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humanoid

Hair pulling, skin picking in pubic area.

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I am extremely embarrassed to be posting about this, so I'd really appreciate it if nobody called me gross as I already feel disgusting enough. I know we're very honest here at CB, but this issue is particularly fragile with me. That said, this is probably gonna be pretty TMI, so read at your own risk, I guess?

I've mentioned before in some Trichotillomania threads that I pull hair mainly from my pubic area, but I haven't really come across many people that share this issue or at least any that are willing to talk about it. I guess I just want to share my experience in more detail and hear anyone else that can relate. I know I'm not the only one, but I feel very alone anyway..

When I was 17, I started pulling hair with tweezers from my pubic area. I got very obsessive about it and would spend so much time pulling hairs that I would often make myself late to school because I physically couldn't stop. When I ran out of hair, I would start digging into the skin with the sharp tip of the tweezers to get at the hair growing beneath. I ended up with a lot of scabs, sore spots, ingrown hairs, and other various bumps. I really "liked" the uneven places of skin and I attacked those with tweezers too, making the problem worse. I think a lot of it had to do with stress because now that I'm no longer in school, the hair pulling is less severe, though still present.

The problem only occurs when I go to the bathroom because the area becomes visible. When it's not visible, I'm not thinking about it at all. I only have the urge to do it in my own private bathroom, and 99% of the time I will only use tweezers to pull. I don't have a certain number that I pull, I just pull until I feel ready to stop. Sometimes it's just a few, sometimes it's a lot.

I don't really know why I do it. I've had a tdoc and pdoc tell me it's stress related, but I do it even when I'm not stressed out. I know that I feel extremely satisfied when I pull out a hair. There is just a tiny bit of pain, but I don't understand what it is about it that is so attractive to me. It feels good, but not in a conventional way, I guess. The uneven places of skin are also really satisfying to mess with, too. I don't play with or eat the hair or skin from my pubic area, once it's been removed it's no longer any interest to me.

Also had one person suggest to me that maybe I get some kind of sexual pleasure from it, that it's erotic in nature, but I don't really feel that way at all. I do get a kind of pleasurable feeling from doing this, but it doesn't "arouse" me in any way, it's more mental.

While it disgusts me and I would like to stop, I don't have much motivation to eliminate the behavior. I have tried shaving away all hair so I can't pull it, but when I do that it makes me more likely to dig in the skin which I think is worse. I am generally shaving it once every couple of weeks, trying to minimize the various behaviors, but it grows back pretty quickly. The stubble hair is more "attractive" to me when it comes to pulling, so that's also a problem.

I've also tried moving to other areas, but none have ever been as satisfying. Leg hair comes close, but I just don't get the same mental reward when I pull out a hair. Eyebrow hair is too painful so I only pull there for vanity reasons. I do head hair sometimes, but that's only been in extreme situations and also not satisfying. The skin of my scalp is so weird, so sometimes I'm able to pull out a pretty big clump and I don't even feel it at all. I obviously don't like the bald spots though, so I avoid this. Arm hair is too thin, light, and not coarse enough, not appealing.

I just wonder...can anyone relate to my situation specifically? I know a lot of people hair pull or skin pick, I just haven't heard as much about it in relation to the pubic region. Anyone have any tips on how I can stop doing this? No tdoc right now so suggestions that I can do on my own are preferred, but specific therapeutic suggestions are welcome, too.

Also, can hair pulling and skin picking be considered compulsive behaviors of OCD rather than separate disorders? I don't have any other compulsions like tapping or washing, but I do have intrusive thoughts and have been dx with Purely Obsessional OCD and Trichotillomania, more curious than anything. I haven't done much research into this.

Anyway, thank you for reading all of that and I hope you are not completely disgusted with me.

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Not disgusted with you, I have been guilty of doing this myself, though I'm not sure I can offer you any advice, just letting you know your not alone.

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I don't do skin or hair, but I thought I'd add that I'm pretty sure no one here is going to be disgusted, I'm certainly not. I thought I would add on that it sounds an awful lot to me like compulsive behavior, but I haven't experienced so I can only speculate. Maybe someone else will have better advice. >.<

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Thank you both. I know CB has very nice members, I just came across a thread earlier where some were called disgusting for their behavior, so it freaked me out a bit. This is just highly embarrassing to me, something I talk about very infrequently and I'm extremely self-conscious about it.

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No need for embarrassment, it is a symptom of illness just like depression or OCD or anxiety symptoms.

I pick at my scalp all the dang time. I do it when nervous and I do it when bored or zoned out not really thinking of it but doing it subconsciously you know? So I can sort of relate. And I too can understand the embarrassment feelings. I can only imagine how I look to others when picking at my scalp like that for a long while in public sometimes too. Ugh.

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Thank you both. I know CB has very nice members, I just came across a thread earlier where some were called disgusting for their behavior, so it freaked me out a bit. This is just highly embarrassing to me, something I talk about very infrequently and I'm extremely self-conscious about it.

I can't believe people were calling others disgusting... Of course I don't know the context, but still... I'd think most if not all of us can relate to, let's say "non-typical" actions/thoughts/behaviors? I would certainly hope if I really need to share something personal and concerning I wouldn't have to worry about being attacked. >.<

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I think it was a fairly old thread, and it was a little unsettling (discussion of people that pop pimples and eat what comes out etc.) but yes, some said quite bluntly they were disgusted. I guess what I do is not as extreme, but I feel very ashamed about it and quite worried of judgement.

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I'm glad you are getting support instead of judgment here.

That's the intention, anyway.

While I can't relate to your specific form, I do think its possible for hair pulling to be part of an OCD picture instead of just hair pulling on its own (one of these days I will learn how to properly spell trich but today isn't that day). I think if the hair pulling is part of a ritual that satisfies the conditions of an obsession it makes sense to think about it in terms of OCD. I'm sure there are other ways to think about it as well... That's just what comes to mind at the moment.

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I have trichotillomania and have pulled out my pubic hair in the past. For me I've found if I shave it, I'll get itchy and ingrown hairs so I'll pick at it and and create sores. So I can either leave the area alone or trim it with trimmers designed for men's beards, which is what I do so it's not itchy. I don't think that would help you as it sounds like you pull it when the hair is at that stage. My trichotillomania is also stress related.

I am more likely to pull hair on my scalp, eyebrows, or eyelashes.

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Thanks for sharing kittyloaf. I know it started out stress-related for me, but now I don't really quite know. And yes, that is precisely when I would be doing the most pulling, I don't know why. I can't really understand anything about this, just that there's some kind of mental reward to it that I can't resist.

Wooster, it feels sort of ritualized in that I only do it in a specific place, with a certain tool, at a certain time. It's not really satisfying any obsession, though, and I'm not thinking about anything when I'm doing it except which hair I want to pull, lol. Maybe it has some kind of calming effect, or something. I'm not sure. I just haven't been able to stop.

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By "ritualized" I guess I meant more like you are doing it because you have to, in order to prevent something bad from happening, or to otherwise address an obsessive thought.

Sorry if I wasn't more clear on that.

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Thanks for explaining. Yeah, I don't think anything bad is going to happen to me if I don't do it, I just feel compelled to do it and can't stop myself. I'm not sure if there is an obvious obsessive thought behind it. Some days I wonder if it's not just me turning more aggression towards myself. I don't count it as self-harm even though it can cause bleeding/scabbing and such, but then again maybe it is? I don't know, it's such a confusing mess! I need to talk more about it, I guess.

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Hello

I do this. I do the scalp picking and hair pulling too, but you can't see it. I know what you mean about being almost late to leave the house, because generally you'll be getting dressed etc...

The sexual thing is wrong, and a silly way to connect the area without thinking about what you're doing. The likely reason is any pain = chemical release of happy hormones, which is why people enjoy pain sometimes.

My pubic area currently looks ridiculous because of this. I also attack the hairs early, and end up with these craters that probably won't grow hair back. My bf stole my tweezers to stop me, and I ended up buying more and doing it secretly.

It is a strange thing to do, and I don't know why I do it. I don't find it disgusting, but a little bizarre! I don't do it when I'm stressed, but I think because I USED to do it when I was stressed, it either formed a habit, or I associated it with relaxation or SOMETHING. I'm also medicated for social anxiety, so I'm thinking mine might be because I am still experiencing physical symptoms of anxiety, without feeling anxious...

I wasn't going to talk to my psych about this issue, but I guess if I'm not the only one, it's probably worth it. He's a guy, so I didn't want to just bang it out there like 'so I have this thing....'

Thnx for posting

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I may be way off, but sometimes modifying my genital area becomes a 'reclaiming' for me of of a physical part of my body that I felt was ruined by sexual abuse. That's just me.

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Thanks for sharing SarahClaire777. I relate a lot to what you said, I feel less alone. I am definitely going to bring it up with my new pdoc during our appointment. I want it to stop so badly. I hope we're both able to find a solution.

Titania, that makes a lot of sense, actually.

I became sexually active again this past week and my hair pulling is going NUTS. I had to shave so the prickly hairs growing back are driving me crazy and I can't leave it alone. I am covered in scabs right now, it looks absolutely terrible and it hurts and aches. I feel like a fucking mess.

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Hi, I know this thread isn't exactly still active but I thought I'd drop in and say I spent between the hours of 1:30 and 3am doing a thorough pube pluck, it's now gone from stubbly patches and scabs to bald with sore patches and some deep deep ingrown/scarred areas that I'm not sure will ever look right again. I have been doing this for a few years now, it started off as just a bikini trim when i had no razor and now I pluck away all of the hairs on the mons, don't go near the labia majora because it flippin kills. Also the fact I have a MONS PUBIS on my body causes me to laugh so much. So, yes, I also thought I was some freak with super weird problems but recently my bofriend said something like "you know you have trichotillomania, don't you?" and I was all "whaaa?" and got myself on google, but all I could really find was centred around scalp hair and I still felt like I was significantly abnormal in my behaviours. Obviously I know pulling out my pubic hair and mutilating the skin is clearly a sign of something not being right with me, and when I get to the end of the waiting list for therapy then I guess I'll have to bring it up at some point.

 

I usually spend 30 mins to 2 hours plucking hairs - it depends how long the interval between sessions is, as I like to pluck all of the regrowth away. I feel especially satisfied when there is a little blob on the end of the hair, when the entire contents of the follicle comes out. I recently learned that this includes a teeny tiny muscle responsible for making hairs stand up when you get goosebumps... slightly creeped out by this but also the fascinated-with-gross-things part of me is totally loving it. I also squeeze the hairs out when they are not ready and enjoy unpicking ingrown hairs with a pin before i pluck them. I do not eat any of this stuff, i sometimes am civilised enough to drop all the hairs on a tissue but normally they end up on the floor. If my boyfriend knew it would drive his OCD mad, so I make sure he sees me using a tissue if I'm doing it when he's around - oh yeah, I will totally do it if he's in the room, because I HAVE NO SHAME. also he doesn't judge me because he's got mental too.

 

So, there's some TMI to add to this personal, and rather private, area of discussion.

 

Sorry if this doesn't read very well, it is almost 4am and I am very sleepy. xxx

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I have been hair pulling my pubic region for 33 years and I do feel it stimulates sexual desire for me. I'm not sure why but it does.

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Chipping in to say that you're definitely not alone, I have pretty much the same problem down to the specifics like the leg thing - it doesn't help that I have atopic dermatitis/eczema so my skin is already on the dry and rough side and lends itself naturally to ingrown hairs. In general, I've got huge issues with skin in general, and a phobia of all things that... mess with the integrity of skin, one could summarise: injections, syringes, tattoos, IVs, anything that penetrates the skin barrier freaks me out. I'm also a huge neat freak (though not OCD levels as far as I can tell, I don't feel the need to wash/whatever when it isn't rational to do so.) You'd think this obsession with skin integrity would make me leave it alone, but no; instead I'm ridiculously sensitive to anything I perceive as irregularities with the skin, even if I know it's irrational. Short hair where I can see the follicle through the skin drives me crazy, ingrown hairs especially so, it looks like I have worms under my skin and I just need to get them out. And now it's slipped into a vicious cycle because the disruption of the skin has caused a lot more ingrown hairs and general bumpiness and itchiness, which I'm even MORE compelled to pick at. And like with you, it's not sexual but just immensely satisfying, like the satisfaction of removing a splinter and feeling like you removed something unpleasant and foreign from your body. I guess something in my brain went haywire and is miscategorising my own hairs as foreign objects.

 

I've noticed that when I'm really busy or when I'm travelling (and dont' take my tweezers with me) I can not do it at all for days or weeks at a time. I had a relapse today that really frustrates me now so I threw out my tweezers. Hopefully it'll help. Before I bought tweezers, I'd use my nails and ruin them, but as I keep my nails really short (see eczema point), it's uncomfortable and painful  so it should help put me off.

 

If it makes anyone else feel better, this sort of compulsion is by nature likely a by-product of our brains' complexity and capacity for complex behaviour, a behaviour that makes sense in some contexts (or has the potential to make sense, i.e. is an example of natural variation) being misapplied. It's pointless to feel shame or self-hatred over this - our bodies are what they are, and our behaviour is driven by the way they're wired. As conscious, thinking beings, we don't need to resign ourselves to it - we can try to outrick our own habits, like by circumventing the behaviour or making it more difficult - we can do what we can to minimise it. I don't know, I just feel it's easier to see it not as something *I*, personally, failed in, but as my body working against me instead of with  me in this specific instance.

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Not proud to admit it but I do it too. It's the same feeling for me, it's satisfying, a release almost. I relate in that other places are not as enjoyable to pluck from.

I used to pluck other places but I stopped. And I guess I just moved down to that area. I don't feel a need to quit because I'm not walking around nude or whatever. Like you I just end up doing it in the shower by myself so it's not like anyone else knows.

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I shamefully admit to this as well, I pull hairs on my arms and on my stomach/'happy trail', its an awful scabby mess. But like I feel compelled to pull those hairs that are just slightly darker then the rest. I don't really set out to do the same thing with my eyebrows but if I am doing them(or really looking anywhere on my face in a mirror) If i set out to get a hair that just wont come out, I cant settle for not getting it. I get so anxious and I dig at my face to get hairs, Ive made myself bleed by my eyebrows and chin getting hairs that my brain deemed unworthy of sitting upon my face but are fighting me to be removed. I really wish I didn't do this. 

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