Thank you so much, dear Lady Igor, for dedicating yourself in bringing your own knowledge and personnal experience about this. For years I've wondered about this condition. My brother used to very severely pluck at his nails and cuticles -for 20 years- and yet what we got from the family doctor was just about "bad habit" and nothing more in depth. I think this issue is dealt with much neglect by common people, not to say shallowness and mockery -how fun it is to laugh at someone's gnawed and bruised fingers, instead of trying to understand there might be some suffering behind this! (irony here). Later, I read some interesting articles about it, but you might belong to the very few people who really give a scientific and well-documented look at it. So, once more, you have all my sympathy and I can but encourage you with the Dermotillomania articles. Cheers!
CharlaineSo sorry to hear your brother is struggling with this too!
It weirds me out how most people have heard of trichotillomania and understands that it's not "just a bad habit", but dermotillomania, which is far more wide spread is basically unknown.
I'll never forget the day I learned that dermotillomania was an actual thing. It felt like something healed inside me! The lack of understanding or tolerance from other people was almost worse than the damage I did myself. At least now I know what I'm going through and why, and I can explain it to others too. Hopefully some day there will be more recognition of this disorder. It needs to start with people being accepting and understanding, like you are.
Would you be interested in reading about what works for me? No guarantee it works for your brother or any other readers at all, but why not? We should all share our experiences.
Excellent post, thanks for your efforts here. Some great insight.
indi500fanGlad to hear you found it insightful :)
I am so sorry you had to deal with horrible people commenting on your skin and thus, created this. I wish people would understand that, especially when it comes to the appearance, any negative comment can and will really, really affect someone's confidence. I had acne, but nothing I deemed too terrible. My parents treated it like it was a horrible crime to have the odd pimple. Then, when I began riding, well, dirt plus very oily skin meant acne on my back, arms , face and chest. nothing like what I've seen, but sadly, people just have this ingrained sense that a pimple is just a crime. I found decent products to keep my oily skin (and scalp) at bay, but never understand the fuss. I had other issues going on. I have a few friends who suffer from this---some are mild, one friend was severe to the point of very unhealthy harm. I do pick, but I don't pick to the point of what defines dermotillomania. Thank you for sharing your story and I still cannot believe you feel you have bad skin
DarkhorseSorry to hear you had so much trouble with your skin as well! People can be so rude and awful, especially when they hide behind "for your own good" or whatever. So true that people can treat it like a horrible crime!
What have you found works for your oily skin?
It's completely crazy how many people turns out to have dermotillomania (Especially without knowing). And yet, barely any people know anything about this.
Thank you for this post. I used to pick my scalp a lot as a teenager, I was always running my fingers around on my head, searching for a tiny scab or bump I could scratch. I had acne as well, so my face got pretty much the same treatment. I always felt that an open, bleeding sore was better than a bump. I manage to leave my scalp alone for the most part these days, but I find it pretty difficult to not pick on the few pimples I get on my face. If I'm nervous or stressed out, I automatically start rubbing my fingers around my hairline, looking for something to scratch and pick on.
KittyBirdStress-picking... Typical dermotillomania-behavior :(
I once read an explanation that there is something in the non-blood fluid that seeps out of a wound, that is a local anesthetic or something like that. I honestly cannot remember the name of it and I'm not sure where to look for it (Can anyone help me here?). So when you pick, you are self-medicating a painkilling boost. The explanation made a lot of sense to me. It made me understand why I stress-pick, but also why I can pick when I'm relaxed and happy.
I think it was the same writer who described dermotillomania as self-harming behavior with a touch of OCD. That also made a lot of sense to me. I haven't met someone who picks on "perfect" skin. It needs to have something to get the picking started: A bump, a scratch, an ingrown hair or a zit.