Sharing you story allows you to:

  • Take control back from this controlling disorder
  • Lessen the stigma that this is merely a bad habit
  • Find & relate to others suffering with this as well
  • Challenge what society perceives as 'Bad Skin'
  • Advocate a mental illness in much need of attention

*CONTENT WARNING: Some images below may include blood, open wounds


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"I’ve been picking at my lips for as long as I can remember. I pick until my lips bleed and there are scars and wounds all over them. My mom and friends remind me all the time of how disgusting it looks and it makes me even more insecure. I’ve recently started picking at the side of my nails and face as well. I pick at most scabs I have too. A lot of times this distracts me from class and my grades have been dropping. I’m so happy I found #pickingme and I’m not alone!" -Ava

"I have picked at my skin for as long as I can remember. It started with dry skin on my hands and fingers, and my fingernails and toenails. As I got older I’d dig in my mom’s makeup bags to find scissors, cuticle cutters, nail clippers, files, tweezers, and anything else I could use to pick at my hands, feet, and legs; accumulating piles of skin and nails around me on my bed for hours. It wasn’t until the past few years that I began to focus on my face. I will spend up to six hours a day picking (including my chest, shoulders, and legs), until I am bleeding, raw, aching, and so dizzy I’m afraid I’ll pass out. I lose sleep over it. Sometimes I’m late to work because I have to pick my face. I feel so out of control, and that scares me because ultimately I am the only one who can stop me from hurting myself. It has gotten progressively worse but I think my lowest point was using a sharp blackhead extractor to slice my skin in an attempt to remove a small cyst next to my ear; something that would leave a giant ugly scab and eventually a scar. It was around that time that I was encouraged by a loved one to bring it to the attention of my therapist and psychiatrist (who are treating me primarily for bipolar disorder). So far, increasing the dose of my SSRI has not helped the picking. One thing that has helped me reframe my thinking is the understanding that when I pick, I fall into a sort of trance in which I detach from my physical self, subconsciously seeing my skin as an object to be manipulated. So I have to remain present enough to associate my skin with me. When I do that, I can love it. One definition of love is a verb: to will the good of the other. It’s not a feeling or an assessment, but rather a set of behaviors that cause “good.” So I will say to myself “I am going to love my skin,” and choose to do things to it that are good. I treat it like a parent would treat a child: I clean it, I soothe it, I tend to its wounds, I am gentle with it, I put it to bed with the promise that it will heal. I hope one day I can instead promise it that I’ll never hurt it again." -Rachel, 26, PA

"I am a compulsive skin picker, have been since I was 8. I peel my thumbs, which have in turn led to me peeling almost my entire hands, and Im fond of my heels as well. I do use meth, so occasionally the fresh spots on my skin are from that. But most of the time they are not. I hate scabs, I just love picking. My body is covered in spots, so I never go swimming anymore or anything that requires little clothing. I am not sexually active, never have been so that is not a concern. I do hate missing family things because of my skin, also I'm pretty reclusive too. Some of the reason why is my skin, other reasons include mental health problems and such. Fortunately I have no had any infections, and occasionally I have open wounds on my body for weeks at a time. Lucky I have not got infection, although I wish I would get one that would kill me. I mean that. So skin picking seems to be the least of my issues. It sucks though. Although I get a rush whenever I removed a large piece of skin from either my hands or feet. I have in the past pulled pieces off my feet as big as my heel in one piece." -Anonymous

"I’ve been picking my legs since I know myself as a person. Due to bad allergies caused by mosquitoes bites, picking the scabs of them was something that always followed me as a person. I thought it was normal, but, when I started to grow up, I became ashamed of it because people would notice and always ask why I have so many scars and sores in my legs. I have been called “crazy”, and shrinks told me that I should only use repellent for this problem to stop. I would only know about the word “skin picking” when I reached the age of 18. Although I am mentally and physically taking care of it right now, knowing that there’s no cure sometimes makes me unmotivated to stop picking, thinking “what’s the point?”. But I carry on because I know that dealing with it with the necessary help will make my life a little bit easier." -Mariana, 19, Taquara, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

"It recently dawned on me I've now been picking my skin for over 50% of my life. It started at age 14 when I started squeezing a couple of teenage spots on my forehead, but this soon escalated and, at my worst, I was spending four hours a day picking at every pore on my face in the bathroom of our University student house, until my skin was so raw and bleeding that I had to miss lectures because no makeup could cover the damage I'd done.

However, as I write this at age 28 (29 in <2 months time), I can see myself in my bedroom mirror and admire the soft, milky complexion of woman looking back at me. Yes, still have marks abrasions (in fact, this morning was probably one worst picking episodes I've had a while), but focus is now on untouched skin between sores, consequently, how proud am far come journey.

Although I am not 'cured' of my Dermatillomania, there have been changes I've made over the last few years which have really helped, which I wanted to share. I truly believe this is a mental illness, not a "habit" you can "just stop", and I feel my experience proves this and can help other people.

Firstly, 'fidget' solutions have never worked for me. However, I do believe you need a short-term fix as a stop gap to tackling the longer-term, underlying psychological issue of Dermatillomania. For me (who picks exclusively on my face and chest), investment in good quality makeup and skin care has been my go-to short-term solution. Using a face mask after picking and putting on a good concealer LITERALLY creates a barrier between my skin and my hands. If you make the skin care/makeup application process enjoyable as well, you're less inclined to want to 'ruin' your good work. Other things that helped short-term were getting acrylic nails (this made picking too difficult for a period), ensuring I was in a dimly lit room for removing my makeup at the end of the day, or asking my partner to stay in the room with me so he can break my Dermatillomania 'trance' on days I was particularly struggling and unable to do this myself.

The biggest change for me though, was tackling the long-term psychological issues that have, over time, resulted in my skin picking disorder. Some of these things were as silly as my mild phobia of Vaseline (which stemmed from watching a boy rub grease on his face when I was 5 years old eating my school dinner!), but others were far more sinister and took a while to uncover e.g. mother issues, experiences of public humiliation during my teens and, the worst, acknowledging that I was a victim of a sexual assault in my first year of University. All of these events in my life were what brought me to where I was during my worst phase of Dermatillomania. However, it wasn't the events themselves that had 'created' the insatiable skin picking monster within me - it was my mental inability to acknowledge and cope with these traumas at the time they arose. This meant (almost poetically!) that although I had unhealed EMOTIONAL wounds, my only coping strategy was to pick at my PHYSICAL ones.

Of course, I didn't come to this light bulb moment on my own. It took over 12 months of therapy sessions which obviously comes at an expense. However, I can truthfully say I would spend that money ten times over if I knew when I started I would feel the way I do now. Learning to develop self-awareness has allowed me to become in tune with my picking triggers (e.g. anxiety, stress, desire to 'please' everyone, perfectionism) and, the majority of the time, I can now stop them in their tracks. Knowing how to confidently open up to people about how I feel in the moment (rather than burying my emotions and resorting to self-harm) is so cathartic, I am often left with no desire to pick my skin at all.

Now don't get me wrong, I am by no means 'cured'. And truthfully, I don't think I ever will be. I still pick my skin almost daily and it still p*sses me off when I'm told "you know picking your skin just makes it worse"? (oH wOw I wiSh SoMeOnE tOlD mE tHaT 15 yEaRs AgO!!). But my picking is now limited to around 10 minutes a day max, I can go makeup free in front of my partner without feeling embarrassed and I can re-activate my brain during a picking session to snap myself out of the trance. I think that's something to be god damn proud of. And whilst my skin certainly isn't my best feature, is it really what my friends look at when I'm making them spit wine out their noses with my wicked sense of humour or stay on the phone to them until the early hours of the morning when they're going through a hard time? Is it really what my colleagues see when I stay late after work to help them meet a deadline on a job I'm not even working on? Is it really what my partner will see when I give birth to our first baby in two weeks time?

No. They don't see my skin, they see me. And after 15 years of trying, that is what I now see too."
-Katy, 28, United Kingdom

"I am a chronic skin picker.. I pick my scalp until it gets sores." More picking". I also pick my fingers until they bleed..its very embarrassing. But i cant seem to quit.. I'm in need of help n have no clue where to start.. I started years ago then stopped. But the last 2 years I'm a picking fool.." -Anonymous

"I’ve been struggling for years with Dermatillomania. I’m getting really tired of being told “oh just stop” “I won’t let you do this until you stop picking.” My therapist doesn’t want to diagnose me with it. Despite the struggle I’ve dedicated a lot of time into working on it, and I am making progress. However between school and already struggling with g.a.d. and d.m.d.d. and depression it is very difficult . My face, back, and chest has been the absolute worst and my legs are getting really bad but I’m really trying my best. I caught myself picking while trying to write this. People can be very mean sometimes too. Kids have asked me if I do drugs and called me pepperoni and Hawaii because of how bad it got last year. I come from a dysfunctional family of mentally challenged people but I will always try my best, that’s my story for now!" -Anonymous

"When I was in middle school and started shaving my legs, I would get ingrown hairs, I remember picking and picking at them until I had created holes in my legs. In my later years of middle school and all through high school I have picked my skin. Over time it got worse. It started with my legs, and it became me picking at my face, back, chest, and anything else. Sometimes I didn’t even realize that my hand had moved to my face. I didn’t get a diagnosis for my condition until junior year when my psychiatrist noticed the scabs on my legs. After examining my legs and my face, he told me that I had Excoriation disorder aka skin picking disorder. I was glad to know there was an official name for it and that I wasn’t alone. I had always been ashamed of my “habit”. People would always stare at me when I would pick, or stare at the lesions I left on my face after a bad picking spell. In middle school and high school people would often ask me the question: “what’s wrong with your face?”. Now, after being diagnosed, I have better resources. Such as an online community of people who are like me and understand my disorder, I have fidget toys to distract my hands, and I have medications to help control my anxiety and heal my skin." -Caroline, 17, Durham, NC

"Oh boy. I hesitate telling it.
I mainly pick at my scalp. I have one on the top of my scalp where it's hard to hide it. Why there? Who knows.
My oldest sister is a skin picker, my dad was a skin picker.
I once brought it up to my mom about my scalp and her reply was, " that's not you, that's your sister".
This thing is so embarrassing. Its good that I finally have a place to talk about it.
Anyways I have a scar the top of my head right in the middle about the size of a half dollar some of it has hair growing back in but a significant part is still going to be bald. I have been picking at this thing for at least 30 years off and on and picking on my scalp in general about 50 years. I'm surprised it hasn't gotten infected yet. I hope this group can help."
-66, Minnesota

 

"I began picking at my scabs at a very young age. I was diagnosed with cellulitis when I was seven, which left me with itchy painful blisters on my forehead. As the blisters turned into scabs, I couldn't stop picking at them. Something that should have cleared up in two months, took a year and a half. As I got older, the scab picking never stopped. I'm 19 now, and I catch myself picking at my arms and face more than ever. I have a huge scab on my chin that has been present for almost two years now. My arms are riddled in red bumps, scabs, and scars. My forehead and scalp has been picked raw. The last few weeks, I started writing and drawing more in an attempt to keep my fingers busy and it has been helping significantly. Hopefully soon, I will have a 100% effective and healthy coping strategy to keep myself from picking at my own skin." -Anonymous

"This is me, going to extremes to keep myself from compulsively picking at my skin. I've been picking my face since I was about 14 years old. I do it without thinking and it's caused me to cancel plans and be embarrassed to leave the house. Up until recently I hadn't picked for a good few months but things change. Stress. Fast forward to now, as embarrassing as it can be, this is my reality. Just waiting to see my scars disappear. I've got hope though and you should too!" -Adlih, 22, Pennsylvania, @inretrograde

"Hi I'm SALS (AKA my initials) and I'm 9 years old. I started when I was 7 years old. I started when I was in Syracuse, New York. I have suffered for 2 years and 3 months. I've went to so many doctors and they helped a little with my picking. I also have OCD. I have went through so many fidgets. My mom found this online and when she showed me it I got so excited. I believe that this can/will change my life." -SALS, 9, Pennsylvania

"I want to share an anecdote of something that happened to me regarding dealing with professionals who work with skin/hair/nails. I am in school for cosmetology, which focuses on doing hair. In the hair coloring unit, my classmate was preparing to bleach my roots, when our teacher came over and did a hair and scalp analysis on me. She noticed the abrasions on my scalp from picking and told us we couldn't bleach my hair due to the open abrasions. I knew she was right, but that didn't make it less humiliating. She was nice about it though and spoke to me quietly about it. I was mostly surprised because no salon has ever turned me away for having scalp abrasions, but technically they should. I was upset for the day. But I've moved past it. I'm trying to use fidget toys so that I don't "scan" my scalp or face with a free hand while I'm driving home from school. But pimples and acne are a huge trigger and I basically cant leave them alone. Anyway, there's no real point here other than that -- you kind of have to accept that you have this disorder and manage any ways you can. I literally have my partner "babysit" me during my prime picking time (when I'm doing my PM facial routine) because otherwise I'll get lost in the mirror. I cant describe the urge to pick that overcomes me once I take out my contact lenses (no contacts/glasses = better close up vision). It feels automatic. Like its the next logical step in the routine. I must break the routine!" -@neonboyfriend

"#Diaryofaskinpicker So I took pictures and made a video on Friday evening whilst I waited for my friend to pick me up. It’s strange how I take pictures when my skin is having a bad time. When I got home from work I was debating if I should get ready ready or not in the end I didn’t I couldn’t be bothered also my skin was stinging from where I had been picking it during the day it was super SUPER sore. I don’t suffer from acne I literally create damage to untouched fine skin it gets SO BAD till it gets better. On a brighter not from last time I posted about how I have dry skin I have got a lot better with my daily skin routine morning & night. For those that didn’t know and are fast to say just don’t pick .. I do it in my sleep if my mind has been doing over time .. what you going to say then ? .... Save it because it doesn’t matter you wouldn’t understand & I genuinely don’t care lol but not everyone has that same attitude so let’s be mindful when it comes to them ‘you’re struggling again but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost the fight and just because you’ve hit rock bottom doesn’t mean you should call it home. You are a warrior this battle doesn’t even stand a chance'" -Sharon, @sharon.vaccianna

"I was betrayed and lied to and I stayed up and my beauty spot on my cheekbone got picked off. I had a pajama full of blood.. Then the rest of my face and I punched my arms and hips because I couldn't control the situation presented before me.. Despite talking about it and being promised many things. I'm very scared of your reaction but i offer it in the hope if understanding and education. Xx" -Christina, @the_classic_biyatch, Australia

"My picking disorder is not as visible as most. And, really, my body focused repetitive acts didn't start as harmful, necessarily. As an older toddler I have a picture of myself in kindergarten where my hand is up under my chin. Though it's not obvious in the picture, I know exactly what I'm doing. I'm rolling the skin of my neck between my fingers. I like the sensation on my finger tips and nails. I can't really explain it. I'll be doing it when I don't even realize it.

The next "habit" was around the same time. I chew my tongue. I am obsessive about it. I'll even do it while I'm talking. It also creates a satisfying popping sensation in my jaw. And on bad days my tongue aches.

Then came foot picking. Mom played a big roll in this because she is also a picker. I also have developed permanent scars? texture changes? on the inside of both of my thumbs because of my repeatedly scraping my nails against them during the most stressful of times. Or just when I'm bored.

All of this slowly grew in severity. I picked my fingers, the corners of my eyes when they had sleep, the inside of my ears until they bled. But ultimately the most disturbing development has been picking my scalp. Again, my picking spots are well hidden and rarely picked to danger. But it wasn't until I started picking my scalp that I started collecting the flakes on a black surface, delighting at the sound of them hitting whatever it was made of. Plastic. Cardboard. Paper. The sound and seeing the biggest of them collected like that over time pleased me. And disgusted me.

(At some point I was also picking and collecting the dirt on the inside of my toe nails. But it was short lived in my picking history.)

I have felt so alone and disgusted with myself about my disorder. Even when I talk to my therapist I feel disgusting. Though this last therapy session was all about not feeling guilty. That, yes, these coping techniques are flawed, but when going through a stressful time (as I currently am) they are just part of it. And to focus on finding things to replace the actions of my fingers.

But finding replacements is so hard and often just makes me want to pick more. I am at a impasse where I don't really know how to rid myself of my actions. Because part of me is pleased and satisfied with my picking sessions. I love them. And part of me is disgusted and disappointed in myself every time.

(Right this moment I'm rolling the skin of my neck in anxiety at writing this all out.)

I'm eternally gratefully for this group. I'd love to have an online forum as I'm so far out from Chicago and the events that go on there. It's such a relief to not be a weirdo or disgusting, to have people who understand and won't immediately recoil.

Working quite hard to pick me over my picking disorder but also giving myself a break when I "fail"." -Green, 35, Knoxville TN

"This is me getting ready in the almost completely dark bathroom to help control the intense urge to pick at my face and scalp. I have struggled with obsessive picking since I was a young child. My earliest memory is being at school on the playground and a friend of mine asking about why my scalp was covered in bloody scabs. I was mortified. I lived for many years feeling embarrassed about my inability to control my urge to pick. I was frustrated at my lack of dedication to stop picking and I was ashamed at my outward appearance due to my picking. Finding out that I was not alone in this struggle was the most comforting and hopeful thing. Thank you for creating this wonderful community! I wanted to share this quick tip that I very recently discovered to help me control the urges. My worst picking time is before bed while I wash my face, etc. If I get ready for bed with only the hall light on, I can see what I’m doing, but not enough to be urged to pick because I can’t see the fine details of my face. This trick has been wonderful for me! It doesn’t always work, sometimes I give in and flick the light on and pick away, but it definitely has resulted in less hours spent picking!" -Amanda, 25, Saskatchewan, Canada

"I am currently healing from a relapse. Relapses may feel like a downfall each time. It can make you feel weak, disappointed, frustrated, angry, depressed, full of shame and guilt. It really puts your strength, courage, self love, self acceptance and compassion through a test. In this photo, I am choosing self love, acceptance and compassion over skin picking. I am more than these scars, than this illness, than these relapses and more than this pain. I am whole with or without it, but I am who I am because of what it has taught me and where it has taken me. I choose this journey as a guide. I am choosing to befriend it and to be gentle with it because we didn't choose each other, life chose us for a reason. We will say goodbye when it is time to part ways but for now my illness and I are together until we are both ready to let go from each other." -@amourdivina

 

"I can recall memories of picking going as far back as preschool. It started with just my fingers and nails, something that currently remains very severe. I bit off the skin of my fingers, as well as my cuticles, and ripped off my fingernails to where they would bleed and sometimes get infected. It then progressed to picking my mom’s scalp. Deep down, I feel that my mother allowed this because it took my focus off of me picking myself. I would sit there for an hour straight just running my fingers through her hair, searching for any scabs or dandruff to pry. I eventually stopped with my picking at her head when I was in the sixth grade. In the fifth grade I started picking at my face. Back then, I always thought it was because of me having “bad acne”. Looking back, I realize that is not true; I see that I had typical acne of anybody that age, but the only difference was that I had scabs and scars from prying my pores. I hate having to look back at pictures and see good memories, but a “bad face”. In the summer after sixth grade, during an intense picking session while being locked in my bathroom, I saw in the mirror that I had something in my throat; I had tonsil stones. I stuck my whole hand in my mouth trying to get out whatever that thing was. In the seventh grade, I had to get my tonsils removed. By eighth grade, I was still picking at my face; but I discovered that makeup can make me feel better when at school so that I can be confident in public. And I was still picking at my fingers to the point where tender / raw skin was present on multiple fingers at a time. By the end of eighth grade I was diagnosed with ADHD, depression, and anxiety. A year later, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder was piled onto that. Shortly after, I dropped out of high school, and my picking got 10x worse. Between then and now, my picking is consistent and it seems that I cannot get better. I have marks all over me like my arms, my chest, my legs, my back. Some weeks are better than others, where one week I could only have one major picking session, and another I could waste hours on end in the mirror just going at it every day. Seeing how other people go through this too made me feel relief because now I know that I’m not the only one who faces a struggle like this. Barely anybody that I know knows of this, and sometimes if I bother opening up to them about it, they make it seem weird and it makes me uneasy. I am going on a cruise to the Bahamas in a month with my family and I’m desperately trying to figure out a way to stop myself quickly. I am looking forward to the day where I can live like how I should be living." -Angelina, 17

"Hi there. Only a handful of my closest people know about how I’m suffering with Dermatillomania. I just got diagnosed a couple weeks ago. It was devastating, I always thought it was just a bad habit. But after separating from my emotionally abusive husband the picking got out of control. I am very mentally sick right now. Every minute of the day is a struggle. But I’m taking all rights steps to getting better. I’m so thankful that I can share my story." -Anonymous

"It’s time I openly talk about something. I compulsively pick at my skin. It’s something I’ve been struggling with since I was around 15/16. I’ve never had acne but skin picking has caused me to have breakouts, infections and scars. I DO NOT DO DRUGS. That’s a common misconception for people like me. Having done a lot of research, I show signs/symptoms of Dermatillomania/Excoriation. This is basically a chronic skin picking (mental) disorder closely related to OCD. I’ve talked to doctors and therapists. They labeled my condition under anxiety. I understand it’s gross, unattractive, ugly etc. I'm embarrassed, ashamed and even disgusted by this. Unfortunately, I can’t help it. These photos were taken a month or two after I was sexually assaulted by an older man who I had trusted. You can see the scabs and sores. You can even see how affected I was by the traumatic experience. The discoloration of my skin. How unhealthy and exhausted I looked. This is the reality of the extent of my mental illnesses. I haven’t picked nearly this bad, but these past few days have been hell for me. So, I do have new scabs and scars on my face and arms. I'm ashamed. I shared this in hopes to raise awareness on mental illness. I’ve had a couple of customers at work ask if I do meth. Of course I don’t. Think before you speak." -DanaBana, 19, NY, @danabanawho

"After working in the tanning salon my second year of college and previously having mono, strep throat, and scabies (skin lice) (which I contracted sexually and was very traumatizing) I got extremely ill vomiting all day with the deadly MRSA virus. I looked like something out of a horror movie, and after being misdiagnosed for a while I became so mentally and physically sick that I lost 32 pounds. I'm 5'7 and weighed 102 pounds at my lowest which is slim for me. (I previously had/have an eating disorder) so my weight changes sometimes.
This illness made me not only physically ill, but also mentally, I've never struggled with skin picking before but now I pick and pluck my body hair out all day long and I'm obsessed with popping my pores. I feel trapped and hopeless and embarrassed with these repetitive, anxious rituals I torture myself with all day."
-Anonymous

"'Do you remember the first time you did it? Yes... I suppose it was at the end of high school, I was 19 at the time. I was studying a lot for the exams during that summer. I started picking because it was stress-relieving. Kind of.'"
-
Hi. My name is Federica, 23 years old.
People say I am beautiful. I do not believe that. Beautiful people do not have scars on their faces. Nor bruises. Nor holes. Nor blood. So why are you all lying to me? I look in the mirror. I know I could stop. But I just don't. No one likes me. I talk to people while they stare at my face. My cheeks are sore and red. My skin is not healthy. I suffer from anxiety. Anxiety causes me physical pain. Sometimes I wake up and I feel like someone has been sitting on my chest all night long. But no one really did. I feel dizzy all the time. It is just too difficult for me to carry on all this by myself. Please take care."
-Federica, 23, Italy

 

"I have struggled with picking since 5th grade and am currently a junior in high school. I am currently suffering from an episode. When I first started my main focus was my face and picked to the point where teachers at my elementary school would ask me what happened and I would say I scratched my face in my sleep when in reality I was 10 and sitting in front of the mirror picking at my face for a number of hours. After awhile I turned away from picking at my face so harshly and began picking at my arms, shoulders, and back which are still the main places I pick today(I also pick at my underarms, chest, and neck.). In middle school and the beginning of high school I would wear heavy jackets/sweatshirts (In Florida heat.) to avoid people seeing my scars, wounds, and scabs. It was also the first attempt I had made to stop picking, but I would absentmindedly put my hand through the head hole and pick anyways or I would go home and lock myself in the bathroom and pick for hours. Now days I don't wear the jackets and sweatshirts anymore since it never made me stop and I was bullied for my scars and marked anyways. A lot of times I will catch myself picking the scabs off my arms, back, or face or squeezing harshly at a blemish or peeling skin off my face. I often feel embarrassed because of this and find excuses for my behavior. I have tried to not let it effect my social life, but I still find myself being self conscious and being afraid to go out and do things with my friends (Like going to the beach, going swimming, or wearing dresses.). I am currently fretting about homecoming (the first year I am going.) because I want, more than anything, to wear an off the shoulder dress or even a normal short sleeved dress, but feel my body, scars, and wounds will make me ugly and get negative attention. My mother and father, while being unbelievably supportive of me, believe this is a habit that I can just simply stop if I wanted and I more then want, but I have attempted to stop a number of times and while I can stop for a few hours or sometimes a day it results in an episode where I pick more than usual and leave deeper and larger wounds. I have a tangle therapy that I bought around last year and stopped using because it never helped. I am desperate again so I found the tangle again and researched why I do these things and found this website. What you are doing is amazing and I can only hope that I can get some guidance and possibly help others in some way. Thank you for helping people." -Parker, 16, FL

I just found this organization as well as a name for my disorder. I thought I was the only one who did this. It started when I was in my late teens. I have scars all over my arms and on my upper thighs, luckily my face hasn't scarred, from doing this. There are times I won't even realize I'm doing it. I have been accused of being on drugs by my loved ones more times than I can count. I am so happy to know there's a name for this and that it's not just me. Now I can educate myself and others about this disorder. Thank you for creating this organization. -Amy, 38, Houston, TX

"It started when I was in highschool, every blemish sore acne spot, I dug at to the point my fingers were bloody. It wasn't until I was an adult 7mo ago that found out what this was called at the same time I was diagnosed bipolar OCD, ADD PTSD. It all made sense. It's hard, not leaving the house due to looking like a drug addict people staring etc. I would cover with makeup only to pick thru it. Learning to control my stress and anxiety isn't easy. I found others that suffer like myself and found I'm not alone." -Shannon, Buckeye AZ

"I’ve suffered with obsessive skin picking for 21 years. It never gets easier, but what does get easier is how it controls you. It took me a long time to accept myself with this flaw, as well as trichotillomania, but I can finally say I do now. I’m talking about it more, and it definitely helps." -Julie, 32, UK

"It’s so hard to get people to understand how their stares/words hurt you. I remember being a little kid and having multiple family members try and scare me out of picking. When that didn’t work they would apply things like hot sauce to my fingers as to repel me. When that failed they began to shame me for doing it. As if that wasn’t hard enough, I would get treated differently by friends at school. One of my friend’s moms used to tell me an old horror story about a guy that used to pick at his fingers until he consumed himself. I couldn’t get away from it no matter where I turned. Now being older, I still deal with this all the time. I’ve had partners slap my arm and tell me to stop. Friends across the room will hear me and say, “Can you stop doing that?” I’m finally starting to get help for this and I hope more people become aware of Dermatillomania as a condition. I know most of the people who have hurt me have done it not realizing. They only wanted to help me. I need everyone to know that I have days worse than others and the best way to support me is by a loving silence. Thank you @laurenmckeaney for sharing your story and thanks @pickingmefdn for spreading continuous awareness." -J-Me Bates, @jmejewels13

"I remember scratching my skin in primary school. I was holding paper against my wounds while being in the toilet until they would stop bleeding, otherwise my mom would notice it and be angry again. I remember how embarrassing it was to put my clothes to the laundry while my mom was there, knowing how many bloodstains there was. I remember that friend of my parents whom I have never liked. She asked me how I would be able to undress in front of a man. I remember all the dermatologists and psychologists, and even one psychiatrist shrugging their shoulders, not knowing how they could help me. Until I met one dermatologist, who was not afraid to treat me with isotretinoin. She was the first person to say "your problem is not the worst one I have seen. We will handle this and heal you". I still pick on my skin. Even today. But my acne is gone, it worked and I pick much less. I don't remember when was the last time I spent an hour or more as if in hypnosis, picking and scratching. Acne is gone and I have almost nothing to pick on. I believe it is possible to stop this madness. I haven't given up yet. Not going to." -@diarywithscars

"I had stopped biting my nails for 3.5 years and begun again recently. I have only been able to stop picking for a couple weeks max. Fingers are my biggest target I find my fingers scanning for those imperfections. My lips and any places on my legs like mosquito bites are secondary and my feet get a lot of attention. I find I pick more when I’m tired or bored so I try to keep busy. I’ve tried all sorts of fidget gadgets and putty. Sometimes it helps sometimes it doesn’t. It helps to know there is this community. To know I’m not alone. I know I shouldn’t but sometimes just can’t pull away. I am not my skin picking. I’m #PickingMe over #SkinPicking because more freedom to love on my puppers !" -Tiffany, @forevermrsegg

“‘Skin Picking Disorder, also known as Excoriation Disorder or Dermatillomania is a psychological condition where a sufferer is unable to stop themselves carrying out a particular action.’ 

Whenever I go out I cover up my face with makeup. I feel ashamed, gross and ugly walking around with visible soars and scars after my picking. I've lost count of the number of times I have tried to stop this behaviour, failing everytime, so I probably need some kind of behavioural therapy to help me stop.

Because of this I never post any pictures of myself when I'm not wearing foundation, since I don't feel pretty enough. But this is how I look a big part of the time. Everything isn't always beautiful and perfect at all times, so why should I try to paint that picture for the rest of the world through social media?

This is a real disorder that needs attention. I was unaware of its existence even when I had it, and a lot of people still haven't heard of it. Hoping this will open someones eyes.

And btw, stop being so judgmental about the way people look. We struggle enough with ourselves, don't need to hear your shitty opinions too.” -@cizziline

“I have been struggling with Dermatillomania for almost 9 years now. Starting with my legs and arms, to my shoulders, and now my face. I use to spend hours covering every spot with make up before being able to step out of the house, but within the last two years I have found comfort in going natural. Having this condition has really opened my eyes to the amount of judgement and stigma there is around skin-picking. My main goal in life is to advocate for those with dermatillomania, because the first question when I meet someone shouldn't be ”What’s wrong with your face?” or ”Are you on meth?” I am more than my face, and I wish people would take the time to talk with me before making assumptions! ️I’m #PickingMe over #SkinPicking because I want people to meet me, not my condition.” -@lainehollis

“First picture is How it FEELS as I slide my fingers on my face. All the red dots feel like large imperfections that are noticeable to everyone. It FEELS that anyone who sees me can only see those imperfections and when I feel them I must remove them or others will see these imperfections. But in truth 2nd picture is not so bad. In reality those imperfections are actually normal textures that skin must have. Yes some are pimples and I recognize that at a certain time of the month my hormones must do something to my skin because it feels extra textured. Sometimes I somehow believe that my skin should feel like my baby’s skin, all smooth. That is ridiculous because i am not a baby. I am a woman who has been living a life for a while now and I have hormones, I have eaten junk food, I have sweated, I have slept with make up on. I am not perfect, and no one is perfect. But oh how I wish I had more control of this definitely. Today my anxiety lingers on my financial struggles and my commitment to not sending my kids to public school. I’m #PickingMe over #SkinPicking because I need to be fully present in my life and not in the daze that Skin Picking tends to bring.” -Laura, @misslori26

"I want to be as open an honest with my own story to not only have accountability for myself but that in doing so I inspire others to share there story as well. So much harm can come from social media but I say in the bad you can always find the good if you look hard enough. I have for the first time in my life found other people who's faces and legs are scared just like mine. It was an amazing experience to know that I wasn't alone in this war with obsessive skin picking. So little history on these photos they span over the last three years and really show the ebb and flow nature that Dermatillomania can have on your life. Some months you're good and some months you feel like the cycle you currently are stuck in will never break. You lose hours in the bathroom, I am not exaggerating hours. You start the process as a way to cope with anxiety and other mental health issues and while at first you find relief in the pain and void of digging away at almost nothing on your face, arms, legs , etc..then kicks in the self loathing and hatred for not being able to stop sooner, walk away, just be normal.

For me therapy and medication are the two major factors that have really turned things around for me this time. I know that under the care and support of my Dermatologist and Mental Health Therapist that I am finally being taught the tools and tactics to win this fight. Recovery is a process it doesn't happen overnight, be kind to yourself, be patient but most of all be persistent. You got this!

I'm #PickingMe over #SkinPicking because I am more than my scars, anxiety and mental illness combined." -Kendra, @kendra.lyn.denisio

"This is what (I think) they call progress. 1 week or really trying my best— acknowledging and ignoring my triggers, keeping my hands busy, and talking to people about how I’m doing (friends, family, on this Instagram too!) really helped. Am I perfect? No. Will I slip up again? Absolutely. But I have this amazing support group where people actually support and understand this #mentalillness. My compulsion to pick has decreased significantly after days of no picking & seeing real results... and because of these results, I had an amazing, carefree time in Chicago at Lollapalooza. I was able to enjoy myself and not be so consumed about my #skinpicking.

Thank you for everyone who sends me sweet messages. It really means a lot to me, even if I don’t reply. It’s comforting knowing you’re not alone. I don’t feel like such a freak, I have nothing to be ashamed of. This is just how I am" -Sarah, @mypickingjourney

"I struggled all day yesterday with this post. I wanted to post something to show that I had gotten my 90s movie tank in, and wanted to show it off and talk about it. After taking roughly two bajillion photos, and meticulously editing the scarring and lesions on my face out of it, I still hated all of them. Then I started thinking about some of my favorite 90s movies— Tommy Boy, that teaches you to just be yourself, or My Girl, that teaches you that life is short, so cherish the happy moments. So I’m done hating my skin. This is the face of a woman with obsessive compulsive disorder- one of my main tics is dermatillomania- that causes me to obsessively think about picking and scratching at my skin until I compulsively do it. It’s also the face of a mom, wife, daughter, friend, artist, musician, history buff, pop culture junkie, feminist, ocean conservation enthusiast..... and so many other things. In the words of one Johnny Depp circa Benny and Joon (1993) “except for being a little mentally ill, she’s pretty normal.” Here’s to awareness, and radical self-love" -Tessa Cates, @hopelessnostalgicdesign

"I wanted to share this photo of all the scars on my arm caused by picking. Most of my body is like this. It all started when my brother died in 2006 when a drunk driver knocked down 3 of us. I was left seriously injured and am now partially disabled. I tried counseling but I found that the only person who can help me, is me. It's still bad, but not as bad as I was." -Steve, @stevehblount60

"Dermatillomania is defined as “a mental illness related to OCD. It is characterized by repeated picking at one's own skin which results in skin lesions and causes significant disruption in one's life.” it’s something I don’t talk about often (especially here on instagram), mostly because I feel really ashamed about it, and because it isn’t pretty. • when people work towards raising awareness about mental illnesses + mental health, many tend to gravitate towards the ones that are (for lack of a better word) *easier* to talk about. ones that can be glamorized easily, because we like things that come in shiny, romantic packages. • my mental illnesses are not pretty, and although I do always try my best to describe my experiences in a way that’s truthful yet sensitive to others who suffer, this is the physical manifestation of what my anxiety does to me on the inside. • it’s been almost 5 months since I’ve stopped taking my birth control, and this is the most I’m willing to show you of what my natural skin currently looks like (yeah, there’s a filter here). coming off of the pill has made my acne return in ways that I haven’t seen since puberty, and it’s created a playground for my dermatillomania. • so here’s a reminder to myself (and whoever else needs this): this current struggle doesn’t make you less beautiful. your scars will heal as they always do. your anxiety will subside, and too shall pass. this doesn’t make you less of an artist. and most importantly, this struggle will never make you less loveable or loved. you are perfectly imperfect just as you are, and everything is going to be okay." -Mila, @astoldbymila

"Things Not to Say to People With #Dermatillomania - I think a big part of awareness of Dermatillomania is that it’s not something any of us want to do. Anything people can think of to not do it we have. You can’t fight an irrational behavior with rational solutions." -Chelsea Robinson, @sunpie989

"A preview of my most recent photography project. If you guys haven't heard me talk about it before or aren't aware, I suffer from Dermatilliomania. Dermatilliomania by definition is a "obsessive-compulsive and related disorder, the condition is characterized by the repetitive destruction of ones skin. while you cannot see every individual scar, in this photo I drew a red x over every visible scar on my arms and face. In the fall of last year I had 110+ scars and counting. of course this number has probably grown, but thankfully do to vitamin e treatments and support from my family, my scars have been becoming less and less visible by the month. If you are interested in learning more about Dermatilliomania or suffer from it yourself please go to pickingme.org or @pickingmefdn" -@gracieegirly

"So, I have been officially diagnosed with Dermatillomania. For those who don't know what it is, Dermatillomania is characterized by recurrent picking at one's own skin. It's a body-focused repetitive behavior, OCD-related. Which means I'm frequently picking at my fingers, my feet, and every kind of imperfections on my skin. Due to anxiety, due to impatience, or just because "I need to". Sometimes it gets better. Sometimes it gets worse. Idk why. And.. This excoriation disorder isn't very well known. When one of my wounds got infected recently, a doctor told me that he didn't have to treat it, because "this is a behavior thing". Thank you, dude! But I won't stop that easily??? Or else I wouldn't be doing it at all??? So pls help me??? Anyway. My t-shirt illustrate this disorder. I bought it as soon as it was released. Because, truly, this is my oldest disorder. I can't just make jokes about it every time, I want to bring awareness, too." -@eilwyred

"This is what Dermatillomania looks like...It’s a skin picking disorder. I only recently discovered that there is actually a name for this and that there are many others out there like me who also pick skin, pull hair, bite nails, and bite their lips and inside of their cheeks. It’s a REAL disorder that NEEDS more awareness! Let’s come out of hiding and promote awareness for #Dermatillomania" -@jstarling0327

"Dermatillomania is my coping mechanism. I was molested by my father as a young child which has allowed anxiety, depression, and self doubt to creep into my brain chemistry. I’m not gonna go any further into that part, but as a result I’m usually stuck in my head, overthinking and second-guessing every. little. thing. And while I’m in there, before I know it, my hands wander. I pick. I bleed. And I pick some more. My skin feels like it’s burning. I go into a state of trance, and I can be stuck there sometimes for hours. This has been something I’ve dealt with my whole life. But it got much worse when I left home for college in 2008. Showering takes me a really long time because I usually get distracted by my skin. I wear clothes to cover up from head to toe even on the hottest of days. I’m supposed to be a bridesmaid in September this year and I’m kinda nervous about what I’ll have to wear. However, last year I started a health and fitness journey because I was approaching almost 300 lbs and feeling seriously down on myself. All these little red spots on my body were just like 1000 cherries on top of a shit sundae. So I started exercising and feeding my body the right foods. I cut out gluten and dairy. I’ve been drinking a superfood shake that I SWEAR helps my skin and mental clarity. Since then, I’ve lost over 100 lbs and I’m now a health & fitness coach. My mindset is still a work in progress but it’s SO MUCH more of a positive space to exist in than ever before. For the first time, I feel like I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, however cliche that may be. I’m starting to branch out of my comfort zone and wear clothes that show more skin. I know picking will forever be apart of me. It’s a general grooming habit and everyone does it. So there’s no way of getting around it. But I’ve shown myself in losing weight that I can overcome anything. And I will definitely overcome this." -Cydney Straub, @cydney.straub

"Having to constantly inform people that I am not, in fact, a meth addict." -@v_raine

"The people close to me know how uncomfortable I am in front of a camera, mainly because of my skin, but I have taken this opportunity to fully step out of my comfort zone. For 6+ years I have suffered from an OCD that has controlled my life more than I like to admit. I have lived in shame and denial trying to hide the thing I hate most about myself, my skin. It's not easy to accept that I have a mental disorder, but I’ve realized that I need to fully embrace every part of me, even the parts I don’t like. I no longer want to live in fear of people staring or what they might think or say. 
Because of this disorder I have become so introverted. Choosing not to go out, not because I’d rather lay in bed and watch movies (which is partly true), but because I feel ugly and I can’t wear normal spaghetti strap dresses like other women. Having to find something that’s cute but covers the scars and scabs on my shoulders, chest, and arms. Feeling stupid because my outfit isn’t weather appropriate because I’m hiding under clothes. Worrying about people saying “girl aren’t you hot” or “why don’t you take that off” are the encounters I avoid. When people ask about my skin I lie and say it’s a condition, as if it were something I was born with and couldn’t control, because the truth that I do it to myself is too embarrassing and shameful, because I hate myself for it. 
Scared they won’t understand what an OCD is. 
Scared of the judgments and stigmas that might come with the truth. 
But it’s ok to be scared, be scared and do it anyway! 'These scars? 
They are my torment and my peace. 
They are the stories of my life.' - yarrow

I don’t wear tank tops, tube tops, or camisoles. I don’t go swimming; the courage to step out in a bathing suit is like climbing a mountain. I don’t do any activities that would require me to show more skin than I’m comfortable with. I almost didn’t go on my first spring break because of my skin. 
Summers are the worst for me. For years I have convinced myself that I don’t like summer because of the heat, when the truth is I can’t hide my skin like I can in the winter. I don’t buy a lot of summer clothes because most I’m not brave enough to wear. I tailor my shopping, fun, and entire life around hiding my skin. These are the thoughts and decisions I have lived with. Its exhausting and debilitating. 
Anxiety, stress, and boredom are my main triggers. I have picked for hours at a time, leaving behind bloody wounds. The scars and scabs have even interfered with me getting jobs. I’ve tried so many different solutions, including silly putty, stress balls, wearing gloves, cutting my fingernails etc. I pick holes in my skin that risk infection. Bleeding is a norm. It doesn’t even hurt anymore. The pain is actually soothing. It’s a compulsive addiction, a coping mechanism. It's an addiction I can never escape from. A change of environment like rehab can help drug addicts and alcoholics, but for me, the culprit is my own hands. Always there, always tempting me.The anger I feel after causes me to do it more. It’s an endless cycle. When I relapse I stay in bed all day, sad and feeling hideous. I dream of being a normal woman, wearing, buying, and doing whatever I want and having clear skin. 
These are the ugliest parts of my disorder. 
This is my truth 'We are so much more than our scars'

Excoriation disorder, Dermatillomania, Skin Picking, whatever you want to call it, I want to raise awareness about it. I am confident apart for my skin and the disorder, but now it’s time I be confident with it. Because there is nothing worse than hating the skin you're in. I can’t just love parts of me. I can’t expect anyone to love and accept all of me when I can’t love and accept all of myself. So now I’m on a mission. To share my story and not live in fear. To wear whatever I want and be ok with anyone asking questions. To not lie and hide my truth. To leave shame in the past. I will live with this for the rest of my life, but that’s ok with me now. I will love me anyway.

~So here is my testimony to you...~
You only get one life, so live it freely.
Free from fear
Free from shame
Free from self-doubt
Free from insecurities
The path to self love is not a gradual, increasing straight line, but a bumpy one with many hills and valleys.
Whatever you are going through, don’t run from it. Embrace it. Don’t let it control you. Take back your power. 
Be unapologetic and tell your truth, because you have nothing to lose and literally everything to gain!
If you want change you have to be willing to be uncomfortable. 
You are strong , you are capable, and most importantly you are worthy of happiness.
I hope that sharing my story inspires people to practice transparency and to fully commit to loving yourself.
'She conquered her demons and wore her scars like wings' -atticus"
-Taya, @_killakent

"I am soooo grateful to have found your site! I have been a picker since pre-teen days. It was and is so controlling my life.. It determines whether I even venture out the day after the event. Now its becoming constant. Thank you for your site, I have never told anyone about my compulsive picking and I'm sure people think I'm on drugs, I'm not and I'm so ashamed, because its something in me that's messed up. Thank you." -Cameron, 56, New Orleans

"It took two major deaths in my life to bring my ugly habit to light. As summer came around, my family would gasp and ask “What happened to your legs?!” And I didn’t really even know what to say. All I knew is after a stressful day at work, I’d find myself sitting on the shower floor with tweezers in my hand digging at any imperfections in my legs. After I saw the shocked response of my family, I only wore pants. Even in 90 degree weather. I was afraid to go swimming for fear of what people would say about my legs. It completely took over my life. After letting my therapist know, I am stating the healing process. I started to search Instagram for pictures about dermatillomania and finally saw legs like mine. I saw women in shorts with those little purple spots I had grown so used to. I hope someone can see my legs and feel the same way. You are not alone. Your legs don’t define you." -Anonymous

"M e n t a l h e a l t h a w a r e n e s s : I never post pictures of my face on instagram and there are a few reasons why. The main one is because Dermatillomania has affected me in a way that has left me pretty unsure with how I feel about my appearance. Mostly all that i have is self criticism. For years I have chosen to forego sharing pictures of happy moments because of my skin. I actually think people are straight up lying to my face if they compliment it. And I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t constantly biting my nails or picking ruthlessly at my skin. I sometimes sit on the bathroom counter until 2am, scraping into every pore until they bleed. I have scratched away at every bump and imperfection on my arms and legs. I fall asleep with ice packs on my face so that I wake up with less swelling. I’ve missed meetups with friends, fun parties and even stayed home from classes in college. I honestly would have gotten looks for the redness and welts and scabs I developed. The strange thing is that just by looking at me now, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell. My skin looks fine at the moment, thanks to a period of healing and dealing with the things that give me the urge to pick. But that is always subject to change. You would also think that picking at your skin would be something easy to control...but for me it isn’t. I have dealt with Dermatillomania since i was very young and I am not sure if i’ll ever be able to shake it. Maybe i will finally gain the confidence to speak to a professional about it. Right now, the only things that have helped me improve are the support from kevin and my family as well as /r/ compulsiveskinpicking on reddit. I honestly thought I was a weirdo my entire life until I read other stories on online forums and blogs. my main point here is that without sharing my experience and looking for a little help and support, things would have stayed the same. Please never think that everyone has it together 100%. We all struggle with things silently. Social media is especially toxic with all of its filters and carefully curated posts. Since it is mental health awareness month, I just wanted to share a little bit of my own struggle. No matter what you are going through, you aren’t alone. Do not be afraid to speak up. It is okay to struggle as long as you know that there are options and resources to help you find ways to feel better. As for me, I am going to try my best to take care of my face and I will no longer be afraid of posting pictures. I love myself too much for that." -Breanna Little @breedesu

"I want to be real with y’all for a second and kinda open up about something that has been an insecurity for me. Clearly I’m human and capable of flaws.. I have acne scars all over. I mostly wear makeup and cover my back and chest. I’ve learned how to present myself while still being concealed. Having anxiety and self-image issues almost all my life have manifested itself into Dermatillomania, also known as Excoriation Disorder. Long story short I pick at my skin. It’s a form of ocd, better known as body focused repetitive behavior BFRB. Im healing now and I’m not picking as much. Being open about my secret in a way is also healing me. I want to be able to use my own experiences to help others like me who struggle with anxiety, depression or any other type of mental health issues. In reverence of mental health awareness month , I want to offer myself as a testimony and I want to help start the uncomfortable conversations needed in our communities. The only way we can better our neighborhoods is by starting with ourselves. The Bronx needs more safe spaces to talk about mental health and ways we can come together to help others #fightthestigma." -@thebronxcurl

"Vulnerable moment: I have Dermatillomania, a condition that many don't know about. I've ran across several medical professionals that had no idea what it was. Also known as Excoriation or Skin Picking Disorder, is the physical manifestation of a mental disorder. Often times, picking of any kind is a manifestation of an Obssessive Disorder, be it OCD, OCPD, BPD or any other of the many on the list. Most people know about Trichotillomania because it's something that has been talked about in movies, books, on tv, etc. It wasn't until I was 23 that I found out that I wasn't alone in my struggle. There was a name for it. After that, I did lots of research about the disorder, possible causes, treatments and all that jazz. Unfortunately, there really is no "treatment" for Dermatillomania, only mild therapies to help work on whatever obsessive disorder is driving the action. CBT, DBT, even behavioral modification are regularly tried, but show little success.

Everyone suffering from this suffers differently. For me, you can tell when I'm struggling with my OCD because my face gets really bad. In turn, my OCD generally acts up when things in my life feel out of my control. I've been struggling with that a lot lately, and as a result, lately my face has been worse than it's been in a long time. I wish I could explain to you what happens with skin picking for me. It's not a good feeling, it's not a relief, it's simply a expression of my obsessive thought patterns. Sometimes I'm fully aware of what I'm doing but justify it with "oh I'm just going to pop this one pimple..." and it gets out of control. Other times, I don't even realize what I'm doing until I'm bleeding. Either way, it feels like I can't stop myself it sure doesn't make anything better, but God damn if I can stop myself. I'm telling you all this because after years and years of being ashamed, I'm done. Honestly, I've been done with it for awhile now but this is the first time I've really had a chance to show you all the true destruction I cause sometimes. I have way too much that I beat myself up about to let this be one of those things. #PickingMe

I want beautiful skin. I want to not pick. I want to be able to look at myself and feel beautiful, but I can't right now. I hope this resonates with at least one person out there. I hope I can make just one other person know that they aren't alone. You aren't alone." -Darling Mia Mayhem, NY, @siriuslestrange_stomach

"When I was in my preteen phase I started to develop normal, small, amounts of acne. Really just a few whiteheads or blackheads, and my older sister loved to pop them. Eventually I would pop them myself. A lot of times tho, I would just create big ugly scabs. Later I ran out of flaws to pick on my face so I started scanning my back and shoulder area to pick more. People used to confront me and ask if I was okay psychologically, or if I was purposely trying to harm myself. I eventually got better at hiding it. I would still pick a lot, and enough to sometimes create scabs but I would stop before it got really bad. Then in the morning I’d cover it all up with makeup. Now today, there isn’t a place on my body that I haven’t picked. I. Pick. Everywhere. Right now there is a quarter sized infected scab/ wound on my leg. And scabs on my knees and elbows and even my groin area. I struggle to sleep through the night so now when I wake up around 2am I pick for at least an hour... and over and over in my head I tell myself “okay just this last one, and you’re done. Don’t look for anymore to pick, you’ll make it worse. So stop.” But I don’t listen to my own healthy thoughts anymore. I feel like a weirdo. A crazy person. People think that I’m on drugs. Everything is a trigger. If I get into an argument with mom and I’m lectured about whatever, in my head it translates to- “I’m a useless stupid person and I need to just pick at all my flaws and I’ll feel better.” Going into the bathroom at home with the light on is a trigger. Not wearing makeup is a trigger. Being nervous about seeing someone in person is a trigger. I’m so insecure about my skin. I wish I could trade with someone else in hope that if my skin was 100% perfect that I wouldn’t pick anymore.
I’m in therapy right now. Taking antidepressants as well, which is supposed to help the urge/ craving to pick. I relate so much to everyone’s story that I read and it feels so good to finally be understood. I always think- know one understands what it’s like. I want to run away from myself or be placed in a straitjacket so I can’t cause harm to myself. I’m hoping that one day I will really stop. And never again pick.
Until then, I’m trying to stay positive (it doesn’t always work) but, I’m so grateful that by doing research about this addictive habit, I’ve found resources of support. Just like an alcoholic needs AA meetings, being around people who understand the struggle is comforting. I hope everyone who reads this finds something beautiful about themselves today, and I’ll try to do the same."
-Miriah, 20, LA

"I have been a skin picker since I was a little girl. From places on my face, arms, and legs nothing has helped. When I go to dermatologists they just say "you need to quit picking!" Well that does no good when I need help to stop picking. I think a lot of people don't understand how much this disorder can effect your life. I have low self- esteem, always worry if people notice my spots, to it even effecting my relationship with my boyfriend. I am so happy that there is Picking Me to help people like me and bring awareness to the disorder. I can't wait to get involved and get help from people dealing with the same thing." -Halie, 26, OK

"Somedays when I pick at my skin I still feel beautiful and worthy red marks and all, other days not so much. On those better days though I like to take a selfie like this one which was right after a picking episode. I still have imperfections on my skin but there's other things about myself in the photo that I enjoy. Such as my ability to still be smiling at myself regardless, to enjoy my eyes in the natural lighting and my ever messy hair. It reminds me that there's more to me and more to be grateful for than just my skin on days like today when I feel like I can't see them because my skin is blinding me. I don't know if this could help anyone else but having the photos has helped me to feel more comfortable with my skin, it's imperfections and with looking past them" -Courtney B, 20, CO @courtsnewgroove

"I spent many years thinking I had “bad skin” but as touching and poking and prodding my face got worse and worse over the years I realized something else was going on. I have Dermatillomania, a Body-Focused Repeated Behavior (BFRB) ... I am not cured. This is something I deal with daily. It’s gotten significantly better but I relapse often. It requires internal work more than anything. Changing my thoughts and language about my skin is the hardest work but the most necessary. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or need to connect about this. You are not alone. Thank you." -Ross M, NYC, @rosserinstyles

"2016 made 16 years of me silently battling with #BFRB (Body Focused Repetitive Behavior). I had no idea what it was however I knew it became worse as I was going through my separation, divorce, healing, to WHOLEness!

Although last year I still struggled with allowing certain uncontrollable situations and people to get to me I began to do more for ME because I LOVE me and attacks on my skin are attacks of the enemy! He wants me to down, insecure, have low confidence, etc. but not me devil!! So I CHOSE me by: Drinking more water, going (for the most part) gluten free based on a dr.’s recommendation, biweekly mani/pedi’s, getting massages more frequently, washing my face with all natural products, exfoliating my face using all natural products (sugar, coconut oil, honey and aloe Vera), not putting make up over open wounds trying to cover them but allowing them to breath, putting bandages on my face at night during idol time when my hands would roam, keeping 100% vitamin oil close by and my fingers far away from my face, stressing less, loving more, reading more, praying more, FOCUSING MORE ON ME! And I have to say November 2018 to now have felt like my PRIME! And I plan on it continuing!

SO, here’s to US not allowing anyone or anything to effect our PEACE!! @pickingmefdn Thanks for this campaign! Although it’s “hard” to put your “stuff” on display, it’s therapeutic!! We have to deal with those things that hold us back! Thank you to my friends and coworkers who love and support me even when I didn’t feel like my best self! Even with no make up on those days I came to work bare, bold and blemished! I love y’all!!" -Shemika Denise, Nashville, @iamshemika_denise

"Hey y’all, I’m a 26 year old drag performer self identified queer person living with Dermotillomania. I’ve had it my whole life as the result of having severe eczema when I was a child and I’ve learned how to cope with it and minimize it as an adult. But seeing pages like this makes happy that people are speaking up and recognizing it as a real condition after I spent my whole life thinking I was weird and something was wrong with me. It’s especially stressful in the world of drag and makeup where flawless skin is highly coveted both in and out of makeup." -@qhristwithaq

"Ever since i was little, I always remember feeling the need to pick at everything. When i would get mosquito bites, they would turn into permanent scars because I would pick at them so much. My mom always called me her little picker, just thinking it was a quirk about me, and it wasn't anything serious. When I was in junior high, I realized that my keratosis pilaris on my arms would pop. This is when things became very problematic. I would spend hours every night picking, my arms would be swollen and red after each session. It felt like I had no control, but i loved picking so much that it felt like it was my choice. As i got older, I decided I wanted to stop picking because I felt really embarrassed about how my arms looked; they were constantly scabbed, but i couldn't stop. My mom noticed that it was a problem and took me to a doctor because she thought i had severe acne or an allergic reaction on my arms. I explained that I thought it was something more than that, that i really couldn't control it. The doctor said I should go to therapy because it seemed compulsive, but I never went because my parents still didn't see the issue. I didn't realize excoriation disorder existed until this summer, and i felt no longer alone. SO many people have the same problems as me. We are all trying to heal. I told my mom about the disorder, and she has been super supportive since. This fall i began going to therapy which has given me a lot of tools to prevent the picking and also help with the anxiety that causes the picking. I am not cured, and it sometimes it feels like I will never be cured, but I know that i have made huge strides with this disorder. i used to not even care when I would pick but now i am making so much more of an effort to stop. I still pick, but i am acknowledging that this is one of my main struggles in my life, and that i can still love myself despite it :)" -Finola, 16

"I have struggled with Dermatillomania for as long as I can remember but I only discovered that it had a name last year. Before that, I always thought that I was the only one who picked my skin so much. I felt gross, lonely and like no one could understand. My parents would always tell me to « just stop » and make me feel bad about it. They used to make fun of the scars on my face and to justify it by saying that if I really wanted to stop, I could. It used to make me feel so bad. But recently, I talked about it to them and they are starting to understand.

At first, I thought that I didn’t fit the diagnosis criteria because I never realized how big of an impact it had on my life. I had always lived with it, so it was all I knew. But thinking about it, I realized that I was always uncomfortable wearing bathing suits or just summer clothing, when I don’t feel really ashamed of my body. I realized that the problem were my scars. The remarks people would make, the disgusted look when they would shake my hand (I mostly pick my fingers). I remember when I was younger wondering what was wrong with my fingers, why weren’t they pretty like everyone else’s?

Sometimes I don’t notice I’m picking until there’s blood all over my hands or my clothes or the sheet of paper I’m writing on and it’s so embarrassing.

But now, I know I’m not the only one and I know that I don’t have to blame myself for my condition. It will take time but I will learn to love my scars. I want to be an advocate for Dermatillomania and to raise awareness." -Maëlle, France

"My first memories of picking were of the keratosis pilaris on my arms, but it wasn't me who did the picking. It was a learned behaviour, from my mom. She probably just didn't want me to be embarrassed, but maybe she also felt compelled to do it as well. She would ask if she could "pop" them, and sometimes I would say yes, even though I didn't enjoy it. Other times I would trade her "popping" them for things such as getting to watch another episode of TV, or her lying with me until I fell asleep. At first I hated it and thought it hurt, but it started my preoccupation with my skin. Eventually I would pick as well, always going over board and leaving red welts. Then I hit puberty and my face started to break out as well. Naturally, I only have very mild acne, but I constantly make it worse. I've never been diagnosed with anxiety, only phobias, but I always pick when I'm feeling stressed or nervous. It's like I zone out and enter a different world. For me it's a release and something I crave. During the day I know better, and never do it. Or even if I have a huge pimple I'll pop it and stop. But, at night I fall in to a trance in front of the mirror. And it can go on for hours. Hopefully one day I'll be able to stop." -Leah, 16

"I've been picking for almost half my life. I can vividly remember being in high school and a friend asking why my thumbs were so red and feeling as though I wanted to sink through the floor because I was so embarrassed. For me it's my thumbs, my scalp and my feet but it's mostly just my thumbs. I started picking because I was an anxious child, probably due to trauma. Sometimes it's subconscious. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes I do it because of a piece of skin that is bugging me and sometimes (mostly) it's because of anxiety. When you've been picking for so long it's extremely hard to stop because it's something you can control (although I sometimes feel completely helpless because of Dermatillomania) and when you're anxious, having something to focus on and distract yourself, at least for me, helps. I wish someone had told the me that was the anxious teen in high school that I wasn't alone. That I wasn't a freak for ripping off my skin and seeing blood under my fingernails from picking. At the time I felt like I was the only one in the world who did this to myself and that was a very lonely feeling. If you're struggling with this I want you to know you are not alone. Just knowing that can make a difference." -Tina, 29, OR

"I can't remember a time when I didn't have Dermatillomania. My mother tells me that I have a small scar on my nose, where two-year-old me wouldn't stop picking at a scab. 24 years later, I still struggle with skin picking, worsened by the fact that I suffer from hormonal acne.

I've tried every "life-hack" available to avoid picking, from downloading habit tracker apps, to asking my partner to literally monitor me while I wash my face at night (biggest pick time for me), and I've even tried wearing gloves during any downtime at home. Bandaids over spots don't work well either, because a bandaid is another thing to pick at.

I wish I could describe the urge to pick to people who don't have this disorder. I've definitely worked picking sessions into my nightly routine, and it's a tough habit to break. It feels automatic, and I often don't notice how much time has passed while in a picking session. There is also a feeling of satisfaction when you squeeze out a real good pimple or blackhead. However, looking at the aftermath once Ive finished destroying my face, I almost want to cry at the huge red blotches that I'll have to cover up tomorrow. I'm also aware that most, if not all, pimples should be left alone and they will heal nicely, but this disorder doesn't care.

Even when I'm not having a picking session, my fingertips are nearly constantly scanning my face, back, chest and scalp for skin discrepancies that I can pick or peel. I very frequently have to remind myself to stop "scanning" in public because it's probably weird and gross to other people, especially when I do pull a scab out of my hair. I almost don't care, but that's the disorder talking.

Lately I've gathered the courage to do and post make up looks in which I don't use concealer. I didn't know how people would react. But turns out, I've inspired other derma folks to have more confidence in their blemished faces. I've gotten such sweet feedback from folks in our online BFRB / derma community, and that has in turn boosted my own confidence in my bare face. I'm so thankful I've found this community, because now I know I'm not alone." -Rebecca, 26, NYC

"I have Dermatillomania. It’s also known as Excoriation Disorder or chronic skin picking. It’s part of the body-focused repetitive behavior area of OCD, characterized by the compulsive need to expel real and perceived flaws from the skin, especially when I’m experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety in my everyday life. Since I was about seven, I have spent hours upon hours tearing away at my skin, causing awful, deep scarring and embarrassing red marks across my body, all while feeling completely helpless to stop (it’s okay if you don’t understand why, because I don’t either). I’m sharing this because I’m getting really tired of hiding this part of me and being alone in this struggle. This actually afflicts 1 in 20 people so that may mean out of my nearly 1,000 followers, I can let 40-50 know that they aren’t alone. And that you are more than your skin and your obsessive looping thoughts and no matter how much the world or your own brain tells you you’re not, you ARE still perfect just the way you are and you are so much more than just your flesh and blood and people will love and support you even on the days you feel like you can’t for yourself. This journey of self acceptance and self help has been 17 years in the making and I bet it’ll be many more before I am through. I have good days and awful days and you’ll be able to see them catalogued here, no make up, no covering up, all me. • The clay mask in the first picture was one of my many attempts to “save face” but if therapy and reflection has shown me anything, it’s that this change starts with me, so I’m starting here, and #pickingme over my Dermatillomania." -@frankiabraham

"Weird but real.
Well, it started when I was dating a man who was nice but had OCD. Everything had to be perfect around him for him to feel in control. 
He was so particular that every living moment with him, I felt picked on, ironic huh? 
I had ADHD and Depression and was taking Ritalin at the time. 
I thought that the itching was coming from the meds. But I had been on it so long that it was a non-issue. This man's problems caused him to pick on me about everything. Soon my self-esteem suffered, my blood pressure went up, and out the door, I had to go. It went on for long after I left, but stopped. I went 9 or so years coming and going but it never got bad or unbearable. Until I moved into my now husbands house, then it can back with a vengeance. Now I was picking but digging into my skin as well. I was treated for infections every so often. Embarrassed and ashamed, I would need to get acrylic nails put on to stop the digging. It got terrible then went away for ten years. But my skin was damaged to the point that every time I bumped up to something, it would break the skin open and itch until I bled — what a vicious cycle. But again I must pick men that like to pick on a woman because my husband picks on me, not as bad as the other guy, but enough to set me off. Or stress me out, that my nerves start to itch.
I have heard it said that what goes on with our outside, also goes on our insides and likewise.. 
So for me, I had to learn to stand up to the pickers and bullies and tell them to Frig off. 
The picking and digging have subsided somewhat every day. 
I read a book by Louise Hay-Heal Your Life. And it helped."
-Anonymous 

*TW SEXUAL ASSAULT*
"I started picking after sexual abuse by my father and my mother getting divorced, altho she claimed she never knew what he'd done to me. A year later, the older brother of a neighborhood friend raped me and said I'd have a baby as soon as I became a woman. I picked in grade school, flea bites on my ankles became bloody sores, sticking to my white socks. My mom remarried to a man who abused my sisters and I for over five years and I just picked more and more, digging into a sore below my knee that's left a terrible scar that I carry to this day. I've been married and divorced, feel unwanted and unwantable. Now I am 67, picking every day; haven't had a mammogram in over five years because of the sores on my breasts. I also now have Venous Insufficiency which has led to sores on both legs; they have to heal so I can wear compression stockings or I'll lose part of my right leg, at least. I haven't known what to do and feel so lost, so alone. No one seems to understand and I have to get the nerve to say something before I end up killing myself from infections. Please advise me of any help I can get in Oregon. I can't live this way any longer." -Anonymous

"Thinking back, I remember my skin picking starting in 3rd grade, after my family moved. I began picking at the hangnails on my fingers, the eczema on the back of my neck, the skin in folds of my ears. Once puberty hit, my picking become almost completely focused on my face, and has remained that way ever since. I denied that I had any sort of problem until at some point in college I stumbled across an article on Facebook written by a girl who struggled with Dermatillomania. I felt my heart sink - this girl and I had the same symptoms, meaning I had to finally admit that I had a problem. Filled with shame and embarrassment, I was terrified to talk to anyone about it. When I finally mustered up the courage to tell my mom, she wouldn't listen. Multiple therapists over the next few years also wouldn't listen or take me seriously. It's taken until this year, at the age of 25, to finally find an amazing therapist who is trained in OCD and skin picking behaviors who has been willing to help me work through this problem. It has not been an easy process, and I still very much struggle, but I have more hope for my future now than I ever have before!" -Claire, 25

"I am 27 years old,and remember starting to pick when I was in 4th grade, it gradually started getting worse over the years, now I pick every part of my body almost, I am so embarrassed. I can't wear tee shirts, dresses, skirts, shorts..it makes me sad...I pick to the point they start to get infected, but I still pick..and I have to get antibiotic shots because they are short of turning into a terrible infection. I want to stop, I have tried everything and anything. But I can't. It makes me so miserable to look at myself now.." -Gabrielle, 27, Georgia

"Been battling this for as long as I can remember. Picking started as a self harm for me. A way to cope and survive. And now it has taken over my life. My scars are still here, and although the past MONTHS (like 6 months prob) have been so so good I’ve relapsed and picked a lot last night and I just can’t take it. Came across this on Instagram and seeing how many others have this condition makes me feel so much better and like I’m not alone. Thank you. You do not know how much just seeing this page means to me." -Kayla, 20, New York

"Picking is something that has affected me for about a decade of my life. That probably doesn’t seem to long, to say, a 30 year old person. But as a 14 year old girl, thats 90% of my life used picking. As a 3 year old, I used to hide while picking my fingers because my parents would get mad at me and tell me “stop”. I guess thats kind of the messed up world we live in. 3 year olds getting stressed to the point where they develop mental illnesses. 
      My picking became very serious around the time I was in grade 7, so about 12 years old. My mother developed Breast Cancer. I was very afraid, because my nanny (her mother) had passed away from cancer a short 16 years before. I didn’t want to loose my mom. Whenever I would think about loosing her, my picking would get worse, and I began having panic attacks more frequently then I used to. But then I realized something. What does she want me to do about it? She always wanted me to stop. She was the one who got me to all my appointments, purchased my medication, etc. So in that moment I made a choice. I was going to do it for her, because after what she was going through, this seemed easy. I have never been more wrong in my whole life. It’s.Very.Hard. 
      I’ve honestly tried everything. Fidgets, therapy, support groups. You name it, I’ve done it. However, nothing ever seemed to work for me. I developed this mind set that I was ‘screwed’ and that there wasn’t anything else I could do about it. I began feeling very depressed. Trapped in this bubble with no escape.
      I am now in my freshman year of high school, and Dermatillomania is still a daily struggle. Being in high school is hard enough, add an anxiety disorder, and Dermatillomania and you have a recipe for disaster. And yes, it can be embarrassing to tell my teacher why I can’t write, or ask my friends to carry my books for me (because of the pain) but I know that one day I will get over this. I have to stay strong. I have to. What other choice to I have? I am strong. But I am also tired.
To all those struggling with Dermatillomania, my one piece of advice is get help. The sooner the better, because the longer you stay focused and work at it, the more likely you are to grow out of it. You aren’t weird, you aren’t diseased. Don’t let them hatters talk crap to you because you are beautiful. You are a soldier with battle scars thats all. Life isn’t easy and thats a fact, I know. I’ve been there."

-Diana, 14

"I've been picking for over half my life. I suppose it started as a way to relieve anxiety from growing up in an abusive home. I vividly remember a friend of mine asking me why my thumbs were so red and I pulled the sleeves of my sweater down over my hands because I was ashamed. This illness is terrible. It can make you feel like you are completely out of control. There have been many times where I've lost track of time while picking only to see that my skin is bleeding again. There needs to be more awareness for Dermatillomania. For so long I felt like a freak and like I was alone in my skin picking. I want people who struggle with this monster to know they are not alone." -Tina Blacksmith, 28, Oregon

"My first memory of picking was when I was probably 12 and my sister told me to just "pop" the whitehead on my forehead that was bugging me. Of course, to her, it was no big deal to pop a zit here and there, but what began for me was 10+ years of picking my face, not going to social events because of embarrassment, or skipping class because I was so ashamed to go to high school with sores all over my face. This issue is so much bigger than just "picking"...it gave me an outlet to zone out, forget about my worries, (in the present) de-stress, and ultimately forget that what I was actually doing was making my face MUCH worse and causing more stress. I'm sure others can relate to trying various forms of masks, lotions, etc. and hoping "maybe this one will be the one that fixes my problem/acne". The shame I felt for the last 10+ years is so consuming and unnecessary. Recently I decided that enough is enough and that I was going to pick a healthier life over picking my face. I am still picking but have started keeping a log, going to counseling, knitting, etc. which have all helped immensely! It's so nice to know that there are other people that have this and that it doesn't have to define me!!" -Danielle, 25

My problem started as a child when I had a cold sore on the corner of my mouth and I mindlessly picked at it til it covered half of my chin. I have never been able to stop my dermatillomania and over the past few years it has progressed to me picking at my heels and soles of my feet to the point where they bleed and it is extremely painful to walk. I don’t know what to do because I am too ashamed to talk to a doctor about it. -Angela, 57, U.K.

"I have been suffering from skin picking on my legs since I was super young then it continued to my arms then to my face when I began to get acne. The ones on my legs and arms were only being picked from mosquito bites or an injury. People ask all the time what’s wrong. Or if they’re bruises. I can’t ever tell the truth. It’s disgusting. I just wish I can erase all my scars and pretend I never had this problem." -Marlee, 24, Oklahoma

I had a phobia of bees, and from that phobia came the need to control my surroundings. When things felt out of control, I would sit for hours and sort little beads into a sorting tray, repeating the processes when I was finished sorting. It escalated to picking my face and body when I started having problems with a high school boyfriend. When "Dr. Pimple Popper" came to Youtube, I would obsess over her videos and even bought my own "extractor..." only to realize it was doing a lot more damage to my skin than picking alone. I've had kids ask their parents what's wrong with my face...I hate going out in public, it's easier to just hide indoors. Every time I go out, I have to wear makeup...but the problem is I have really sensitive skin. So, each time I put makeup on, I break out really bad (which starts the cycle all over again). Though I've done this before, tonight I decided to through away my extractor. I pray for comfort and the ability to not feel the urge to pick." -Katie, 24, Texas

"I've had this since I was in elementary school and it has ruled so much of my life. I focus on my hands, feet, face, arms, and hands. Primarily my hands. The unfortunate thing is that I was a flight medic where open lesions stopped me from this career. People would point at me, comment, cringe, in college a woman beat me up, and people have such horrible responses. Especially when my bloody fingers touched books, papers, keyboards, and food.” -Tania, 46, Wisconsin

"I want to know what it feels like to feel confident again and not have to cover myself up with concealer and foundation. I don't want to hide anymore. I desperately want to get better and experience clear skin, so I can start truly living without feeling constantly bad for myself. People around me like my friends, siblings and parents know that I'm a beautiful girl with goals and ambitions in life, and my Dermatillomania is what's holding me back. I'll do anything to make it better." -Sierra, 17

“I  constantly pick my fingers and nails, my fingers are sore, my mum has bought me fidget spinners and stress balls and nothing works, I am at secondary school now and I’m embarrassed cause I can’t stop.” -Paul, 12, Great Britain

"I had no idea that organisations such as yours exists. I always thought I was the only one who has this problem ... It feels like the scars don't disappear, also because I keep scratching. This makes me feel self conscious. I feel guilty because I feel like I am betraying God by abusing the body he gave me, yet I struggle to stop." -Thureya, 36, South Africa

"After doing some research, I'm pretty certain that my brother has Dermatillomania. He has not been diagnosed with it, but has been diagnosed with OCD. He spends a lot of time picking the skin on his feet. He has lost toe nails and the toes are bloody a lot of the time. There are many scabs. He's very sensitive to this so it's hard to talk to him about it. It worries and scares me because he is diabetic and wounds to his feet are very dangerous." -Sara

"I was diagnosed with Dermatillomania in 2016. Since then I've tried on my own to stop with some success, but when I get a pimple or piece of loose skin it's right back at it again." -Marianne, 63

"I pull and peel the skin off the tips of my fingers... I have always been too embarrassed to talk about to ANYONE. And I am over sixty years old. I have done this since as far back as I can remember. It started with nail biting in grade school. I feel very alone in the world with this." -Dawn

"As if its not painful enough or embarrassing enough everyone around me always point out my skin, tell me to stop picking holes in my flesh, and I often get accused of being a drug addict." -Nikola

"I have a impulsive urge to keep picking my face, arms and legs. It's affecting my life and my relationship with my boyfriend. I'm scarring myself too and it's making me feel self conscious, I don't want to do anything or leave my home!" -Amanda

"I'm constantly picking my skin around my fingers, to the point where they bleed. I still continue to pick at them and bite the skin. I suffer with anxiety and I've tried everything to get myself to stop, my fingers have even gotten infected." -Kirsty, 20

"I think the one thing that truly got to me the most was when I finally said to myself, "this is madness - by definition - madness! In all these years of picking your skin, it's never ONCE made it better in any way - it has only ever made it WORSE. After that, any time I felt an imperfection in my skin that was starting to drive me crazy, I reminded myself to stop, breathe, and be rational. I visualized the worst aftereffects of a picking session and asked myself which I would rather live with. Today, I'm proud to say my picking is well under control (not without the occupational moments of brief weakness!)" -Kristin

"My daughter who is turning 15 soon has been picking and scarring her body since for 7 or more years. She has been to counselors for years and nothing helps." -Connie

"I've been picking my skin (on my face) for 30 years. I have in the past attended TLC meetings. They were fabulous. I still pick but not as bad as I used to, but I do ever single day. It sucks. I'm guessing I will forever to a degree. " -Nicole, 47

“I suffer from Dermatillomania, I compulsively pick at my hands, face, scalp, lips, back, chest, and feet. I would like to spread awareness on the disorder as well as gather resources on how to improve my quality of life. I don’t know anyone else who suffers from this disorder..” -Jessica, 16, California

"It's a path that's hard to follow, but not giving up will take you really far. First pic: August/2018 (but this going on for a few years now). Second pic: January/2019" -Camilla, @camivoorhees

"M E N T A L H E A L T H. I’m not sure where to start on this but that I’m proud of myself for finally speaking out - my name is Sarah and I have dermatillomania. This mental health disorder is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder whereby the sufferer cannot help but pick, scratch or even pop their own skin causing scars, bleeding and bruising. This started when I was a teenager, it went from scratching scabs every now and then (yeah grim I know) all the way to walking past a mirror and not being able to stop myself from picking away at my imperfections. My life changed when I realised it wasn’t something that I just did but, that 1 in 25 people suffer from this nasty disorder. I was one of many people who had no idea it is a genuine medical condition, the sad thing is most people are so ashamed to talk about it. I also have type 1 diabetes but I’m not ashamed of that, so why should any other medical condition be treated differently?!?! So I’m gonna finish here and say this is me , no make up and not ashamed of something I can’t control. If you’re sat at home anxious about a medical condition that affects your appearance know that you’re wonderfully and fearfully made! YOU’RE PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE! " -Sarah, @sarahcols26