Skin Picking: An unexpected sign of anxiety

Today we go back to our bread and butter format. Do you pick your skin? I do, I have a nasty habit of biting at my cudicals and biting my finger nails. Scabs? I pick them. Skin tags? Ya I pick at those too. I found a good article here that discusses this issue.

From the article: “One of the most common — but least talked about — signs of anxiety is skin picking, or dermatillomania. In fact, the condition is believed to affect one in 20 people. “Dermatillomania, or excoriation disorder, [is a] skin picking disorder is where you cannot stop picking at your skin,” the National Health Service explains. And it is a condition I know a lot about. I obsessively pick my lip and the skin on the bottom of my foot, often to the point of pain. I unintentionally (but regularly) bleed. And I am not alone.”

The article has a lot more to offer then this one issue. To be blunt it has little on it but it’s something I have myself and have seen in others. It is a disorder and it falls under the umbrella of anxiety and stress related issues. Picking your skin is likely something you picked up years ago, sometime during puberty. Many of us struggle with body issues at that point in our lives (yes men too!) and when we have a blemish, a pimple ANYTHING we want it gone.

Itchy skin or nervous habit?

We develop a habit associated with how we felt at the time. It was the anxiety surrounding a perceived imperfection. Now as we progress through our adult lives we have WAY more adult issues to deal with. Pandemics, Politics, Finances, on and on and on. So how do we deal with these stressors? Some of us drink or do drugs, others become depressed, some hide, some hoard, and some pick at their skin.

The next time you find yourself doing something like this, try as hard as you can to stop and reflect on how you are feeling at that moment? For me its invasive thoughts. I can sometimes travel decades into the past and remember a situation that was awkward of harsh and I begin to bite my nails. Nothing is wrong with my nails, it is my emotional state at the time in relation to a past event.

It’s just one more thing for us as individuals with anxiety to pay attention to. Add it to the list!

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