Alex's Answer

Could I have dermatillomania

Your Question

Hi Alex , Im sixteen and Im pretty sure I am dermatillomania . I keep picking my skin on my fingers , feet and body , and I get really addicted . I can spend up to 3 hours just being lost in the ‘activity’ , and I always feel really terrible and worthless after . I cant be the only kid experiencing this right…?


Hi there,

Firstly, we want to welcome you and acknowledge your courage in reaching out. It takes strength to share your feelings, especially when they involve something as personal as dermatillomania. You’re not alone in this, and it’s brave that you’re looking for support.

While we are not medical professionals here in Childline and cannot say whether or not you have the condition, we can tell you that dermatillomania is a condition characterized by the compulsive picking of the skin. This can manifest in various ways, such as picking at fingers, feet, or other parts of the body. It’s important to recognise that dermatillomania is a real challenge, and you’re not alone in facing it. Many young people go through similar struggles, and it’s essential to understand that there’s help available. The urge to pick your skin can be overwhelming, and the aftermath often leaves you feeling down. It’s okay to feel this way, but it’s equally important to recognise that you have a right to and deserve support and guidance.

You have the right to see a medical professional who can diagnose whether or not you have dermatillomania. Do you have a trusted adult in your life whom you feel comfortable talking to? Someone that could help guide you and support you through your diagnosis. It would be important for you to have that support and someone to help you through the journey afterwards.

Why some people experience dermatillomania, can be linked to different factors. Stress, anxiety, or a need for coping mechanisms are common triggers. Understanding the root cause can be complex and may involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. What’s really important to remember is that asking for support is a positive step toward managing and overcoming dermatillomania.

You’re not defined by this. Many young people have similar feelings, and reaching out for help is an admirable choice. Remember, if you feel you can’t talk with someone close to you yet, Childline is here for you whenever you need someone to talk to. Feel free to call us at freephone 1800 66 66 66 or connect through Live Chat at We’re here 24/7, offering confidential and non-judgmental support. We can explore your options with you.

Take care of yourself and know that you’re not alone on this journey. We are here for you,


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