Skin Picking

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    Community Voices

    I have a terrible compulsion to peel the dry skin off of the bottom of my feet. My heels are all raw and have sore spots. Does anyone have any tips to stop doing that? I bought some socks to wear but I always forget to put them on.

    2 people are talking about this
    Community Voices
    Abbe

    Dermatillomania/OCD

    I excessively pick my skin but especially my scalp. I have very sore areas all over my head with raised bumps and open sores as well as older scabs and it hurts and throbs but I still go back to picking. It’s definitely not as bad when I have acrylic extensions on but I hate feeling like I have to get them done for this reason when sometimes I don’t want to. It’s been a week without them on and my scalp is in a state!!! If anyone has any tips or advice….. when my scalp is too sore to pick I then go to my skin any bumps or imperfections I find. Washing my head burns. I’ve done it since a child and I don’t know how to stop it. I try fidgeting with other things but it doesn’t do it. I even do it in my sleep and when driving. Again, any help would be appreciated! Sorry for the long medical post #OCD #dermotillomania #skinpicking #medical #MentalHealth

    26 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    My Daughter

    #Autism #ADD #PDA #HEDS #Anxiety #Skin Picking disorder #Isolation #parental shame
    #chronic Illness

    I am so worried about my 5 year old daughter. She will be 6 in November, and is on the autism pathway waiting for assessment. Potentially she has PDA, ADD and a genetic disorder I have called hEDS. She has only recently gone full time at school but they still won’t let her finish at the same time as her peers and I have to pick her up early from the office. Her school friends often overtake her home though, as she walks slow. Often her friends go to the park together or have arranged play dates. They are almost always in pairs. Other parents barely talk to me, let alone arrange play dates. I know my daughter has been feeling increasingly isolated.
    Yesterday I picked up my daughter from school and she was already feeling very sensitive, she was crying and fed up. She was passed by several friends talking about their play dates they had arranged. She wanted to go to the park, I also had my 3.5 year old son in a pushchair (he potentially has ADHD and also wanted to go to the park) but it was 30 degrees and I worried it was too hot, and she had already started crying and getting upset. (Of course other parents didn’t care about this). All of this resulted in a full on breakdown of epic proportions. She was so upset and so overwhelmed she struggled with her breath, she couldn’t stop panic crying. Other parents overtook us on the way home and said nothing, didn’t ask if she was ok. My daughter is well-loved at school even though she is very quirky and I find this behaviour from other parents so isolating. I honestly feel so alone sometimes.

    We got home and the continuous crying continued for about an hour. She wouldn’t let me touch her. She then proceeded to bite her fingers until they bled. She has been biting her fingers for about 10 months now, since she started reception year. She now has lumps on her fingers caused by scar tissue and infections. I am taking her to the nurse today, thinking she will get diagnosed with skin picking disorder (we are UK). Not sure how much they will do to help her as they continue trying to blame my parenting. I have done 6 parenting courses. Parenting SEND children is honestly so difficult, so thankless and no one helps you.

    I am wondering what is going on at school and why she leaves so sensitive. I wonder if it is a build up of trying to fit in over the day and masking. I worry she is being bullied by a couple of kids also (she tells me she was pushed at one point and called a baby by one boy). Also I think the isolation she feels from leaving at different times and being unable to make those connections is finally getting to her. It upsets me so much to see her like this. I have chronic illness (hEDS, fibromyalgia and a blood clotting disorder). Last week I was in hospital with a ruptured ovarian cyst, today I have the migraine from hell (I get bad pain, nausea, aura, blurred vision and unusual smells) and I feel like I can barely walk. Hubby is at work, I have no family near to help. I have to get my daughter into school with my 3 year old in tow. She doesn’t really want to go. Her attendance is already very poor (less than 60%). We are awaiting an EHCP assessment.

    I just feel so alone with it all. I am struggling with my own health, my children’s extra needs. How do I calm my daughter’s anxiety? How do I make my GP give us extra help? I have considered taking her out of school and homeschooling her but I feel I am not well enough or capable of that. I am worried about her biting her fingers and causing herself serious infection as her fingers look so scarred and awful and her hygiene is not good (she impulsively touches herself down below and always plays in dirt) and I am forever trying to get her to wash her hands and nails.
    My anxiety is through the roof. Just looking for support really also as in very short supply from other parent/carers from her school.

    10 people are talking about this
    Ellie P.
    Ellie P. @ellie2244
    contributor

    Talking About and Understanding Trichotillomania

    Trichotillomania. It’s a big word, pronounced trik-o-til-o-may-nee-uh and literally translates to “hair pulling madness,” which in my opinion is pretty suiting as it kind of sums up the experience. Trichotillomania is the irresistible urge to pull out your hair, whether it be from the scalp, eyebrow, eyelashes, or body hair. Sometimes the pulling is conscious, and sometimes you don’t even know you’re doing it: your body takes over, running riot through ever-decreasing strands of hair. The thing I can most liken trichotillomania to and make it more understandable to people who don’t struggle with it is having a pacifier as a baby or people having a comforter teddy or sucking their thumb. It’s self-regulating and self-soothing, both of which can be very powerful influencers over our emotions and behavior. Trichotillomania is classed as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder in the DSM and is categorized under body focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) which also includes skin picking, nail biting, lip biting and things alike. I find there isn’t much of an active thought process behind this disorder, which makes some people question what category it should fall under. Many people with trichotillomania also struggle with other mental illnesses, most commonly including OCD, anxiety, and PTSD. This isn’t the case for everyone, people will often disregard trichotillomania as a bad habit, but to those of us who struggle, it is incredibly frustrating when it gets minimized down to this. For many people, trichotillomania develops in childhood or teenage years but alike all other illnesses and disorders, it can also occur at any age, for any reason and no one decides to have trichotillomania. You don’t just wake up one day and think to yourself “I know, today I’m going to pull my hair out.” For me, it was a gradual thing, and I don’t know exactly what started off this, or even what I was doing for years. I think it was the age of 12 (I’m now 19) when I started to sit and search the ends of my hair for split ends, pull them apart or break the bottom bit of that strand off. This somehow progressed to pulling out the entire strand from the root and overtime has spiraled and for the past two to three years has been pulling significant clumps of hair at a time, and as a result I’ve lost probably half of my hair including the entire top of my head. Despite what people may think, or what you’d expect to hear, pulling my hair doesn’t hurt. If it has been particularly bad, then a few hours later or the next day my head may ache and feel sore to the touch but the actual process of it is soothing rather than painful. There are some areas that are naturally more sensitive than others, but these are the places people, including me, tend not to pull from. People with trichotillomania tend to pull from one area which can change or stay the same. I have never pulled from anywhere except from my scalp. Textures may sometimes play a role in pulling, some people may pull until they find the “right” hair, one that is thicker than others or you just feel satisfied when it is pulled and for others like me, it doesn’t matter, I just pull wherever my hands go to on my head. I do however have a fascination with inspecting the follicles of each hair, running them through my fingers. I know I’m not the only one who does this, and I don’t know what the enthrallment of it is, but it does serve some kind of purpose. What people don’t see is the huge toll trichotillomania takes on not only your self-esteem and confidence, but also your environment. Rogue hairs feel like they coat every surface and inch of your body, you feel so ashamed about your lack of hair/eyebrows/lashes, having endless supplies of fake lashes or brow pencils, trying to cover bald spots up or style things in a way that hides your patches, wearing hoods, hats, wigs or bandanas no matter the weather, not letting anyone see the real you, the vulnerable you, the “ugly” you. I get it, people gasp at the sight of someone who doesn’t necessarily live up to societal standards or who looks out of place. Personally, I feel so ashamed of my hair that I don’t let many people see it. I am just as baffled as anyone else as to why this disorder exists, why people have to struggle with it and how it makes any logical sense. But somehow it does. And it is something that can’t be just snapped out of and isn’t easily understood by someone who hasn’t struggled with this disorder. As with any illness, I do believe that recovery is possible. I think it’s hard and I think it’s a very long process and is something that can maybe never truly go away. The term recovery is subjective and means different things to each person, and it’s up to them how they define their journey, but I do believe a huge part of it is acceptance. Acceptance of yourself and your body, knowing your disorder doesn’t define you, your worth or your capability. If you’re reading this and you struggle with trichotillomania, know you’re not alone. Before I was diagnosed, I felt so ashamed of what I was doing and how I looked. I believed I was the only person who did this, and I never saw anyone else with missing hair in the way mine was. With help from my therapist and one of my nurses, as I did research, joined some Facebook groups and started to follow some people on Instagram who also struggled, I discovered that so many others were going through an experience similar to mine. It made the world of a difference in just knowing I could be understood. I encourage you to do the same. I hope one day you will be free from trichotillomania: your “flaws” will become someone else’s perfections. You are enough as you are, and your hair (or lack of) does not define you. If you know someone with trichotillomania or are here because you want to learn (or just randomly stumbled upon this because you were intrigued by such a big and abnormal word!) then thank you, thank you for wanting to learn and educate yourself, it means so much to all of us with BFRB and makes us feel seen, cared about and enough. Be kind, remember you’re enough.

    Community Voices

    Rejection & Obscenities: My LGBTQ+ Journey Part 2

    I’m dark skinned, covered in scars due to my skin picking, wearing wigs due to my trichotillomania, overweight, don’t look as feminine or put as much ‘effort’ into my appearance as others think I should, I ‘look poor’ because I don’t believe in keeping up with the Joneses so I live way below my means & drive an older ‘not nice’ car…I just don’t fit the mold, I guess.

    So I’ve stopped dating at all. Stopped trying to find my place in any communities. And here I find myself trying to build a better relationship with myself to stop hurting & stop getting hurt. I love myself or I wouldn’t be trying so hard. Rejection is still an underlying driving force though. I need to heal that. Not for some potential, future partner that in all likelihood may never materialize.

    But because I am not obscene and neither is my love.

    2 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Thankful For Small Victories

    The longer I take the NAC supplement & CBD oil pills, the less of an urge I get to want to pull. I'm still working on getting my skin picking under control but as for my trich, this has been an okay last few weeks. Little progress is definitely better than no progress.

    #Trich

    Community Voices

    What I'm Doing To Help Heal Myself

    Aside from going to therapy, I've decided to incorporate a few other methods to help my recovery & healing from trich. I've looked up more information on trich & other OC disorders & came across some information on how vitamin deficiencies impact these types of mental health issues. BTW-I am NOT a healthcare professional, so please do your own research &/or speak to your health care provider, if you have one, before trying anything anyone else suggests to you.

    Here are the hair/mental calmness items I'm using:

    NAC 750mg: N-acetyl cysteine Silymarin 150 mg: Milk thistle extract with tumeric CBD Hemp Extract, gel cap form, 300 mg Sugarbear Hair Vitamins, 2 gummies per day Vitamin A 2,400 mg Fish Oil 1,000 mg

    From my research, I feel comfortable saying that both of my conditions, skin picking & trich, can be greatly reduced if I can reduce my anxiety level & focus on correcting vitamin deficiencies caused by years of stress & repeated trauma.

    Right now, I just get 10,000 steps a day, so I'm going to start adding strength & core training back in since working out helps me remain calm.

    I drink plenty of water, so I'm good there but lately my eating habits have been atrocious so I'm getting myself back into eating more fresh fruits & vegetables & limiting highly processed foods.

    Books I've gotten off Amazon but haven't read all the way yet:

    Trichotillomania Disorder Cure: How To Overcome Hair Pulling For Life by Susan Shaw Treating Trichotillomania: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Hairpulling & Related Problems by Martin E. Franklin & David F. Tolin

    I know these methods will not work overnight. I also know I can't live another 40yrs like this, so I'm going to fight like hell to reverse as much damage as I can so that I can finally live my life. Hope sharing this proves helpful to others as well.

    #Trich

    4 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Demonizing Not Being Able to Smile Through Pain

    TW=Trigger Warning

    Over the course of my life, I've been met with my fair share of comments to 'be more positive' or 'smile through the pain' or other sentiments along the same line. That is one of the reasons I am here on The Mighty. To vent & share my experiences anonymously because I got sick of people being disingenuous to my story to my face.

    My story's not a positive story. It's not some Disney movie where the main character is put through hell & things get better because they find the courage to 'just be themselves' or whatever. My story is one of decades of rejection, abuse, pain, manipulation, addiction & loss.

    There's nothing positive about a 5 yr old girl being raped repeatedly by a family member, only to have her mother defend & protect the monster, be beaten & abused physically, mentally, emotionally by both her parents to the point that she developed conditions that destroyed her life. No telling what type of life she would've had anyway since she was never allowed to be around other children much in order to prevent her from telling anyone about the abuse, so she didn't develop any social skills until later in life. This lack of social understanding led to her making poor life choices out of sheer ignorance that almost led to her death on more than one occasion. And once this girl became a woman the nightmare intensified as she endured constant rejection & abuse as she tried to date, make friends, advance her career & 'get over' all her pain as she was so often told to do. None of it worked. In fact, 'just being herself' almost cost her her job more than once because she followed the advice of friends to 'be brave' & go wigless in public. Coworkers saw her, told her boss, & they searched for reasons to fire her but luckily she found a new job before they could. Or all the times men she's tried to date threatened to harm or humiliate her because they thought she was really a man once she told them she wore wigs. Or 'friends' who joked about her misfortune when she tried to open up. Never again. So now, she's seeing a therapist to see if there's any way to heal her. At the very least help get her hair back that trichotillomania tore from her scalp & repair her skin that her skin picking disorder ripped from her body.

    Chronic, unyielding loneliness encompasses her existence, not knowing why she's even still here. Perpetually suffer? For what offense? For what purpose? Only to show others how much worse their live could be? No thanks. I've lived over compensating, over giving, & over sharing my whole life to try to give it some better meaning & I'm done with that. Giving selflessly like that has not been brave or noble for me, it's been traumatizing & painful & empty. The more I've given, the more I've gotten used & hurt & laughed at. Constant anxiety, constant depression, a constant void. This continent of suffering for ONE person? Why?

    No, I'm not smiling, my story's not a positive one at all & I won't apologize for it.

    28 people are talking about this
    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Devastated

    Hey all. I was just on my recliner by my husband and he noticed some scars I had close to my ankle for the first time. He looked at them with the most hurtful, disgusted look... his eyes wide open. He said, "you're doing that again?" I feel so humiliated, sad, devastated, embarrassed, disappointed, and judged. Lately, our relationship has been better so I took a chance and left my capris on around him. I wish I never did that. I don't feel safe with him now and just want to crawl up into a ball and not be seen.
    #skinpicking

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