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Can’t stop picking at your skin? Here’s how you can ditch this habit in no time

Published on:10 September 2021, 12:33pm IST
If you find yourself reaching out to scratch a scab or injury almost every single time, you might be a victim of a skin picking disorder. Here’s all that you need to know.
Geetika Sachdev
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Skin picking can cause more problems than you think. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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You must have come across several people picking at their skin; let’s just say most of the time, it is harmless. But if this habit becomes a part of your daily routine, it is certainly a cause for concern, ladies. It then manifests into a condition called excoriation (or skin picking disorder). Under such circumstances, skin picking becomes so extreme that it can cause bleeding, sores and even scars. Those who suffer from this disorder try to remove anything and everything on their skin that they deem as an ‘imperfection’. 

Here’s how you can recognise skin picking disorder

It isn’t easy to identify if skin picking has become a serious problem in your life, but some questions can definitely help:

  • Does skin picking take a lot of your time?
  • Does your skin have several scars, because you pick at your skin?
  • Have you ever felt that skin picking is hampering your social or professional life?

If you answered YES to these questions, you are certainly suffering from a skin picking disorder. 

skin picking
Are you way to conscious about your looks? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How does the skin picking disorder develop?

“Skin picking is not dependent on any age; it can happen at any point. It can show up in various ways. For instance, if you have a rash or small injury, it might leave certain scars. You might not like its appearance and scratch it to make it disappear, which is most likely to worsen it. The second way is when you don’t realise that you are scratching a scab, and it happens because you are stressed. Every time you are worried, stressed or anxious, you unknowingly pick at your skin, and within no time, it just becomes a habit,” explains Khyati Doshi, a Delhi-based dermatologist. 

This disorder is a part of ‘body-focused repetitive behaviour’. For some people, it can be about picking their hair or nails. Some psychologists categorise it as a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, because most people want to pick at their skin, out of habit. 

skin picking
Skin picking won’t help ladies! Image courtesy: Shuttersock
Is there any treatment for this disorder?

Absolutely! This disorder can be treated with the help of both therapy and medication. 

Also, read: Body shaming can wreck your mental health! But these tips from 5 influential women can help

“When it comes to therapy, there can be two methods that can be applied. In certain cases, the therapist can help you identify why you’re so stressed, and deal with the problem. And once the stressor is identified, there are several activities that are suggested that can keep them occupied. The second solution is to do it through stimulus control. Your therapist might ask you to wear gloves to prevent the urge to pick at your skin,” says Akansha Badhwar, a renowned psychologist. 

There are certain medications that are also suggested, including serotonin or other antidepressants, anticonvulsants or antipsychotics. Make sure you do not take any medication, without proper consultation. 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.