Skin Picking, Trichotillomania and Tongue Scraping

All three are referred to as Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs).

A person with BFRBs causes damage to their body by obsessively pulling hair, biting nails or the inside of their cheek, picking skin or scraping the tongue.

Those who have a thin myelin often feel sensations more intensely than those who do not.   I know when my myelin was thin, I had a hard time getting comfortable.  I couldn’t stand the feeling of my neck skin touching the collarbone skin or the tag on my shirt rubbing against my neck.   I seemed to feel every wrinkle in the sheets.
Some with a thin myelin can feel food going down the esophagus and other sensations that most people don’t feel.
The sensation of irregularities or perceived imperfections often sparks the urge to pick or pull.   This is usually increased during times of anxiety, excitement, fear or boredom.   Relief or pleasure is often reported after the person gives in to the compulsion.
Some doctors are removing BFRBs from the OCD spectrum.  I believe this is a mistake!  Most people with BRFBs also have other OCD symptoms and those who have nourished their myelin report to me that they no longer feel the sensation which spurs their compulsions.
Let's take each of these separately:

Skin Picking

Skin Picking Disorder SPD (aka Excoriation Disorder, dermatillomania, acne excoriee, pathologic skin picking (PSP), compulsive skin picking (CSP) or psychogenic excoriation) is the touching, rubbing, picking or scratching of skin usually to remove black heads, acne, scabs, dry skin or any imperfection.
This should not be confused with self cutting or self-mutilation which people use to help relieve a sense of numbness or to regain control over their life or body.
While researching, I found blogs which gave ideas that helped lessen the actions for others with this condition.  They included keeping a rubber band around wrist to intertwine in fingers, putting ointment or band aid over the place that was giving the sensation, exercising, cross stitching, crocheting, knitting or anything which keeps the hands busy.
Interestingly enough some people blog that eliminating sugar and wheat helps lessen the urges.


Trichotillomania (TTM or “trich”) is a disorder that results in compulsive hair pulling from the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or any other parts of the body, causing bald patches.
Statistically, about 2 in 50 people experience TTM in their lifetime.   Typically, they pull the hair with their fingers or tweezers. 
The compulsion is most common during sedentary activities such as reading, working at the computer, watching TV, talking on the phone, riding in a car, using the bathroom or listening in class. 

Tongue Scraping

There should be a very faint white coating on the tongue.    Some people don’t realize that… Plus some people develop an abnormal coating if they are dehydrated, have yeast, etc.

I personally believe regular oral hygene and balancing yeast, health and fluids make tongue scraping unnecessary.
Brushing and scraping the tongue is suggested by many dentists.  You can even buy an object designed to specifically scrape the tongue.
But some people take it to the extreme… They often brush and scrape their tongue until it is raw and bleeding… Doing damage to the taste buds and even the lingual tonsils (large bumps in the back of the tongue).
The sensation of the coating on the tongue or bad breath is usually what feeds this type of OCD.  Again, I would work on the person’s general health to rid them of the excess coating as well as work with the myelin.

If you would like to see if you are a candidate for the protocol I use, please click on the link below.
Links  ·  Contact Us  ·  About Us  ·  Disclaimer  ·  Privacy Policy  ·  Shipping
OCD and GAD Home  ·  Products  ·  About Us  ·  Contact Us  ·  Shipping  ·  Privacy Policy  ·  Links
Copyright  © 2010, Dr. Mary L. Reed Gates, CNHP, MH, ND
All rights reserved