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jacksmome08 , 24 Dec 2008

im 20 and ive been eating my finger skin all my life.

i'm 20 and i'm happily married and i have a 6 1/2 month old and i'm pregnant again. but all my life, i mean...since i can remember. i have always bitten and eatin the skin off my fingers, i used to bite my nails too but i stopped that. and i eat the skin on my lips sometimes and even scabs when i get them, i used to cut myself just to get scabs so i could pick them. my husband helped me stop that. the biggest thing i do now is just bite my fingers. and i like doing it, its weird, and my fingers look horrible but it makes me feel better. but i'm afraid of future problems with the skin on my fingers, cuz i've been doing it for years. and i haven't found a way to stop. even strong will doesn't help.
275 Answers
January 11, 2009
This is so cool, i thought i was the only person in the world with this terrible problem. I'm 15 years old, and i've bin eating the skin on my fingers since i was 5 or 6...Like you it started off with me biting my finger nails. one day i decided i wanted to stop biting my nails, and decided to eat the skin on my fingers instead... i've tried to stop so many times, but its like i need to do it...when im stressed its my comfort,when im mad, it calms me down... when im bored it entertains me, it just is like an addiction i have.... i hate how my finger look though, especially when they're wet, it looks so disgusting. unlike you i dont eat the skin on my scabs, but i do eat the skin on my lips also...its sooo weird when i think about it!!! i really want to stop...but then again, i dont think i can...:(
January 21, 2009

In reply to by dacruzanchic

Sounds just like me! I haven't been eating or picking for 1 hour and 25 mins! We can do it! Tara B Stay Strong! Hope is not the closing of your eyes to the difficulty, the risk, or the failure. It is trust that- If I fail now - I shall not fail forever; and if I am hurt, I shall be healed . It is trust that Life is good. love
January 06, 2010

In reply to by dacruzanchic

Hi, i can totally relate and i felt like i was the ONLY one with this problem. I started when i was really young biting my nails and after stopping that habit i began biting the skin on my fingers....HOW and WHY i started i could not tell you. It's really weird and embarrassing but for some reason i can't seem to stop completely. I usually do it when i'm stressed, or have alot on my mind, it's such a weird addiction that i can not tell anyone but my mom knows. At first i was biting the skin off the first three fingers(nuckles, sides) and then at one point i stopped for like a year. I started getting really stressed out with school and started back again, only this time i just bit the first finger and sometime the top of the middle finger. It's so crazy b/c i find myself doing it without even thinking and it frustrates me bc i hate what it does to my fingers. When i did stop i kept myself busy working out and occupied. The crazy part is when i'm around someone, i don't even do it b/c it's quite embarassing but every once in a while i might catch myself trying too. One thing i will suggest to stop that helped me once was to wear gloves as much as possible that way you won't have accessibility to them. Also try to get involved in something that keeps you occupied. The good thing about the skin is it will grow back. Good luck
January 28, 2009
I can totally relate. I've been biting my fingers as long as i could remember as well an im 28yrs old. Im still working on trying not. Finding this group has helped me a lot. Just reading and knowing that im not alone. I haven't even been a member for a day while i write this. LOL. But i've spent my whole day focussed on findig somthing that i haven't spent much time biting. So i hope that this is going to be a start of healing so i can focuse on taking my day at a time.
February 02, 2009
Wow, I can't believe there is a site for this! I am a mom, my 6 year old daughter first started biting her nails and I guess when we told her not to she started biting her skin of the tops of her fingers. I can't help but think this is a stress disorder I may have have caused due to bad parenting. Did any of you have a stressful upbringing and do you think it may have led to your skin biting? Please help me help my girl.
February 04, 2009

In reply to by Morgan

I to started to pick when I was 6 years old. I did have stress in my life. My grandfather at the time was dyeing from cancer and he was the only father I had in my life. I was being touched by an older man everyday. Lots of stress for a 6 year old.
February 06, 2009
Hi! An obsession with fingers - I can relate to that. But eating? I believe that's called Dermatophagia ( Are you bored? Being a housewife, pregnant again can bring on some serious boredom, dissociative thoughts, and even depression - all a perfect reason to pick and bite at (and eat!) your fingers. Consider seeing a therapist for a few sessions to see if there's some mental cause of it. -- fingerfreak
picky eater
February 06, 2009
I am 25 and I use my fingernails to pick around the skin above and around my fingernails, sometimes I bit and eat, but usually I just pick. I have done this for as long as I can remember. I have been trying to stop for years but I haven't been able to quit for more than a couple weeks at a time. Up until recently, I never even thought about what it must look like to other people. I try to hide it but it is such a natural thing for me to do. I pick while at work, when I'm bored, or when I'm stressed. I usually pick to the point where I make myself bleed and I have to carry kleenex in my pocket while I'm at work (Ew! That makes me sound so freakish!) I also bite and eat the skin on my lips. Sometimes I cut my fingernails really short, to the point where it is painful, because I know I will stop for at least a day or two. I did have a stressful childhood and I spent a lot of time alone. I'm thinking it was some sort of coping mechanism for me and now it is more of a nervous habbit. Never would have thought there would be a website for this problem! Good luck to everyone!
February 06, 2009
Hey everyone, For all you moms and moms to be out here, there's a really good reason to stop these bad habits! --- mine is a tad different since I'm a face and body picker, but not a nail skin picker, but I'm sure we're still pretty much the same! So I've been a crazy picker for about 12 years... and where did I learn how to do it???? My MOM! she wasn't a crazy picker like me or anything, but that's where is started. I'd see her pick something on herself, or if I had a pimple she'd pick it for me. Soon enough I'd start noticing things that could be picked, made it a habit, learned to enjoy it... and you know the misery that follows! So your children learn from you, obviously, but not just how you act and what you say, but they also learn the little things that you do. Even at a very young age! So is it enough then for some of you ladies to work at quitting so that you don't pass this onto your children and have them 20 years from now on this same forum, feeling cruddy like we all do now? For myself, I'm breaking my habits which is great, but I think it's helped that I've always known that I can't do this once I'm a mom, and that time is coming sooner than later... Hope this helps someone! It's helped me!
February 17, 2009
I am a mother to a 5 year old girl who is biting chunks out of the skin on her fingers and toes. She has been doing this for months and I am devastated by the damage she is doing to herself. I can't believe there are so many people who do this and that there is a medical name for it. I have tried all sorts from bribery to punishment and from reading the comments on this page I will agree that none of this has worked and that the problem has just got decidely worse. I will be taking her back to the doctor now and will not accept that it is just a "habit" as I was told it was. Knowing there are others like me makes me feel a little bit better.
Carl S
June 22, 2009
I am 26 (male) and I have been a notorious nail biter for ever. Recently I have stopped biting my nails as people point out it's discusting. However, I have migrated to the skin around my finger nails including the cuticle. Like many who have already posted, I find long fingernails encourage me to pick. So by trimming back my nails reduces the amount of picking, but it also exposes finger skin. Here is where I differ from most of you. Instead of biting/picking the skin, I use nail clippers. I have them everywhere. In my backpack, in my work desk, in my key-bin in my living room, utility drawer in the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. I use the nail clipper to clip back the skin - Im sure it's more sightly than chewing, but the worst is yet to come... I eat the skin-flakes that I clip. I dont know why! Maybe I think there is some nutritional value to it... but as long as there are no finger nails, I'll eat the chewy skin. I have other picking-issues (ingrown hairs, pimples, odd-color hair, etc). But the finger-skin issue is by far the strangest and most concerning. Im glad there are people like me (I refer to myself a "A picker" when my Girlfriend or family tell me to stop). I usually can go a couple days without any picking, but once the cuticles and finger skin grow back it annoys me and I destroy it.
August 04, 2009

In reply to by Carl S

Yeap, I can relate. Not to your degree but yes. I have my little tool kit of clippers/cutters near by BUT only at home. At one point I'd wait until out of the shower when the skin is raised and take a sharp knife and cut down/off the skin. Anyone that doesn't understand, can't. I feel your pain! Grrrrr.
August 04, 2009
I to, share this disorder. I hate it and so sick of doing it. I start from around the edge of my finger then pull or peel my way down until there is blood or just too sore to continue. Then I will just move to the next finger. My right hand gets the brunt of it all, guessing because I am right handed. The skin picking did progress in small forms from scabs from the scalp and pulling from and around the lips. I am just over it! I want help!
August 05, 2009
I was watching that episode on a&e to. I had no idea that this "self mutalation" as my husband calls it had a real name. Better yet, there are other people in this lonely world that have this to. I have suffered through some pretty severe trauma in my life, some self inflicted and some were out of my control. I cried myself to sleep last night after talking about it outloud with my husband. He loves me very much but he shuts down when he can't fix something no matter what the cost. I really want to seek help but i am very afraid to talk about the trauma. I put away to survive on a daily basis. I know i need help. I am still in shock. I truly had no idea that this was an issue. I have never heard anyone talk about this in a positive light ever.
August 09, 2009

In reply to by trixilou

I have recieved help and encouragement beyond my wildest dreams through phone meetings of Skin Pickers Anonymous. No one can truly understand what I'm going through like another skin picker. No one understand the nightmare of picking body and face and not being able to stop whether I need or want to. My picking over time has only gotten progressively worse and caused me all the pain in the world. I have felt like a monster forever but like many people who have shared here, it's a living nightmare. It's pure insanity. I started at six and I'm 30 years old and I pick everywhere on my body. I pick anywhere I can reach, sometimes for hours, and I pull my hair from my legs, chest, stomach, pubic area, and anywhere else I see "imperfections" I also pick my scalp and have had several very bad infections. It's a double life and it takes so much time an energy, because on the "outside" I look like I've got it all together. I tried EVERYTHING to stop and over the years it's only gotten worse. I've tried cog behavior therapy, habit reversal therapy, talk therapy, blockers, abstinence, group therapy, online programs (not free) and every SSRI on the market. However, I recently found a 12 step group for skin pickers and now have HOPE and people I can reach out to for support. I have experienced repreive from my picking as I never have before! Today, I'm not facing this devistating illness alone and I no longer have to "figure it out." It's a HUGE relief. Today I don't have to struggle like I used to because the 12 steps work for picking. I have seen MIRACLES of healing and recovery and I know there is hope because I know there is a solution. It works, it really does. Please call in if you need support. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. SKIN PICKERS ANONYMOUS PHONE MEETING - Sundays at 7PM EST. Call in #: 1-270-696-2525 / Access Code: 12128
August 11, 2009

In reply to by mshbuck

I am trying aversion therepy. I pick/eat my fingers and wearing rubber bands and using koosh balls & lotions to ease the urges when they come over me. I have been doing very well until a trip to the lake Sunday when my fingers pruned & was virtually impossible not to chew/pick on. I am back on track and understand this is a day to day task and some days are worse than others. But WHATEVER works, works! Thanks for the number for the meetings. I may join one night.
November 11, 2009
i just recently found out that there was a name for something that i thought nobody really had i was shocked that it was basically almost an OCD ive been eating the skin around my fingernails for as long as i could remember there has been times that i tried sooo hard to stop and it will work for maybe a month but then out of no where i would start again without even noticing it i also bit my lips and inside of my mouth but never to the point that i bleed but my fingers yes i do go through alot of pain with my figners and get so embarrassed but i dont know how to stop at all. i have even tried acrylics and it works sometimes but i hate wearing fake nails and i dont have money to be getting them done every 2 weeks and they get so annoying ....i actually dont even no why i bite my fingers either. im 18 years old and i dont want to be those people who are 30 or 20 years old with this horrible habit. i saw that on average it takes about a year to recover from this any suggestions.
November 16, 2009
I have the same problem and have been doing it for over 20 years. I'm so tired of having to hide in the house after a bad biting session. I'm so tired of being in pain and not being able to prepare dinner or clean without gloves on. I'm tired of worrying about germs entering my open wounds and getting sick or losing a finger. I'm tired of not being able to use Purel without intense pain. The original poster mentioned future problems with the skin on the fingers. Yes, I'm already seeing it. I have thick callouses, oddly shaped cuticles (when they manage to grow back in) and some clubbing from the constant pressure on the joints and nailbed. The amount of time wasted and money wasted buying antibiotic cream and band-aids is unreal. It's horrible. I wish to be free of this and am collecting as many ideas as possible in order to prepare myself for the fight. There's no way I can continue on like this and be happy. I won't accept that it's going to be a permanent part in my life. I hope you all are finding success.
November 19, 2009
I pick my fingers too.. I eat at the skin.. and I chew my nails.. my fingers look like nubs. I also have a scab picking problem that I can not control... I eat them too.. I know its nasty.. but I cant help it. You may have a compulsion.. although Im not sure if you do... simply because if you can stop the scabs, cutting, and biting nails.. then I feel confident you could stop this too... and then again.. you might not be able to. I tell ya.. it sucks to be like this... but at least we know that we arent the only ones. I wish you best in tryin to beat this demon! Good luck...

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