What is it?

Excoriation disorder (chronic skin picking, dermatillomania) is a mental disorder related to obsessive compulsive disorder and is characterized by repeated picking of the skin. It is usually chronic and the people who have it tend to pick normal skin and also some minor skin irregularities. These people spend many hours of the day picking and it causes them significant distress. It is seen in all ages and genders, but typically starts during adolescence and more common in women.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Excoriation
- Skin picking
- Dermatophagia

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms include recurrent skin picking (rubbing, scratching) resulting in lesions, repeated attempts to stop the behavior, feeling ashamed of the appearance of the skin and inability to control the behavior.


Diagnosis is based upon medical interview and physical examination. After ruling out medical conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, the diagnosis will probably be made by a mental health professional.


Treatment includes therapy and medications such as SSRIs.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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