Preventive Measures to Stop Compulsive Skin Picking in Children

Dermatillomania is the habitual act of picking at the skin, especially in areas that are easy to reach. Skin picking in children prevails when a child is overcome by a severe difficulty of conveying messages, which results to an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Symptoms of Compulsive Skin Picking in Children

  • Compulsive skin picking can be seen through symptoms such as callused or scarring of the skin
  • Bleeding and swollen areas of the face, nose and neck are also indicators of this OCD.

Preventive Measures from Skin Picking Disorder

  • Check to see if the child’s fingernails are kept short. Trim if necessary. Short fingernails will do less damage to the skin.
  • Keep the fingernails clean, to prevent infections on the area where picking is done.
  • Wrap the child’s hands in a pair of gloves as soon as the tendency to pick at the skin presents itself.
  • Keep the patient’s hands busy as boredom triggers this condition.

Skin Picking Causes

  • There are emotional or mental causes that can offer an explanation about skin picking.
  • Feelings of insecurity and helplessness can make a child turn to compulsive behavior after an emotional trauma.
  • Self-esteem issues brought by concerns like bullying and peer pressure
  • Skin picking, in some cases, is a symptom of an underlying disorder.
    Individuals suffering from compulsive picking disorder may face mental issues such as schizophrenia or depression.
  • Compulsive behavior problems are often inherited, shedding light into the role of genetics in disorders.


The most important part of the treatment starts with elimination of the physical cause that prompts the child to do such compulsion.

  • Don’t nag the child about the picking as it would create more anxiety.
  • Approach the problem with a calm attitude to prevent the child’s stress levels from increasing.
  • Oral or topical medications can relieve the infections from too much picking.
  • Medical professionals trained to handle psychological disorders can come to the aid of the patients and work with them through their compulsive activity.
  • Parents need to be on guard for using medications that are appropriate for children, to avoid any adverse effect.
  • Allow the course of treatment to run smoothly. Work towards seeing progress in the child’s state, not hindering it
  • Treating skin picking is not much difficult as one would think. It can be cured without the expensive therapy sessions.

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