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What is Dermatillomania?

Dermatillomania (DER-mah-til-oh-mania)

Also known as Skin Picking Disorder/Excoriation Disorder is an impulse control disorder characterized by the repeated urge to pick at one’s own skin, often to the extent that damage is caused.

Where? – The face/acne is the most common area where people pick, but other frequent locations include the arms, legs, back, gums, lips, shoulders, scalp, stomach, chest, and extremities such as the fingernails, cuticles, and toenails.
Some individuals pick briefly, multiple times a day, while others can do one picking session that can last for hours. The most common way to pick is to use the fingers although a significant minority of people use tools such as tweezers

Why? — A common hypothesis is that dermatillomania is a coping mechanism to deal with elevated levels of arousal or stress within the individual, and that the individual has an impaired stress response.

Who? – Dermatillomania is more common in women than men, onset is usually in the early teen years. It is estimated 4% of the population suffers with Dermatillomania

Dermatillomania interferes with daily life. Sufferers usually feel shame, embarrassment, and humiliation, & they may take measures to hide their disorder by not leaving home, wearing long sleeves and pants in summer, or covering visible damage to skin with cosmetics and/or bandages.