Is picking the skin off your fingers a form of self harm?

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Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
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I'm 20, and as long as I could remember (perhaps from early teens or pre-teen age but I can't remember now) I've always had this bad habit of finding little flaps of dry loose skin from around my nails, and biting them off or using my nails to pick them off. It's something I usually do when I'm nervous or bored. Sometimes I'd do it to the point where a lot of skin has come off and my finger looks a little messed up and it starts to hurt or sting a little. The pain is only about a 2 or 3 out of 10, but in a way it feels kind of good. I'd then press on the sore areas to feel it more, and then sometimes put ice or a cold wet issue on to try and soothe it, despite the fact that I'd purposely caused the pain and wounds in the first place. Sometimes I do feel bad for what I've done, and cover it up with a plaster until it heels. But then the time eventually comes when it's healed but the flaps of skin appear again, and so the cycle restarts.

In conjunction, I've also had the common habit of biting my nails, which I try to stop sometimes by painting my nails. I feel like the thought of constantly putting germs into my mouth from my fingers should stop me, but it doesn't. I've also had periods of being depressed throughout my adolescence and beyond, especially from the age of 16, so maybe that has something to do with it?

I've heard of lots of people cutting themselves as a form of self harm, but that's something that I've just never felt compelled to do for whatever reason. I think because I know that would just hurt too much, and I don't like inflicting pain on myself unless it's a small pain as described above. However, I wonder if this thing I do with my fingers is also a form of self-harm, albeit in a milder form? Or am I just a strange person? Does anyone else do this?

I really hope this post doesn't trigger anyone, and I apologise if it does as that isn't my intention at all, and feel free to delete if needs be mods.
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Didierr
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I do that! Its a form of relaxation
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Vox0
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Nah I don't think its self-harming. I've always bitten my nails and skin around it. Its just a bad habit stemming mainly from boredom or anxiety in my case.
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Piko_Piko
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I bite the skin around my nails, but not the nails. It's more common than you might think - a few people I went to school with did it too. Don't really think it's a self-harm thing - we're all just a bit odd.
There is stuff you can buy to stop yourself biting your nails. I don't know what it's called - but apparently it's foul-tasting stuff you put on your nails.
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lonelyknight
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No I don't think so, just because I too have always chewed the skin around my thumbs, since I was about 7! I can't stop myself peeling those little flaps back with my other fingers and then ripping them off with my teeth ... urgh it sounds horrid, doesn't it? It's just a really bad habit, probably from boredom/the need to fidget.
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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 8 years ago
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(Original post by Piko_Piko)
I bite the skin around my nails, but not the nails. It's more common than you might think - a few people I went to school with did it too. Don't really think it's a self-harm thing - we're all just a bit odd.
There is stuff you can buy to stop yourself biting your nails. I don't know what it's called - but apparently it's foul-tasting stuff you put on your nails.
OK I have heard of that stuff. But I prefer painting my nails in normal nail varnish, as it looks pretty and this fact alone should deter me from wanting to ruin that :p:. It does normally work as well.

In fact, I've not even painted my nails in months now for some reason, so I'd better do it tonight.
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Anonymous #2
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Report 8 years ago
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm 20, and as long as I could remember (perhaps from early teens or pre-teen age but I can't remember now) I've always had this bad habit of finding little flaps of dry loose skin from around my nails, and biting them off or using my nails to pick them off. It's something I usually do when I'm nervous or bored. Sometimes I'd do it to the point where a lot of skin has come off and my finger looks a little messed up and it starts to hurt or sting a little. The pain is only about a 2 or 3 out of 10, but in a way it feels kind of good. I'd then press on the sore areas to feel it more, and then sometimes put ice or a cold wet issue on to try and soothe it, despite the fact that I'd purposely caused the pain and wounds in the first place. Sometimes I do feel bad for what I've done, and cover it up with a plaster until it heels. But then the time eventually comes when it's healed but the flaps of skin appear again, and so the cycle restarts.

In conjunction, I've also had the common habit of biting my nails, which I try to stop sometimes by painting my nails. I feel like the thought of constantly putting germs into my mouth from my fingers should stop me, but it doesn't. I've also had periods of being depressed throughout my adolescence and beyond, especially from the age of 16, so maybe that has something to do with it?

I've heard of lots of people cutting themselves as a form of self harm, but that's something that I've just never felt compelled to do for whatever reason. I think because I know that would just hurt too much, and I don't like inflicting pain on myself unless it's a small pain as described above. However, I wonder if this thing I do with my fingers is also a form of self-harm, albeit in a milder form? Or am I just a strange person? Does anyone else do this?

I really hope this post doesn't trigger anyone, and I apologise if it does as that isn't my intention at all, and feel free to delete if needs be mods.
It depends, it can become quite compulsive. Self harm is obviously a very subjective and broad term, but I'd say if you were compulsively damaging your skin to relax it might be a mild case. I have a similar habit, picking at blackheads from my shoulders and back, its a bad habit and only makes it worse.

Try to do something a bit more constructive. Instead of picking rub some calamine or something soothing on and then move on to another task (a hobby or work etc).
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Anonymous #3
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Report 8 years ago
#8
(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm 20, and as long as I could remember (perhaps from early teens or pre-teen age but I can't remember now) I've always had this bad habit of finding little flaps of dry loose skin from around my nails, and biting them off or using my nails to pick them off. It's something I usually do when I'm nervous or bored. Sometimes I'd do it to the point where a lot of skin has come off and my finger looks a little messed up and it starts to hurt or sting a little. The pain is only about a 2 or 3 out of 10, but in a way it feels kind of good. I'd then press on the sore areas to feel it more, and then sometimes put ice or a cold wet issue on to try and soothe it, despite the fact that I'd purposely caused the pain and wounds in the first place. Sometimes I do feel bad for what I've done, and cover it up with a plaster until it heels. But then the time eventually comes when it's healed but the flaps of skin appear again, and so the cycle restarts.

In conjunction, I've also had the common habit of biting my nails, which I try to stop sometimes by painting my nails. I feel like the thought of constantly putting germs into my mouth from my fingers should stop me, but it doesn't. I've also had periods of being depressed throughout my adolescence and beyond, especially from the age of 16, so maybe that has something to do with it?

I've heard of lots of people cutting themselves as a form of self harm, but that's something that I've just never felt compelled to do for whatever reason. I think because I know that would just hurt too much, and I don't like inflicting pain on myself unless it's a small pain as described above. However, I wonder if this thing I do with my fingers is also a form of self-harm, albeit in a milder form? Or am I just a strange person? Does anyone else do this?

I really hope this post doesn't trigger anyone, and I apologise if it does as that isn't my intention at all, and feel free to delete if needs be mods.
I do this. I've picked quite a bit of the skin off my fingers - you generally can't tell unless I've just had a shower or something. I wouldn't say it's self harm, unless you're intentionally doing it for the pain and not because of boredom.
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Converse girl
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my friend does that a lot and she does it when she is nervous and the good person i am slap her hands whenever she does it
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Prestoria
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Any type of harm to one's self is self harm. It doesn't matter if it's mild such as picking your skin or severe as cutting. It's still self harm.

Most people who self harm do so as a way of dealing with stressors - or nervousness, in your case. It would be wise to replace that with something healthier - such as going for a run or talking to a friend (it doesn't have to be about your urge).
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AnnaChristina
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I do this too. Have managed to cut down in the past through coming up with alternative fidget methods (tapping my fingers on a desk or messing with elastic bands) - maybe things you could try? For me, it's more of a compulsion than a form of self-harm, but it could be different for you. Either way, it IS harmful (and a little unsightly if you do it to the extent that I do!), so well done for trying to stop
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ClaraJayne
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I pick but I pic my face to the point where it bleeds.
I can't stop and my doctor refuses to give me medication so it will only get worse.


This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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Deanna Louise
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Could be a symptom of Dermatillomania, which is an impulsive control disorder that often results from anxiety. It has many similarities with trichotillomania and obsessive compulsive disorder. Doctors often refuse to medicate sufferers because you could replace an addiction for another addiction, so CBT is the preferred treatment. I bite the inside of my cheeks, lips and thumbs and doc says it is a form of self harm but I do not do it to purposely hurt myself, I do it because I am stressed and anxious so hmm.. p.s chewing gum is a good distraction!
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izzyhunt88
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I also pick my skin from thumbs i have done it since i was little and i mostly do it when i am bored or anxious about something. I dont know why i do it and i dont know how i can stop it.
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Jackie 0564
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Hi yes it is self harming I do it myself and don't know how to stop and was told by my psychiatrist and my care coordinator that it is self harming
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ihandeg
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https://liberomagazine.com/mentalhea...-skin-picking/ - Yes it is!
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thesquirrelgirl
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I don’t remember doing it a lot when I was a freshman, but now that I’m a sophomore I pick at my cuticles all the time, often until my finger starts bleeding. My friend pointed it out one day last year, and maybe that’s why I’m just now so self conscious about my nails and cuticles. I do it when I’m stressed, which is a lot of the time because I’m harder on myself than anyone else.
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Anonymous #4
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You are not weird and definitely not alone on this. I have ripped my nails for years. I do it to the point that it bleeds, and I have large sections of nailbed exposed. The constant ache from the air/anything that touches it is weirdly nice. I also leave parts of my nails jagged, and I rub the jagged parts against cottony fabric or edges of fabric like the corner of bedsheets so that my nails will catch on the fabric. I do this incessantly to the point that other people have noticed the noice of me scratching. I generally use my fingers and nail clippers to do this, but I have also used scissors and my teeth at times. I also used to rip out my eyebrow hair- sometimes leaving about a third of it plucked. I had raw skin and sores for a week at least when I did that. I still pluck them incessantly, but I do not leave sores/raw patches. I have also recently started to grab a large chunk of my hair and pull on it when I am really stressed. I guess it is my way of causing minimal harm to myself- but is still a way I can ground myself with pain. I also pick on scabs and pimples, not only on myself but others if they let me. It relieves a build up of tension I guess
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Disney_obsessed
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I do this all of the time- I just looked it up to see if that is a version of self harm. While less than cutting- I like the small twinges of pain. I rip my nails and cut them with fingernail clippers until I bleed a lot of times. I leave a ton of my nailbed exposed- which constantly aches. I leave parts of my nail jagged, and I run the jagged part over some kind of cottony cloth or a fabric with edges- sheets, etc. to induce pain. I do not subconsciously a lot- and it wasn’t until recently that I started wondering why I was doing this. When I cannot use fingernail clippers or my fingers are too clumsy to rip tiny sections- I will bite my nails and I have even used tweezers and scissors before. It has gotten to the point recently that I ripped my nail in half- it is still in half- stunted and pointy. I also used to rip out my eyebrow hair when I was younger. I have ripped out my eyebrow hair almost a third off on several occasions leaving sores and irritated patches of skin. Something that I have noticed recently is that I will grab a chunk of my hair with both of my hands and pull on it when I am really stressed. I think that all of these are tiny ways to ground myself- to feel pain when I don’t want it to be intense.
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Bio 7
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I do the same. I used to bite my nails but I managed to stop. I was using nail clippers to cit away the skin on the front of my hands and I stopped that as well. Not sure if I can stop biting the skin surrounding my nails though.
Last edited by Bio 7; 2 months ago
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