Comorbid Conditions Symptom Tests

[Self-Test] Dermatillomania or Skin-Picking Disorder Symptoms in Children

Is your child or teen pick at their skin incessantly? Take this dermatillomania self-test to see if your child may be showing signs of skin-picking disorder, a type of body-focused repetitive behavior.

Recurrent skin picking (anywhere on the body) that results in lesions may be a sign of skin-picking disorder, a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) that, if untreated, can significantly affect a child’s quality of life. Children and teens with this condition may pick at pimples, scabs (including those formed after skin picking), calluses, and/or healthy skin, sometimes with the use of implements, like tweezers and pins. They’ll often attempt to conceal the lesions caused by skin picking with makeup or clothing.

As with any other BFRB, skin-picking disorder, also known as dermatillomania and excoriation disorder, is difficult to control. According to the DSM-5, a significant proportion of students with skin-picking disorder report having missed school and experiencing difficulties in school because of their condition.1 But with the right support, children and teens can better understand these behaviors and successfully manage dermatillomania.

Answer the questions below to see if your child may be showing signs of skin-picking disorder. Share the results with your child’s pediatrician or a licensed mental health professional. Regardless of your score, tell a doctor if your child is engaging in BFRBs, no matter the severity of the behaviors.

This self-test, drafted by ADDitude editors, is based on criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This self-test is designed to screen for the possibility of excoriation disorder (skin-picking disorder or dermatillomania), and it is intended for personal use only. This self-test is not intended as a diagnostic tool.

My child recurrently picks at their skin — on their face, arms, hands, and/or other parts of the body.

My child reports spending a lot of time picking, thinking about picking, and/or resisting urges to pick at their skin.

My child’s skin picking results in lesions.

Anxiety and boredom seem to precede my child’s skin-picking episodes.

My child is specific about the type of skin they pick at (e.g., scabs, pimples).

My child examines, plays with, and/or swallows the skin after it’s been picked.

My child reports feeling an increasing sense of tension before picking at their skin or when resisting the urge to pick.

My child reports feeling a sense of pleasure, gratification, or relief after picking at their skin.

My child makes repeated attempts to decrease or stop skin picking.

My child is secretive about their skin-picking behavior, often denying that it has happened.

Skin picking or its results cause my child significant distress.

My child misses school because of their skin picking/skin lesions.

My child avoids social events because of their skin picking/skin lesions.

My child often seems completely unaware of their skin-picking, as if they are in a trance.

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Skin Picking Disorder in Children: Next Steps

View Article Sources

1 American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Excoriation disorder. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).