my arms. These little red bumps eventually turned into blemishes/pimples, which I popped like a zit. This is gross, I know, but it is so extremely satisfying to do for me. I'd do it compulsively to the point where the back of my arms looked like a battle field of red marks, showing where I was picking my skin. These marks then turned to finger nail shaped scabs, all over the backs of my arms. It has gotten to the point where others have noticed and I cannot stop! I sometimes choose longer sleeved shirts on hot days, or try to hide my arms when wearing a t-shirt. This last week at work was particularly stressful, and I found that my arm picking increased, meaning that this must be stress related because I feel so relieved when I do it. I cannot stop for the life of me - can anyone help? I've started to talk about it with family and friends, but I can't seem to stop.
13 Answers
August 10, 2008
I do exactly the same thing. However, it has gotten so out of control I pick at all of my arms, chest, legs and face. I just recently learned about this disorder and am slowly learning to deal with it. I'm just here to let you know your not alone. I do it too and don't know why. If I find some success in improving I'll be sure to let you know. Good luck.
January 23, 2009
I do this as well but so does my mom (not to my extent though). I've stopped picking at my arms but now my chest is the target....god I hate this problem.
January 23, 2009
I do this as well but so does my mom (not to my extent though). I've stopped picking at my arms but now my chest is the target....god I hate this problem.
June 08, 2010
i'm glad to hear someone else had this problem. i also cannot remember when i started, but i'm a 17 year old girl, and it's so annoying to not be able to wear tank tops or similar things. if i try really hard i can stop for 2 days (if that) so that i can plan ahead for an event where it calls for maybe a dress or something. but i do it to my arms, back, face, and now even my legs. it's so gross. and i don't have acne problems at all. but from the constant picking, i've caused myself to break out where i normally wouldn't. it's seriously all i think about sometimes. i really want to find out a way to stop this. because i'm physically hurting myself and leaving scars. any ideas? help!
June 20, 2010
thats exactly how i started picking except i saw someone picking at their arms and i picked up the habit, now my arms are covered in scars i can never show them i get so frustrated wih the mess i caused from picking and squeezing, but i still do it because i find the process relaxing just like you. ive been picking my arms and face for 12 years but recently i had a new addition to my life, (a baby boy) and i want to stop so he dosent pick up the habit himself, that would be awfull i would never forgive myself. however my picking seems to be getting worse lately im now picking areas i never picked up untill 6 months ago, i believe its because of stress and anxiety of being a new mum and having to rent a house we carnt afford is why its got worse for me.
November 29, 2010
I'm the same way, too, going on 7 years. It's bizarrely relaxing for me. It's gotten to the point where I do in unconsciously; I'll just realize all of a sudden that I'm doing it. I've found that an alpha hydroxy cream works in getting rid of the bumps, but I've heard that it can sting some people, so if you try it, be careful. It can be expensive and hard to find, though, for some reason, so I don't use in consistently. But when I have used it, it works. I also time myself in the bathroom so I don't get caught up picking in there. I'll just have to mentally go over why I'm going in there, first: use bathroom and wash hands, or brush teeth and wash face, whatever; only do those things. It's hard, but I have to be mindful. I also tend to do it in lecture (I'm a university student), so I try have my mind present in the lecture, focus more on taking notes, etc. In my case, I guess it comes down to mindfulness and being attentive to the task at hand. If I'm stressed, I kind of have to force myself to go on a jog, pray, talk to a friend, but it's worth it.
December 17, 2010
I have the exact same problem. The condition on the arms is called keratosis pilaris. It is hereditary. I have been picking my entire life. It originated with my feet, picking off dead skin around my toes. I would also do my nails and toenails. When I developed keratosis pilaris, I began to pop them. That was two years ago and I still do it today. Ive tried to stop so many times, but all have failed. I believe my triggers are stress and pure boredom. The picking on my arms resulted in much scarring, and my arms look polka-dotted from scars, especially in the summer when I am tanner. I also pick scabs, acne on the back and face, and a bit of scalp. The term dermatillomania is new to me. But I guess I am a dermatillomaniac.
July 31, 2013

In reply to by Uberpicker82

Doctors have never helped me with this. I have never gotten a diagnosis. One time a doctor even marveled at the fact that I could even reach some of the places on my back where I was picking. I simply replied that I do yoga! I am a helathy 43-yr-old. I believe this problem, for me, is psychological. I really wish wome-one could help me with it.
July 31, 2013
I have had this problem for seems that times of stress are the worst. Sometimes I'll get a manicure with nice fake nails that prohibit my nails at being effective at picking the scabs, but that just ruins my nails and I can't afford to keep up with a manicure regimen. My back and the back of my arms are just a mess of scars. As I age I worry about my skin damage from the sun and such, I wish I couls go back in time....for soooo many reasons, but ESPECIALLY for the preservation of my once beuatiful skin. :(
August 01, 2013
I used to do that but it was never as satisfying as popping zits on my face, back and chest. Sometimes after I shave I look for little red bumps on my legs and pop those too. Anywhere I get a zit, I feel compelled to pop it. I get really excited if I get a huge one somewhere. I feel like a freak. I sometimes have scabs all over my body-- face, back, chest, arms, stomach, legs...even other places if there are any. My fingers are especially chewed up.
April 06, 2014
I'm 13 and I pick my arms BAD..I'm so ashamed of myself everytime I do it but I just can't seem to stop. My mom yells at me everytime she sees my arms.. For some reason it feels satisfying to pop the little pimples on my arms..I also do it on my knees too. My skin looks horrible and it stops me from doing fun things with my friends like swimming. I'm too embarrassed to even wear short sleeved shirts!.:( I wish I would just stop. My friends always ask what's wrong with my arms and knees but I have to just lie and say it's a rash.. I hope I stop this horrible habit. My arms have scabs and have red circles all over them. I'm so embarrassed. I thought I was the only one who did this..
April 08, 2014

In reply to by Soccer_girl201413

I would like you to know I thought I was the only with this issue growing up, but it turns out we are not alone. I'm 48 and still pick. We share a lot of the same stories. Since finding this site I have been more conscience about my picking and his helping . I am not as bad as I was in my younger days, but I still have a few spots I pick at. All I can say take it one day at a time and pray about it.

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