"picking" skin so it bleeds (phase) ???

Tara - posted on 09/21/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )




my daughter is 4 in dec and for the last year or so has "picked" I.e her face,chin legs ect she picks at her skin so much she makes it bleed so will scab over then jus picks it again and again the the same spot, she has several atm on her face and I know they are going to scar! I've tried different ways like talking to her and punishing her and doing sticker/reward charts, we've even gone as far as taken her to doca but nothing seems to work? any suggestions and would like to know if any other children went through this and wether its just a very long phase???


Jenni - posted on 09/22/2011




Yes, It's called CSP (Compulsive Skin Picking) it's an anxiety disorder similar to nail biting. My son has it. His developed suddenly (as if overnight). But it is suggested it can be hereditory (like other compulsive/anxiety disorders). Picking in children can manifest itself due to internalizing messages stemming from lack of language, stress/anxiety, bullying, and/or as an agressive behaviour towards oneself.

My son obsessively picks scabs as well as picks (non-existent) sores on his nose and inner ears.

Bring it to the attention of her doctor. Infections (like staph infections) can occur so medication, like hydrocortisone, is a must. Also, it's very important to keep her nails incredibly short and filed (rounded). This prevents 90% of my son's picking.

Here's some more info:


Lisa - posted on 09/21/2011




You may want to try a doctor again. Is she on any medications? This can be a side effect of some drugs, it can also be a sign of an anxiety disorder. (ever heard of people pulling out their own hair?) And it can just be a phase. Either way, I'd take her to a doctor and if they don't help, and she is picking to the point of scaring you may want to try a child phycologist. I hope I have not made you worry more... Good luck

Nikki - posted on 09/21/2011




I only found out there was an actual name for this type of behaviour a few weeks ago. I do it, I have done all my life. I cannot remember all the details but I think there are a couple of reasons it can happen. One is a form of OCD and the other can stem from a staph infection. For me it's an obsessive behaviour that I don't even realise I am doing. As I have gotten older I have learned to control it a little, so I have not looked into treatment. But if I was going to I would look into someone who specialises in dealing with obsessive behaviours.


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Kirsty - posted on 02/12/2013




my daughter is 8 and half and picks at her arms and hands till she bleeds, she started on her face when she was about 4 and did that for 2 years and now she has moved onto her arms, so i know how you feel, ive spoken too lots of doctors about this problem but dont get any answers.
i hope your daughter stops soon.

Katherine - posted on 09/25/2011




You need to take her to a therapist. This is self-mutilation. She shouldn't be doing this at 4. It is a form of OCD and she needs to be seen by someone IMO.

Tara - posted on 09/21/2011




thanks girls! Everyone keeps saying about anxiety and I'm not too sure she even knows she's doing it?? I find blood on her pillows and sheets. Not sure maybe I should get a video camera and film her overnight?

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