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Stop Picking! Neurotic Excoriations and How to Break the Habit

Neurotic excoriations are dermal lesions that form when people pick their own skin. This condition is not formally recognized as a bodily health problem, as there’s nothing wrong with the skin prior to patients’ picking. Skin picking is expected to be rooted in one or more mental health problems, as it’s very closely related to OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Everyone who’s ever suffered from skin picking knows that it’s difficult to “just” stop picking one’s skin. People may pick because it creates satisfaction by releasing some of the brain’s “feel good chemicals,” think their skin looks bad and want to increase its appeal, or from incorrectly reasoning that there’s something under their skin. Whatever your particular reason for picking is, let’s look into several ways to break the bad, unhealthy, gross habit of skin picking.

Seek mental health help

While it may seem that picking one’s skin isn’t that big of a deal, it very may be a big deal. It looks bad, causing anxiety or a lack of self-confidence. Picking can cause lasting scars, worsening one’s skin. The bad behavior, also known as dermatillomania, can even cause potentially-deadly infections! Because those who create neurotic excoriations are more likely to have family members with OCD or the condition themselves, it’s never a bad idea to seek professional help.

Psychotherapy can help lessen the urge to pick, including medicine. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), other antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications can help reduce inclinations to pick one’s skin.

Apply skin-friendly oil

It’s easier to pick skin, scars, and scabs when the skin is rough, dry, and cracked. When there’s moisture, lubricant, or both present on the affected area or fingers, picking isn’t nearly as easy. Having to put in more effort to damage one’s own skin helps reduce the frequency of picks. Opt for oils and ointments like triple antibiotic ointment and vitamin E oil, as they both promote skin healing.

Find something else to fidget with

While fidget spinners are popular, they don’t provide a feeling similar to picking. Find paper to tear apart or something that at least partially feels like picking to satisfy your cravings, without hurting yourself any further.

If you’re having problems with neurotic excoriations, get in touch with us for a consultation. We don’t bite — OK, unless you’re pizza. We never judge. And we keep our patients’ information entirely confidential.

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