I need to quit picking my scalp


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March 17, 2012

So much of this sounds exactly like my own situation...not in terms of how you got started, but in the current state of affairs and how you feel about it. We're the same age, and have been at this for basically the same amount of time. I've also never mentioned anything about this to anyone, and it is sort of therapeutic to just have a forum to make the grand admission and to know that it's not just me whose working through this compulsion that feels so silly...and so trapping. Thanks for sharing. I bet we can figure this out!
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October 07, 2014

I've been doing this since I was a child and I'm now 50. For years I had flaky skin (dandruff shampoos did nothing, although occasionally if I used polytar shampoos, it felt less itchy, but the shampoo has a strong smell) and a sticky patch on my scalp, then about 5 years ago, clumps of hair started falling out with small patches of skin attached. I went to a trichologist - not cheap (£50 for a one hour session here in the UK), but I'm glad I did. It turned out that I had folliculitis decalvans. There's a brilliant New Zealand website with all kinds of scalp conditions on it called DermNetnz.org. On it, I realised that I had seborrhoeic dermatitis, which caused the itchy scalp. I'm now using a fairly expensive shampoo recommended by the trichologist, but it's the only thing that stops my scalp feeling itchy. I've got long hair, which I've always left for about 5 days between washing as it takes so long, but the trichologist said that I must wash it daily or at least every two days. I now dry it about 80% dry with a hair drier, then finish it off with a hot air brush, which styles it so much faster and easier than with a conventional hair brush. Do see a proper qualified hair specialist - I'd put it off because of the cost, but it was definitely worth it.
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October 07, 2014

I forgot to add that I also scratched and picked at my scalp more when I was stressed and I know just how satisfying it was to pick at a scab! However, my bald patch is now permanently scarred through the folliculitis decalvans (a bacterial infection) so I'm washing it daily in the mild shampoo recommended by the trichologist. Am sad to have a bald patch and am doing a comb-over to try and hide it. Don't let yours get to this state, it's worth spending some money getting it properly diagnosed.
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March 19, 2012

Your not alone. I'm 26. Mine also started with dandruff when I was about 12. A friend of mine told me I had dandruff and revealed that she did as well. When I was studying I used to scratch the little flakes out onto my textbook. When I had a fair amount I would gather them on the tip of my forefinger and smell them and sometimes eat them!!! I can't even believe I am typing this. So thats how it started and has now evolved into one spot near the top of my head. I have the same worries about losing my hair. I imagine it has been noticed because I have failed to conceal it. I wear hats alot or I wear my hair in a pony tail so it doesnt show. I once told a hairdresser that I hit my head on the corner of a shelf that I was cleaning under. But this isn't my only problem, I pick my upper lip which I imagine is quite noticeable at times. I sometimes wonder if people think its a cold sore, I would almost prefer that they think that rather then know the truth. When I was 4 or younger I remember my mom scolding me for picking my lip, but as an adult I've seen her pick her scalp and cuticles, and my dad picks his cuticles and his toes. I too pick my cuticles but not my toes. I've read up on it a bit and discovered it is hereditary. Also, very interesting bit I read on wikipedia: "In contrast to neurological theories, there are some psychologists who believe that picking behavior is a result of repressed rage felt toward authoritarian parents. A similar theory holds that overbearing parents can cause the behavior to develop in their children" My mother is extremely over-protective, worry wart, struggles with anxiety and depression, etc. So don't be too hard on your kids people or they'll end up like looking like tweakers. I know my boyfriend has seen me picking but I try to hide it from him. Its so unconscious that I catch myself doing it right in front of him. I want to talk to him about it, to tell him that I desire change, because I hate that I do this... but I am a coward. Sometimes he'll catch me picking at my cuticles and he'll try to hold my hand- either because it bothers him, or hes trying to calm me down, or both. I think he picks his lip too though on occasion, but my condition is worse. I just want some help, but I can't afford real treatment. I'm a student and I don't have a job. I confessed it to one doctor (about my fingers only) who asked me if it prevented me from getting work done. When I said it didn't (which now I fear that it does)... when I said that it didn't prevent me from getting work done she shrugged it off. At least made me think it wasn't that big of a deal. Thats when I learned it was anxiety related. I did not have the courage to go into detail with this doctor, perhaps if she knew more she would have wanted to help. But why is it a problem only if it affects my productivity!? What about my emotional well-being? My self control? My self esteem? My physical appearance? Oh, how can we do this to ourselves? Something that causes such misery, embarassment and at times physical pain? We have no one to blame but ourselves, yet it is because we are so hard on ourselves that we do it! Stress, anxiety, all of the above and I feel sick, sick, sick.
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April 01, 2012

I found your post very interesting particularly the info from Wikipedia. My father was always very over protective and strict to the point where I basically had no social life outside of school while I was growing up. Even after high school and as I became an adult he was still strict because I still lived under his roof. I couldn't do simple things with my friends such as going to the mall, movies, or even talking on the phone. Never went to any school dances. He didn't allow me to have a boyfriend until I was finished with college. To this day I hold a grudge towards him. I lost a lot of friends because I couldn't keep in contact with them. It's also hard for me to make new friends as I have become accustom to my "loner" lifestyle. I have a small handful of friends but don't really spend a lot of time with them or talk very often. Most of the time I'm with my boyfriend and his friends. I don't have a very close relationship with my father because of this. I've learned to hide things about my personal life from him. He doesn't know me very well at all but I don't know if he even realizes it. He always brags about being strict and credits himself for the success in my life. He thinks being a strict parent is being a good parent. I started picking my scalp at 10 years old before I knew how strict my dad would be but maybe that was a part of my stress which helped the picking to continue and get worse as I got older. I think the picking was at it's worst in high school. I've read a lot of posts by people who say their parents also had a similar habit. When my mother was younger she would pull out her hair that had split ends and she would split the hair apart. I don't know if it was stress related. She grew out of it before I was born. Maybe it's partly hereditary the way we deal with stress. The more we know about this condition I feel the better the chances are of quitting. When I feel the urge to pick a lot I come to this site and read the posts. It helps. Thanks for the feedback.
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March 19, 2012

I did some extensive reading of posts on this site and I found two people who have claimed that NAC or N-acetyl L-cysteine improves this condition. Read for yourself! I'm going to pick some up tomorrow!! On November 3rd, 2011 kgolden1234567890 said: I have had a LOT of luck with the amino acid N-acetyl cysteine, which is sometimes sold as N-acetyl L-cysteine, for my 11-year-old daughter who severely picks her skin (arms and legs). I'm hoping that everyone on this group will check it out. We started out at 1200mg each day, 600mg in the morning and 600mg in the evening. Then we worked up to 2400mg, 1200 mg in the morning and 1200 mg in the evening, within about 3 or 4 weeks. The study that was done in 2009 showed the best results were after 9 weeks of continuous treatment with this amino acid, also just known as NAC. We saw great results after 6 weeks. Please consider trying it. I am not a doctor, so please weigh out the risks for yourself. It has truly been a godsend. My daughter used to pick to the point of staph infections. She has scars all over her body. It works by regulating the URGE to pick. You can download the summary text of the 2009 study on this website - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19581567. The study was for hair-pulling, but skin-picking and nail-biting result from similar sets of urges.
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April 04, 2012

OMG I do the same thing!!! I drive a lot too and I pick in the car all the time! ugh. Nice to know I'm not alone. I have had to have small pieces of my scalp cut out in real thin pieces because of infection. It comes and goes. Sometimes I will not really have any need to pick and then there are times I can't get enough of it. It's messed up. I'm on medication for anxiety as it is, but I think at this point it's just a behavior modification type thing I need to work on.
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October 11, 2014

I am a 48 year old man. And I to pick my scalp . It started probably 15 years ago .i think mine is stress and anger related. I am glad to finally be able to talk to someone .for the first time ever .i believe that i may finally have found a way to start dealing with this... I have noticeable bald spots i get so embarrassed i guess right now i don't have alot to say. Just that i hope we who suffer this keep on talking about this and that we can somehow find a way to just stop. i do so know how hard this is to stop and how it affects are lives. so i am take a step and say. I need. Help with my problem of picking my scalp. And i talked to my girlfriend about it . I am going to try and start talking to people about this it is so help full knowing i am not alone.
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April 30, 2012

Hi...congratulations on gaining the courage to write your story, SSP30, and everyone else on this site! I have a very similar one. I guess I'll start from the beginning... I was abused emotionally and physically by my mother (a "Mommie Dearest" if anyone is familiar) and sexually abused by one of her many boyfriends. I really liked the info about picking from suppressed rage (I had/have a lot towards my mother). I started abusing alcohol and drugs at age 13, but went to rehab and have been sober for over 2 years (I'm 33 now). I think drugs and alcohol numbed the pain from childhood - then I had to deal with a lot of healing with positive coping skills. I am now a wife and a mother of two beautiful children. And mostly very happy. But the continuous scalp picking....I finally told my husband. He says to stop..."just stop" he says....I WOULD IF I COULD... Oh my...it's been really gross! Just a couple of weeks ago I had a huge cyst toward my hair line/forehead. I found pleasure from picking it, letting the blood dry, and picking it more. I enjoy smelling my fingers with the blood on them (I can't believe I'm writing this...) Who does that? Us, I suppose. I just don't get it...I could give up drugs and alcohol (not that easy...but I did) and now I can't stop picking at my scalp. I think my hair is thinning out because of it. I have certain spots on my head where I know I can find something to pick at. I'm breastfeeding my newest daughter. When she wakes at night for some, I will stay awake and pick at my scalp until there's nothing left but a really sore head. I'm trying to stay "pick free" just for today...one day at a time, you know? It's so incredibly difficult! I've read "habit reversal training" can work...here's some info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habit_reversal_training Thank you to all who can relate and who can sympathize and empathize...this too can pass..
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August 27, 2012

erinanne; i do that exact thing.. when i pick i smell the blood on my fingers too and sometimes lick it and then pick some more at another spot. Right now i have about 8-9 sore spots on my head.
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June 17, 2012

OMG I was so relieved to read all these post. I was convinced that I was the only person on this planet who picked her scalp. I started in college when I was in the middle of a heat wrenching breakup. That spot became infected and I had to go to the doctor for an antibiotic. It subsided for many years. I am now 41 years old, am at a point in life where I feel like I am going crazy. My youngest child is getting ready to leave for the military and I am already experiencing empty nest syndrome. I find that I pick my scalp if I become stressed at work, sleepy at night trying to stay awake, or start to worry about some other aspect of life. I have been to my MD a couple of times due to the fact that I was worried the spot had became infected, (I didn't admit that I caused the spot) She thought that I was a shingles outbreak and prescribed zovirx, didn't help. I too will pick until the spot bleeds, I have gotten so compulsive with this I now use a straight pin to pick off the scab. I too smell it, then sometimes eat it WOW I am crazy. I guess just reading everyone else's story has helped. If anyone can make any recommendations on how to stop I would love to know. The picking is driving my husband crazy.
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August 27, 2012

i pick and eat my scabs too... sometimes i will have 8-9 places that are bleeding at once. and then i look at the blood on my fingers from the scab i picked and wonder Why am i doing this?
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June 25, 2012

I can totally relate, I had been picking at my scalp for about 2 weeks and one day I went to turn my head to the side and couldn't then I noticed that I had a bump below my ear. I was freaked out so I went to the doctor. At first I didn't tell him about my scalp I just told him about the bump and that I couldn't turn my head to the side, but when he went to check my ear he said why is your scalp bleeding...what is this sore from. I had to come clean. He said it was OCD and put me on Clindamycin for the infection and Prozac for the OCD. Well the clindamycin made my scalp heal faster than I could hurt it so it stopped and the prozac didn't really work it made me gain 20 lbs in one month so I stopped taking it. I never thought my picking could really harm me but it can.
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August 20, 2012

Hi I'm 16 and exactly the same thing happened about 2-3years ago.. I thought I'd got nits because a friend had then, but I didn't. But from then on I began feeling my head to make sure there were no 'bits'.. Apart from I liked to do it. Which I think is really strange and not normal, but I can't stop it! My hair is thinning and I hate it. I also sometimes manage to stop for a day or so, but I actually start doing it again without realizing. I get pretty upset about it (not showing it) my mum just tells me to not do it. I know she's right but I just can't stop. Please help.
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August 27, 2012

SSP30; wow - your story sounds so much like mine. I love how it feels in between my fingers too and it is also comforting to know that there are others out there that do this as i do; but when i pick my scabs i eat them. Gross i know but it's just something i do.. i want to stop as well but don't know how.. thanks 4 sharing your story
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October 04, 2012

Oh my gosh... I looked this up because I've had a scab on my head for years, in the same spot, that comes and goes and I pick at it a lot. I don't particularly LIKE to, but I can't stand the way it feels and how it itches sometimes, and I feel around for more to make sure my scalp has no more imperfections. I looked this up because I thought maybe the fact that it wouldn't heal was a medical problem. I never expected this to be a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder. I used to pick at my nails all the time, but I started getting acrylic nails at 21, when I was first married. That broke my habit and now I'm really careful with my nails and always have them painted and perfectly manicured- no picking. I think I switched to my scalp or something. I did this a lot in my late teens, and then it switched to my nails, and now I'm picking at my scalp again. I might need to talk to someone about this cause it can cause infections. Some words of encouragement- don't worry about your boyfriend. If you get married, he's going to love you no matter what you do. My husband has bad habits of his own, but none of the little stuff matters to me. (The only ones I can't stand are the way he loses attention span while he's driving! :P) And he doesn't even NOTICE my bad habits, or at least he's never said anything. And he's the type of person who would. If anything, your boyfriend will be more worried about you getting an infection than paying attention to the gross out factor. Have you been diagnosed with OCD at all? I'm curious to talk to someone who has and find out how things go afterward and what they do to help themselves.
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October 04, 2012

Also, with mine I do not eat them or smell them. I think for me it's more of a hating-imperfection thing. I also feel the need to wash my hair constantly. I only do it once a day, sometimes twice if I really can't stand it. I don't have dandruff really, just the sore. It makes my cringe thinking about it or knowing its there and I just want it gone.
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January 06, 2013

Why is it that they can send people to the moon but they cant figure out how to cure scalp problems ? All these people writing there terrifing problems with there scalps ,people writing books about not picking at themselfs. People don't want imperfections on there heads they want treatments that work period !!!!!!!!!!
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January 21, 2013

When i read this i couldn't stop crying. I have Picked my scalp ever since i was about 12. I wish I could stop but it is so hard. I have OCD i wasn't diagnosed but i have a lot of symptoms. I get the scabs on the back of my hair and the sides and sometimes in the front. I try using oils and other stuff but I'm not sure... Once my ex was sitting next to me while I was doing it and he made me let him look at it and I had a HUGE scab that was at LEAST the size of a quarter. I hope some other things work but i really wish to get this fixed.
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August 16, 2013

I pick my head and, after reading all the comments here, I think that I pick my head because I LIKE the way it feels to my hands. I don't think it is anything more than a sensory feeling. I pick my cuticles as well. I don't think I am OCD, I don't think it has anything to do with my effed up childhood, I just think that it feels good to pick, like I said some kind of sensory fingery thing. That being said, I would really like to stop picking my head because I have very short hair and you can see where I pick.
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October 30, 2013

Hello, I seem to have the same problem as you...But I dont know where the scabs are coming from. But I cant stand them, so i pick them, and then when i pick them and they start healing they itch, so i itch my head like crazy, and then they dont heal, and i get more and more. It is so embarrasing, i want t go get a haircut but I'm too embarrased that the hairdresser will say something about it.
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December 24, 2013

Thank you so much for sharing. I pick my scalp also. I don't remember when I started but I know I haven't always done it because I remember really loving when people would brush my hair or play with it and I know I wouldn't have allowed that if I was afraid of them seeing scabs. I do have very mild psoriasis on my scalp. That is where the scabs come from and when I have one and feel it, I can't help but pick at it. Sometimes weeks may go by without a scab but someitmes I'll have a few at a time. One time I went to get my haircut and the beautician wore gloves because I had an open sore on my scalp. She probably thought I had AIDS. That was probably the most embarrising thing, but it did not cause me to stop. I am 55 year old now and I have noticed my hair getting thinner, which really has me worried. I'm very glad to have found this forum.
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June 15, 2014

Like just about everyone here, I have been a nasty scalp-picker for years. Everyone is like OMG-What-to-do???. It's not rocket science: Put some antibiotic cream on the bad spots. Leave it on day and night (I like to reapply at night), until they heal. The cream keeps the skin soft and generally un-pickable until it heals. I have been doing this for years and it's effective. Because I dye my hair, I will always get scabs, but this trick keeps the problem under control. Also, please don't assume that people with this problem have a psychological disorder. Some people just like the feel of a nice smooth scalp. If I felt I could get away with shaving my head, I would....
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June 21, 2014

I think it started around 5th grade for me, I don't know how or why but I just started picking at dandruff flakes on my scalp and that turned into obsessively digging into my scalp dozens of times a day. This is really gross but I would actually collect the scabs and put them on this one spot on my desk in my room. I wanted the scabs to be as big as possible. I remember one time I accidentally knocked the scabs off the desk and spent about 30 minutes collecting as many as I could off the floor in the middle of the night, now that I look back on it I sound absolutely crazy. I hated getting haircuts because the hairdresser would point them out and I would be so embarrassed, and I couldn't part my hair certain ways because sometimes people would notice the scabs. At one point I had a bald spot on my head about 3 millimeter wide, big enough for my mom to notice. I'm in 11th grade now and I really don't remember the last time I picked a scab from my scalp, probably about a year ago, but every once in a while I'll graze my nails across my scalp to see if anything is pickable lol. I'm really glad there's other people out there who go through what I went through, and it shows that not everyone with weird habits are freaks, I'm a normal high school girl.
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August 01, 2014

Hi All, There's a book called "Skin Deep" a free ebook worth looking at. go to http://grossbart.com/SkinDeep.pdf here's an excerpt from the book... " Itches are like chains: shake any link and every link rattles. Scratch your wrist and soon a cascade of itching will pour down your arm, over your shoulder, and across your chest. This sets up a black-and-white situation: either your mastery is perfect or you slip irreversibly into total itching. You need the freedom to itch or scratch a bit without falling back to zero. 1 Do your usual sequence, relax, enter the healing state, and sample the soothing pleasure of the ideal imaginary environment. 2 Loosely focus on the image of a length of chain, imagine that each link of this chain is totally separate from the others. No matter how vigorously you shake it, one link can't budge any other link. This image helps your mind and body unlearn the expectation that the first itch or scratch unleashes the whole cycle. Don't work or push at this image. Plant it like a seed each time you do the series of exercises. ''Water'' the seed a hundred times a day by letting yourself see the image of an unlinked chain for a fraction of a second. Take some of the energy that you throw into your typical inner monologue of doubt and fear and use it instead to fertilize the seed, the image. You can put this image to work in many ways: Unlink the itch on the side of your knee from the skin on the front and back of your knee and all over your body. Even if you were to scratch the side of your knee a bit, it wouldn't matter. The experience is totally separate from all other itches and scratches." APART from this book entirely, what may be useful in helping calm the nerves...download youtube videos with guided meditations (one that fits your needs), I personally like "The Honest Guys", Linda Hall "Positive Thinking Meditation: Endorphin Meditation with Positive Affirmations", Susannah IsThisADream "Guided Meditation and Visualisation for Third Eye Activation // Astral Projection // Relaxation If you still need immediate help...and have turned to everything, and do NOT want to use prescription drugs... research different "Past Life Regressionists" in your area. They may be able to help you... with a light and safe hypnosis.. to uncover the 'source' for picking and in many cases be healed immediately! Be open minded - especially if nothing else has worked! Be blessed. Namaste.
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September 15, 2014

Like all of you I never knew anyone else who did this. I started picking scabs and biting the inside of my lower lip since I can't remember, too young. I have always thought I was different than everyone else. I tried to be happy and "perfect" you know like, exercise, eat right, not pick, wear make up every day, keep everything super clean.. It didn't work for very long. Problems I've had : Was "gang molested" by next door neighbor boys when I was 4.. I am an only child and both my parents were alcoholics so they left me a lot or made me duck down in the back seat of the car. While they were inside a bar. They would leave me with someone and forget to pick me up for a few weeks. I can't believe I'm writing this! I feel like it all comes down to not loving myself and somehow blaming myself for everything. I now am: bipolar, extreme depression, ADHD. I just assumed that I picked because I'm crazy and was self mutilating. I like to feel the scab on my head, then pick it slowly making sure to really go deep so it will bleed a lot. Then I pick the others, I have about 6 going right now, they hurt really bad but I like that. I like pulling the scab down my hair to look at it. And I love when there is fresh liquid blood on my fingers. I don't know how to stop, my psychologist doesn't know about the picking but, my depression is so bad and I'm on so many meds, that I'm going to try cbt, cognitive behavior training. Thanks for this outlet I'll be back here daily!
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November 01, 2014

I'm am the same, very similar circumstances, I too thought I just was crazy, I'm currently at cbt, haven't mentioned the picking yet. I am enjoying understanding why I have a self destruct streak. I've been doing things all my life that I couldn't understand. So I recommend cbt, and your posting made me feel that the picking thing is worth mentioning to the psych so thank you xxxx
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October 14, 2014

I feel the same way as you. Embarassed, wanting to hide my wrist biting and scalp picking. My stress management class opened me up to belly breathing, or deep breathing. Whenever I get that biting or picking urge I try to focus on my breathing instead. It is very difficult to refrain, and sometimes I succumb, but any less biting or picking is a small step in the right direction. I recommend trying this, it may help. Look up breathing exercises on youtube. Best of luck and always remember your habits do not define who you are.
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February 19, 2015

I know this post is old but i couldnt help letting you know that I TOO STARTED IN 5TH GRADE WHEN A CLASSMATE CAME DOWN WITH LICE! I can remember it like yesterday (im now 26!) once i heard that someone had lice i immediately started picking! I would pick ooff dandruff or anything i felt and look at it to make sure it wasnt lice! I have now done this for over 15 years. I do have a few permanent bald spots about the size of a pea that ive had for years now. I pick more some times than others and not sure why... Wish i knew the answer or how to stop (although i dont know why AND I HHATE the fact that i kinda like it?) its terrible:( i also pick and pull at the tiny hairs TRYING to regrow. I wish you luck and hope to one day get to the bottom of this problem. As we speak my head burns from my constant picking for the last few days. My hair is so oily and its ways a temptation, one that i love and hate so much at the same time. please if you have any helpful information email me at candacegray1113@gmail.com good luck and thanks for listening
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April 08, 2015

I do this too. I currently have a huge scab that keeps getting bigger on my scalp and I can't stop picking at it. I love the feel of scraping the skin off and seeing blood. so weird. Btw Im female, 46.
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April 11, 2015

Ew, me too as of late, but have been picking elsewhere since, ha, 5th grade. I feel so gross and terrible that I do this, but cannot stop. If I don't always think "don't do it" , I will do it-like auto pilot. I also like the taste, which actually sickens myself, but I don't know why I like it. Just terrible. Never abused, great childhood.
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May 25, 2015

I thought I was the only one with this issue but reading the other comments with SUCH SIMILAR backstories has really blown my mind. I am a 29 year old woman and I know that this started when I was in 3rd or 4th grade when I got lice from a little girl I went to school with whose house I would play at. When my Mom figured out that I had lice she immediately treated me but after that I started noticing the ocd coming on really bad! Ocd and depression runs in my family but I never made the connection until recently. Growing up my Mom would always say "Why are you picking, do you have bugs!?" and I think that she thought it was funny but it really just made me more self conscious. After having (and getting rid of) lice, I would constantly make my Mom check my scalp because I was so fearful. As I grew up I noticed any time that I was stressed, or bored I run my fingers over my scalp and feel for any bumps or anything, then I take my fingernails and I get great satisfaction from pulling it out and then rolling it inbetween my fingers. I do this with dandruff CONSTANTLY and sometimes it does result in scabbing that I will pick as well but I don't really get satisfaction from the scabs and if I am bleeding I will lay off that certain area until it heals. I don't really go for the scabs like everyone else seems to but I do have very long hair so it seems that dandruff does get caught more easily. I also pick at my ears...I (and my husband) thought that they were just very crusty I had no idea why but it seems as though if I don't pick at them for a day or two (or even sometimes just overnight) that they literally have a layer of white/yellow crust type skin that I scrape off and roll inbetween my fingers. I have never told a doctor because I chalked it up to me just being especially gross for whatever reason but now I suppose it is a problem that is indicative of a larger emotional issue. I don't do it if I am occupied but any time I am not I simply can't help myself. I recently stopped working and I am a stay at home mom with my wonderful 2 year old daughter. My husband works as a driver for UPS and due to long work days and him being off his sleep schedule it is normal that I wont see him for more than a hour at a time during the weekdays. Being alone so much has made it much worse and I keep telling myself I should go to a doctor to try to get a handle on my stress and ocd but I feel that the doctors that I have been to just don't understand, I feel very ignored and misunderstood. Every time I go to a doctor I feel like (it may be in my head but I don't think so) they think I am making it up but if they even took a minute to look at my head or ears they would know that I am not. Coming here has made me feel a little less alone and isolated so hopefully I will find a doctor that actually cares sometime soon.
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July 20, 2015

Most of these stories are just so very similar to mine. I can't, however, remember when I started picking my scalp. There was no big event, like lice. I've picked my skin in other areas since I was a child ( I'm 29 now ) and I guess I just moved on to picking my scalp. I find it so odd that most of us get so much satisfaction from the feeling of scabs underneath our nails, seeing the blood, tasting the scabs and blood. It just seems so strange to me that we all enjoy this. I mean I do too. But it just doesn't make a lot of sense as to the reason. I guess I've just never realized other people do this too and it's just baffling me as to why we do... I don't have a cure or an answer. I just needed to vent.
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October 06, 2015

I'm 15 years old and I've been doing the skin picking for like 2 years now. I was trying to search up solutions when I found this. Which makes me happy because I'm not the only one. I like to pick my skin everywhere. For a while it was on my philtrum and in between my eyes, and then it was my neck. Right now i always pick my scalp. I always pick it when I'm in class mindlessly and then there will be a bunch of little pieces of scalp. I pick it a lot when I'm stressed or angry, and then it burns a lot when I take a shower. It also flakes a lot when I blow dry my hair, even though I just washed it. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on stopping or preventing or treating so that I can stop this from becoming a bad habit. I have tried to exercise self control but then I forget and begin to mindlessly pick again. I'm glad that so many people have the same habit as me and I'd like to ask for help! Thank you
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October 22, 2015

Hi LilyOh and everyone else. I posted on this topic a few months ago and my scalp picking has only gotten worse. I now have a skin infection and need to go to the doctor tomorrow. This will be the first time I've told a doctor about my condition. I'm both scared and excited. I'm scared because I'm embarrassed and excited because maybe he will be able to help me. I know just "willing" to stop doesn't work. I don't know what DOES work, but for me just saying "stop" won't do the trick. My scalp burns as I lay here. I'm dreading having to brush it before work tomorrow as its sore and like I said infected. I'm going to stop hiding though. Tomorrow I'll tell my dermatologist and then next my psychiatrist. There has to be a solution.
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November 17, 2015

I'm 14 and have the same problem. Started this year, and I pick at my scalp often until it bleeds. It's so frustrating and right now as I'm typing I am scratching. Every time I shampoo my scalp stings and burns, I hate it. Friends have pointed out that I have scabs on my scalp and I constantly make up excuses it's so embarrassing. Whenever I scratch my head, I get dandruff underneath my nails (sorry I know its gross), I don't know why but it's weirdly satisfying to pick it out of my nails. I paint my nails because I've noticed my finger nails get really gross looking. I'm not sure when exactly or how it started, but I do remember having lice once and scratching my head and (disgusting part coming up) found a lice underneath my nail,.... twice! It was gross but satisfying that it was out of my hair. This feels so great to tell someone who has experienced some form of this unexplainable behavior. I want this to stop, I want beautiful, undamaged hair for my formal and wedding but I fear that won't happen because of my constant need to scratch, itch and pick. HELP!
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December 08, 2015

I am a 34yo mother of 2. I have been picking my scabs for as long as i can remember. I remember as a child friends asking me why i pick my scabs. My father telling me he knew of someone who died from picking their scabs, though i don't know how much truth is in that, but it has always stuck. I told my mother and a friend today that i have been picking my scalp. I asked them to tell me if they notice me doing it. I told my mother i enjoy the feeling of the scab. After reading these posts i am glad i am not the only one. I am not alone. I started picking scabs on my legs and back/shoulder area. It only just progressed to scalp this year after i had issues with a shampoo, which caused irritation. I feel like it isn't as noticeable. The rest is history, all i know is that i need help .
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January 17, 2016

Hi. I'm a 13 year old girl and I have been picking at my scalp for about a year now. My habit started because I liked the feeling of making a certain spot of my hair red and irritated and it never lasted for more than three days until once again I started picking a the top of my scalp just because I liked the feeling. It was just like all the other spots in my head that had gone away after a couple of days. Except I started doing it to the same spot a day later the irritation went away but this time I began to pull my hair more and more everyday in just one spot which pretty small because I really liked how it felt. I did it when I got sad or bored. I never tell anyone about because I find my bad habitat very embarrassing and specially at my age. The more hair I pulled out the better I felt, until I realized but I had done to a section of my hair. I wanted to stop but I couldn't. After that spot was clear with absolute no hair I want to go further but I got in control on that so all I did was pick at it. Then after a couple of weeks I stopped. I was proud and my hair was growing back even through it sticks out but I put hair spray so you can't tell. But a few days ago I started again): that section of my hair is really red and I pulled some of my growing hair out while I picked at it. It feels like an addiction to me. I need help on how to stop but I don't want to tell my parents so that means I can't go to a professional for help.I don't want it to effect me anymore in my upcoming teen years.
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January 26, 2016

Welcome and I am proud of you that you came here looking for a solution to this problem. Please don't feel embarrassed or ashamed. Talk to your Mom or Dad and just let them know how you are feeling. I have found that once you talk about it, it takes the scary out of it. You will feel much better, I promise you.
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February 18, 2016

All sounds familiar. I do it now for 5 years. I want to stop it and i Will. I find it horrible. I have 5sores, always the same, lost bit of hairs around them, i am worried. Using now castor oil to restore my scalp, and it is werking. Very motivated now with it. Hope this helps,j
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March 02, 2016

That's awesome that the castor oil is helping. It's such a hard habit to break isn't it? I'm also giving oils a go - feeling very motivated to stop before my scabby head gets any worse!
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March 02, 2016

Hello. I've got a horrible scab on my head that I've been addicted to picking for about 4 months now. I used to do this when I was a teenager too. (I'm in my late 20s now). I suffer with extreme anxiety and stress and tend to do it to zone out but I'm determined not to do it anymore, as I'm worried about going bald!!!! so I've made my own 'ointment' - with shea butter and coconut oil, rosehip oil and lavender oil. Lavender oil is very healing and anti bacterial whilst rosehip rejuvenates and repair damaged cells. I'm going to keep my scabs constantly coated in this, until they have healed - I figure that they won't be so ''pick-able'' if they are constantly coated with oil, as they won't be dry - does that make sense? has anyone else tried anything like this? I will let you know how I get on.
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March 03, 2016

Hi, I'm a long time picker. I've never told a doctor or really anyone other than the skin pick community. This changed just about 4 months ago. I had several scabs on my head that I was constantly picking until the were a bloody mess (literally). I could feel my lymph nodes swelling and knew I had a skin infection. I finally went to a dermatologist and confessed my deep secret. He confirmed I had an infection and prescribed an antibiotic. This helped immensely. It "supported" me in weaning off the picking. Because it was healing my scabs and killing infection, that gave me less to pick at. I did have to work with it so to speak. I wore gloves in the car (which is my favorite picking spot) and shampooed my hair often (to help get rid of the dead skin and scabs). This is the first thing that has ever worked for my head picking and so I really recommend going to a doctor or if possible a dermatologist. This is what they do. Sometimes we look for answers online (I do this too) when the best resource just may be an actual doctor. It's scary. You have to face someone in person and let them know what you may have not told anyone else. This hasn't cured my lip or finger picking but I feel relieved that I have one area under control for now.
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November 03, 2016

I am so pleased I found this page... I have just read through most of these comments and sometimes it feels as though I have written them. Especially the first one (2012). Why do I do it? It hurts, but I get pleasure from that. I feel disappointed if I only have one spot on my head to pick. My husband (of 22 years) does notice I scratch my head but I don't think he knows I am picking at spots.On reflection I feel it may be because I am unhappy with my appearance (overweight) and frustrated that I cannot loss weight (been going to a slimming club for over 18 months)....Should I go and speak to my doctor and see if she can help? Thank you for reading and good luck everyone.
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March 13, 2017

Wow! A lot of these comments go back years! What blows my mind is reading a lot of others back stories on how the scalp picking started.,. Well mine like so many others strangely started in 5th grade for me also... Btw I'm female. I can remember sitting in the back of the classroom and playing with my hair ( I've always had long hair) I felt a piece of dandruff and pulled it out slowly down through my hair... The rest is history... And I became a faithful scalp picker not really by choice though... Lol. So here I am in my early 30's now, 4 kids later and I currently have 2 sore/bleeding scabs, I actually look forward to waking up to pick them because they heal some in my sleep, it terrible I know, I seem to go on what I call "Binge" days where I pick almost non stop for days... Til my head is so sore, most of my scabs are at the base of my head so I can always make it look like I'm rubbing my neck or just playing with my hair. I've never been to a doctor or specialist about this. I do find it interesting that so many people started having this issue around the same age. I was an only child, and my parents did divorce later that year after I started doing this, so maybe the stress and life changes at the time kept and keep me doing this, I know for a fact I dig and pick more when really stressed.., I don't collect my scabs, or eat them, and to each their own if they do/ no judgement from me! I do notice when I'm picking that my mind kinda goes in a trans, it's like I block all the sounds and things going on around me and become extremely relaxed, does anyone else experience that trans like feeling while picking? The only thing to prevent me from picking is if I have artificial nails, I tried 3 years and had the nails removed 3 days later so I could go back to picking my scalp and get the full sensational feeling.
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March 31, 2017

That story is me. Try to explain this to dermatologist and all she said was itchy bumps, don't scratch.. it started after losing my husband. Same feelings you have I have going on 19 years. I even have indentations I've dug so often and deep. Has anyone found what helps yet? My head gets so sore I can't even lay down most times.. color my hair dark just to hide the blood.. desperate...
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April 13, 2017

I am so happy all of you exist. I felt so alone in this that it made me consider dying. I can relate to just about everything that was said. I think there is a lot of truth to the Wikipedia theory that it comes from repressed rage towards an authoritative parent. When I was younger, (I'm 21 now) my father was so strict that I lived my life in fear of him. I wasn't allowed to do anything or go anywhere. I couldn't make friends and always had to abide by his rules or he would high me with belts repeatedly to the point that it left vibrant marks on my skin. I have so much resentment towards him that I wish I had not known him to begin with. In my childhood I responded to his terror by picking my skin and isolating myself, it was an act of survival for me. Now over 14 years later I am severely depressed, unable to progress in life, unable to make friends, I have never had a boyfriend because i deem myself unworthy of love, and above all of that no matter what I do I cannot stop picking my skin. I really need a way out of this. It has completely ruined my self worth, my potential and my life in general. Hearing your stories has really gave me hope that there is a tomorrow that is free of this condition and I can make it there. I wish us all the best and hope we all find our peace and become ourselves again soon.
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April 13, 2017

Hit* not high
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May 01, 2017

I am in the same predicament, & I cannot stand it. Not sure what age it started, but I am now 20. I believe I have psoriasis, though it isn't noticeable unless my hair is absolutely spread apart & examined. I will pick out the white clumps of dead skin off my scalp & continue to scratch/pick vigorously for episodes of several minutes. I will repeat this several times a day. When I do this a bit too rough, sometimes I'll bleed & it'll result in a scab that I will pick at again. It's purely sensational to me, not due to an emotional issue.
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August 02, 2017

I am new to picking my scalp and my story is exactly the same as this one. Im in eighth grade and my mom pulls her hair, I don't know why but I'm really embarrassed to tell my mom about this but I don't want to be picking at my scalp for the rest of my life I already have a pretty serious nail biting problem and I think I started picking around the time I tried to stop biting my nails. I don't know what to do and I'm really scared, I feel like I won't be taken seriously if I tell people about what I do.

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