Skin picking Disorder

Skin picking disorder (also known as Excoriation or Dermatillomania) is characterized by excessive and repetitive picking of one’s skin from one or more parts of the body. Officially classed as an “Obsessive-Compulsive related disorder” (DSM-5), this type of self-grooming behaviour is also considered a Body Focused Repetitive Behaviour (BFRB). BFRBs are characterized by excessive and repetitive self-grooming behaviours, resulting in damage or physical injury.

Skin Picking Disorder screening tool

Take our confidential and free skin picking screening questionnaire:

Do I have Skin picking disorder?

  • Do you pick on your face, arms, legs, or from other part of your body?

  • Do you sometimes use specific implements (tweezers, pins, needles, etc.) to pick your skin?

  • Do you sometimes eat the skin that you pick?

  • Do you often pick your skin when you are anxious and/or depressed?

  • Do you often pick your skin when you are bored?

  • Do you often pick you skin when you are engaged in other activities (i.e., watching TV, talking on the phone, using the computer, at a movie theater, during class, while driving)?

  • Are you often not aware that you are picking your skin, and only realize it after some time has passed?

  • Do you have noticeable scabs, sores, or scarring where I pick your skin?

  • Do you use hats, make-up, and/or clothing to camouflage your skin?

  • Do you sometimes avoid going out because you are embarrassed or ashamed about your skin?

  • Do you often often pick in the morning before work/school?

  • Do you often pick at night before bed?

  • Prior to, or during a skin picking episode, do you often feel a sense of tension, itching, tingling, or pressure?

  • Do you often feel powerless to resist the urge to pick your skin?

  • Do you get a sense of relief, gratification, and/or pleasure when you pick your skin?

  • Do you also pull your hair to the point of having noticeable bald spots?

  • Do you also do other self-damaging behaviors (i.e., cutting, burning, head banging)?

  • Are you significantly distressed, anxious, and/or depressed about your skin picking?

  • Is your skin picking interfering with your relationships and/or with your academic or professional functioning?

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If your answered Yes to any of the questions above AND it is causing distress or interference in your life, you may have Skin picking disorder. However, a licensed psychologist can make a more accurate diagnosis. Consider getting in touch with us for a complete and thorough evaluation.

Other examples of BFRBs

Some individuals experience more than one type of BFRB. When these behaviours cause noticeable hair loss or skin damage, or to the degree of impairment (including avoidance), it may be time to seek professional help.

Think you might have Hair Pulling Disorder?