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sequoia , 11 Jul 2018

Scalp Picker here: New to the group

I can recall a couple times in my teens where I would pick a particular part of my scalp when I was stressed. I have very thick hair so the ability to hide the damage kept away any intervention into my compulsive behavior. I am now almost 40 and for the last year I have developed a huge compulsion for picking my scalp, mostly at the base of my skull but honestly anywhere I can find a "spot". My boyfriend noticed and insisted he take a look. He was horrified at the damage and took a picture for me. I was shocked.

So I have tried antibiotic ointments, peroxide, shampoos, etc. in the hopes that healing the sores will stop my compulsion. So far, no success. I haven't had a haircut in over eight months because I am terrified of being humiliated. I work a highly stressful corporate job and suspect that the stress is a factor. Anyway, I am in pain a lot....showering is a nightmare.

I just wanted to introduce the worst of me and say how greatful I am to find others (although I am sorry for what you are going through, wouldn't wish it on anybody). Hopefully with enough support we can regain control of our compulsions and get back to positive things in our lives.

1 Answer
Pick-a-little …
July 27, 2018

Are we the same person?? ...late 30s, demanding corporate career, and in the past few years I’ve picked my scalp so horrifically that it is amazing I still have hair and haven’t bled to death. I’ve actually considered just hacking away at my own hair whenever I need a trim because I’m too mortified to go to a salon.

I am a compulsive skin picker in general, and have been since I was a small child, but what triggers my picking is any sensation where my skin is at all crusty or not smooth. I can’t handle it. I have a chronically and severely itchy scalp that no amount of shampoos, rxs, allergy testing, etc has solved, and all the constant scratching leads to crusty spots. The relentless itching started it all, and then all the scratching led to scabs, and scabs are crusty, and therefore unacceptable. Every time I pick, the borders of the wounds incrementally widen. My poor abused and mutilated head. So much self-disgust and shame...

After reading this forum for the past several weeks, and hearing some tales of skin-excoriator recovery miracles, I did start using calamine lotion on the large raw spots. Not ideal, since I then of course have calamine lotion gummed up in my hair, BUT it makes the wound dry out immediately with a relatively smoothe chalky texture. So instead of forming a nightmarish mound of scabby crust (which must then be immediately and painfully extracted via a heavy-duty fine-steel-toothed comb)... I have a dry chalky patch with no unacceptable crustiness that I conceal with creative hair-parting or a wide wrap-style headband. Also the wounds seem to heal way faster than they do with neosporin or aquaphor or the countless other snake oil I’ve rubbed on my skinless scalp in desperation.

It’s only been two weeks, and because no one can figure out the chronic severe itching that catalyzes the scalp-picking shit-cycle, I don’t know that it will really solve this for me in the long-term. But my scalp, at the moment, despite itching like a bastard and periodically releasing a slight poof of Calamine dust, is almost entirely healed of its wounds for the first time in years.

I’m so sad knowing that the chronic and unbearable itching will probably land me right back skinless at square one, but maybe trying this will result in some success for you or another scalp-skin-scraping sister out there.

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