Online Test

Find out the severity of your symptoms with this free online test

Silverakor , 04 Jun 2021

Is picking technically self harm?

What do y'all think?

I think it is a form of self harm... I'd call it "micro-self harm".

But the major difference I've noticed in picking and recognized self harm methods is most people do not "enjoy" the pain from their self inflicted wounds...unlike with many picking behaviours...

What do y'all think?

5 Answers
June 18, 2021

There are some similarities but overall I think picking is more like an addiction. It technically classified as branch of OCD.

Self harm is usually use to help minimize the mental pain the victim is feeling by creating physical pain and releasing certain endorphins. I find that my picking gets worse when my anxiety and depression is heighten but I also do it when I am bored or when I see a blemish on my skin and want to get rid of the imperfection. Sometimes I even pick in my sleep.

July 27, 2021

I used to think my skin picking was a form of self-harm becuase I did it at similar times to when a I used to self-harm e.g. when stressed, when anxiety is too high etc. But now I recognise it’s not quite the same. While I sometimes pick my lips until they bleed and cause pain,it can feel similar to when I used to self-harm. But what I can recognise now is that I self-harmed because I was overwhelmed emotionally and it pulled me out of that overwhelm. It helped break me free from being shutdown because my emotions where overwhelming. Whereas when I skin;I know I do it AVOID the emotions. I enjoy the trance which feels the same as the one I used to self-harm to break free from. Rather than be overwhelmed by emotions, skin picking helps stop those emotions from getting at me. Also self-harm was a way to punish myself, to hate myself and to cause myself harm intentionally. Skin picking is never about intending to hurt myself. It’s often starts as self-grooming, a form of taking care of myself. Sadly ‘it takes over and I lose control and that’s when I inadvertently end up hurting myslef because I picked too much.

July 29, 2021

princessroseofthorns I complete relate to what you had to say. I've been skin picking to some degree for 2 decades and haven't been able to kick it despite it causing problems in my personal life. It's clearly an addiction for me, an extreme habit that I don't want but can't seem to give up. Much like you my picking gets worse during times of stress, emotional or otherwise but even when things are generally good I'll still pick when I'm bored (often subconsciously when I am not otherwise busy with my hands doing something else) or when I find an area of my skin that feels different from normal. My problem is very tactile, if something feels rough like a scab or a scar I have a very hard time leaving it alone.

August 19, 2021

I pick calluses and it ends up being painful, and I know it will, but when I start it's not and I can tell that at some level I think I'm going to smooth out whatever I'm picking at. Wrong, of course. Knowing that it's going to hurt and cause damage? It has to be self-harm, but I see it as different than say cutting, because the cutting itself is painful, while picking *to begin with* at least is just an activity which has a different sensation. Of course, you pick and it's not done so you pick more and it ends up hurting, but the intention wasn't pain... even if rationally you knew it was going to end up painful sometimes, there was no guarantee. So... sort of, but not really.

April 04, 2022

There is some kind of mission with me picking my skin and it gives me satisfaction with ridding my skin of scabs and those rough, microscopic flakes. The mission is "smoothness." The only problem is, I get irritated if bleeding occurs, as it means a scab will form and I must perform my mission again.

Start your journey with SkinPick

Take control of your life and find freedom from skin picking through professional therapy and evidence-based behavioral techniques.

Start Now