One of our clients with Skin Picking Disorder ( aka Dermatillomania ) recently wrote this essay about her long-standing issues with her dermatologist. She has asked to remain anonymous. 

Dermatillomania: A Skin Picker's Guide to the Dermatologist

Those struggling with Dermatillomania (Skin Picking Disorder) often have complicated feelings about their dermatologists.

A skin picker’s relationship with their dermatologist is, to put it lightly, fraught.

It’s a vicious cycle:

The skin picker picks their skin.
The skin picker is unhappy with the way their skin looks.
The skin picker goes to the dermatologist.
The dermatologist, with the medical authority of a white lab coat, tells the picker:
“Don’t pick.”
The picker spirals into shame.

Next time there is a problem, the picker avoids the dermatologist.
Then, maybe, the picker’s picking results in an infection.
The picker remembers:
“Don’t pick.”
“Don’t pick.”
“Don’t pick.”
Those words ring in the picker’s head.
No way is the picker going back there.
All that waits at the dermatologist is more humiliation.

Read More »


Skin Picking Disorder (Dermatillomania)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for Skin Picking Disorder (Dermatillomania)

In our previous article on Skin Picking Disorder (also known as Dermatillomania or Excoriation),  we wrote about a classification system for skin picking. Let’s review “The ABC’s of Skin Picking”:

An “A” is something that almost anyone would pick. This could be a piece of dry skin hanging off your arm, a pus-filled whitehead on your chin that pops at your mere touch, or a scab that’s barely hanging on which you can easily detach.

A “B” is a “bump”, pimple, scab, etc. that only a skin picker would pick, frequently causing it to bleed, ooze, scab, and possibly become infected. This in turn will cause two additional problems – it will cause the picker significant distress, and it will give him or her something new to pick at later. In our experience, clients with Dermatillomania classify at least 50% of their picking as “B’s”. Read More »


Skin Picking / Dermatillomania

Not all skin picking is the same.

Everybody picks their skin sometimes, right?  If you tell your friends or family that you pick your skin, many of them might say “Oh, I do that, too”.  So, how do you know if your skin picking is severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of Dermatillomania, also known as Skin Picking Disorder or Excoriation?

There are a variety of ways in which assessment of skin picking occurs. Self-assessment might occur by the person doing the skin picking when an individual realizes that he or she is causing scabs, scars, and/or infections. A person with Dermatillomania may also be aware that he or she is avoiding social situations, including work, school, and/or social functions such as weddings and parties.  After all, those who have picked to the point of bleeding and scabbing may be too embarrassed to be seen by others who might judge them or ask questions about their skin. Read More »


“If I knew then what I know now.”

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve found yourself saying the same thing at some point in your adult life.  Nowhere is this more relevant than from the perspective of someone looking back on a childhood with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or an Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorder.  When I meet a new client under 18, there is a powerful sense of traveling through time.  I think, “If only I had someone like me to go back and talk to me when I was someone like this.” How much time might I have saved being able to resist repetitive, unnecessary rituals?  How many more events, relationships, and simple moments of peace might I have been able to enjoy if only I had known what was really happening to me? Read More »


My wife and I recently became vegetarians.  Well, she started using the word “vegetarian” to describe already never eating meat.  For me it required more of a lifestyle change.  I grew up on a small beef cattle farm, so I was used to the idea that you could grow meat the same way you grow vegetables.  Throughout my life it always felt as if meat was how one defined the difference between a “snack” and a “meal”.  So as part health experiment and part social consciousness attempt, I have given up meat for the time being.

At first I felt like I was denying myself something purely enjoyable.  I’m used to it, I like it, so why don’t I just do it?  Saying, “I want to change” or “I’m not happy with the consequences” doesn’t seem to be much comfort.  However, nearly 4 months into this experiment, I now get what can only be described as a “resistor’s high” – an addictive satisfaction derived from choosing not to eat meat. Read More »


For individuals who suffer with Trichotillomania, the urge to pull their own hair can be overwhelming.  While this might seem to many like a bizarre, self-destructive behavior, to those with Trichotillomania, this powerful urge can leave them with large bald spots on their scalp, no eyebrows, or no eyelashes.

Fortunately, researchers are starting to learn more about the origin of the disorder and possible treatments.  One recent study conducted at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine in Minneapolis has uncovered a promising potential avenue for future treatment of this condition. Read More »

  • Doubt, Denial and OCD

    A discussion of “The Denial Obsession” in OCD, in which sufferers obsess that they don’t really have OCD, but are merely “in denial”. By Lauren McMeikan, MA, and Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Dermatillomania: A Skin Picker’s Guide to the Dermatologist

    How one woman with Dermatillomania finally opened up to her dermatologist about her longtime struggle with skin picking.

  • Imaginal Exposure for OCD and Anxiety

    Imaginal exposure for the treatment of OCD and anxiety is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • ROCD: Relationship OCD and The Myth of “The One”

    ROCD (Relationship OCD) is an often misunderstood variant of OCD. By Sheva Rajaee, MMFT and Tom Corboy, MFT of the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Moral Scrupulosity in OCD: Cognitive Distortions

    Cognitive distortions are common in the Moral Scrupulosity subtype of OCD. Part three of a multi-part series.

  • OCD in the Family

    One mom’s story of her son’s battle with OCD and its profound impact on their family, as told to Elizabeth Kassel, MSW, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Scrupulosity in OCD: Cognitive Distortions

    A discussion of cognitive distortions in the religious Scrupulosity subtype of OCD. Part two of a multi-part series.

  • OCD and Eating Disorders

    Diagnostic similarities and differences between OCD and eating disorders are discussed by Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Harm OCD Treatment With ERP

    Harm OCD treatment using Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, Executive Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles .

  • My Life with OCD

    The impact of OCD and related anxiety based disorders on the family is often overlooked. In this multi-part series, we present first-hand accounts of the ongoing impact of OCD, BDD, and Bipolar Disorder on one man and his family, as told to Elizabeth Kassel, MSW, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Scrupulosity: Where OCD Meets Religion, Faith, and Belief

    The Scrupulosity sub-type of OCD is discussed by Kevin Foss, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Part one of a four part series.

  • Mindfulness for OCD and Anxiety

    Using mindfulness to enhance traditional CBT for OCD and anxiety is discussed by Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Hoarding, Cluttering, and Compulsive Shopping: My Childhood Story

    One woman’s story of her life as the child of multiple generations of hoarders.

  • OCD and Thought-Action Fusion

    Thought-Action-Fusion is a frequent problem for those with OCD. This issue is discussed by Laura Yocum, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • OCD, Anxiety, and Resistance

    Resistance and acceptance in OCD and related disorders is discussed by the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Harm OCD Treatment: Cognitive Restructuring

    Harm OCD is often misunderstood, but it can be effectively treated using an integrated treatment plan that includes Cognitive Restructuring. Part three of our ongoing series that explores “Harm OCD” and its treatment .

  • OCD & Anxiety: Five Common Roadblocks to Treatment

    Learn the five common mistakes that interfere with successful treatment of OCD and anxiety. By Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Harm OCD Treatment: Mindfulness Based CBT

    Harm OCD is an often misunderstood condition that can be effectively treated using Mindfulness integrated with CBT. Part two of a multi-part series from the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Dermatillomania / Skin Picking Disorder Treatment

    Treatment of Dermatillomania (Skin Picking Disorder) with CBT. Part two of a series from the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

  • Harm OCD: Symptoms and Treatment

    This is the first installment in a series of articles in which The OCD Center of Los Angeles demystifies both the symptoms and the treatment of Harm OCD.


Subscribe to our free
monthly newsletter

OCD Center of Los Angeles