does anyone pick their thumbs?


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November 20, 2013

I am 68 yrs old and began picking the skin around my thumb nails probably as a young teen, msybrt even younger, I don't know when exactly.I really enjoy picking and tearing and try to do it gently so it won't hurt. Sometimes I pick and tear for hours at a time...even lying in bed. I tape my fhumbs every day and nite, but always pick the tape off so I can start again. Sometimes I tape one thumb and pick the other one. I really love to do this! It feels good to me My thumb nails are not normal because I have damage the nail beds. I have been doing this alot for the past several months, before that I did it rarely. I do not know how to stop and feel I need God to intervene. I smoked many years ago, and the picking is kind of the same, bad for me but I enjoy it as long as they are not sore . I am under treatment for bipolar and depression and this picking is getting worse.
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November 20, 2013

Hi, I am in my thirties and I have been doing exactly the same as you for years. My right thumb is worse than the left. I am right handed and when my thumb is really bad I cannot even hold a pen to write. It gets so bad that I cannot bend my thumb and I know what you mean about being in agony. My right thumb is the worst as I bite the back of it but I also pick the skin on my other fingers - just on the sides. I have recently started picking my feet too which I am really ashamed to say. I have only recently discovered that our condition has a name! I am actually going to the doctors tomorrow to talk about CBT therepy because I realise I need help. Maybe you should consider the same... Good luck, you are not alone.
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November 25, 2013

Hi all. Im 24 and i have been picking, biting and tearing the skin down the inside of my thumb since i can remember. I think it started when i was around 9 sucking my thumbs, and when they became soggy and pruned i began picking from there and its been an unstopable habit since then. My girlfriend is sick to death of me doing this and says it disgusting, but after only just doing some research now im amazed it has a name and at how many people also suffer with this. I hope to resolve this problem sonetime soon
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December 28, 2013

I have been picking my fingers for years. It's like a uncontrollable urge to control if that makes sense. I do it because in my own mind I'm trying to make my fingers skin look smooth but I only make it worse. One pull leads to another and I never have pretty nails. There so short I can't even get a manicure. I pick the cuticles also and it's not just one finger its all of them. If there is a piece of skin that I can feel or see it starts until I am bleeding and in pain because the pulling is so close to the underside of the nail. I also pick at any ant or mosquito bite until my skin on the legs and arm form a deep hole then a scar. Every time the bite heals to the point a scab forms I pull the scab off so it will bleed then another scab will form. A bite that should normally heal in a few days turns into a few months and then I have an awful black scar. My legs and arms are full of deep dark scars, I have tried everything to get rid of the scars even prescription ointments to no avail. I have been on an antidepressant for most of my life but not for this, I do have an anxiety and depression disorder but never connected the two issues. I take citalapram for depression and was wondering if one antidepressant is better than another for this disorder or are they all pretty much the same. Undoubtably an antidepressant is not working for this on me.
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January 14, 2014

I also have this same problem....it's terrible, and I've been doing it for years. So much so, that I have huge horizontal dents on my thumb nails, which are the worst. I know it comes from anxiety and it has progressed into a very bad habit. Most of the time, I don't even realize that I'm doing it, until I hurt myself. All of my fingers are typically red and swollen from agitating/picking them. Any advise is welcomed. I'm afraid that even if I stop, my nails will not grow back smoothly.
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January 25, 2014

I have picked my thumbs since I can remember. I am now 40, and wondering what took me so long to google this condition. I have tried many things, including an rx that actually helped tremendously. I had almost normal (well, relative to my norm) thumbs and nails after about 1.5 yrs, but the rx caused a drastic increase in my prolactin hormone (the one that makes women lactate), so I had to stop taking it. I had my son a few months before I started taking the drug, and the my obgyn said it can take up to 18 months for milk to dry out completely. So, it took me way too long to realize the hormonal effects. After I quit taking the medication, I quickly resumed my reign of terror on my poor thumbs. It is such an embarrassing thing...my nails and the skin are horrific. While I am not happy to hear others have this same compulsion to pick their thumbs, it is comforting to finally know I am not the only person who can't stop.
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January 25, 2014

I have picked my thumbs since I can remember. I am now 40, and wondering what took me so long to google this condition. I have tried many things, including an rx that actually helped tremendously. I had almost normal (well, relative to my norm) thumbs and nails after about 1.5 yrs, but the rx caused a drastic increase in my prolactin hormone (the one that makes women lactate), so I had to stop taking it. I had my son a few months before I started taking the drug, and the my obgyn said it can take up to 18 months for milk to dry out completely. So, it took me way too long to realize the hormonal effects. After I quit taking the medication, I quickly resumed my reign of terror on my poor thumbs. It is such an embarrassing thing...my nails and the skin are horrific. While I am not happy to hear others have this same compulsion to pick their thumbs, it is comforting to finally know I am not the only person who can't stop.
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January 25, 2014

I have picked my thumbs since I can remember. I am now 40, and wondering what took me so long to google this condition. I have tried many things, including an rx that actually helped tremendously. I had almost normal (well, relative to my norm) thumbs and nails after about 1.5 yrs, but the rx caused a drastic increase in my prolactin hormone (the one that makes women lactate), so I had to stop taking it. I had my son a few months before I started taking the drug, and the my obgyn said it can take up to 18 months for milk to dry out completely. So, it took me way too long to realize the hormonal effects. After I quit taking the medication, I quickly resumed my reign of terror on my poor thumbs. It is such an embarrassing thing...my nails and the skin are horrific. While I am not happy to hear others have this same compulsion to pick their thumbs, it is comforting to finally know I am not the only person who can't stop.
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January 27, 2014

I also pick at the inside of my thumbs as well and my fingers, at the top by nail. They hurt so bad. They do bleed at times too. I had to wrap my thumb with a bandaid and ointment to keep it from hurting so much. I know I do this when I am bored and or anxious. But it's gotten worse over the past several months. What I also notice is how my heart rate goes up and then I get more anxious. It is such an awful feeling and the pain is so bad in fmy ingers. Then I become obsessed with the pain. Going to try medation excerises and working out to ease my stress level. I am so glad I ran across this site. I thought I was the only one. I am hoping I can get a grip on this soon. Aveeno lotion helps sooth the pain, although when you apply the lotion it may hurt for a few seconds and then it goes away. Do this over night and your fingers will feel better.
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January 27, 2014

I am 13 years old, and I do this to the outer sides of my thumbs. I have been peeling since I was 8 years old, and REALLY want to stop! I have never had a manicure because I know it would draw attention to the ugly peeled skin. I am also a competitive swimmer, so when the skin gets soaked, it turns soggy and white! People are noticing it, and I tell them that they are just blisters from canoeing, but that is a major lie. I told my best friends to tell me to stop when they see me do it, but we are no longer in the same class. This habit affects the way I hold things, grip, and write. At night, I put polysporen with a bandaid and it seems to heel very well, and then I peel again. Are there any other easy solutions? I'm only grade 8, my parents or doctor don't know, so it can't be anything I have to go to the store for, thank you!
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January 27, 2014

I am 13 years old, and I do this to the outer sides of my thumbs. I have been peeling since I was 8 years old, and REALLY want to stop! I have never had a manicure because I know it would draw attention to the ugly peeled skin. I am also a competitive swimmer, so when the skin gets soaked, it turns soggy and white! People are noticing it, and I tell them that they are just blisters from canoeing, but that is a major lie. I told my best friends to tell me to stop when they see me do it, but we are no longer in the same class. This habit affects the way I hold things, grip, and write. At night, I put polysporen with a bandaid and it seems to heel very well, and then I peel again. Are there any other easy solutions? I'm only grade 8, my parents or doctor don't know, so it can't be anything I have to go to the store for, thank you!
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January 28, 2014

DO YOU TAKE ANY ADHD OR ADD MEDS? IF SO, THEY COULD BE CAUSING IT. HOPE YOU FIND HELP SOON...YOU MAY NEED SOME ANTIDEPRESSENTS THAT SOLEY HELP IN FIGHTING URGES OR HABITS. WELLBUTRIN IS A GOOD ONE... TALK TO YOUR PARENTS AND DOCS ABOUT IT... GOOD LUCK
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February 21, 2014

I've done it since I was your age. Do you notice you do it more when stressed? You don't need to answer me back, but can....do you have troubles you can't talk to anyone about? I had big time family problems in my home when I started, I'm still doing it!lbut...not when I have on gel or acrylic nails Because they are thicker and I can't grasp the skin. So it's a good idea!l Try real hard to stop for a week They heal up fast. Our hands have a great blood supply, plus you are young. And go do it!lit will help,you Good luck
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January 28, 2014

WOW!!! SO I AM NOT TOTALLY CRAZY AND ALONE!!!! I HAVE PICKED AT MY FINGERS AND SKIN ON MY FEET AND LIPS SINCE I WAS YOUNG. WHEN IN MY TWENTIES I WOULD FIND A PIECE OF DEAD SKIN ON MY HEEL AND WOULD PICK UNTIL I WAS TOO SORE TO EVEN WALK. SEEMS LIKE IT SUBSIDED FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS. THEN I GOT A LITTLE PLANTERS WART. THE SIZE OF BLACK PEPPER ON MY PINKY. I WOULD PULL IT OUT AND IT WOULD LEAVE A TINY HOLE BUT WOULD BLEED EVERYWHERE.. ANYTIME I THOUGHT IT WAS POPPING BACK UP I WOULD START THE HOUR LONG TASK AT PICKING IT TILL IT OF COURSE BLED. I ALSO HAVE SUFFERED FROM ADD FOR MANY YEARS AND JUST NOW AS A 39 YEAR OLD STARTED SEEKING TREATMENT. I STARTED ON VYVANSE AND LITERALLY THE WEEK I STARTED ALONG CAME THE FINGER SKIN PICKING. I WILL HIDE UNDER THE COVERS AT NIGHT WITH MY CELL PHONE LIGHT AND TWEEZERS SO MY HUSBAND CANT SEE ME. IT BECAME AN OBSESSION. I WOULD HIDE IN THE BATHROOM AT BREAK AT WORK. I CANNOT FIGHT THE URGE TO PICK. ONCE I HAVE TORTURED MYSELF... I CAN HARDLY WASH MY HAIR OR TYPE ON THE KEYBOARD AT WORK.. I HAVE TO PUT BANDAIDS ON ALL MY FINGERS..VERY EMBARRASING. I READ SOMEWHERE ON THIS SIGHT THAT STIMULANTS INCREASE AND SOMETIMES CAUSE THE URGE TO PICK. I ASKED MY DOC TO PUT ME ON WELLBUTRIN XL IT CONRTOLS HABITS (SOME TAKE TO QUIT SMOKING) AND IT HAS EASED IT UP A BIT... BUT STILL PICK SOME. I MAY HAVE TO HAVE THE DOSE INCREASED. IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE SUFFERING... YOU ARE NOT ALONE. IF I FEEL THE NEED TO PICK.. I GET MY PHONE OUT AND PLAY A GAME THAT REQUIRES ME MOVING MY FINGERS... GOOD LUCK TO ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE.. I HOPE YOU GET HELP SOON
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February 21, 2014

I understand, have picked for a long time
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February 21, 2014

I knew there were others out there who did it .i first remember picking at the sides of my thumbs in 6th or 7th grade. The teacher would come to my desk to help me, and I was afraid he would see how awful it looked. Later, I would peel my toenail.s. I won't get descriptive, I still tend to do the thumbs IF I don't have on my gels nails from the salon. They are thicker than real nails, and it stops me. If not, look out. I will make irritation on my gums with my fingernail and irritate that to make pain. WHEN STRESSED! Every day. Think about it., I'm 53 now, I started doing this when we had family dysfunction in our home. I'm creating pain. This is like cutting! Same thing. Yep. Same thing. I just do not make it ever visible like others. Gum line.....?
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April 16, 2014

I peel my thumbs and I peel my lips too. In fact, I have been doing that ever since I was probably 7 or 8 (I am 38 going on 39 now). Because of the peeling, sometimes, my thumbs and my lips would bleed too. At the same time, also because of my decades of experience in peeling, I can manage to peel off just outer skin (or the dead skin) without bleeding. Unless my lips or my thumbs are bleeding or if my skin touches any citrus juice (ouch!), I don't feel pain at all. I have not noticed a particular pattern in my life when I peel my lips/thumbs though. Starting about 3 to 4 years ago, I have been peeling my fingernails too. So, technically, I don't need to any fingernail clippers because I can peel them off when they get long enough.
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May 05, 2014

I do, all the time. I don't even realize it sometimes. It makes me feel stupid for going to get manicures, but when I really want one, I ask them if they can do a treatment of some kind because it's SO dried out as well. - I also keep my hands busy, by playing games on my phone or text someone. - Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream and Aveda Hand Relief. I am literally in love with that stuff, both of them! !t makes my hands so soft and because they are both oil based it's really hard to pick when your hands are partially oily and slippery. I hope this helps!
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October 17, 2014

Hey there. I'm a 18-year-old woman and I'm having the same problem. I have been picking skins on the inside of my fingers for more than 10 years. Sometimes they get really bad and hurts a lot and I can totally understand your feeling. Wish that you can feel better soon.
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October 29, 2014

I've been having perfect success with just wearing a common key ring on both my thumbs. They send the first micro second of attention down a different neural path. I got the idea from asking my dreams.
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November 24, 2014

I don't mean putting the rings on the finger nail areas. By "wearing" I mean wearing the key rings on my thumbs like wedding rings for example. That's what I saw in the dream. The "attention" gets redirected from the skin picking area, to the key ring area just in the nick of time. That two inch distance is important I think.
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March 24, 2016

I stopped wearing key rings on my thumbs because they had sharp edges. Now I wear rubber wedding rings (heavy duty silicone bands). They are sold for sports people with active lifestyles so that difficult removals never become an issue. I'm not athletic myself but I like that feature and also I like thier very low cost. I'm planning to keep wearing them for life, so I never have any thumb bitting flare-ups.
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December 02, 2014

Hi people, I wish to give a little advice about thumb and finger skin picking/biting. I have been picking and biting for years and my skin is mostly scar tissue. It is really embarrassing and yes, it has a lot to do with life's stresses. I find that I only pick if there is a rough bit or broken end of skin. If my skin is smooth around my fingers then I don't really get that urge. What I find helps a lot is using latex (or similar) gloves and intensive hand cream. Use a liberal amount of hand cream and rub it well in to your thumbs and fingers and then put the gloves on and do this before you go to sleep, thus getting quite a few hours of treatment. Obviously the more you can do this the better and also whilst you're awake and wearing the gloves, this will stop you from the habit too. Good health people, I hate stress, try your best and enjoy as many things as possible big or small :-)
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December 03, 2014

Hello I am 16 years old and I have picking the inside of my thumbs ever since I was young. I used to do the inside of my left and right thumbs but I am able to stop and let my thumbs heal. So I decided to stop picking at my left thumb. I can rember younger that I would pick at the top of my nail but over the years it has moved down to the joint. I find myself doing it when I'm nervous bored and daydreaming without even knowing it. To be honest I have no meaning to stop because I am and have let my thumb heal.
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December 10, 2014

Hello. I'm 35 and since I was a kid I have picked the skin around my thumbs. I sometimes think it's getting worse because now I'm leaving the "skin crumbs" on the couch or in the car. It's so embarrassing when I need to sign something and I forget to hide my thumbs. Sometimes I can't sleep because I'm awake picking at them. Sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it and my mom or husband will smack my hand. I was treated for OCD as a young adult and don't know if this is considered an OCD issue. Iv also noticed a bite the inside of my cheeks now. I'm so happy to know I'm not the only one picking at my thumbs. Any suggestions on how to stop? Iv tried band aids but I think they just make it worse.
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January 28, 2015

I am 23 and also thought I've been alone in this for my entire life. It's very relieving to now that I'm not alone, and that there is a root cause for my problem. I remember when I was little, my mom bought me a lanyard to wear around my neck, just so I could use that as a barrier for when I wanted to pick the sides of my thumbs...needless to say it didn't help. Nowadays, I do my best to keep this habit hidden from everyone, though my girlfriend does know that I do this, just not to what extent... I've tried all my life to stop picking, and have actually gotten to the point where instead of picking, I actually press hard enough on the scarred, dried, section to provide a certain kind of sensation that alleviates any desire to pick. However, if a piece of dried skin is hanging off, it's game over, and yea, the picking process begins anew. Also, not sure if anyone else picks the same areas, but I also pick below the thumb print area, in the middle of my thumb, as well as the webbing between my thumb and index finger.. basically anywhere I can get my skin dry enough to pick, mostly by constant rubbing.
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January 26, 2016

Hey man, I'm 19, and I was just sitting here wondering if I will pick my thumbs forever also. I've been doing it since I can remember. I never really thought about it when I was younger, but the older I get the more self conscious I become about them. I'm happy I came across this forum. Let's me know I'm not the only one. P.S., I can relate to looking down at my thumbs and thinking "damn, I did a number".
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February 09, 2016

hey i've got this habbit of picking the sides of my fingers (especially the thumb). I cant resist it even though i know that its not a good thing do do. The skin along the sides of my thumb has become pinkish white and looks raw all the time.. as soon as it heals i start with my job again and go on picking till i reach the knuckels :( sometimes it becomes bloody also and looks awful. people ask me what have you been doing.. Recently i met a man in metro who saw my thumb and what he told me left me shocked. he said his wife had the same habit and her thumb had to be cut off to stop the infection from spreading. And then later one by one all her fingers were half cut because the infection had spread to other fingers also.. and She died. I m scared.. is it true? he said that infection spreads through the nails and since that part of ghe skin is raw it is more susceptible to infections..
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October 08, 2016

I destroy my thumbs and just my thumbs I have for as long as i remember im 22 now i think i do it cause i used to get this reoccurimg germ thing on my thumbs where my mom had to pop it and put cream there idk what it was . I dont really get embrassed by it ever except when my hands are wet they look gross or holding someones hamds i tuck my thumb in .. i thought it was just a quirk forever like nail biting.ive never met anyone else that does it..i do it when im bored or stressed and somerimes wirhour even noticing i try to keep my nails but it doesnt work . I get mine raw too they hurt even bleed sometimes..sometimes ill eat bite the bit chunk off ..idk what to do either but ur not alone
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January 02, 2017

Hi, I pick the skin on my thumbs and other fingers but not on my fingers as often. Have done this many years. Question: could we be picking the skin off because of the bacteria that are on our skin? I know this is a weird question, but, I've noticed that when I take antibiotics, I don't pick them as much. Hmmmmm.......
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May 19, 2017

Hi! I'm new to the site also. Glad to find you all!! I'm 65 and have been shredding my fingers but mostly thumbs all my life. I used my index finger and pick my thumbs. Unconsciously for the most part. Other times I make the decision to pick. Once really pushed my shrink about it, probably 5 years ago and was told he couldn't find any info about it. So now I have a word! A name to call it, somehow that and all of you make me feel better. I use bandaids on my fingers - both stops the bleeding and stops the picking for a few days. Thanks for being here!
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August 29, 2017

I can't believe how many people have the same problem I have never met anyone else and it makes me feel so pathetic and alone. I'm 19 and I think I started because I used to bite my nails since a very young age and got a lot of pressure from family to stop, so I think I just substituted nail biting for picking the skin on my thumbs which is even worse! I'm constantly insecure about meeting anyone because I haven't told anyone not even family (although they have probably noticed as my thumbs are red raw). I have a never ending supply of plasters in my room which I put on before leaving the house. I'm too scared to let anyone become too close to me, especially boys incase they want to hold hands and might notice and ask questions. I'm scared because I don't have the answers as to why I do it! I really need advice on how to stop for good even though it's definitely going to scar at this point I can't deal with the paranoia anymore.
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June 10, 2019

So let me explain what holds the nail down. SKIN. what happens when you remove comfortable SKIN...it bleeds, trauma, it forms a harder than usual skin over trauma while the traumatised SKIN underneath can heal under the scabs protection. The SKIN on your nail bed is very soft that's why the little dead SKIN feels thinner than a usual scab. Meaning it is a delicate area! If you keep removing the scab it will grow thicker and harder and the SKIN would have never fully developed around the nail bed to hold the nail in place which leads to debris lodging even farther underneath the loose nail and infection and it will never be the same "snug" nail. You must let it heal naturally, hide all tweezers and use SAVLON cream ( my lifesaver,) also my trick, i always keep an ELASTIC BAND around my wrist and the instant i I find myself picking i SNAP! It really hard and throw my utensils/stationary evil pryers. Let your SKIN heal and it won't want to come off anymore, rationally.
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June 10, 2019

67 years here... picking hangnails for so long I can’t remember. I do remember as a child, my grandmother promised me a nail care kit in white leather if I stopped... never got that kit. In the last 10 yrs, it has Concentrated on my thumb knuckles. I wear special fabric bandages on them with really strong glue but, as someone else said - I picked off the bandages to pick again... I pick until I bleed continually. My index fingers have developed Arthritis from picking the thumb on the same hand... I’ve found if I have fake nails - they are sharp enough to catch those little pieces of skin that drive me crazy. I’m taking Remeron for bipolar and norco for 2 failed cervical fusions. I am told there is one medication that treats this skin picking but it negates opioids. So pain in my neck or pain in my brain & fingers... not a choice I know how to make. Oh and I just read a reply to someone lecturing them on what the skin does and why it’s so bad to pick. Then praying for them... To that person I say - IF I COULD QUIT I WOULD. I quit cigarettes (15 yrs) and alcohol (40 yrs) so believe me when I tell you - I WOULD IF I COULD - so would the person you replied to. Don’t lecture anyone with mental/physical problems unless you do have experienced the same.
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June 10, 2019

Yes, I have been doing this for year and years.
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December 22, 2020

I have the same EXACT and I mean EXACT problem it even begins to look my thumbnail is crooked from picking one side repeatedly and the skin is extremely hard, I’ve even had a infection from germs it was extremely painful in my hand

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