Finger skin biting? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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Finger skin biting?


Hi all,
I'm curious if anyone out there has experienced similar, possibly anxiety-related behaviors.. I bite the skin around my fingernails, including my cuticles (also my actual nails, but not to the same extent) compulsively. I've been doing it since I was 8 yrs old (I'm now almost 21..) and I've gotten used to the fact that my fingers always look absolutely disgusting. I think in my case it's similar to Trichotillomania in that it's a sort-of counter-productive self-grooming thing.. when I notice a piece of loose skin, I literally feel like I HAVE TO bite it off (in order to 'smooth the surface' but of course I know it'll result in my fingers appearing even more atrocious).. and if something interrupts me, like my friends or family smack my hand away, I feel extremely agitated and tense inside and need to take a couple deep breathes to calm down.. it's really strange. I bite them to the extent where they always sting/burn, bleed frequently, and I've gotten a couple staph infections that caused my entire finger to swell up like a balloon. I do it a lot when I'm bored and 'zoning out', somewhat unconsciously.. but I tend to do it much more when I'm anxious about something. Also, I started pulling out my eyebrows a couple years ago.. this habit certainly isn't as bad.. I still have my eyebrows and you have to look pretty closely to notice the patchiness, as luckily I have very light-colored eyebrows. I do it a lot when I'm anxious in social settings without even realizing it!! Anyone else have these or related issues?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by stumbleine88 View Post
when I notice a piece of loose skin, I literally feel like I HAVE TO bite it
I do the same thing. I want it to be smooth so it doesn't look all gross sticking up, even though some might find it to be a gross habit, lol. I also like to keep my nails short, but I don't think my compulsion is as bad as yours though.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2009, 12:30 AM
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This is called dermatophagia. I do it too.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2009, 01:31 PM
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Not to the extent you do/if it hurts, but when I've evened out my extremely short nails I try and even off any loose skin and the hard bits of skin at the "corners of each nail.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2013, 06:58 AM
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Hello. I've been suffering with this condition for 5 years now, and over the past 20 days, I've had a miracle recovery. I have tracked my journey and provided tips for recovery on this tumblr site, http://dermatophagiaddiction.tumblr.com/page/3
I really want to help as many people as I can with this, so please check it out and spread the word.

Really, what triggered me to start my recovery was when my friend asked me if I had cut or burnt my fingers. I could not say anything else but agree, because I was too embarrassed to confess that I had dermatophagia. Furthermore, it was getting to be a real hassle because I could not focus or think without having to rip out skin from my cuticles and taste the blood and skin against the back of my throat.

I was, too, getting very sensitive to other people who have dermatophagia. I would get really disgusted when I see other people doing their thing, and I would have a deep self-hatred because I would, too, be picking at my fingers under the table.

So, what is my true secret for recovering from this? I learned to love myself. Instead of treating my fingers as the enemy, I treated them as my baby. I used cuticle massage creams, lip balm, Polysporin, nail polish, and a lot more knacky ways to help myself.

I've posted all my methods on my Tumblr site (http://dermatophagiaddiction.tumblr.com/page/3), so please follow along with pictures of progress, and help yourself.

All the best!

Hamsterbaby6
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2013, 07:06 AM
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I do the nail biting/skin around the nails thing. I bite them till they bleed or hurt, sometimes I get hangnails and get infected. I also bite my toe nails, im a bit flexible, and they tend to get infected more then my finger nails lol. My nails get all deformed and stuff when I do it to much, like rigid and bumpy. Nasty looking usually.
I've gotten better at not biting all of them though, I usually try to just focus on one so not all of them are all nasty and crap. Usually just bite my middle fingers now, bigger nail and area to cover to keep me distracted longer lol.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2013, 07:11 AM
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Oh my gosh, my hands are ruined from this. Just ruined. I can't stop picking at my fingers. It sometimes gets a little bit like that scene in "Black Swan" !!!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2013, 08:41 AM
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Yep and I eat the skin I bite off. I'm a sick mofo I guess. I've heard forcing yourself to let em grow out and then getting a manicure will help you stop.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-09-2013, 03:45 PM
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I've always bitten at the skin on my fingers. I do it in public, in private, it's horrible, I get scolded for it all the time but I can't seem to help it. I used to have bad issues with hair pulling to the point where I was partially bald but now my bad habit is biting my skin on my fingers... there's always a lot of small open places on them too, so it's hard to do things like shampoo my hair or paint my nails because any kind of chemical contact makes it burn so bad. I wish I could find something else, non destructive, to do.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
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Yep and I eat the skin I bite off. I'm a sick mofo I guess. I've heard forcing yourself to let em grow out and then getting a manicure will help you stop.
Ha, same. But yeah, I bite my cuticles til they bleed. And sometimes the cuts open up at inopportune times and I'll just be sitting in class with bloody fingers. At which point I usually bundle up the afflicted finger in the sleeve of my sweatshirt, which probably looks super weird. And is gross. Dont know how to stop though, being going on for too long. What do?
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 02:44 PM
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oops, *been
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 06:33 PM
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Yes, I do it too. I also bite the inside of my lips until I bleed. I've been doing it for the longest time. When I start biting I can't stop until it feels smooth.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 07:22 PM
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I've done that as long as I can remember. I like peeling the callouses off my heels too, sometimes I get carried away and it hurts to walk the next day lol. I don't consider this a "condition" I suffer from, it's just a bad habit.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 07:46 PM
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I had really bad dermatophagia when I was younger ,I actually managed to stop about 5-10 years ago. the problem is, once I stopped my trichotillomania got a lot worse.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 07:48 PM
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I always do this especially if I'm really bored or sometimes anxious. Sometimes my fingers are so sore or even bleeding because I bite and pick at the skin and nail so much.

If you just let me invade your space
Iíll take the pleasure
take it with the pain...
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 10:53 AM
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Yes I do too. It has always been a habit that has bothered me for years now.

Nothing comes from dreams but dreams
Still you believe in wonder
Something happens and it seems
Like a strike of thunder ~ Gravity
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 11:00 AM
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I'm guilty of this too.. I never thought of it as anxiety-related though.. Idk

"Courage is what you will experience and what you will grow when the doubt is there, but you do it anyway."
-Elliott Hulse.
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2014, 05:31 PM
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Hi - I recently set up a support resource on Instagram for those living with Dermatophagia & other BFRB disorders. Please feel free to come have a Look, Like, Follow or spread the word.

Thanks so much ����✌️

www.instagram.com/DermaToSaviour
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2014, 05:34 PM
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Hi - I recently set up a support resource on Instagram for those living with Dermatophagia & other BFRB disorders. Please feel free to come have a Look, Like, Follow or spread the word.

Thanks so much 👋🙏✌️

www.instagram.com/DermaToSaviour
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2014, 06:28 PM
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Yes, i've been doing this since i was a child. Plus, i eat the skin. (Is that gross?)
It's an anxiety-technique, but i also noticed doing it when just being bored.
I guess it's become a conditioned habit.
But i'm a very clean person so i don't worry about infections or wounds.
It regenerates anyway.
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