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Excoriation Disorder

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What is excoriation disorder?

  • Excoriation disorder consists of repeated damage to your skin by picking, scratching, or peeling your skin. The face, arms, or hands are the most common areas where picking occurs. This behavior continues even after repeated attempts to decrease or stop skin picking. There may be triggers that make it hard for you to control the picking or scratching. You may find it difficult to deal with stress and feel pleasure, relief, or decreased anxiety while picking.
  • You may pick at your skin without being aware that you are picking. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed after causing damage to your skin. You may not attend social gatherings or may miss work because of the damage to your skin. Excoriation disorder can lead to skin and blood infections. You may need corrective surgery or skin grafts to fix the damage to your skin.

How is excoriation disorder treated?

  • Behavior therapy may be done to help you be more aware of your skin picking. It will help break patterns that cause you to pick. Therapy will help you identify your triggers and develop other responses to replace your skin picking. You will also learn to replace negative thoughts that cause you to pick. Therapy can help decrease the amount of time spent picking at your skin.
  • A dermatologist will evaluate your skin for conditions that may be causing your skin picking. He or she will check for conditions that may make your skin picking worse. He or she will also check for and treat skin infections.
  • Medicines may be used to treat underlying conditions and decrease your urges to pick at your skin.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as often as directed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Excoriation Disorder

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.