I Don't Know How to Stop...

I recently learned that what I do to myself has a name..dermatillomania, except I only pick my scalp b/c I've learned people can't see the scars under your hair. I've been picking my scalp for as long as I can remember..atleast 10 years or so. I always thought I was disgusting and weird and i'm so embarrased by it. I hardly ever get my hair done so people won't see my scalp and all the scabs, scars and loose skin. When people notice me picking I just say my head itches or something. It's gotten so bad over the years that I don't even realize i'm doing it most of the time. I try to tell myself not to do it but it's like a compulsive thing that I can't control, even if it hurts or bleeds i still do it. It almost feels like a high when I feel the skin or scabs underneath my fingernails. I've found that I do it alot when i'm angry, stressed, or depressed, or anxious. I have tried to stop, I even keep my nails short but I figured out I can still use the corners to pick. I've never met or spoken to anyone else who has this problem and nobody i seem to tell understands. Ughh I really need some help with this. Got any ideas???

ShayLuv ShayLuv
17 Responses Mar 26, 2009

I go through the SAME exact thing , it is really embarrassing , I'm in middle school so it's even more embarrassing when I pick scabs in my hair. It's co uncontrollable. My strategy is if u pick one scab then that's one day less u get to pick ur head. I also noticed that when I'm bored I tend to pick my head , so try to add more things on your list. When I wash my hair , it hurts really bad just to even put pressure on my scalp , all I can say is talk to a dermatologist , I know it will be embarrassing but it's for your own good , well hop I helped ;)

I do this too, its annoying for me as I want to get rid of the scabs. I looked up what to use to get rid of the scabs and found a cream called cocis and using Coal Tar Shampoo. I will get them and see if they work and comment on here again :) your not alone with this

OMG it's like you're telling my story! I can totally relate with you 100%. I've had a picking problem pretty much all my life. I pick at my lips, my arms, my legs, my back, my chest, my acne, and my scalp, my feet, even my fingernails. I've tried to stop repeatedly, and it's super hard because the urges are so strong. I've also felt embarassed about my picking, and up until recently, I thought I was the only one who picked at my scalp. It's starting to interfere with my every day life, and my scalp's getting bloody spots where I picked too viciously. When I'm in one of my picking episodes at the mirror, it's like I'm in a trance and I can't stop. Any suggestions?

Hi, I have the same problem as all of you... I hate it, but it's so hard to stop. I think I just like the feeling of it really. It honestly makes me sad because I can feel the few bands spots I have on my head. I honestly have been searching for a way to stop and I have heard so many different, but good, things to do. Here are some-
-if your feel the need to scratch, try and rub
-when you reach up to scratch cath yourself if you can and put your hand in your pocket or sit on them
-try and wear hats as much as possible or gloves
-try and replace your habit with a habit that isn't bad
These are only a few helpful tips and trust me, I know it's hard but you can do it. I have been trying and will continue. I won't let this stupid habit beat me.

I agree with you all the way, and thanks for the support.

OMG THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE ME!! I pick my scalp whenever I'm bored, on my phone, and i feel some sort of pleasure whenever I pick a big bit of skin! I've got heaps of scabs on my head and it's gotten so bad that I don't even realise I'm doing it. I have also tried to stop but i can't. My friend at school had the same proem so we tried to turn it into a game and see who lasts the longest without picking their head but we didn't even last a day. A few years ago I got really bad dandruff and I used to scratch my head but like you said, it became worse and it's turned into scabs. I stopped, but I also kept big flakey bits in a pile, gross I know, but I feel like I've gone crazy! I did try to cut my nails short but I somehow found a way to pick and my nails grow back really fast, within a week. Please help
Me, my mum hates me picking my head!

Don't worry. You're not alone. I'm 13 and I was doing it for a year. I have had dandruff for a long time. When I was 11 I always kind of rubbed my finger on my scalp. Then when I turned 12 it escalated into picking. Now I'm 13. I like to pick my scabs and dandruff and smell it. I know it sounds weird but it smells good to me. I still do it even if It hurts. I like the feeling of picking off the scab because when there is a scab forming, it feels chunky and ugly. I have like... 7 scabs on my scalp. I was picking and smelling it just now.

Cut ur nails helps.. Also, I suffer from this and find that I need to keep my fingers busy.. So, either my shirt or my pillow case I will rub the material together... Preferably the part that's stitched with the double layers. I do this so much that my pillow case that I sleep with in hand is filled with holes! Can only imagine the damage I do to my head. Hope this helps, it's better than digging at ur body n less imbarrassing

I do the same thing, I'm 13, and I have had scalp scabs for as long as I can remember, my mom just tells me to stop, likes it really easy, but it's not, I hate running my hand threw my hair and feeling it, I'll itch it and then pick, then I'll try to stop, I'll tell myself 'oh screw it ill stop tonarow' but I don't, I wonder what the addiction even stems from, maybe it itches at first, or maybe it's an accident, that causes you to do it again and again, I just don't know why I do it, even though i do.

i do the exact same thing and have for at least 8 years. now in college i have sought therapy and it REALLY works. i am learning new ways to cope with stress and those feelings that you cited. Therapy really works and now all my scabs have healed. Now it's a matter of continued self-control and not cultivation of new scabs. Seek therapy!

I know where your coming from I've been picking my scalp for years! It concerns my husband and family, I suppose I should be too but for me when I do notice I'm doing it I can't stop myself it's soothing in a weird way. I do wish I could stop if you find a way please share :) but know your not alone.

I do the same thing all the time. Never really noticed a problem with it. I never get self conscious that people are going to catch me doing it because I figure who pays attention anyway? I bet some people are curious.<br />
I just like the way it feels, can't really say why. I just like the feeling I suppose?

oh yeah and just reading this has made me want to pick again

Have you got psoriasis of the scalp? I have it and constantly picking too. Bad news for us is picking it makes it worse. I sympathise with you.

I have done this forever, I never knew there was a name for it.

Me too!

I do this all the time, but my head actually does itch a lot. Maybe I'm making it feel itchy though, as an excuse to scratch. Whatever the reason you're not alone. I don't do it to the extent you do, I don't have scars and scabs really, but I do sit and pick at the same spot all day.

I have not really known anybody that does this.When I was about 10 I used to take as sharp fine tooth comb and scratch my mothers head, this went on for years.I always blame it on very dry scalp.<br />
Have you seen a doctor?Have you been checked for head lice.It could be your nerves,I worked in elderly home and there was a staff infecting called scabies it is a tiny bug that eats on the skin.<br />
I do know there is a type of herpies that can make you itch.<br />
Your better see your family doctor I would be worried sick if that was me.I do twist my hair when I don't know what else to do.<br />
I do wish you to getting this taken care of, Let me know the out come.

I used to twist my hair and my family urged me to stop. I did, but not in the best way. That's when I started picking my scalp. I thought it was better, but it turns out I was dead wrong. I've been doing it ever since.

I do the same thing to my feet. Have you spoken to a doctor about it? There may be some kind of OCD medication that can help with this, because I'm pretty sure it's on the OCD spectrum.