Your Compulsive Pimple Picking May Be More Serious Than You Think

By Thalia M. Espana

Anyone who has dealt with acne knows it isn’t an enjoyable experience. There’s both physical and emotional pain that sometimes accompanies it. It is a skin condition in which pores become clogged, forming what are known as pimples. Acne appears in different forms or lesions, bumps, or pimples known as whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, or nodules. Unfortunately, many factors such as the environment, stress, or hormones can lead to acne. In fact, 73.3% of adults over 20 reported having acne in a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

These constant lesions or pimples on the skin most commonly occur on the face, neck, or back, but acne can happen anywhere on the body. Because of their pesky presence, many people with acne start forming the habit to pick at or pop their pimples. And while doing it every now and then may seem harmless, building the habit of compulsively picking at your skin can be more harmful than you may think, often identified through a skin condition known as acne excoriée (via DermNet).

What is acne excoriée?

Board-certified multi-specialist physician, Dr. Azza Halim, M.D., tells Women’s Health that compulsively picking at your acne can leave behind scabs, scars, and pigmentation. This skin-picking behavior is called acne excoriée where “one compulsively is picking, scratching, or squeezing acne or pimples,” Dr. Halim explains. “People are not born with acne excoriée,” Dr. Halim adds. “Trait disorders, learned behaviors, life stressors — all can be contributing factors.” Most often, acne excoriée is born out of a habitual response to other factors.

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