Dermatillomania (also known as compulsive skin picking or CSP) 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.
Sufferers of dermatillomania find skin picking to be stress relieving or gratifying, though it can still be painful as it would be for anyone else.
Episodes of skin picking are often preceded or accompanied by moments of tension, anxiety, and/or stress. During these moments, there is commonly a compulsive urge to pick, bite, itch, or scratch at a surface or region of the body.
The regions most commonly affected by this are the face, back, scalp,stomach, chest and extremities such as the hands, feet, and arms. Symptoms most commonly expressed in these areas are swelling, scarring, and callusing due to damage to the affected region’s epidermis.
In the face of these symptoms, most sufferers feel and recognize a need to stop the process but are physically and mentally unable without aid. Additionally, the development of said symptoms is very similar to the expression of trichotillomania, or the compulsive pulling of hair from the body.
Often dermatillomania sufferers find that their disorder interferes with daily life. Plagued by shame, embarrassment, and humiliation, they will take measures to hide their disorder by not leaving the home, wearing long sleeves and pants in summer, and heavy make-up use for coverage.
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Santa Cruz, CA 95060-5863