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skin picking?


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ok im not sure i am putting it into the right section, but maybe i am.

maybe its stupid too so.....

when im nervous, upset, stressed and start picking on my skin - shoulder, face. my skin is pretty good but you can imagine i make it worse.

anyone else has this problem?

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A very good friend of mine does that all the time. She is always picking at her arms and causing her skin to be irritated as a result. It's an anxious habit. In the world of psychology it is regarded as a type of obsessive compulsive disorder. (similar to nail biting and hair pulling)


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It sounds like you don't have it in a severe form. Most of the time you're doing it, you probably don't realize even it.


My friend does not have any signs of it on her arm, once in a while they'll be red in a few spots -but she never does it to the point of bleeding. When I see her do it- I say "Stop picking!" and I swat her hand like you would do to a 2 year-old trying to touch a hot stove. It's become a joke between us. But when I make her AWARE that she is doing it, it allows her to stop. She gets slightly annoyed when I point it out to her.


Try to keep a daily journal and be more aware of how many times you are doing that, when, and why.


For some people, if this becomes severe enough (causing marks, bleeding, infection, or if it makes you feel bad or self-conscious), anti-anxiety medication should be considered.




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I had a problem like that. I picked at the cuticle on my thumb until it was raw and bloody. I would even get out the cuticle scissors and hack away at it. Every time I was nervous, angry or stressed, I would cause myslef pain by cutting up my finger. I realized it was my version of "cutting". I stopped about a month ago. It took a lot of will power. It's almost healed!

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I have done this for a long time... usually on my arms, shoulders and upper back... usually it starts as like a white head or something and I will just over time pick at it over and over again... It is something that I often don't realize I am doing so it is difficult to stop it. I think it might be an OCD type behavior like the other poster said. And as you say it seems to be worse when I am nervous, anxious or depressed about something



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There are different options to address the problem.




2.) A cognitive therapy called Habit Reversal


3.) Giving yourself some kind of object to occup your hands. Maybe like a ball link removed or some other textured object that you can pull on, etc. The goal is to keep your hands busy, but not hurting your skin. The object you use should be something small enough to fit in your purse or pocket so you can use it as needed when you feel the urge.


#1 and 2 require a mental health professional, #3 anyone can do.


Herbal rememdies for anxiety might also help- but be sure to check to see if they interfere with medications (i.e. The herb St. John's Wort makes birth control pills ineffective)



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