Dermatillomania, also called compulsive skin picking disorder or excoriation is when an individual repetitively picks one's own skin to the extent of causing damage to one's self. It is an impulse control disorder and a form of self injury and can also be a compulsion or body dysmorphic disorder. This condition is said to be a response to specific situations and events and can occur at any time during the day, but is often more relentless during the evening. Most people develop this disorder in their teens or early 20's, starting as a repeatedly carried out and unconscious habit which develops into uncontrollable picking.
This disorder falls into the family of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. Generally, but not always, the face is the main location for skin picking, although any part of the body can be the focus. People with this disorder may pick at normal skin variations such as moles, acne, freckles or at imagined skin defects that no one else can observe. These individuals may use their fingernails, teeth, tweezers, pins or other instruments for skin picking.
Dermatillomania may have an underlying genetic cause. The symptoms include:
• Recurrent skin picking
• A strong itch or urge which can only be comforted by skin picking
• Gratification or pleasure when skin picking
If you or a loved one is suffering from this condition, please see your doctor immediately!