Healing sores from scalp picking

45 posts in this topic

Posted

I have picked my scalp for years and years. It gets worse sometimes and better others. What's nuts is i am pretty sure it is hereditary because my late aunt and late cousin both skin picked. I don't necessarily get infected sores on my scalp but red, inflamed scabs that I open and pick over and over. No clue why I have been lucky enough to avoid infection, knock on wood. Anyway, my pdoc knows about it and brushes it off to focus on other diagnoses. My tdoc does the same thing. It's a 'minor' problem for them, but not for me. Tried the rubber band thing... no go.

I also have BPD and think I skin pick as self harm. That's about the only self-harming thing I do.

Anyway, I tried T/Gel, Head and Shoulders, all of that to try to heal the sores but it doesn't work. Someone said Scalpicin somewhere online... should I go to the dermatologist or does someone have a suggestion for ways to heal these sores? It's come to the point that my whole head hurts from picking. I'm tired of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi,

I did most of that through high school. Although I a got a weird pleasure of pouring hydrogen peroxide on the sores. I would stop when my brown hair started going yellowish-white in those areas. but then a few months later do it again.

I completely stopped when I went away to college and found the fun of hair dyeing.

Sorry that I can't give you a more reasonable solution for healing. I just wanted to share that I've been there.

xoxo,

db

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I have really bad sores from eczema (have for ages, usually gets worse when I stress out and I can't stop picking them) but I went to the dermatologist and was prescribed Nizoral. There are non-prescription ones sold in stores, but they can be pricey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Nizoral can treat some head sores pretty effectively but I'm not sure how effective it would be for self inflicted picking. You could try it. You can get it OTC at lower strength as well.

You may need a therapist who can help you deal with the self harm behaviors.

Anna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hmm Nizoral. Will look into it. Yes my therapist knows I self harm that way. Working through it. Work work work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I've picked my scalp for the last 10 years. Its basically my soothing mechanism, borderline compulsive. But when I get those open, pus-filled sores I use a cortisol cream that my dr gave me for poison oak. It helps with the itching long enough that I can let it heal....sure I start-up again, but hey.

Before I had the cream, I would take a q-tip and put neosporin cream on it every night before bed. I figure I wouldn't be picking in my sleep, at least not yet. But yeah, get the cream because the ointment can ruin pillow cases and makes the hair too greasy.

I know that I am never going to stop picking completely but I at least try to keep the sores to a minimum. The best I can do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I have the same problem. I find that washing my scalp with selsun blue for a few days and wearing a wig or hairpiece helps me let them heal. It took 4 months for this last round to heal, and when under some stress I started again. I know what you mean when you say your entire head hurts. Sometimes before the sores break out I will get tingling and a nerve sort of pain before the sores come. Then I am obsessed with them. I can sometime let them scab but find I rip the scabs off and my entire scalp is bleeding.

the cortisonescreamss can help at times as can the Nizoral, but it is more costly. I never got any help from scalpsin,but try wearing a head covering at night. I am trying to heal now from this current round of sores so I am wearing a partial hairpiece. Looks good, covers the sores and keeps me from picking. I was literally pullingg my hair out this last time.

Just when I get a round healed and think it is over, they return. I feel so stupid for hurting myself like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I've been a scalp picker off and on since I was a teenager. My teen years were the worst for that--there were times where I easily had 100 sores on my scalp at any given time. Since then it's never been at that level, but it comes and goes. My coping mechanism has been to pick something else for a while and let my scalp heal. I've learned to do without a haircut for three or four months because I'm way too embarrassed and disgusted to have anyone see what I've done. I also keep hairstyles that let me "cover" my scalp with hair (usually some sort of short bob). I would love to be able to stop doing this. But since I can't seem to, I've learned to work around it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

leadinglady - are you picking because your scalp itches, or is it just a nervous habit?

Nizoral, T/Sal, etc. are used to treat seborrheic dermatitis - which will make your scalp itchy. Solve the itch, solve your need to scratch/pick.

For healing sores - that's in the realm of anything that helps skin heal - say Aloe or Vaseline. You might also look into tamanu oil or manuka oil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

tee tree oil works pretty well too, but it stings for just a moment when you put it on.

Tommy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I picked pretty bad through high school and probably college and beyond. It didn't get too bloody or painful, but due to anxiety I guess I liked the feel of picking scabs off my head. At that time I also had pretty horrible acne to deal with, so I was more focused on that and didn't have to pick it much for it to be bad on its own. I still have a few scabs on my head that I pick off unconsciously and I hope people don't notice, but they probably do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I think I start picking because it itches but then it's a vicious cycle where I develop a scab, pick that, re-scab, pick that... I don't have dandruff at all...usually starts as tiny red bumps. Like pinpoints. Weird. I have used Scapicin, T/Gel, Head&Shoulders and have just started T/Sal. I read rotating with T/Gel and T/Sal may help so I'm doing that now. I actually gave myself ringworm on my scalp from picking with probably bacteria under my nails that created ringworm. So now I have Lotrimin to put on that one area. So frustrating. The wig idea is great. I'd love a hot pink bob! lol I am starting to get bald spots for the first time ever in my life. I stopped drinking alcohol (never picked while drinking) so I think this is just a new addiction/obsession to replace that one. Before that, it was food and then I had gastric bypass. Always some sort of addiction or obsession. On 60 mg of Paxil a day so if it is OCD related, you'd think that would nip it in the bud.

FWIW, I know it has a genetic component because my cousin that recently passed away from lupus picked like crazy and so did my late aunt. I also pluck my eyebrows obsessively and use one of those pimple/comedone extractors they use at the dermatologist office to extract my blackheads and pimples all the time. I use nail clippers to cut dry skin off my feet and around my toenails. It's NUTS!

I should mention I have super, duper dry feet, hypothyroidism, and flaky, dry eyebrows for sure. Any connection, you think?

Edited by leadinglady

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

If I put Vaseline or anything like that on my scalp it would clog the scalp and the sores would be worse. My scalp does not actually always itch. I get these sores and then just compulsively scratch them and pull off scabs.

T-sal or Walgreen's knock off, selsun blue or the dandruff shampoo's with zinc, and other things like that will heal the sores. I know this from having this problem since 03. The itching is very minor and not what is causing me to scratch. that I can easily remedy with benedrayl or the cortisone creams ( the Over the counter ones) .

I have had to use Triple antibiotic ointment on the sores if they just would not heal any other way. that is another option.

I have found my Derm not too helpful with this b/c I am doing it to myself. He is just as ignorant as others who feel if you hurt yourself then he won't treat it. I have found the medical profession to not be all that helpful. However, if you do find a Derm that is OK with Psych patients and understands why we do this stuff- hang onto him.

so covering the scalp, washing the sores with selsun blue , using triple antibiotic Ont. if they won't heal or seeing a doc if they look infected. Treat the rest of your hair gently b/c the dandruff shampoos can dry your hair.

Once they start healing I have to stop myself from pulling the scabs off. That is the problem now. i have several holes with no hair on scalp and it is almost impossible to hide without a hairpiece.

I feel so discouraged about this but did find out one thing yesterday. i was so stressed I was literally pulling my hair out from the scalp. i took 3 mg klonopin and while it did put me to sleep, It also stopped the urge of scratching an pulling my hair.

stars

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I wanted to revisit this thread and say that I'm on strattera now and it helps the compulsion to pull at my hair . It does not stop it but it helps a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

So - scalp picking is a new behavior for me (and thank you for helpingme know I'm not alone). I am also in treatment for depression, anxiety and now -- ADD (yes at the age of 51). Does Zoloft help this, or will it take something else? my dr. is starting to suggest I consider lithium for depression - anyone have experience with that? Howbad does it affect ability to think critically? so many questions.I hate beingso crazy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Same here..obsessive compulsive, scalp picking, sore head. :(

Aloe Vera gel. vitamin e oil. I take chromium piclonate for anxiety. I've tried Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac over the years. If I take CP every day, I leave my head alone. Aloe and oil overnight heals it in a few days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Since I was a teen the doctor told me I had "scalp acne" and since I didn't have it on my face, I felt lucky. Each month around my period I will usually have a breakout and ultimately scratch the whiteheads off - like popping a pimple. Then it would scab and I'd pick it off just because it was there. By the time they heal and disappear (after re-scabbing 7 or 8 times) I'd be just in time for another breakout. BUT when I got acrylic nails, the picking wasn't easy or productive so I lost the habit. I saw lots of little hairs all over my head sticking out because they were so short compared to the rest of my hair it was like a halo effect (lol)

I don't do it to hurt myself, but there seems to be an intense interest subconsciously between the sensation of my nail going under the side of a scab and lifting it off. To me, it was just like 'cleaning house.' I didn't know it could be a sign of ocd. I'm glad I found this website! I do regret targeting one area on my scalp more than others (maybe that's where it breaks out most) but now I'm sporting a growing bald spot where the hair has permanently stopped growing back. I'm hoping that, at 50, I will stop my period soon and maybe that will stop the scalp acne too? I would hate to have to be bald for any reason...my head is probably covered with scars!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

What finally helped me was to go on doxycycline for acne. No more acne on my scalp means nothing to pick. Problem solved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I have had this periodically over the years, usually during stressful periods. An eczema or flaky bumps would develop on my scalp which I could not resist picking so they would not heal. Even if I left them alone to heal, new flaky spots would appear and I simply could not resist. I found ripping off the scabs and crusts became a self-soothing thing. It had never lasted more than six months until it started about two years ago. Now I have little bald patches all over my head. The sores are finally healing but the scarring may be permanent. My dermatologist took a biopsy and said it was either this lichen planoplaris thing or autoimmune that was causing the crusty spots. I think it is kind of like an acne of the scalp. He prescribed Plaquinil and a topical steroid. It helped some but not enough for me to stop picking at the places. The only way I can stop picking is to eliminate the bumps and crusts completely. I researched and it said to use different medicine shampoos because bacteria that causes the bumps becomes resistant if you use same all the time. I started using several different shampoos in rotation. That seems to be doing the trick! So happy! I always start with Suave Daily Clarifying because everything said important to clear the pores first. Then I use Head and Shoulders clinical strength (selenium sulfide), DHS zinc shampoo (pyrithione zinc), T/gel extra strength (coal tar), Demorest Psoriasis shampoo (salycic acid), Zincplex (from Internet with variety of herbs and minerals), or Dandrene (from Internet with ketoconozole). I also got Zincplex cream and antibiotic creams to put on sores at night. I had tried all these things separately which never completely healed the sores and stopped new patches. Really, rotating the shampoos seems to be the key for me. It doesn't resolve the compulsion to pick but if I don't have anything to pick then I'll leave my scalp alone. Hopefully some of the bald patches will fill in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Same here..obsessive compulsive, scalp picking, sore head. :(

Aloe Vera gel. vitamin e oil. I take chromium piclonate for anxiety. I've tried Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac over the years. If I take CP every day, I leave my head alone. Aloe and oil overnight heals it in a few days.

I have used the Aloe Vera gel does nothing mine is out control it feels like my hair rots are coming out when I pick my scalp and at the same time it's going from my lower neck to the tip of my skull on scalpit feels like bites and when I dig it the skin of my scalp separates like moving the the nerves or membranes I have been to 3-4 Dermatologists they don't see anything but it's there I know it and I am not insane that's for sure. I am on Venlafaxine ER 75mg 2 at a time DHEA 25mg Vitamin D 2000U, Atenolol 25 mg,simistation 40mg & prolazac.  Creams I use Tea Tree shampoo,Head& shoulders  have been on other creams as well nothing has stopped it.  My arms each also but not as bad. I was screened for all rashes, allergies including scabies you name it.  Anybody have it this bad or know what I should do?  I reffuse to go to another Dermatologist to me they are not helping or just don't care and think I am imaging it.   Thanks Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I been reading all the post and I cannot believe I finally found others out there that are having the same problem as me. Its going on almost 1 year now and I never had this problem b4.  I start itching my scalp and then theres these little reddish bumps I pickem till they bleed.  Then they form a scab and I pick that so it never gets a chance to heal. WTF is up with that why do we do this.  I just need someone to talk to because my husband just dont get it.  I'm so tired of it I just feel like hitting my head up aganist a wall !!   :wall: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I would pick my scalp, eat the skin from the inside of my finger nails. But sometimes, I keep the scabs in a little tube. ;-;

I'm glad I'm not alone in the scalp / scab picking world.

Edited by woahstop

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

been doing it for at least 15 years.  i read someone post it is self soothing...i get that....i feel a calmness when doing it, the worst part is my husband will mimic me in an attempt to get me to realize I am doing it and stop...i don't stop, maybe for a few seconds then back at it.is this an ocd thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

ive been scalp picking for as long as i can remember. i do it more when i'm stressed. recently though, i had a friend dye my hair while there were sores.. and i think one may be infected. idk what to do! i hate scratching my head, and i do it so much i almost never notice when im doing it. 

 

i've had many sores.. but this possibly infected one is the worst. i can't stop touching it even though it hurts sooo bad!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

If you think it's infected you really should go consult with your doctor.  They can treat it.  As for the picking, I too am a skin and scap picker.  I am presently 29 days "clean".  This has been the hardest addiction in my life to conquer.  Feel free to pm me if you want to chat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now