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For as long as I can remember, I pick at my skin. I run my fingers over the surface, searching for imperfections, ingrown hairs, pimples, flakes, anything I can occupy myself with, and then I go to town on it. It’s the reason I have to wear make up, so I’m less likely to touch my face. It’s the reason I wear jeans in the summer time, since my legs are the place I’m most likely to go first.

I realize this is gross, and I debated a long time about posting this in a public forum. But I recently discovered it has a name and I’m not alone. It’s a disorder called “dermatillomania” and it’s an impulse control disorder like OCD, but for your skin. According to Wikipedia: A common hypothesis is that excoriation disorder is often a coping mechanism to deal with elevated levels of turmoil, arousal or stress within the individual, and that the individual has an impaired stress response.

This is definitely me. I’ve realized that I do it more when I’m stressed and it calms me. I’ve also been making efforts to stop by giving myself a more healthy ritual, like putting on or taking off my make up, and scheduling regular visits to my beauty salon for facials so a professional can do the extractions for me. Still, when things are bad, I definitely still pick at my skin, especially my face. But with more awareness, I’m getting better.