Dermatillomania – The addiction to express pimples

To express a pimple now and then is completely normal, but what if you can not stop? If you suddenly fall into a kind of trance and try to work on every pore? The morbid expression of pimples, the so-called "skin picking", is a mental illness and comparable to nail biting. It is estimated that about 5% of the population suffer from it. The affected people go far beyond "just a pimple" out. In "Skin Picking", addicts often spend hours in front of the mirror and can not stop working on their skin.

Dermatillomania – What is it?

Skin Picking Disorder is an impulse control disorder that describes a condition caused by repeated touching, squeezing and scratching of certain skin areas due to an irresistible urge. In German-speaking countries the term dermatillomania is common. While dermatillomania patients work their skin, they feel a sense of satisfaction or relaxation. Many fall into a kind of trance state. After "skin" editing, the skin is often characterized by open spots and swelling. This is followed by shame and guilt. However, this mental illness is not new. Already in 1875, the English physician Sir Erasmus Wilson spoke of "neurotic excoriation" for the first time. It has also been observed in France that young girls in adolescence in particular suffer from this disease. So far, "Skin Picking" has been little researched. Statistics, empirical data and numbers are still rare. In addition, there are still no uniform criteria to determine exactly when someone suffers from "skin picking" and when not. According to the current state of research, women predominate among those affected. Depending on the examination, the proportion of women is between 60 and 90%. However, it is not excluded that the proportion of men is underestimated, since men are generally less likely to seek psychological help than women.

The consequences of "Skin Picking"

As the affected people work their skin with their fingers but also with tweezers or needles, wounds and scars can develop. How long and how often the affected persons work on their pimples, hairs or crusts is completely different. Some make it only a few minutes a day, others irregularly and then several hours. Often, however, the processed skin on the face, on the dйcolletй or other parts of the body can not heal, because it continues to be scratched and pressed. This causes inflammation and subsequently scars. Dermatillomania patients regret what they did afterwards and are ashamed of it. They cover the areas with make-up or avoid contact with others. This behavior can lead to a loss of quality of life.

How can you stop "skin picking"?

Dermatillomania sufferers always pretend to stop it, but then they do not manage it – as with any other addiction. Even though the disease dermatillomania has been little researched so far, there are various therapeutic options to stop "skin picking". It's best to talk to your GP first and foremost. This can refer you to the responsible specialist.