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The below is a forum entry made by one of our community members. If you want to know more about your condition, we suggest you read the following article written by a mental health professional on
Dermatillomania (skin picking disorder)

I pick my toenails


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August 06, 2012

I'm extremely obsessed with picking and pulling both my finger and toe nails... I find myself almost subconsciously doing it just about every day... On a typical day i will trim my nails to the point i can't see the white part (i consider over growth...) Bad cuticles are a bitter sweet feeling, as i hate having them - i actually do enjoy pulling at them and ripping them out... pain/bleeding ain't even a setback any more... countless occasions I've pulled of the entire nail which stemmed from just a small bad cuticle...Ive read countless forums and ehow and and wiki about why it is i do it so much... I wouldn't say i do it out of self consciousness or nervousness or stress... im leaning more towards OCD... think I'm more about "trying"to make it look nice - it's pretty much a daily habit now, like brushing your teeth... I know it's not typical for people to do this, and although i live a very healthy life (i don't do any drugs/not an alcoholic) i seriously doubt any chances i can kick this habit...I've been doing it all my life and for as long as my finger nails continue to grow i will always pick at them till they bleed...
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August 11, 2012

I have been picking my toenails chronically since I was 13, so much so I had to have both of my big toenails removed surgically. Stumps grew back but I have picked and ripped these out too. I'm now digging in and ripping out any growth especially at the cuticle. I pick all the skin around it too. I'm moving on to my other toe nails and finger nails! Since reading other posts here and I have noticed other things I do, I pull hair out too! Just not sure what to do as I've been doing ur for so long (and not even noticing it) that I don't think I can stop!
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November 11, 2012

I have been picking off my fourth right toe for years. I will not bother any other toenail but this particular one. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. I have been researching and discover toenail picking is known as "CSD" (Compulsive Skin Disorder). This disorder is contribute by stress, OCD, aniety, or depression.
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March 04, 2014

I have been picking my nails all my life, and I am now 56 years old. It definitely started as a way to cope with the stress of my childhood living with domestic violence, my parents. It has become such a coping habit, that I just can't seem to stop. it's a form of "cutting". It hurts, but it distracts me from other issues. I did do hypnotherapy when I was 40, and that did help me limit how much I destroy my fingernails, but I absolutely mutilate my toenails. Sandals? Ha! No, I never get to wear them. yes, it is unsightly, but at least no one ever died from it, like smoking. Oh, well, unless you count "died from the shame of it".
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February 08, 2018

I am so SO glad I found this comment!! I do the exact same thing! My toenails are hideous but when I am stressed or feel I have no control over what is happening in my life, my toenails pay the price. I do the same, I cut them down short, then use my fingers, clippers or tweezers to pull at the sides. They always bleed before I’m done destroying any chance of wearing open toe shoes. If my husband walks in I just say I have an ingrown toenail. It’s embarrassing and I wish I could stop, but I don’t think it will happen anytime soon.
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February 28, 2018

I tear out my big toe nails. I even have a "kit". I ordered a set of tools used to extract blackheads and it came with a tool that has a fine point, like a needle with a slight curve at the very tip. It acts like a tiny hook and i use it to get deep into the nail beds and tear out any skin or nail that is growing with the help of my cuticle clippers and several different types of tweezers and peroxide. I have been doing this for so long, my nail bed has changed to the point of ingrowns are inevitable if I'd ever let them grow. The irony is, thats how this all started. I cant stop. I dont want to, but i really do... I have no nail on my left big toe other than a horrid looking thing in the middle because I've pulled everything else around the sides and under the cuticle. What is wrong WITH ME?!
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February 28, 2018

I tear out my big toe nails. I even have a "kit". I ordered a set of tools used to extract blackheads and it came with a tool that has a fine point, like a needle with a slight curve at the very tip. It acts like a tiny hook and i use it to get deep into the nail beds and tear out any skin or nail that is growing with the help of my cuticle clippers and several different types of tweezers and peroxide. I have been doing this for so long, my nail bed has changed to the point of ingrowns are inevitable if I'd ever let them grow. The irony is, thats how this all started. I cant stop. I dont want to, but i really do... I have no nail on my left big toe other than a horrid looking thing in the middle because I've pulled everything else around the sides and under the cuticle. What is wrong WITH ME?!
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February 04, 2019

I have been picking my toenails for as long as I can remember. When I was 21 I had to have a ingrown toenail removed by the Dr. He cut the nail right down the middle all the way to the quick. That very night that 1/2 of nail kept getting caught by the covers, it felt AMAZING. Shortly after that (after the pain from having the nail removed by the dr) I pulled out some clippers & tweezers & proceeded to remove the other 1/2 of the nail. Now 30 years later I still pull out my toenails, now I have acquired some “tools” to help me get all the nail out of my toes. I do it more during the winter months cause I like sandals in the summer. IF I am having a “personal issue” in the summer I wait till that thin layer of skin forms over the nail bed & paint my “toenails” with polish.
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February 06, 2020

Omg!!! I am you!!! Id never believe in a million years anyone else did this!! My story is identical!!! Its scary even. Ty so much 4 posting. U have no idea, really.
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April 09, 2020

Reading all your comments has me wondering if I pick at my toes at times of stress or depression too. I only pick at my pinky toes and I have to cut the nail down at the quick. However, sometimes, like now, the nail being gone makes me feel this excruciating phantom feeling of it being gone and it’s driving me crazy. But having the nail also drives me crazy. Idk what to do. I’d rather not even have a pinky toe at this point.
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May 05, 2020

I destroyed my toenails and it do it till they hurt bleed and I'm limping around... I sometimes get the toenails infected and the throbbing pain is a relief but it hurts I used it for stress management and relief I know I need a healthier way but I dont know how to break it
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June 07, 2020

@ Shonnie5167 you’ll probably never see this, but I have the same problem as you. I started when I had a new bed, and it was covered in plastic. I used to hook my nails on the plastic till the whole thing was was covered with scratches. Then I started to do the same thing with my sheets. I used to wait for my nail to grow so that when it hook it could pull all the way back. The I would pull the nail off. It was a sensational feeling. I think reading these comments make me want to pick my nail off more. I need help.
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September 29, 2020

I'm well over the hill and I can't stop picking at my toenails. I have been doing this since I was a child. I have tried many times just to wear something on my feet to stop but it doesn't last.
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October 11, 2020

HELP ME I am 62 and have been destroying my toenails since I was a child. It seems to release tension when I do it, but the results are ugly and sore toes.
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November 19, 2020

Does anybody know how to stop it. I’m 55 and just ashamed when anyone sees my feet
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March 01, 2021

I wish I could stop doing this. I'm always disgusted with myself when I cause such damage to my toenails :(
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March 04, 2021

Im so pleased to read these comments n find it’s not just me! I always thought I was werid for picking my skin so frequently but iv realised when I’m stressed I pick my toe nails. I had my feet operated on and strangely liked the feeling of the blood pumping up when it was recovering, I then got an ingrowing toe nail snd was left half a nail which I regularly cut n pull out til nothing is left. I kind of like the pain n feel satisfied when there’s blood (I’m odd right) Now Iv started on my other nails n it’s worse when I have a bath. Currently have no nail on my little toe n enjoying the tiny tingle of pain I’m getting, wish I could stop too
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June 16, 2021

I picked my toenails for 20 years. The last 5 years I went completely without nails and instead bloody toe beds. I cannot explain why I did it, but it was bad; my floors would frequently look like a murder scene because of blood flowing heavily from one toe or another at night. Upon peer pressure/horror on people’s faces, I finally decided to change, and slowly stopped (subconsciously I’d find myself picking). I was able to quit the subconscious picking by keeping my fingernails very short with a file and removing “tools” such as knives from my proximity. For those interested in the long term impacts, and whether they will grow back: In the first 6 months after really stopping, the nails were not hard (more like skin with slivers of nails and a tough bed), the growth was slow, and the color was sorta yellowish and not that opaque color you expect. I tried everything from serums, keratin polish, and wearing socks 24/7. The products did nothing, but I found keeping my feet in socks helped with underlying ticks and keeping the toes moisturized. I finally started to notice some significant progress after about a year and now, about 1.5 years after stopping, the hardness and color has returned for the most part. Two of my nails still exhibit this sheeting where it seems like the sheets of nail aren’t bonding entirely, but that’s being picky and not visible. Another observation, generally speaking, my tails are shorter then they would otherwise be because the beds have shortened. And lastly, I’ve noticed that the nails seem to grow up more than out. Which is probably related to the point of shortened beds, and it is fixed with a light file to even them out to a plain. Frankly, I’m just thankful I stopped in time to still have toenails, and I strongly encourage those with this issue and listening to do the same. My turning point to stop: After receiving some blunt comments publicly about my toe nails, I decided that I wanted to stop. I used that source of criticism to help make me stop by going out in public in flips flops everyday until I stopped. Living in a high rise in downtown Houston, I got many, many looks of disgust while in the elevator, but now I’m happy and thankful for people’s judgement because it was my motivation.
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June 27, 2021

Omg. I thought I was the only one!! I’ve picked all my toe nails off! It started with one and ended up doing all of them. I wake up in the morning some times can’t walk and have to put plasters on. I hate doing it. My brother died 2 years ago and I’ve been doing it for last year n half so don’t know if it’s that subconsciously. It’s so nice to say it out loud what I’ve been doing. Welcome any replies xx
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August 19, 2021

I pick at fingernails and toenails quite often, so I have clippers and emery boards all over the place - in the car, at my desk, in the bathroom. If I notice I'm picking and there's something to pick, I'll stop and clip, and do a quick filing to make the nail edge (and skin at the corners of the nails) smooth, so random picks don't find purchase. The trick is to notice and fix it so picking can't escalate. It doesn't stop the initial picking, but since my unconscious test for pickable material fails, I end up not doing any damage. I do end up doing a full nail clipping every few days. I can't help you stop picking, but maybe I can help you not damage yourself...