Excoriation Disorder

Many individuals pick their skin at times. Excoriation (skin-picking) Disorder, however, is more severe and is related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It is characterized by:

  • Picking of Skin.

    Excoriation Disorder involves recurrent picking of the skin on different areas of the body, most commonly the face, arms, and hands. Individuals may pull pieces of skin from the body, resulting in skin lesions or scars. Most individuals will use their fingernails to pick, though other objects (e.g., tweezers) may also be used. As well, some will look for skin with certain qualities (e.g., scabs) and do something with the skin after it is picked (e.g., examine it). Individuals may experience a feeling of tension prior to picking their skin and a sense of relief or pleasure after it has been picked. They may deliberately choose to pick the skin, do so without awareness, or both.
  • Attempts to Stop.

    Individuals with Excoriation Disorder will often make an effort to stop or decrease skin-picking behaviours. They may be unsuccessful in these attempts or return to skin-picking after a period of abstinence
  • Distress or Impairment.

    Excoriation Disorder often has a negative impact on individuals' quality of life. They may, for instance, avoid social situations, school or work due to feelings of shame or embarrassment. They may also experience feelings of stress, anxiety, or loss of control. Excoriation Disorder is further associated with physical problems such as repetitive strain injuries and infections.

If you or someone you know has some or all of these symptoms, it may be due to Excoriation Disorder. Psychologists at EBT3 are trained in using psychological assessment tools to find out whether this is the case. They are also experienced at treating Excoriation Disorder and the related symptoms using approaches that have been proven to be effective, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

For more information about Excoriation Disorder, or to find an experienced psychologist, please contact us.