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Healing Skin Picking Wounds

admin , 09 Jan 2013

How I healed my scalp scabs after 12 years of picking

Hi everyone, I am a long-term sufferer of dermatillomania. I started creating and picking at scabs on my scalp about 12 years ago, and have continued to do so almost non-stop since then. I tried many ways to quit including: - Putting on fake fingernails: this actually worked but I hated wearing them so I stopped and started picking again - Distracting myself with fiddle toys like Tangle and Thinking Putty: helped but they weren't as satisfying as picking - Wearing a hat: kind of worked but I kept forgetting to wear the hat, and if I was determined enough to pick I would take off the hat My picking remained so compulsive that I would even wake up with my fingernails on my scalp having picked during the night. In the past 2-3 weeks I have finally been able to stop picking for long enough that my scabs have healed and there is nothing left to pick. It was because I read this article and it scared the heck out of me: (most relevant pages are 1-2) Summary: a woman develops a chronic, persistent itch on her scalp. She can't stop scratching it, even in her sleep. She ends up with scabs on her scalp. One morning she woke up and a green colored liquid came down her face. She put a square of gauze on her head and went to the doctor. The doctor told her that she had scratched through her skull and into her brain and she needed emergency surgery. If you're wondering how she scratched through her skull, it's because the wound on her scalp had allowed bacteria in which led to osteomyelitis - infection of the skull - which softened the skull allowing her to gradually scratch through. Source: Now, the chances of this happening to me might be slim, but I know that I normally don't wash my hands before picking so I could get an infection, and if I picked deeply enough, you never know... The idea scared me enough that every time I caught myself picking I got scared. I hope that it might have a similar effect on somebody else. "I want you to be scared," sounds kind of mean but I think fear can be a good way of breaking a habit. Good luck everyone :)
11 Answers
March 29, 2013
When there is a problem in the scalp, the main problem is itching, which feels like irritating.
April 13, 2013
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am desperate to stop. I gasped out loud when I read what you typed. You have scared me. I just cut my nails. I am motivated. I will do what it takes. I will stop.
April 13, 2013
ladybug23, good luck! I hope you're able to stop :) As an update, I posted this over 3 months ago. I still haven't picked at my head. I have zero scabs and no desire to pick.
April 25, 2013
So far so good! I've also been doing some self-hypnosis to deal with the underlying triggers. I find it really helpful.
June 16, 2014
that's kinda disturbing. It's funny though because i was picking my scabs while i was reading this post
July 24, 2014
I'm 14 years old and have been picking for the past 2-3 years. It started when I was beginning to get stressed out at school: exams, homework, bullying... etc. My home life didn't help either. Whenever I was worried about something or just generally on edge, I would find myself almost slipping into a transe-like state and scratching the top of my head. Even if it wasn't itching, I just couldn't stop. I would scratch and scratch and scratch until there was blood and skin underneath my fingernails. The obsessive scratching soon formed a line of scabs at the front of my head that I would pick at every day. This was very upsetting and really knocked down my self esteem. During a summer break I promised I would never pick again. But, as many fellow 'pickers' know, this is much easier said than done. I found that I would always be in a bad mood and have an uneasy feeling in my chest if I didn't pick that day. So, the holidays came and went and I had done nothing but produce more scabs on my head. I have not been able to stop picking these since. I have recently been diagnosed with quite a few conditions - both mental and physical. Anxiety; depression; OCD; eczema; pompholyx and of course, dermatillomania. I also visited the doctor with my mum as of late and was told that there was a high possibility that I have mouth cancer. All of these have made a huge impact on me and I struggle with every day life. I know I will never be a 'normal' teenager because of this. However, this article really helped me alot. I know now that I am not alone in this. After so many years of feeling like an outcast, I feel as though I'm ready to move on without my problems and issues and that I shouldn't let dermatillomania weigh me down. I'm going to try everything I can to stop my compulsive scratching and I hope everyone else is able to as well.
October 15, 2016

I don't understand all this ..Im not sure what is going on with me I do believe im going though menopause cause I have had a light period in the last 4 months. I have always had some small dandruff but never sores ..The one day like a little over a month I had all these scabs ..The only thing I had done different was use Apple Cider Vinegar in my hair , I read how it would help with dandruff now im thinking it was a big mistake cause now im living with all these scabs and red bumps and I mean a head full of them. Now the old thing is I never scratched my head to get all these scabs and now yes I find myself picking to get them out. I want them gone I cant believe this! I don't have the ins to go to the doctors as I already have a bill racked up for going when I missed my period and was concerned as I bloated so bad and didn't eat for weeks without being hungry and didn't know what was going on with my body. I am falling apart. I am going to try and not pick or rub the scabs out and I pray it goes away! but I just don't see that happening when I never scratched to begin with and they just appeared all of a sudden. :( HELP!

Alexis carter
March 19, 2019

I had the same problem and the solution to get over it is to cut your nails so short that it is impossible to pick at your scalp. I know it is hard especially for the ladies but you have to give up something to get where you want,so choose between long manicured nails or infected scalp.

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