Picking at pimples or blemishes – we’ve all been there. But what if your urge to pick is more than this? What if you just can’t stop?

For 1 in 20 people, chronic skin picking is actually a recognised disorder. And 75% of those diagnosed are female.

What is chronic skin picking?

Also known as excoriation disorder or dermatillomania, chronic skin picking is actually a psychiatrically recognised condition. Other so-called “body-focused repetitive behaviours: (BFRB) include hair pulling, lip biting and nail picking / biting. All of these fall under the broader classification of obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD).

Chronic Skin Picking

Is this the same as popping or picking pimples?

Extracting the odd whitehead or popping a particularly juicy pimple is pretty common. 

However, if you find yourself constantly picking at your skin to the extent of causing physical damage, this may be a cause for concern.

How can chronic skin picking be treated?

Left unresolved, chronic skin picking can have serious consequences.

Physically, skin picking increases the likelihood of wounds and scarring due to repeated actions. 

While applying a barrier like Perfect Pimple Patch can be an effective short term solution, long term treatment requires going beyond the physical and focusing on the psychological causes of skin picking.

If you think your skin picking may be bordering on the obsessive, seeking professional help can be a good first step.

The TLC Foundation is a great resource for learning more about chronic skin picking, other BRFBs, professional support pathways and more.