Excoriation (Skin Picking)

If you find yourself repeatedly picking at your skin, resulting in cuts, bleeding, or bruising, you may be experiencing excoriation, also known as dermatillomania—a type of body-focused repetitive behavior. You are not alone, and can stop skin picking by seeking help from a specialized therapist.

Excoriation Skin Picking Disorder

Understanding Skin Picking

Because skin picking disorder is linked to OCD, you may feel unable to control the urge to pick. You may use your fingers, fingernails, teeth, or tools like tweezers to pick at your skin to temporarily soothe the underlying triggers. Common underlying causes include stress, anxiety, depression, or the desire to conceal imperfections. 

Common Triggers for Skin Picking

Skin picking can be triggered by various factors:

  • Boredom
  • Stress or Anxiety
  • Negative Emotions
  • Desire to Hide Blemishes

Types of Skin Picking

There are often two types of picking that can occur in compulsive skin picking, automatic and focused.

  • Automatic Picking: Unconscious picking
  • Focused Picking: Intentional picking at specific areas, often resulting in skin damage.

Beginning Your Healing Journey

If you’ve been suffering from skin picking, there is hope for recovering and living a life free of picking and the underlying factors causing the picking. Treatment options for excoriation include proven therapies such as Habit Reversal Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). These approaches can help you regain control over skin picking behaviors, reducing their impact on your daily life and promoting healthier coping strategies.

Are you ready to take the first step?