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This mailing list is "for people who have skin picking problems, whether it is on the face, scalp, feet or nail biting, cheek biting and more. Many people suffer from this disorder which often is seen in people with Tourettes, OCD or Trichotillomania. This is an unlisted, private, restricted list. It is open only to people who pick or bite at their skin and who are troubled by the picking and/or biting . Appropriate for children over 13." This list is a wonderful, supporting community and I suggest anyone who has this problem to give it a try.


S.K.I.N. stands for Support & Kinship In Neurotic Excoriations. "Neurotic Excoriations" is a medical term used by dermatologists to define a condition in which people pick or bite their skin uncontrollably. This group is for adults with Skin Picking which is often found in people with OCD but one need not have been diagnosed to join. This group is for those who have a problem with skin picking and/or their immediate family. This disorder is virtually unknown but more research is being done! This doesn't make you "crazy". Please join to receive and offer support!

All About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

"Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) demonstrates the two primary symptoms of OCD: obsessions and compulsions. Morselli (1891) used the term dysmorphophobia to denote a subjective feeling of deformity despite a normal appearance. Besides pathological doubt surrounding the perceived deformity, BDD is on a continuum from having insight about the misperception to being delusional. Most patients exhibit high, overvalued ideas. Perhaps because the overvalued ideas tend to be stronger in BDD as compared to OCD, they are often more depressed than OCD patients.

The scientific and clinical understanding of BDD whether as symptom, syndrome or OCD spectrum disorder is relatively poor (Neziroglu and Yaryura-Tobias, 1993a, b; Philips and others). Typically, BDD involves the face, hair, skin, nose and eyes. The obsession about skin deformities may lead patients to face picking and digging, ironically leaving scars."

Preventing Unwanted Behavior, Relapse Prevention

"The method is simple: learn to substitute an acceptable but incompatible action in place of the bad habit. To do this you must observe the bad habit in minute detail. The substitute behavior should (1) interfere with the habit but not with other normal activities, (2) be unnoticeable by others but something you are very aware of, and (3) be a response you can easily do for 3 minutes or so.

Examples of behaviors useful in opposing bad habits are: grasping an object, like a pencil, or lightly clenching your fist. Either could be substituted for nail biting or hair pulling. Likewise, filing your nails or brushing your hair would also be incompatible with nail biting or hair pulling.

Next, practice the new response 5-10 minutes every day for at least a week. Once mastered, the new response must be used for three minutes every time (a) you catch yourself doing the old habit, (b) you feel the urge to do the old habit, (c) you enter a situation where the old habit frequently occurred, and (d) you realize you are doing another habit that often precedes the bad habit. Examples of the latter would be face touching that almost always precedes nail biting or hair pulling, touching the finger nail before biting it, and feeling your face before picking it. More careful self-observation is needed to discover the situations, activities, and people in (c), and the associated habits in (d)."

Obsessive Face Picking

From an old advice column in Columbia. Worth a read. "Dear Alice: My girlfriend has a terrible obsession with picking her face. It is not that she has bad skin or acne, but, when she is in a certain state, she will stand in front of the mirror for hours and pick her face to shreds. It leaves her with horrible sores and open cuts covering her face. One day, she will be fine, and the next day, she will look like a war casualty. After she does this, she feels that she has to hide for days...."

Diary of a Skin Picker by Ruby Zoom

Confessions of a Face Picker

OCD Foundation