To start off, I should explain what Dermatillomania is.

Dermatillomania or ‘skin picking disorder‘ is when you can’t stop picking at your own skin. It could be anywhere on your body and is related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Me ‘picking’ while I write this post

I started with this condition when I was younger. Whenever I felt stressed or bored or anxious, I would continuously pick/play with my eyes. I would make them so sore I couldn’t see. I would feel really self conscious when someone would comment or tell me to stop doing it. That just made me do it even more. This didn’t help with my feelings of not fitting in and it made me stand out for the wrong reasons.

Then I moved onto biting the skin around my fingers until they bled. Half the time, I wouldn’t realise I was doing it. My current phase is picking the skin on my lip and biting the inside of my cheek. My lips bleed because I absent mindedly pick at them. I’m doing it now!

I wanted to write about this because although it sounds gross, it’s been bad throughout lockdown. And the worst thing about it isn’t the fact I’m making myself bleed, it’s the fact that I’m not supposed to be touching my face. When the government guidance came out about making sure to not touch your face and then any surfaces, this really worried me. How was I going to manage this when I was obsessively touching my face without realising?

I’ve been trying to be more present so I know when I’m doing it and perhaps can stop myself. But it’s just not that simple. I have, however, found some interesting articles about it and why it happens. So, if you’re like me and didn’t know this was a real thing, it is and there’s some good advice out there. See some articles below:

OCD Action – Compulsive Skin Picking

Hypnotherapy Directory – Dealing with Dermatillomania

NHS – Skin Picking Disorder

I hope this article helps you to understand a little bit more about this condition and what it’s been like living with it in lockdown.