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Dermatillomania

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Does anyone else eat whatever you pick off? I do and I enjoy these little tidbits. I have been doing this all of my life. I try to be careful where I pick so that others cannot see. I know this is disgusting and sometimes I feel shame but I can't stop. I have been at it for 40 years. A couple of years ago, I had a breakdown and was really ill. During that time I was cutting myself. Then I'd have huge scabs to peel off and eat. It left very large scars on my arms and stomach. I am no longer cutting but I do pick my legs and scalp. I sure wish there was help. I don't think I could talk to a doctor about it.

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Posted · Report post

Does anyone else eat whatever you pick off? I do and I enjoy these little tidbits. I have been doing this all of my life. I try to be careful where I pick so that others cannot see. I know this is disgusting and sometimes I feel shame but I can't stop. I have been at it for 40 years. A couple of years ago, I had a breakdown and was really ill. During that time I was cutting myself. Then I'd have huge scabs to peel off and eat. It left very large scars on my arms and stomach. I am no longer cutting but I do pick my legs and scalp. I sure wish there was help. I don't think I could talk to a doctor about it.

What you are describing is dermophagia, which is linked to dermatillomania/skin picking. Dermatillomania is a form of OCD in which one picks at their own skin and dermaphagia is one in which a person eats skin flakes, scabs, etc.

I haven't been able to find much information on dermaphagia. Maybe someone else can dig deeper than I am able to.

Talk to your doctor about the skin picking and then see if you are comfortable enough to talk further.

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Posted · Report post

Does anyone else eat whatever you pick off? I do and I enjoy these little tidbits. I have been doing this all of my life. I try to be careful where I pick so that others cannot see. I know this is disgusting and sometimes I feel shame but I can't stop. I have been at it for 40 years. A couple of years ago, I had a breakdown and was really ill. During that time I was cutting myself. Then I'd have huge scabs to peel off and eat. It left very large scars on my arms and stomach. I am no longer cutting but I do pick my legs and scalp. I sure wish there was help. I don't think I could talk to a doctor about it.

What you are describing is dermophagia, which is linked to dermatillomania/skin picking. Dermatillomania is a form of OCD in which one picks at their own skin and dermaphagia is one in which a person eats skin flakes, scabs, etc.

I haven't been able to find much information on dermaphagia. Maybe someone else can dig deeper than I am able to.

Talk to your doctor about the skin picking and then see if you are comfortable enough to talk further.

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Posted · Report post

I also wonder if there an element of pica? Pregnant women can have it where they crave weird substances like chalk or glue, etc. Old wives tales said that usually meant there was some type of mineral or extra something the person needed. Doctors poopoo that but I still believe there is an element of truth in it.

If you stick pretty much to scabs maybe you are iron deficient. If you don't want to talk to your pdoc about that maybe you could have your iron checked for potential anemia by your regular doctor.

Also I think more people pick and eat or pick and chew more then people want to admit. I have seen people bite their nails and chew on the piece that comes off. I also have seen people do that with calluses and hang nails.

And of course any toddler to preschool (and sometimes beyond) mine for gold and eat the boogers ;)

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Wow. I shared something with you that I have never even totally shared with my husband. I didn't even get one eeew gross! Thanks for the info. and advice. This is only the second time I have posted something on a chat board and I am amazed at your non-judgmental kindness. I want to be like you when I grow up. Thanks again.

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Yep I am a picker and eater too. It is gross but I can't stop. In fact, I can't pick it without eating it. I don't know if it is the picking or the eating that I like better. That is more soothing. But if I am not picking my skin (scabs, nose, cuticles, feet) then I am binge eating or shopping. I have major issue with compulsion.

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It took a lot of differently phrased searches, but I'm glad I finally found this discussion. I never even thought of telling anyone about my own habit - it just seemed way too strange. I haven't even felt comfortable telling my girlfriend.

I can not stop picking the skin from the bottom of my feet and eating it. That sounds really messed up, I know, but it doesn't seem even the tiniest bit strange when I'm doing it. How strange that something that feels so normal sounds so weird when I write it out.

I often pick at my feet so much that they end up raw and painful to walk on the next morning. It's generally at night that I peel the skin from my feet - especially if I'm in bed reading or watching a movie. I even think about it beforehand, looking forward to it. I can't explain the satisfaction that comes from getting a particularly large piece of skin off all at once. It has to be a part of the sole of my foot that the skin would have come off anyway - if there's any pain at all, it's not satisfying, it's just painful.

Once I do get a big piece like that off, it's just great to sit there and chew it for a bit, and swallowing is absolutely satisfying.

I never thought of this as a compulsion or any kind of OCD, but I have always wondered why I've never heard of anyone else doing it.

Glad to know I'm not absolutely the only person ever.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

*raising hand* im in the club, too...

and aint crazy boards grand! ;)

Edited by betcsu

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Posted · Report post

ugggh, it's so gross...but i admittingly do it.

have been for several years now...

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Yep, I am right there with ya. I know how satisfying it is to look forward to picking and eating it.... and the pleasure. It is sick, but I do it anyway. It has gotten really bad as of late. I will pick my cuticles, toe cuticles and all kinds skin and scabs until it bleeds. I will pick for hours at a time. I sit there with all my tools while my kids watch me. It is gross and embarrassing. Even my 8 year old has started clipping his toes way too often. Both kids pick their noses and scabs and eat them. I am creating disgusting kids by my own actions. But I can't stop. I tried, but I just go back again, worse than before. I am going to see a therapist on Friday for OCD. I want to stop and hopefully with some new meds and behavioral therapy I can.

Edited by Iknewsomethingwasamiss

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Posted · Report post

I'm in the club ;) I've been in the hospital so much that I haven't been able to search the boards fully. but I pick compulsively and eat it. its gross. I know. but..... I can't help it.... *sigh* I was better on the luvox... but they took me off that and now I'm.... picking like mad.

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Posted · Report post

Question: if you've only got dermatillomania (quite severe, though)(not dermophagia), does that mean you're OCD? Or do you just have behaviors along the spectrum?

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I am a compulsive skin picker too. Never been compelled to eat anything. But I have gone through phases of horribly picking at my at my face, that's really the only place I do it. I have messed myself up pretty bad and always, always feel horrible afterwards, looking at how ugly it all looks. And I know my husband is looking at me knowing what I've been doing. When I've done a real number on myself, I hate to go out in public because of how bad it looks. Then, there's the scarring. And yet while I'm standing there in the mirror picking and squeezing, I don't think about the consequences, and it actually has a soothing, calming effect. And if I am able to pop a zit or squeeze out a blackhead, I feel so much better, like I've been able to get that nasty stuff out of me.

Thankfully, I haven't been on too much of a kick with it lately. I do go through spells of it.

Here's a place (with a forum) that I ran across while looking for info on compulsive skin picking. I've never posted on the forum so, I don't know how supportive it is but it's there for anyone who's having trouble with skin picking.

http://www.stoppickingonme.com/

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Posted · Report post

Ok, so I just replied to the other thread about this, but I also wanted to quickly chime in on this one, too. I also pick and eat, scabs and skin. I feel so gross about doind this. Although I don't eat the stuff that comes out of a zit or infection, I do always smell it. I don't know why I do this nor can I pinpoint when it started (not too long ago, tho). I just enjoy the way the puss smells. I can't beleive I'm admitting to this. ;) I feel so disgusting!

Hmmph. Crazyboard, where I let it ALL hang out.

AG

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Posted · Report post

I eat skin too! Usually because I pick at my lip. I like the texture between my teeth.

Or, when I pick things off of my scalp, I actually line up the things or pile them, but don't eat them.

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Damn - we're quite the club! ;) I have been seriously thinking about seeing a doctor about all of this. I need to get my hair done and my scalp looks bad. Last time, I told the stylist that I had an allergic reaction to Pantine :) I doubt that will fly again. I have been taking Celexa for severe PMS and it seems to make the picking, etc. worse. Anyone have experience with that? Also, a couple of years ago, I went through a bout of cutting. Now I have obvious scars on my arms. Does anyone know of something that effectively covers those up? I live in Phoenix where long sleeves are too hot and I am self concious of people staring at my arms.

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Posted · Report post

I no longer eat the skin off my feet--but I used to as a kid.

I still very much chew (and ingest bits of) my cuticles. I'm also a scab-picker, and I occasionally do eat those. Amusingly enough, I don't eat large scabs (though I may pick at them); large scabs seem "gross." That's rationality for you.

The scab-picking I learned from my mother (and possibly from my sisters?), but I think the scab-eating is my own elaboration.

P.S. I don't do any of this in public. Well, OK, the cuticle-chewing always happens subconsciously, so I might find myself doing it without total privacy...

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Posted · Report post

wow, did you see how many views this post has gotten??!!!

... hmm, dont think you are alone!

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[i pick my feet and chew the skin. I like to peel of huge pieces and chew it like gum. I wish I could find a woman who picks and we could pick together. I picked a girlfriend once and chewd her skin.

Man am I a sick puppy...

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Posted · Report post

wow. for 32 years i thought i was alone. it sounds so messed up to hear unless your doing it. why can`t i stop...

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Damn - we're quite the club! ;) I have been seriously thinking about seeing a doctor about all of this. I need to get my hair done and my scalp looks bad. Last time, I told the stylist that I had an allergic reaction to Pantine :) I doubt that will fly again. I have been taking Celexa for severe PMS and it seems to make the picking, etc. worse. Anyone have experience with that? Also, a couple of years ago, I went through a bout of cutting. Now I have obvious scars on my arms. Does anyone know of something that effectively covers those up? I live in Phoenix where long sleeves are too hot and I am self concious of people staring at my arms.

I had not bitten/chewed the insides of my mouth in years (since I was a kid and I'm 35), and suddenly started doing so when I got put on Celexa. So, you are not alone on that. I have an appointment next week to get switched back to my Lexapro. It worked just fine, but Celexa was cheaper. Not worth the $10 per month to have the inside of my mouth look like raw hamburger. Yikes!

For the coverup, there is a fantastic product called dermablend that is like a heavy foundation-type product. It is wonderful for covering scars. Lots of dermatologists offices sell it, and I'm sure it's available online.

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i know its gross that i eat my head scabs, dandruff, buggers, blackheads, pimple cheese, dried foot skin, and the roots of my pubic hair, but it's fun! my girlfriend is very grossed out by me; just now i was eating blackheads so she googled "gross eating blackheads disorder" and that leed us here. wow! well, i totally understand you guys. i wrote a poem:

its so satisfying

to pick shit off of your body

and munch away!

its a free food source

that makes my day!

scabs are coarse

but don't taste bloody

demophagia is my buddy.

ya'll take care now and i say do whatever makes ya happy!

peace.

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Oh my godddd you have no IDEA! :) I pop my pimples...mostly blackheads..and just munch away. I love the big old hard ones, the huge puss-y zits, small ones, dandruff, scabs, ALL OF IT. I don't know where i got the idea to pop one of them into my mouth in the first place!

it's so annoying. i feel like a freak. picking and popping is SOOOOO calming and seems to release all my stress. but i hate myself after doing it and feel so gross because my face looks like a bumpy wad of cheese.

I just came from my bathroom feeling terrible after another one of my huge popping and eating episodes and decided to look it up. I usually do it when i feel stressed or upset or anxious. I have a huge paper due and went right to the mirror. i try to leave notes on my mirror reminding myself not to do it and sometimes i can contain myself for a couple days.

but my fingers just act on their own. they pick dandruff, scabs, dry/dead skin, blackheads from ANY place on my body(they show up anywhere and everywhere from my face, head, back, stomach, chest, neck, pubic area, legs, and even random places like ankles and wrists.)

AND IT ALL GOES INTO MY MOUTH. :)

i feel like the whole process of eating it is calming too because any time im stressed i like to nibble and chew. ;) i nibble the sides of my mouth and cuticles. i also snack alot. i never knew why i did this.

is it really OCD? i wish there was a way i could stop it so my skin could get a chance to recover and restore itself.

I'm so happy i found this forum because i always thougt it was just me. only one person in my life ever noticed i did it but i never stopped me. what can i do? i dont wanna get married and have my husband find out about my weird obsesssion! and i want my skin to clear up!!!!

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Posted · Report post

I eat skin too! Usually because I pick at my lip. I like the texture between my teeth.

Or, when I pick things off of my scalp, I actually line up the things or pile them, but don't eat them.

This is interesting because I peel things off my scalp too. I don't line them up or eat them, but I always place them down to where I can see them. If I see a large piece, I like to tear it apart with my fingernails or tweezers. I have even used tweezers to pull my scalp apart. I'm not sure why I do this, but it hurts so badly that it feels good. Luckily, I have thick hair, so no one knows how badly I have this disorder.

The only things I will put in my mouth from my body are my cuticles though. I will also pull those apart with tweezers, especially cuticles from my toes. I'll also pick on my heels when they are dry, but I try not to do that because I have a job where I stand pretty much all day.

I do a lot of other weird things to.... I'm very OCD. I'll count the amount of bites during each meal, especially around other people. I don't want others thinking I eat very much, but then when I get home, I might go through a binge and purge session. I will starve myself for months at a time, then one day, I'll eat almost everything in the house and purge it all. This happens, like I said, once every few months. I also have to do some kind of exercise per day, even if it is right before bedtime. Once I get in bed, I start picking at my scalp again.... grrrr...

I really want to stop all of these behaviors... but I don't know how. I'm a 31 professional with no family but a dog and a roommate. Oh, I also have BDD (Body Dismorphic Disorder), so I have a hard time going to social events sometimes. Other people have to literally beg me to go with them.

So, I've confessed a lot .... I'm outy....

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