I finally cured my Dermatophagia (I think)


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August 10, 2011

I really like the whole idea. I think one of the best ways to quit is cold turkey, but obviously quite difficult. And I totally agree with you when you say day dreams are your enemy! Its really important to stay in the present and focus on the physical. Let me know how you go please!
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August 10, 2011

Still going pretty strong, I bought some nail hardener that is suppose to make your nails grow faster and be healthier. I am trying my best to make them as healthy as possible to make up for the 20 years of abuse they have been put through. The only downside is that the nail polish is glossy.. not very desirable for a 21 year old male, but hey whatever works. I will definitely keep this thread updated.
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October 17, 2011

I would really know how you are still going with it.. its been a few more months now and I am really interested in seeing if you are still going strong!
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August 10, 2011

I am finding it SO difficult to stop, it's horrible :( I wish I could be a strong as you!
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August 10, 2011

It is extremely difficult to do, especially if you have been doing it your entire life.. it is second nature. Don't be discouraged though, I have failed MANY times before this recent success, and who knows for sure, I am only on about day 11, but the crave to bite is getting very subtle, and I am confident that I will never bite again if I can make it to a month Just hang in there and concentrate, don't dray dream because your brain WILL subconsciously make you do it.
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August 12, 2011

That's the thing, I've been doing it since... Well, since I can remember! And I've put plaster on my fingers to ty and stop and I've even failed at that. The longest time I've not picked is about... 25 mins.. I even cry about it sometimes.. :/
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September 03, 2011

I been biting my poor little fingers since the third grade, i have some good days where im proud of myself for not biting but some days i cant help myself and the nerves kick in and i bite. Its gotten to the point where i no longer have a finger print -__- i went from several fingers to only now my thumb... Im fed up of hiding my fingers or having to explain why they look like that because people dont understand.. Im glad im not the only one here. I hope this works. Im tired of sore & bloody fingers :-(
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March 18, 2012

I too want to stop but am just having a chew before I do. My thumb is a bloody mess! I got to this site after reading about it on Wikipedia and some of the stuff there is helpful. I realise that I have the nose-picking one as well - no septum left and that it may be related to my older sister's Trichollomania and my younger two siblings significant substance abuse of all kinds. I have tried everything so will try this and post to let you know, it's true I daydream a lot but also focus on the negative as I have had lots of abuse in my life one of which was being ignored which ties in with thinking differently to the rest of my family. I have been labelled over sensitive, pathetic but these days it's more likely to be angel - still annoying as I don't seem to be 'normal'? Anyway strong urge to pick just now- extremely difficult as I am menopausal which means very dry skin. when I nose pick it is to make it bleed but this often gives me bad headaches. Environmentally it may be connected to never ever having any of my needs met so that now - @ over 50- I no longer know how to get them met at all. I don't shout and scream as my siblings/son used to do ( really want to pick right now!) I have spent my life being invisible prided myself on it so that I wasn't ever a problem but now it's at a stage that when I want to be noticed then it feels inside my head like the effort is similar to screaming and only then am I noticed at all. So it's no wonder I'm in a mess I have all the usual needs suppressed over at least 35yrs. and inside so so desperate whilst the accepted behaviour outside plus my current circumstances have me facing up to the reality that they will never be met so it's hardly suprising I'm a wolf biter and nose picker. Yet I will try to stop and writing all of this has been a distraction up to a point.
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December 30, 2012

Wow, that first post explained me to a 'T'....I could not understand why I kept picking even though I would tell myself to stop. I knew I had some OCD but it makes so much sense in contrast to that post. I am glad there are people out there who understand. I have chewed at my nails, cheek inside my mouth and have even started picking at my feet which sucks because I have two jobs and I am on my feet all day long! They hurt so bad at the end of the night. I am going to keep these posts in mind and try to stop---I want to so bad. I would love to be able to just go get a pedicure and manicure without feeling embarassed! Some day....I hope
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January 07, 2013

I am exactly like this in every way. I space out all the time; I basically spend the majority of my time in my head, thinking about nothing in particular, just stuff. I bite the skin on my fingers without even knowing it. I don't like the way my fingers look after and it really embarrasses me. I've tried numerous times to stop but I never can. The one thing I've found that sort of helps is replacing that fingering biting habit with another habit that is not a bad one. In my case it's chewing a piece of gum. This is totally harmless, but if there's anytime when I'm not chewing a piece of gum, it's over for me, back to biting.
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January 22, 2013

It all started when I was a small boy. I use to chew on the collar of my shits and soon after I started to bite on the callus's on my hand. Next thing you know I was chewing skin off my fingers and it hurt very bad and I always question my self why I did it. Every time I told my self to stop it got worse and more painful. I am now 18 and yes I too feel like I am on an autopilot. Most of my day consists of me daydreaming about how the world should become a better place. I focus a lot on good positive things and I try to help people and the Earth as much as I can. I found that I bite mostly when I'm nerved about something or stressed and even scared. Every time I'm trying to focus on doing something I start biting and I feel like its a first priority and I cant stop. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one with thoughts that are far out there. When I explain them to some people they think I'm weird or they say "you know to much" and give me a smirk and all I'm doing is trying to help. I'm glad to know there are more like me and getting over wolf biting is gonna be a challenge. I stopped smoking and chewing, I cant even take a drink of alcohol like I use to when I was young and crazy because anymore it all makes me sick so coffee and fresh air are just fine for me. Biting just gets in the way of everything I do and I don't know what to do so hopefully by reading all y'all posts can give me a little insight on finding a way to stop once and for all. It's just like a bad war that wont end.
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October 05, 2013

I have been biting the skin on my hands (calluses) since I was a teen. Usually my knuckles, sides of fingers next to the nails, calluses on the inside on my hand, etc. Its varied in intensity and I have found it is also self-reinforcing (biting causes calluses, rough bitten calluses cause me to bite). Working at a computer keyboard is a trigger, especially when deep in thought or under deadline pressure. In the last year or so I have found something that has really improved the condition of my hands. What I do is regularly sand my calluses with 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper - under warm water. It works best when your skin is wet and you can see the rough spots. I do it roughly twice a week. Don't overdo it, just a bit at a time focusing on the rough spots with a 1x3 in piece of sandpaper. I've tried rough/finer grits and found this is the best. 220 leaves your hands very soft and also reduces the calluses. Rougher causes too much damage and finer doesn't really work. After this I dry my hands completely and then use Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion right after. This stuff is the best I have found and stays on the skin well. I continue to use Aveeno a couple times a day every day, including right before bed. This approach has significantly reduced my desire to bite, since it gets rid of my bit calluses that trigger more biting. Also, my hands feel soft and presentable again. Helps hands heal faster too. Also, avoid cold hands in the winter since I think it makes them heal slower. I thought I would post this, since it helped me, and probably would work well in combination with any other method, including cold turkey.
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December 28, 2013

Hi I m dhiraj & I m too crazy about eating my skin on my fingers it started all the way when I was 14. Till now I m not able to control my habit.my girl friend left me because of this weird habit.by the way cold turkey?
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January 06, 2014

cold turkey is a good strategy.* i actually started to not pick my feet for two days and after reading your post, i have an added burst of faith to not allow my hands to wander down there to feel if there is any loose skin to peel off; i'm salivating as i'm typing this. thx for the inspirational post because saving my feet, fingers and lips is a good thing. *i was able to quit smoking this way but every once in long awhile, i relapse getting a cig from my husband so i realize this is not necessarily the end all, be all (initially, perhaps) but i will endeavor to keep trying
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February 21, 2014

I also think I've cured my dermatophagia doing exactly what you've done. I went through many things you said like bleeding over keyboards and pages of books, biting ends of pens, pencils and rubbers, going to the dentist's to remove wood chips from my teeth and gums, etc... and nothing could make me stop either. Then, I've decided to focus on stoping this bad habit and not allowing my fingers to go to my mouth: I've expended much energy in it, but it's paid off. The hardest stage happened when skin was healing and I wished a lot to pick it; it was solved by using moisturizing creams which "hid the dry skin" and decreased my will to pick it. Today, getting my fingers intact again and not having to hide them is priceless. I think Cold turkey is the best way out for this condition: never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today. It'll work. -- Very important P.S.: watching "Trichster 6 month Trailer" (http://www.skinpick.com/node/2992) I remembered that "Yes, you must accept who you are." It got easier for me to stop skin picking when I fully accepted my sexuality: dermatophagia was surely a result of this rejection.
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March 17, 2014

Dude, I was spacing out and thinking of other things while simultaenouly reading your article, and only snapped back into it at the words "give you full 100% attention to everything you are doing and break out of daydreams". I thought that was kinda funny.
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May 27, 2014

I have tried this method numerous times over the years. I have quit drinking, using drugs and smoking using this method (as well as the 12 steps) but, for some bizarre reason that I cannot figure out, I cannot kick this horrid habit. My nail beds are permanently scarred, my finger tips calloused from healing over and over again. I have days or certain times of the day that the urge to touch, chew or destroy my nails (and skin surrounding my nails) is so overwhelming, that nothing I do or think will stop me. On the other end of that, I also have days that I do not have the urge to touch my hands at all (although those days are far and few between and getting shorter in duration). I have sat and cried while chewing my nails, for my intellect will "scream" at me to just stop it, but I simply cannot stop. I don't know what to do anymore. I am glad to find a group of people or even one or two that can relate to this and appreciate any postings that I come across.... Thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope with me. I'm happy to hear some get better. Maybe one day I will also..thanks again :) Nancy
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August 17, 2014

I finally found a "place" where I can be completely honest about my nail biting habits. I not only bite the skin around my fingers but I also peeled the skin around my toes. My close ones, don't understand why I do it (and neither do I) but I just do it. After reading the "Cold Turkey" I realized that yes, I am a daydreamer, spacey and autopilot. When I never expected I already have my fingers in my mouth and I'm biting the skin or my toes. I could be watching TV, reading, in front of a computer or thinking about something. Sometimes, I look at my nails and find where I can bite them or peel off the skin. Is a very embarrassing, because nobody understand and I can dress nice and look perfect but my nails says the opposite. I will start the "Cold Turkey" today and I will post my progress. I WANT TO STOP!!!
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July 30, 2015

I've always bitten my fingers, the inside of my cheeks and my lips. Trouble is, when I grow my nails the slightest I then start picking at my top lip. Of course they all bleed and are scarred. When I was young/ in primary school & about 6 years old I picked a massive chunk out of the centre of my top lip and I still do it now. It's strange how you can't control it and how you actually crave it as well. I crave chocolate but I can stop myself but I can't stop biting and picking. Nothing puts me off, I have tried numerous polishes and lotions. Tried acrylic and gel nails, even bought my own kits. A few months ago I was so fed up of this. I have previously googled it when I was younger and perhaps I didn't use the correct words and over complicated it by thinking I was the only person who does it in the world. However I recently googled that I literally can't stop biting my fingers and came across Dermatophagia. I was and am so happy! People tend to ask or say what's wrong with my fingers and it is so embarrassing. Especially being a girl. I have gone through school with plasters on every finger because they were so sore, when I go swimming which is now on a regular basis my skin swells up disgustingly. Basically it's a disgusting habit I want to stop as I could go on forever. After reading this I am going to STOP doing it and hopefully on my 20th I will have perfect hands for my birthday. I can then add some new Sensationail gels to my bday list and put my effort into making them look better than worse. And by the way this kit from boots does help, goes in the sale after xmas but I tend to peel the gel off sometimes, better than peeling your skin off though. X
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April 28, 2016

Hi, I have this habit of picking skin close to the nails since childhood. Also I used to bite the nails. I am at a age of 28 now and have been doing this since I remember my childhood. At this moment what I am able to do is stop the nail biting in any toughest of the conditions. But the skin picking hasn't. I used to cut my nails in every 5-6 days for around 1-2 months so that there is no scope to bite. This is how I conquered Nail Biting. I am still struggling with the skin biting near the fingers. While reading the whole article and comments, About more than 20 times I tried to harm the skin but eventually stopped myself. So there is a inner self which calls from beneath to not to harm the skin but I was able to stop today, but some times it is unstoppable. I am not able to find a solution to the same as of now. I tried many things, one of them was like applying 2-3 band-aids on each finger but I used to bite them off completely. Any other suggestions to stop this ??
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May 11, 2016

l have bitten my fingers for as long as l can remember. l do think its a nervous,comfort habit. Last year my youngest daughter got married and l 'gave up' biting for about 4 months. l wanted nice fingers so l could have my nails done.l have fallen back into it since though. l would say like any 'habit' its hard to kick, but possible, maybe reward yourself with a treat each week you don't bite. Remember, it's not clever, and it certainly isn't pretty!
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May 22, 2016

I have broken this habit after - get this - 45 years! My story is like every one else's - it started in childhood, I've tried everything, I do it subconsciously, didn't think anyone else did this. However, thanks to another forum, which is closed for comments now, I found a solution. It's quite simple - emery boards! You gently file down the rough skin (even if it's been bleeding), then rub in a good hand cream (Burt's Bees cuticle cream highly recommended here). The effect for me was instant. The fingers were smooth, and even if I went to bite out of habit, there were no satisfying "edges" to work on. Initially I filed and moisturized one a day, now it's every few days, or whenever a notice a rough bit. I can honestly say, with smooth fingers, the desire to bite has completely gone. To seal the deal I treated myself to really nice nail polish. I think I did it due to anxiety, but I can see now it was making the anxiety worse - I'd see my fingers and feel even more stressed. I'd like to thank the person who suggested this approach, but can't, so passing it on here in the hope it will help someone else.
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September 22, 2016

My story begins before I was even born. I have an ultra sound picture of me with my left hand in my mouth. To this day, I bite the left index finger and thumb together in my mouth with unrelenting force. All through my childhood I can remember times of stress, anxiety, anger, excitement, and anticipation all resulting in a strong urge to bite down on the two fingers. After 18+ years of this so far, there are distinctive tooth marks in my thumb and index finger that match my jaw line from when I was young until my fully developed jaw structure. My thumb is 70% covered in a huge callous that reaches from the tip opposite the nail, down to halfway between my first and second knuckles. My second knuckle being a dime sized callous itself that I tend to chew through. Removing entire chunks of calloused flesh before even reaching the layer of skin that blood lay beneath. The same goes for my index finger, though this callous is much bigger. It is exclusively on rightmost side of the finger and likely has the same area of three quarters. I will bite and gnaw at this until there was no more flesh to remove, often swallowing pieces. Sometimes I ripped until it hurt, reaching far past where the callous was. Some episodes of this, as you call, wolf biting, can last up to an hour of nonstop biting and gnawing. Especially when I am alone. I sometimes have to remove myself from the setting in order to find enough seclusion in order to bite my hand. Recently, I am home alone much more often as I have just graduated high school and therefore I am subjected to much more biting. And it hurts. For the first time in my life my finger actually hurts the way it should after such amounts of sharp pressure is applied to it. I need it to stop. And using methods such as distasteful nail polish or gloves has resulted in severe panic attacks as I am thus incapable of relieving my aforementioned emotions through the habit. All the anxiety, excitement, and stress try to burst from me in another way. I end up being unable to sit still and my mind brews incoherent thoughts that no one around me can understand, and I come off as strange and hyperactive. My family has become accustomed to my behavior, not the biting, but the hyper activeness, but I fear it will affect my coming social life. My family, at least, disregards what they see if they happen to catch me biting my hand. However, my father was the only one who actually removed my hand from my mouth anytime he found me doing it. This always caused my anger to bubble slightly, though now I appreciate his efforts in stopping this habit. Though he passed away about 2 years ago and a lot of my anger and sadness towards him came out through my hand biting... I'm sorry for rambling, I had just remembered that I was in a comment section, and not my journal. Well now that I've shared my story with people like me, perhaps I can find some answers. Please tell me what I can do... Also, the mentality described in the original article above explains my so god damn well that I thought you were copying the text straight from my own thoughts, or even my journal.
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September 23, 2016

I have had this condition since I was a child, and my father before me had it, and now I've noticed my 2 year old daughter biting her nails! It's a nightmare as I have always found that I chew my nails and the skin subconsciously. Anyway, I've tried wearing white document handling gloves at work, which made me look like Michael Jackson, and I've tried bitter tasting stuff, but recently my dad believed he had cracked it and suggested I try the cream he had been prescribed. I tried it, and for me it worked. For a few months I managed to stop and grew nails and the skin got a lot better on my fingers. I have since relapsed as I stopped using the cream, and a particularly stressful experience in my life triggered it again. I'm now back to using the cream and it's helping. I'm in the UK and the cream prescribed was a GlaxoSmithKline tube called 'Dermovate Cream' - it includes clobetasol propionate (0.5mg). The reason it worked for me was that it is a steroid cream which I believe thins the skin, and therefore the hard bits on my fingers which were 'pickable/chewable' became less dense and this was coupled with the fact that it remains on your fingers. Now what I mean by that is, some creams soaked in and didn't feel greasy and you forgot you had used them, others were like dipping your hands in a tub of grease and it got everywhere. This cream reminds you that you've used it, but isn't overly greasy. It's enough for me to remind me when I go to bite subconsciously that I need to stop. Anyway, just thought I'd share that in the hope it helps others. It worked for me for a while, and I'd never managed to stop before! Oh and I guess I should add that using a nail file regularly to ensure that my nails, whilst very short and bitten at times, were smooth, as I've found any rough or uneven bits made it more likely that I would bite at them to try and make them 'more even'.
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March 28, 2017

I bite my fingers and thumb's skin since my childhood I dont even remember when I was not doing it. I had no idea what it is, and I used to think that Iam the only one who does that. I have seen people with nail biting stuff but not with this. There were times when I actually stopped doing it and remained strong even few months. But then I started doing it again which I regret the most. It is may be because I think way too much. I even cut my nails regularly in order to avoid skin biting. Sometimes when Iam sitiing with my mom she holds my hand so I dont do it. But she cant do this all the time obviously. I want to be strong and I want to quit this thing because I hate looking like a psycho I hate my sored wounded fingers. Please help me! how should I quit it?
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June 30, 2017

I have been able to slowly quit biting my nails after 25 years of this disgusting habit. What prompted me to stop was going to a dentist and realizing that my nail biting has slightly chipped away at one of my front teeth. I don't want to spend a fortune fixing my front teeth, so this idea caused me to cold turkey the habit. The only thing that remains is skin picking. Ive been a picker for 15 years. I've done a few years of chemical peels and they helped me to pick less (also helped to smooth out my skin), but when I stopped doing those procedures for two years (when I got married and moved out of state) I completely rebounded. So now I'm trying to get back into doing chemical peels on a monthly schedule in order to minimize breakouts and to gradually erase the shallow scars. Hoping that this self care will keep me in check from picking. Just want to let all the users on here know how deeply I understand their frustration and how happy I feel for those who are able to curb the habit.
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July 15, 2017

I've been picking my hands probably since high school. I mainly notice myself doing it when I'm stressed out, in an uncomfortable setting, nervous, bored and I'm sure many other things. I absolutely hate that I do it. Especially when I look at my hand and see the scaring that I have made. It's even worse when people stop and ask me what happened to my hand because its red and noticeable. I can go a little bit without picking it and it will look so good; redness goes down, its smooth, looks pretty good then something will strike and I'll pick it and be back at point A again. This is something that I want to break and stop doing for good. It affects me in a lot of different ways. Now it's even affecting my relationship with my boyfriend which is extremely embarrassing and hard. I hate most when people see it and ask what's wrong with my hand and I have to make up a story because I'm too embarrassed to tell them the truth because most people don't understand it or why I do it. I know this is a mind over matter thing and I just have to be strong minded enough to overcome it but it's so much harder than you would think it would be. Starting today, I'm going to quit biting/picking my hand.
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November 09, 2017

Have any of you been successful? i know this is an old post but im hoping everyone can see my comment and tell me some success stories. I so desperately need to hear some. im 28, female, australian and recently engaged. everyone keeps grabbing my hand to see the ring and then gasping when they see my fingers. I stopped for a couple of weeks, i was so happy. and then something horrible happened in my family and i started again, its worse than ever. if i ignore it, it feels like i have a horrible itch beneath my skin and this feeling only intensifies the more i try to ignore it. ive tried therapy, i was told it is an obsessive compulsive behaviour brought on by anxiety when im unable to control an unpleasant situation. talking through it doesnt help. I need to be more self aware. no more bloody hands. bloody feet. bloody mouth. i know it can be done, but im hoping to hear some long term successes x
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January 04, 2018

I have picked and bitten my fingers since I was 5 years old. I am now in my early 40's. I have had no success stopping this habit in the past and had given up. It was worst when I was nervous or stressed, sometimes not even realizing I was doing it. However, something interesting happened to me a few months ago. I started taking vitamins and supplements for a few other health concerns (Vit C, MSM, Fish oil, B Complex, turmeric, L-lysine). After a couple of weeks, I noticed that my fingers were healing and I had not been biting them. I assumed it was b/c I had been busier that usual with some projects around the house. However, as time went on, the desire to bite didn't return. It has now been 10 weeks, my fingers are healed, and there is no desire to pick even when I have peeling. This has NEVER happened to me before. After a little research, I am really wondering if the B Complex, specifically B12 is what helped take away this urge, since I have read that it has been used to help with ADHD and other similar issues. BTW, I am very picky about my vitamin brands, I use PURE Encapsulations for most of my vitamins, including the B Complex, after reading about fillers and junk most are made with, esp ones made in China. Hope this helps someone.
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January 06, 2018

Yes, supplements can help some people! Vitamin D supplements help lower my picking drastically. Very very helpful and I recommend it. As for biting my nails..I suffered two and a half decades with chewed off nails and skin...it finally went away last year by itself. It gradually faded away to the point where one day I had the will power to rationalize the habit away. I saw that my biting was chipping away at a tooth and that realization disgusted me to the point where I was able to drop the habit. So it is possible for it to stop, same with skin picking I believe. I have had various OCD disorders throughout my life that also came and went. So yes it is possible for these disorders to stop. Although sometimes they are replaced by new disorders. Once my initial severe OCD madness of 15 years of full hell faded away, the skin picking turned up full notch. So it was just a replacement of issues. Sometimes I wonder what new crap will come around if I beat the skin picking issue. And I've been doing exceptionally well for the last two months....so I might be entering the stage where it's lapsing in between...which means it's losing it's grip on me....quite possibly full healing is in the near future. I just don't want to turn up having to deal with hair pulling or an eating disorder of some sort...all related conditions.
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January 10, 2018

My skin picking is getting worse instead of better. It is affecting my work, my personal like, not even counting the embarrassment and pain it causes. My dermatologist tried me on a cream that seemed to help at first, but starting itching really bad. Now it has created pure pockets of horror mainly on my forearms and top of legs and feet. Long story short, it has made picking worse! I am at the end of my rope with nothing to hang on to! I know I need help, but cannot stop! I tell myself if I can just get the wax part(probably not that at all), and break the fibrous strings(feels like tough cotton string) , which is almost impossible to break without a short burst of pain, the holes would heal. I cant seem to do either! It's a vicious cycle. I pray everyday for a miracle. I will try the vitamins, and see if that will help me. Thank you for the information!
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March 18, 2018

I am embarrassed and want to stop