BDD BEHAVIOURS – SKIN PICKING

More than one third of people with BDD pick their skin. This relatively high frequency isn’t surprising, given that skin concerns are so common in BDD. People with BDD who pick are usually concerned about minimal acne, scars, or scabs, or such things as “large” pores, “bumps,” “small black dots,” “white spots,” “ugly things,” or other supposed imperfections. They pick to make their skin look better—to make it smoother, clearer, more attractive. They pop pimples, dig at white heads or blackheads, or smooth bumps. Some try to remove dirt, pus, or “impurities” from under the skin. While many use their hands to pick, pinch, or squeeze, others use tweezers, needles, pins, razor blades, staple removers, or knives.
Picking with implements like these for hours a day can cause major skin damage. One woman picked an actual hole through her nose. Some people have go to the emergency room, because they pick through their facial skin into major blood vessels and need stitches. A colleague told me about a patient who picked so deeply at a pimple on her neck with tweezers that she ruptured her carotid artery, the major blood vessel to the head. She required immediate emergency surgery; the surgeon said that the picking nearly killed her.
Even though skin picking can cause extensive skin damage, it’s important to realize that people with BDD don’t intend to mutilate themselves. Rather, they’re trying to improve how their skin looks. The problem is that the behavior is so compulsive that they can’t stop, which is what causes the damage.
For some people, picking is a relatively inconsequential aspect of their BDD. But for most, the picking is in and of itself a serious problem; some consider it their major problem. One woman attributed her suicide attempt and psychiatric hospitalization to her belief that she had “ruined (her) face because of picking.” Two woman I know of needed psychiatric hospitalization largely because of their picking and eventually committed suicide.
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BDD BEHAVIOURS – SKIN PICKING More than one third of people with BDD pick their skin. This relatively high frequency isn’t surprising, given that skin concerns are so common in BDD. People with BDD who pick are usually concerned about minimal acne, scars, or scabs, or such things as “large” pores, “bumps,” “small black dots,” “white spots,” “ugly things,” or other supposed imperfections. They pick to make their skin look better—to make it smoother, clearer, more attractive. They pop pimples, dig at white heads or blackheads, or smooth bumps. Some try to remove dirt, pus, or “impurities” from under the skin. While many use their hands to pick, pinch, or squeeze, others use tweezers, needles, pins, razor blades, staple removers, or knives.Picking with implements like these for hours a day can cause major skin damage. One woman picked an actual hole through her nose. Some people have go to the emergency room, because they pick through their facial skin into major blood vessels and need stitches. A colleague told me about a patient who picked so deeply at a pimple on her neck with tweezers that she ruptured her carotid artery, the major blood vessel to the head. She required immediate emergency surgery; the surgeon said that the picking nearly killed her.Even though skin picking can cause extensive skin damage, it’s important to realize that people with BDD don’t intend to mutilate themselves. Rather, they’re trying to improve how their skin looks. The problem is that the behavior is so compulsive that they can’t stop, which is what causes the damage.For some people, picking is a relatively inconsequential aspect of their BDD. But for most, the picking is in and of itself a serious problem; some consider it their major problem. One woman attributed her suicide attempt and psychiatric hospitalization to her belief that she had “ruined (her) face because of picking.” Two woman I know of needed psychiatric hospitalization largely because of their picking and eventually committed suicide.*98\204\8*

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