Skip to main content

How to Recognize Dermatillomania Symptoms

Obsessive skin-picking to the point of self-mutilation has a name: dermatillomania. If you suffer from a compulsion to pick at your skin, you are not alone, and treatment is available.


  • Step 1: Look at stress Reflect on the times you experience stress. Compulsive skin picking can be triggered by stress.
  • TIP: Dermatillomania is often seen in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder. If you suffer from one of these, your skin picking may be more than just popping a few zits here and there.
  • Step 2: Look at your times of inactivity Ask yourself if you are picking at your skin to relieve boredom or as self-stimulation during times of inactivity.
  • Step 3: Look at yourself in the mirror Look at yourself in the mirror. The desire to begin the picking process to perfect your appearance or punish yourself may be a sign of dermatillomania.
  • TIP: If you spend more than five or ten minutes at the mirror picking at imperfections, you may need to seek treatment. You will end up doing more damage than good to your skin.
  • Step 4: Think about your image Think about how you see yourself. Wanting to be attractive is normal, but obsessing over your skin's imperfections and causing yourself harm is not.
  • Step 5: Reaching out by picking Ask yourself if you pick at your skin and cause bleeding or bruising to reach out for help. Looking for help doesn't always involve speech for people with compulsive skin picking.
  • Step 6: Seek help Seek treatment by calling your doctor or mental health specialist. There are medications and therapy techniques that can help with your destructive picking.
  • FACT: The body's largest organ, the skin, covers an area of about 22 square feet and ranges from 1/2 to 4 millimeters thick.

You Will Need

  • Observation skills
  • Mirror
  • Doctor

Popular Categories