Hello. I have just learned of "Dermatillomania." I've often overlooked it as it references to "skin picking" and I imagined something completely different. Now I see how it relates to me.
The problem first reared it's big ugly head when I grew my first set of teeth. I chewed the inside of my mouth until it was bloody and raw. My mom didn't know about this until one day she saw me chewing on something and she stuck her fingers in my mouth to get whatever it was out just for her fingers came out nice and bloody. I'll stop for a couple of months at a time at most, but it's still a problem today. In an effort to get myself to stop, I've taken to chewing on my tongue (doing it right now matter of fact) which now appears to have a tooth mark design around the edge (oh yeah, attractive). I have also tried to distract myself with food or gum, or taking up another project.
When I hit puberty I was graced with an acne-riddled face. My nice long nails were used to scrape off anything protruding from my skin on my face. I would sit for hours and do it, and nothing ever got better. In fact -- now I have scarring so deep on my face that it casts its own shadow. I'm not joking. My face started to clear up as I got older. I've learned to leave those alone.
When I was in middle school I also had a pretty bad case with hair plucking. I'd scratch and scratch and pluck my hair from the top of my head. My classmates all assumed I had lice, and it's pretty safe to say that I wasn't exactly the most popular kid in school. I stopped plucking my hair, and eventually stopped picking the scabs off my scalp as well until the last time I went to get my hair cut (This is at least 10 years!!). The woman who washed my hair had extremely long nails, and as she was scrubbing my head, I could feel her nails dig into me. It hurt, but it felt sooooooooooo good. I haven't been able to leave two parts of my scalp alone for weeks, to the point where they bleed and there isn't much to scrape off anymore. It hurts, but I've got to get the biggest pieces off possible. I search my entire scalp for things to pick off... and lately I've been running my hands over my arms and lower back in search of irregularities to pick as well.
I've dealt with it my entire life, unable to talk to anyone about it. I'm glad to have found a forum, and I really hope more attention is brought to this in the medical field. It's not life threatening, but it is life changing. I'm glad that I am not alone.