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picking and peeling skin on ears / scalp... 10+ years

I am 27 years old, a male.

Around age 15, I started noticing a mildly dry and itchy scalp, that before long became a very minor case of dandruff.
I always made sure to stay very clean, so hygiene wasn't a factor; but I was told it was common in my family.

For about a year or so, it was a slight embarrassment sometimes at school and I largely ignored it... Then things started going downhill, fast...
As the years went on, I couldn't control my urge to itch it (despite the shampoos and medications working very well).
Being stressed, picked on, and largely a misfit was probably to blame for my weakened immune system. (And still is)
I was effectively worsening my condition, and I knew it. Every time it would get close to healing, I would get the urge to itch without thinking.
Within a year or two, I had started causing minor scabs to bleed from scratching obsessively with my fingernails.
I visited doctors, who largely dismissed it for something selsun blue could fix; until I had to visit specialists who gave me stronger steroidal medicine.
It wasn't long before I dropped that medicine, and stopped caring about my scalp altogether ...
Soon my ears started having wax buildup problems, that would often completely block my hearing.
Most of the time, I could attempt to clean my ears with a simple tool or waterpik...
But once or twice a week I had to go to other specialists, just to restore my hearing.
It was sometimes scary, and very painful...

This was just the beginning of a hell I had no idea could ever exist...
Fast forward 10 years...
I've been watching sites like this for a couple years, as my condition as exponentially worsened.
I've read quite a bit of posts here, and intend to read more ... But have honestly never seen anything like my condition specifically.
I am curious, and hopeful to find others with the same problem, so we may discuss management / treatments.

About every other day, I am taken to the limits of bearing the itch from my effected areas... (inside ears, behind right ear and earlobe, scalp)
I don't think I need to explain this, as you're all aware of this temptation. I've suffered drug addiction, and this is far worse...
Strangely, my right ear is much worse; behind the ear is the most severe.
The scabbing there developed fairly recently but has nearly covered all the skin behind my ear.
Worse than that, it is spreading quickly past my ear and becoming more visible all the time.
I keep my hair long for this reason, but had to get it cut for work ... And it's starting to reach my neck.

If I can go 2-3 days without serious picking; the scabs start to get very thick, and itchy.
That is usually my breaking point, which always results in me peeling off very large pieces of skin.
Sometimes if I wait long enough, they come off routinely enough without much pain. This happens about half of the time.
Sometimes the bleeding is intense, as I have not waited for scabs to form...
Sometimes the bleeding is so bad it continues for hours. The fluid from the scabs can leak for over 6 - 10 hours on most occasions.
If I'm lucky, it will stop leaking after about 2-3 hours.
When my ears are leaking and bleeding, it's almost impossible to enjoy anything in life. I sit, and continually remove the fluid from my ears for hours.
It is incredibly depressing. I have already had professional help, done my research on my condition (seborrhoeic dermatitis).
I know the main problem is my picking, but I just can't seem to stop, as incredibly silly as that sounds.
The urge to remove it becomes so incredible, the itches also become very intense and bothersome ... It's the greatest challenge I've ever known.
I've lost two girlfriends, for a total of 6 years spent trying ... And my picking issue is to blame for it. I've also lost several jobs, and live like a hermit.
For the past 5 years, I've been utterly sleep-deprived and living in a mess.
I waste so much time trying to stop the fluid leaking, and just waiting ... I only have time for a few precious things in life.
Whenever my ears have reached a point of scabbing, I desperately try to enjoy myself... But sometimes even those few precious hours are interrupted,
by me being bothered by a new scab that doesn't feel right...
I know it sounds ridiculous, but the urge is unreal ... Once I touch it, I force myself not to pick it; but just the thought of that makes me sweat and salivate.
And then I feel fear... I feel terrified by how much I want to cause this horrible process all over again.
It's horrible how I try to justify it to myself. I make up ridiculous things that aren't treatments. Maybe after this scab, it will be better...
Maybe my ear just needs to toughen up... No, that's all nonsense. It's only getting worse every day.

The fluid will leak out of my ears, get in my hair, on my pillow etc ... If not wiped almost every minute...
Sometimes out of desperation I plug them, only to have them leak and sometimes bleed even worse.
The picking on my scalp consists of several scabs, that often take hair and skin with them...
Sometimes the scabs can cause deep gouges in my skin that bleed badly. (And also makes me scared and sad)
Coupled with drug abuse, this has kind of been the final straw.
I haven't come here for help, as I am honestly losing the will to live after everything that has happened.
I just thought I would at least share my story, and hopefully I can get better one day.
I hope that someone with my same condition can hear this, and know they aren't alone... I'm still alive! And you can be too...

5 Answers
May 23, 2019

Please comment ... Would love to hear anyone's opinions or thoughts on this. Very lonely.

May 24, 2019

Which drugs are you taking? Drugs will alter your mind state and leave you with major mood swings and depression. I understand that certain drugs also cause itching beneath the skin, or crawling sensations. Please take care of yourself and try to get off the drugs. About the dermatitis...I have had an experience with that. My dermatitis was caused by allergies to pet parakeets. Then I began to experience chemical sensitivities, mold sensitivity. I would recommend that you get an allergy test. It could be anything, from an ingredient in your shampoo, to feather pillows. I remember I had to get rid of my feather pillows due to a sensitivity to them as well. My dermatitis was behind my right ear. It was raised and red/with white flakes.
Tell me more about your life. You said you were a misfit and feel you might have had a weak immune system. Was your life stressful when you were young? There is usually a huge psychological component to this illness.
May 24, 2019

Thank you for your support. It means a lot to me to be able connect with someone who has suffered the same thing. I am in honestly no state to answer those questions right now, but I will later... I consider your words strongly. I just need to focus on my health right now. I agree that this condition can be worsened by psychological trauma / stress. I am working to take the steps I need to get my life in order... I feel like I shouldn't even be here, though.
May 31, 2019

Trying to cope with crippling depression as my situation continually worsens. I spend days I can't afford trying to rest and enjoy myself; only to make the scabbed area ever bigger and more reddened by bleeding... The urges to pick my earlobe are coming more frequently, only hours after scabbing... Which means the scab has been spreading below my earlobe, towards my jawline. Every day I have to try and hide the obvious redness and scabbing around my right ear, as unfortunately my hair isn't long enough to cover it yet. Every hour; my desperate, shamed self turns to thoughts of suicide, crime, and total isolation. It somehow relieves me to think I could just end it all when I'm at my worst. I've been dancing with the fear of death for about a week, and it seems to go away the more you think about it... I just want you all to know your problems could be worse; because suicide is on my mind literally every hour of the day. I don't have much time before my financial situation could possibly be far worse... I'm hoping I can turn around my condition before I have to be working again, but it seems impossible sometimes.
May 31, 2019

Sincerely wishing you all the best with your recovery, and I'm sorry I couldn't get involved with the community more. Unfortunately things have spiraled out of control for me, and I'm just sending my message out to those who will read it... Sadly, this is the only place anyone would care about me.

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