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Lil Miss , 15 Mar 2013

Does this sound like dermatillomania?

I have only recently found out about dermatillomania, and I think it sounds a lot like me.. But I am also a hypochondriac, so it's hard to tell. So I thought I'd post my story here and see what you guys think. I took the test at the OCDLA website, and I'll outline what it says in the comments (when I get the email back). So, I've had acne for about 5 years now (I'm almost 16, so since I was about 11) I distinctly remember this because I was in year 5 and when I got my school photos back, my year 6 friend said "What a bad day to have pimples, huh?". I've been self conscious ever since. It didn't start off as big pussy pimples, it was mainly little bumps (whiteheads, as I later found out) and blackheads. Over the years my skin has gotten better and worse, but hasn't been clear since. Never the really bad cystic acne or heaps of the big pussy ones.. I went through a stage where I did have a few big ones under the skin on my cheeks. At the moment, my acne is fairly good.. Mainly only blackheads and whiteheads, with the occasional big pimple. But my skin is drastically worse. I have post inflammatory hyperpigmentation as a result of picking, and sometimes from pimples I don't even touch (but that's rare), possibly scarring (it's hard to tell at the moment) dry and red patches (the stuff my dermatologist has me on makes my skin really sensitive). Not to mention my amazing ability to transform a unnoticeable little blackhead into a huge open wound that is impossible to miss. I don't pick my face as much (compared to other parts of my body) but I go through times where I just pick and pick and pick at my face without even really noticing what I'm doing. I'm left with huge wounds, red patches and eventually post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Not to mention the emotional damage, I cry and cry after one of these episodes, I don't even want to leave my room. I've had days off school because of this. My back is a absolute mess. I have severe scarring on my back and shoulders, tons of scabs and some pimples. I obsessively pick at my back and shoulders with out even realizing it, and the same with my neck. The other day at school my friend pointed out blood on my shirt, which is when I realized I had unknowingly picked at a scab on my neck. I catch myself doing this all the time. Another example is my breasts. I actually pick so much on my breasts (mainly around the nipples). I have bad scarring here as well. Here's some examples of where the picking wasn't to do with acne.. I actually pick at my nipples (gross, I know) and Its extremely painful! I pick at my legs and I now have scars all over my legs that I tell people were from either infected bug bites or ingrown hairs. And I went through a stage where I actually picked quite vigorously at the bottom of my feet (usually with tweezers) it got to the point where I couldn't even stand up. Mum saw them and said it might have been a fungi, and took my to the doctors (I was too embarrassed to admit to picking them). The doctor said it was a fungi and have me creams etc. Eventually I stopped picking at them, and my mum even said that before the doctor said it was a fungi she though that maybe I'd picked them. She still doesn't know the truth. I make up excuses about the scabs I acquire from picking and I can become extremely self conscious and depressed. And I'm not sure if dermatillomania is connect to OCD or not.. But I'm fairly sure I had OCD.. Mum has thought I had all my life she just never got me tested. Sorry that it's long, I didn't want to miss anything. Please, share your thoughts/advice? Thanks in advance (:
2 Answers
March 17, 2013
You said..."but I go through times where I just pick and pick and pick at my face without even really noticing what I'm doing. I'm left with huge wounds, red patches and eventually post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Not to mention the emotional damage, I cry and cry after one of these episodes, I don't even want to leave my room." This is proof right here that you have a struggle with picking at your skin. These words define me perfectly, too. Sometimes I pick for literally hours, and then cry so hard I think I'm having an anxiety attack. Luckily, I have been working extremely hard at beginning a new life for myself - and I am 20 days pick free, sides from the occasional scratching and picking of a few pimples. That's just called managment, and us pickers have a very difficult time keeping it to a few zits. My first advice would be to open up - and you have. You already got the courage to share your story with all the people on here. Next, open up to your mom. She probably knows already, and I'm postive she will want to help you. The next step is one you can discuss together. Do you want to try to change your habits on your own? Do you want to go see a doctor? This is really a personal choice. In the meantime, let me give you a few tips. When I was starting my process of not picking, I used Calamine lotion on my face each night to heal my wounds. It worked like a miracle. You can find it at Walgreens. Also, I put band aides on my pointer fingers to make it impossible to pick...and to put picking on my concious at all times, so I didn't do it unconciously. These things worked for me, along with keeping a daily blog on this website. I wish you the absolute best and remember, this is a process - It can't be solved in a month, it can't be sovled in a year. But if you keep building, trying to stop, you will become a more happier, self-loving person because of it.
Lil Miss
March 22, 2013

In reply to by Lily19

Thanks for replying, it does make me feel better knowing I'm not the only one who struggles with this! I spoke to my mum about it, but she doesn't take me seriously.. All she said was "just don't pick". I got so frustrated, I mean, if it was that easy I wouldn't do it. So I'm still in this by myself here (meaning, no help or sympathy from family). Which stressed me out more and let's just say I have a few new scabs :/ I try to limit myself to only picking when I absolutely can't help myself.. But I just can never ago at just one. Congratulations on that! I think once I stop myself picking for a week It'll be a lot easier, but It's hard getting started. I took a good look at the damage I done to my face, and I'm getting very motivated to change, and knock myself out of this habit. I use calamine lotion some nights, it seems to work really well, especially with any redness/swelling around the wound. That's a good idea with the band aids, I might try doing that for a few days. I'm starting a daily *personal* blog, meaning I'll just write it in my phone and keep it to myself, hopefully that keeps me motivated. Thanks a lot! I wish you the best also. I hope one day I can once again be proud of my skin (:

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