Why My Skin Sucks Ass

In order for any of my skin related posts to make sense, there’s a need for some background information.

Ever since I started getting acne, probably around the 5th grade, I have been picking at my skin.

But it stems even farther back than acne.

In 1st grade my teacher would have to replace my laminated name tag stuck to my desk weekly. I peeled that shit constantly. All through grade school. You put a label on something, in a day I would have it off. And I did it without thinking about it.

Fast forward to being 19 with chronic severe acne, put two and two together…and you get a disaster.

Living in the dorm freshman year of undergrad, everything exploded. I lived in the nastiest dorm. All your germaphobe and OCD nightmares confirmed. But that’s a story for a different post.

Summer before my sophomore year I started Accutane, again a story for another post, but that shit fucked me up. No lie.

So what is BFRB or skin picking or dermatillomania??

The term body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) is an umbrella term for a group of repetitive grooming behaviors in which a person damages their appearance and causes physical injury through pulling, picking, or biting of hair, skin, or nails. They are considered impulse control disorders and part of the OCD spectrum (in the DSM-5 they are classified under obsessive compulsive and related disorders).

BFRB’s affect about 2-5% of the population, including adults and children. They are not considered self-harm because with BFRB’s, the intention behind the behavior is not to cause harm to oneself, but to fix or correct some aspect of one’s appearance or to relieve anxiety caused by obsessions. The physical damage from a BFRB is a byproduct of the behavior, not the reason for it.

Skin Picking Disorder (dermatillomania/excoriation disorder/derma) – the compulsive urge to pick at one’s own skin resulting in noticeable damage such as sores, scabs, scars, and infections. Frequently occurs on the face, arms, head, cuticles, hands, feet, and back.

This shit sucks. It hurts. It’s gross. People stare at you. You don’t even realize you’re doing it until it’s too late. It’s emotional.

The older I got, the worse it got. I started Accutane so that I would no longer have anything to pick at.

Turns out, if you remove the stimulus I will end up finding something else to pick and pull out. It’s a never ending cycle that is a bitch to get under control.

Although this was a highly visible problem for me, considering my face was my main target, I never told anyone I was suffering from this condition. And it honestly took me YEARS to figure out it was an actual, real condition.

When I first told my parents, my dad was skeptical. “Just don’t do it.” It took my mom a while to figure it out. I think as soon as I told her, she began to notice me doing it in front of her and she began to connect the dots (mentally…not the dots on my face). But little action was taken. Probably because I grew up in a non-communicative family (yes, yet another post for another time).

When I told my wife, at the time my girlfriend, she immediately took action. She would constantly pull my hands away from my face, attempt to distract me, or shout STOP at me. It would help while she was sitting right next to me. But there was always the privacy of the bathroom, times we weren’t together, etc.

BFRB put me in the hospital.

ANYWAY. I want to share information about Accutane, skin picking, products that help / do not help, etc. So I needed to share background information first!

 

 

 

Selected Resources:

http://bfrbawareness.tumblr.com/whatisit
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body-focused_repetitive_behavior https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excoriation_disorder

One thought on “Why My Skin Sucks Ass

  1. I feel your pain, growing up it was thought I just had a bad fungal infection around my nails despite my telling them I did it myself. My nails are now permanently damaged from picking at the cuticles. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s