Does anyone know if this is hereditary? I am 29, and have been picking ever since I can remember. It started to get really bad for me around puberty when an Aunt of mine pointed out the bumps on my arms (I have keratosis pilaris) and showed me that they could be squeezed like little zits. I then started obsessively picking and squeezing at the bumps on my arms and then it moved to my legs. My arms are all scarred from it. It has gradually progressed to the point where I will pick anything and everything I can find to pick. My arms, legs, face, scalp, lips, feet, cuticles, knuckles, ears, insides of my cheeks, I even sometimes bite the taste buds off my tongue. Usually it's my lips and arms when I'm watching TV. I've tried to stop but haven't been able to. I'll stop picking one area for awhile and then I end up just finding another area to pick at. I feel like it relaxes me and relieves tension. Also, although it sounds ridiculous, I feel like I have to pick at these imperfections I find in order to make them heal faster or to make my skin smooth.
I am worried because I have 2 young children, a daughter (4) and a son (2). I am getting worried because they are now showing signs of starting this awful habit. I will often catch both of them picking at their lips and peeling off the dry skin. My daughter also gets relaxed by scratching and rubbing at my arms and picking at any scabs she finds. She always wants me to lay next to her at bedtime so she can scratch and pick at my arms until she falls asleep. I'm wondering, is this hereditary or did they just pick this up from watching me? What can I do to stop it while they're young? Has anyone else experienced this with their children too?