I need to quit picking my scalp

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August 08, 2017

Wow! I can relate to most of your stories I need to try the oils on my head and take up the challenge to beat it who will join me ? I need a support person who will stop their skin picking and together we can offer each other support and strategies to try and stop

September 05, 2017

So much of what you said resonated with me. I have always picked at my skin since I was a little kid, mostly my lips and fingernails. I would pick my lips until they got so chapped they would bleed. I never really started picking my scalp until after I started Accutane for my acne. I am 21 years old and I started Accutane when I was 19. I have always liked picking at dandruff in my scalp but I never formed a scab until I began the medication, which severely dried out my skin. It cured my acne but made my scalp so dry that I began picking out larger and larger flakes. Eventually the flakes turned into one main scab on the top of my head and I continued to pick the scab. It's been almost two years now and I have created a dent in my scalp because of how deep I pick. The first thing I do when I wake up is pick, almost subconsciously. The only person I have told about this was my boyfriend at the time (we broke up but are still super close friends) and he once parted the hair around my scab to see the damage. He was not expecting the level of injury that he saw. I also have the little stubble pieces of hair in the wound but in parts of it I am completely bald and have to use other parts of my hair to cover the spot. My boyfriend said he thought he could see my skull and told me I should go to the hospital to get it sewed up. I never did--and here's the kinda scary part-- because I did not want it to heal. I still don't. I want to keep picking at it. Like, I know it's horrible and I should stop. It's painful and whenever I wash my hair it stings really bad. I haven't ever gotten an infection but I might if I continue this habit. I simply do not want to stop. I wanted to see if other people feel this way. I am deeply ashamed of my habit and I have only told one person. I just wanted to see if anyone else has similar problems. I've researched it and compulsive picking seems like a symptom of OCD. I'm on medication (Zoloft) but I can't seem to stop picking and I don't even want to. Are there others who feel this way? There isn't a whole lot of research on the web relating to scalp injury because whenever I try looking up some of the questions I have, I am led to a forum to get help. I have become deeply fascinated with my injury and want to find out more--researching obsessively--but can't find information. What happens if you pick through your scalp? What is the clear discharge that comes out of the wound? Why do I like picking so much if it hurts? Whenever I pick super deep it gives me this weird rushing sensation. Are there nerves in the scalp that I'm activating? I can't exactly ask someone these questions in person though without explaining the reason, and I don't want to admit this tendency to anyone. If someone out there has answers or knows a possible reason for why I and others go through this, I would love to hear your input!

December 09, 2017

Oh. My. I'm so excited to have found others out there like me. Someone who understands, finally! I have picked the dandruff scabs from my scalp for as long as I can remember. Something about seeing those flaky scabs between your fingers that is so rewarding. I some times pick to the point my head feels raw. The worst is taking a shower and putting in shampoo or conditoner and your head stings. I've always picked my scalp openly and have never tried to hide it. I don't think anyone has noticed or they all just assume its a habit of mine. Mostly, people have commented about peices of the flakes/scabs that were left behind in my hair whilst I was trying to pull it out. Its both conscious and subconscious behavior for me. I can either be deep in thought or bored and just looking for something to pick. I also pick my face and any other bump/pimple or scab I can find on my body. I'm glad to have found this forum. I look forward to talking with you all more!!

December 15, 2017

My scalp is on fire. There is blood under my nails. It has been weeks, maybe months straight that I haven't been able to stop more than 12-24 hours. Today I looked in the mirror and just cried. Asked myself, why? Why can't you just stop. I put the gloves on, the hat and I just pull them off. My dog even looks so sad. She can probably smell the blood. What is wrong with me. This isn't normal at all. I just want to love myself and stop picking. I stare at the computer and pick and pick and pick, I wash my hands so much my hands are raw. I want to tell the people I love that I have this disorder but I doubt they will understand because I don't even understand. My Mom said we come from a family of pickers. I don't want to pick anymore but I can't stop. I am so torn apart. I know I am balding in spots. When I pick it's like I am cleansing myself of the crap that deep down I don't know how to deal with. I watch the scabs fall to the sink and then I rinse them away. Then I rinse the wound, or shower, Neosporin or hydrogen peroxide, but then the scabs come back quicker and I get right back to picking again. What is wrong with me?? I have been sober now for 17 months and I am going strong, no cigarettes for 135 days. But I can't kick this evil habit that I have had since I was a little girl, when I would pick my ant bites. I pray about it and ask for help. My arm hurts from picking so much and sometimes my ears and eyes hurt too. Please, someone, help me. I don't want to be alone with this. It's scary.

December 15, 2017

This was me and still is to an extent. I’m not one hundred percent better but I’m no longer where you are now. I thought my picking was psychological but after over a year of consistent therapy i hadn’t stopped picking. I made the choice to go to a dermatologist for my scalp. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t something wrong with my scalp that it was creating things for me to pick. Turns out there was. Foliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles) was causing a build up of dry skin. I got medicine that cleared up the dry skin and it helped assist me to stop picking. I couldn’t have done it without identifying what was giving me something to pick at (the folliculitis). That being said i still pick the dry skin on my lips and my dermatologist could not find anything wrong with them. I disagree and will find another doctor. There’s excess dry skin and if there wasn’t I don’t believe I would pick it. Basically see your doctor. They’re there to help you. If they don’t, then find another one and keep at it until one helps you. You and I both need a professionals help with this and they’re not all built the same. I picked my scalp for years until finally I sought medical attention. There’s hope.

December 15, 2017

Thank you so much MGH44. You have shown me some light at the end of the tunnel. I just took matters into my own hands with some hair scissors and a razor. I strategically shaved the worst affected areas of my head so that I could see it with my eyes. When I touched the non-affected skin near the wounds it felt so naked and innocent. I too have folliculitis, but on my arms, so it is likely I could have it on my scalp too! Thank you so much for sharing your experience, strength, and hope with me. Together we are so much stronger than we are when we stand alone. <3

December 21, 2017

I believe it's started by stress. I did it when I was about 18 when I stopped biting my nails, and stopped. Began bitting my nails again. Now at 27, I don't bite my nails anymore but for about half a year now I've been picking at my head, creating scabs and picking them off. I try really hard to stop but anxiety and stress kick in. When it's itchy when healing I scratch lightly and try not to pick the scab. The scab will usually fall of when scratched at once if the skin underneath is healed. That usually heals but I find another spot to scratch at and pick. It's so hard. I have read that using Neosporin to prevent infection or once you already have infected one. Also using alia VerA on the scab when itchy to relief itchiness. So my bf Vegas picking at his head, he doesn't know I have them, well atleast I think he doesn't know. I never let him run his hands in my head or when he tried to grab my hair or head to kiss or whatev, I love my head away. I did notice he started getting scabs and ask me to pick it off for him, gross but I did. There is one huge area in the back of head that he has picked at and made worse! I keep telling him not to pick it. He does. It looks like a lump with a huge crater. Like a volcano. I'm worried he can get a serious infection. I never pick at mine that bad to get infected. I'm curious to know if anyone has any other ways of healing it besides what I already know. For those of you who need help, Neosporin and aloa vera will help. But you really need to stop picking at them and let them heal. Theyll be gone. Like me it is very hard. But recently everytime i start picking i distract myself with something to do so i dont.

March 09, 2018

I red most of the comments and all of you have the same exact issue of mine, so did we figure out how to quit doing this? Please let me know I’m 28 years old and I’ve had this habit for almost 6 years

May 16, 2018

I'm a freshman in high school and this started happening for me last year. I was in this pretty demanding summer course (36 weeks condensed into 6). We had close to 3 quizzes everyday, day after day. If I would be stressed on a test or a quiz, I would start to scratch my and I had the same feeling everyone else in this forum had. When I noticed that I was essentially pulling skin of my head, I kept doing it. It became a routine to scratch my dry skin off my scalp everyday. That was less than a year ago and it has gotten so much worse. Typing this out now has just given me the realization that we all started because of a stress-related activity. It gave us a small amount of relief and satisfaction in a stressful environment. Then, when the stress went away, we kept doing it because we learned to like it. I am going to start putting coconut oil in my hair before I sleep to reduce the dry scalp - which will reduce the dandruff that collects when I pick my scalp. I am confident that I can end this. Thanks for sharing your stories guys, Jack A, 14

June 25, 2018

I have been picking my scalp for 3 years now. It started from stress and now it's almost like a coping mechanism to relax me. Does anyone else have a hard time washing their hair because of the burning of the sore scalp? I hate washing it but enjoy blow drying the sore spots. It hurts but feels good at the same time. As I'm typing this I cant believe I'm opening up and saying all of this. I just hope what I'm saying can help other people going through the same thing such as all of your messages giving me the courage to put my story on here.

June 28, 2018

https://www.everythingnoo.com/single-post/2016/05/09/This-is-your-second-post-1 ^ This article that talks about some supplements that help with picking. Hope this helps :)

August 27, 2018

Glad to read that I'm not alone in this- I always thought I was just dirty or twisted for picking and liking it. Mine started with a skin condition that caused intense itching, which led to scabs that I persistently pick off cos I sort of like it. I also like scratching hard until my skin flakes off as this makes me feel cleaner. I think stress is a trigger as I have had weeks where I allow the scabs to heal... only to start again. I'm trying SkinPick to stop as I'm starting to leave bloodstains on the pillow, and my husband is worried it's a form of self-harm. Please update if you are successful!

October 18, 2018

I am glad I found this forum.. I have been picking my scalp since I was about 6 years old, I am now 31... ever since I can remember I was always fascinated with picking my scabs but I would usually pick them once and then leave them be.. UNTIL I was riding my bike when I was around 6 yo and a horsefly landed on the top of my head and stung me really good causing a bad scab, I was hooked on picking the scab off from then on, and here I am 25 years later STILL picking the same scab on the top of my head.. when I was around 10 years old my mother took me to get a perm and that’s when the hairdresser noticed this god awful scab/creator on the top of my scalp and pointed it out to my mother.. UGH! how embarrassing for one, and two she was always yelling at me if she saw me picking my head, after countless times of her yelling/scolding me she began doing routine checks to my head to make sure I was leaving it alone which I neverrr did.. after maybe 8ish months of the constant nagging and head checks I think she finally realized that for whatever reason I wasn’t going to stop no matter how many times she yelled at me or checked my head and she left me alone about it for the most part.. she was the only one that knew about it until I told my husband last year.. I don’t know what it is about picking that spot on my head but it’s just so relaxing I don’t have any other sores on my head, just that one.. it usually stays about the same as far as shape and size, but recently (idk if I’m digging it more) it’s gotten bigger.. about a month ago I went insane on picking/digging it.. it grew bigger than a half dollar lost a bunch of hair all around it, became super infected was a greenish yellowish color and super spongie and sticky.. idk why but that almost seem to fascinate me more as gross as that sounds I liked the smell of it, the feeling of picking the gooieness off.. but I hated that my hair feel out, all I could do was wear my hair up so no one could see it.. but for some reason within the last few months I’ve developed an infactuation with taking pictures/videos of my scab and or me picking it off... a part of me wishes I could stop picking it, but I feel like a bigger part of me doesn’t want to stop, I just don’t want anyone to know about my disorder or see the scab! Sometimes I will get super mad/anxious if I can’t get my nail under a part of the scab that’s risen up more than the rest to pick it off I will keep at it for hours until I finally get it.. I have never eaten my scab but I enjoy when I can slowly rip off one big section at a time and I enjoy looking at the big section of scab I just ripped off.. I feel like I probably will never over come this seems how it’s been ongoing for 25 years...

October 18, 2018

Having had my partner scream at me and saying that there is a raw mark on my head that is the size of a British five-pence piece (just larger than a dime), I finally felt that I needed to look this up. I knew that I would not be the only person in the world with this problem, but it was pretty eye-opening to see the stories on here. So much that I had to share my own story, if just to help me get my head around it (yep, I see what I did there!) and possible try and help others here too. I reckon this all started back when I was at school when I was around thirteen, when I suffered slightly from dandruff. I would constantly flick my hand through my hair and create a minor snowstorm on the desk, gathering it all into a neat pile before blowing it all away at the end of the lesson. At the beginning this was little more than a "dusting" exercise, but in some curious desire to produce more "snow" I would start scratching at my scalp. Lo and behold, the flakes were even larger, and the pile of snow at the end of each lesson was even more impressive. My classmates had started to notice at that point, so I started to collect the piles on pieces of paper so that they would be less conspicuous. As I started to scratch in search of more impressive flakes, it was clear that I had started to take some of the skin away from my scalp. This created (as I later discovered) small lesions that created very fine scabs. Very quickly, the dandruff problem stopped, and I graduated to picking at the drying skin instead. This has lasted for close to 35 years now. Part of the reason why I do not have loads of craters on my (now naturally bald) head is that it has never really been tied with stress or nervousness. If there is something there to pick, or better still peel, it can happen at any time no matter what state of mind or mood I am in. The fascination is in the peeling action, and the larger the scab is, the better. Just looking at the piece of semi-transparent skin, complete with the holes created by hair follicles, is intensely fascinating. Yes, it is horrible. Just re-reading what I have typed here makes me sound borderline insane. I cannot, like some people here, take this back to an unhappy childhood or overbearing parents. My situation was the complete opposite. Likewise, today I am in a stable long-term relationship and can count the number of arguments we have had on the single finger of one hand. I am a perfectionist in my everyday life, and this can possibly be related to my scab-peeling mania. However this does not have any bearing on my fascination with the peelings themselves. Given that others here have the same or worse picking/peeling compulsion, I am sure that nobody will be going "eww" at my own story. But the next bit does have me questioning my sanity at times. So here goes. Around 20 years ago, maybe more, I peeled a particularly large skin portion/scab. Fascinated by the size of it, I placed it in a small fold of paper. I did the same again not long after, and added it to the other. You can see where this is going. Not long after this "peeling/picking" project began, the little paper envelope held around thirty scabs. I then transferred them to a small plastic container, something that could hold a pack of miniature playing cards. I kept going, and some years later the container was close to being full with hundreds of skin peelings. Naturally, there was no way I could get rid of it. I still have that container to this day. As I started to lose my hair naturally, the scab problem started to go away - so long as I kept my hair short. For years, nothing would happen. Then, my hair would grow a little longer, there would be a chance for a scab to develop, and it would produce around a dozen or so peelings before I cut my hair and it cleared up again. Naturally, I would add the scabs to the container. In one particular weird moment, I was angry at my partner for throwing some old scraps of paper that were on my desk... I did not mention it as it would have been incredibly bizarre, but among the useless scraps was a mini-envelope of skin peelings, that was all set to be added to the "collection". The most recent instance has been this month, where I have managed to take some outstanding peelings. But then my partner shaved my hair for me, and jabbed at the large pink patch on my head which made me look like the planet Jupiter. When she took a photo of it with my phone, I was pretty shocked as it was the first time I had actually seen what it looked like. As much as it continues to fascinate me, I am attempting to make this my last scab harvesting. I am applying cream to the area to prevent the skin from drying, and will shave my head more often as the exposure to the air definitely aids the healing process. As for the scabs that are in the container, there is something that is telling me not to thrown them away. I am looking at some cathartic method of dealing with it, and an considering creating an artwork (or several artworks) that will have a sprinkling of scabs as a feature. Yes, this is incredibly bizarre, strange, odd, whatever. But for some equally strange reason I am finding it really easy to type this out here, knowing who will read it.

October 18, 2018

Juts to add to the above, as the fascination is more about peeling rather than picking, I have generally avoided drawing blood. Whenever that happens, I just stop. In the curious rules and logic of my own flavour of this compulsion, a bloodied scab is not worth adding to the collection, and so it is a lot easier to leave things alone. I suppose this is why the problem has not degenerated like it has for some others on here.

October 19, 2018

blackwolf- I rarely go on this site any more unless I get a post to my email that catches my attention. I wish I could say I’ve beat skin picking but I haven’t. However I have beat skin picking of my scalp (I still pick lips and fingers). I relate to your story in that I too feel very satisfied when getting the perfect “pick”. I look at it as an accomplishment I’m proud of but only for a brief moment as we’re both on this site because it’s disruptive to our lives. I beat my scalp picking when ai visited dermatologist for a skin infection (self produced from picking). He diagnosed me with foliculitis. It produces scaly patches that are oh so pickable. Applying the ointment he prescribed helped assist me in quitting the picking. It was still challenging but not as impossible as before. I wasn’t doing it alone this time. The medication was cutting down on the dry skin and so less and less to pick at. My advice is to see a dermatologist ASAP. If they can’t help you or shrug you off then see another and another until you find someone that can give you something to decrease the dry skin. No dry skin (for us anyway)=nothing to pick at (since me and you don’t pick live skin). Good luck!!! You’re not alone.

June 28, 2019

I know this is an old post, but I recently googled a specific question “why do I get satisfaction from finding a scab on my head and pulling it through my hair”. I’m sorry that you have the same problem as I do, but I will admit that I was happy to see I’m not alone. I don’t have dandruff or any skin conditions. I literally pick my scalp and create scabs just so I have something to pick. I sit up all night picking and re-picking. (Currently out of work, so I have too much time spent picking). I have open sores all over my head. I literally get excited if I put my hands through my hair and feel a scab I can pick. I’m starting to get very concerned. I am now doing it unconsciously. I’ll find myself putting my hands through my hair and start to pick, while in public, or while with other people, and catch myself. Has anyone tried anything that has helped them stop?