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samueltomg , 21 Mar 2020

Decades of Dermatillomania / Skin Picking / Excoriation Disorder

It would be a godsend to receive a sincere reply to this... (Warning: severe Dermatillomania at play here...)

Okay, well... after years, no, almost two decades of constant and hardly disrupted dermatilomania, accompanied with dangerous extraction tools such as of needles, tweezers, and mirrors--throwing them away and then ultimately repurchasing them months later... I have no doubt created permanent damage to my skin, and the biggest problem, (and the greatest reason why I have such a hard time quieting the behavior), is that almost EVERY time I pick, no matter how much acne I extract, (sometimes squeezing as hard as I physically can...), it just hardly ever works in the long term...

No matter how good or a thorough job I think I do, I guess there is always some residual acne, bacteria left behind, no doubt from pushing the acne deeper and wider. Then, in the aftermath, a noticeable skin lesion, scab forms over the picked area that takes a few days to naturally heal and eventually fall off. Of course, the new skin usually has some initial discoloration and texture differences, or slight inflammation: appearance of acne... Which almost always creates the super intense need to pick at that spot again, and again... It's a horrible cycle.

So, my unsatisfying theory... After a focused picking session, which results in a scab that eventually falls off--you know that new skin that forms? It just doesn't seem the same... Are there any pores, hair follicles? If leftover acne is present, which is now pooled or cystic under a scared tissue, is there any natural way for that acne to surface? Sometimes I can leave it alone, but over a few weeks it just seems to manifest under the new skin, creating somewhat of a bump or 3D effect, which I sharply conclude is puss or nodular acne, which makes me almost always lose control and begin scanning, squeezing, and picking at it... Unsatisfied with the results, I will often repurchase more of those tools I mentioned... Sometimes, individual pools up puss force their way through the healing skin, or sometime the head of an acne node become present after some picking, opening, which is almost only able to be extracted with the help of tweezers ... Hence, more scars... More acne... More picking... The cycle never seems to end......

So, my question: Does anybody have a solution to this? Scared skin and the acne underneath it? Is the unsatisfying answer simply just: you did it, now just live with?

Thank you much,

3 Answers
March 24, 2020

I'm 52 and have had this disorder since early childhood. The earliest I recall is about 7 years old. At that time is was inside cheeks and lips but (shall I say "thankfully") it has moved to just my finger tips but it is daily and I've kept a list of everything I've tried to control it. I'm currently on Fluvoxamine (sp) which has helped a bit. Niacinamide, Inositol, and N-Acetyl Cysteine in larger amounts has helped a bit too but it's something I've basically accepted after having it for 45 years.

In fact, I'm writing a fictional novel and the MC in it has dermatillomania...actually, she's a "wolf biting" dermatillomaniac (wolf biting being dermatophagia) for those who aren't aware. I'd like to bring more awareness to the disorder because, yes, it isn't cutting and I've been through everything mentioned on the skin-excoriation sites.

Happy to help however I can. I also find products that soothe to help. I don't have acne, but what about salicylic acid (sp) or hyaluronic acid or my friend swears by Proactiv. Good luck!

March 24, 2020

Hm, interesting idea for a book! I am wondering how much it will relate to your experiences with the disorder, or take on some fictional elements...? When you say wolf biting, (even though I don't quite know what that means), it sounds like the potential for magical realism and animal transformation-- Just a thought...... But although we have different skin picking issues from the read of it, it sounds like we have tried similar ways to curve our related mental disorders! I currently take NAC, about 3,000 mg's daily... I also met with a psychologist who thought Fluvoxamine would be a good idea... I don't know if I had a negative placebo effect, but it made me super depressed? As for the other two you mentioned, I will look into those! Question: If you had to take just one pill from the ones you mentioned, which one have you found to be the most helpful? And how big of a dose? Thanks, Samuel

March 30, 2020

Hi Samuel. I have some tips for discolouration. Please refer to my post. I am sorry to hear you have suffered like most of us on this forum. I really understand I have been an on and off skin picker for about 3 years. It does get extreme sometimes but you just gotta soldier through it's the only way.

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