What Is Acne Excoriée? Experts Explain The Skin-Picking Condition And How To Treat It

By Addison Aloian


One of the most bothersome skin conditions is acne, and almost everyone struggles with it to some degree. Many conditions and behaviors can be developed from having acne—from popping pimples in the mirror to trying every trick in the book to get rid of it—but one condition takes those actions to another level.

It’s called acne excoriée, and it can be a serious condition. Here’s what you need to know to keep your skin health.

What Is Acne Excoriée?

If you’ve never heard of it, acne excoriée is a skin condition “when one compulsively is picking, scratching, or squeezing acne or pimples,” leaving scabs, scars, and pigmentation, says board-certified multi-specialist physician, Dr. Azza Halim, MD. More common in adolescent females than males, the condition is usually associated with depression, anxiety, OCD, body dysmorphia, or emotional triggers.

“Pickers’ acne,” as it’s sometimes called, is more common than you might believe. That’s because of underreported data, and also because it’s not a well-understood concept, says Dr. Halim. A 2020 Journal of Psychiatric Research study of a population representative of the US revealed that 3.1 percent of females identified as having a lifetime skin-picking disorder. Savanna Boda, owner of Savanna Boda Aesthetics agrees: “Many people suffer in silence,” she adds.