Skin Picking Disorder: Wound Care

  • Best ResultsVariable
  • Treatment RecoveryVariable
  • Procedure Time1-5 minutes
  • Skin SpecialistYou with help from me
  • Duration of ResultsUp to you
  • AnaestheticNA
  • Back to WorkNA
  • Cost$

Skin Picking Disorder: Wound Care

Correct wound dressings & care can markedly reduce scars from chronic skin picking. Gouges, scratches & ulcers heal better in a sterile yet moist environment. Simple steps including regular trimming of nails can markedly decrease the damage to your skin. Hydrocolloid dressings are cost-effective & invaluable.

FactsFacts on Skin Picking Disorder Wound Care

  • Prevention of permanent scarring is the primary focus of wound care
  • Disinfect picking areas with chlorhexidine, iodine, Bactroban or Fucidin
  • Provide a moist but sterile atmosphere for wound healing
  • Compression bandages can reduce picking
  • Taped cotton gloves are invaluable
  • Hydrocolloid patches can reduce picking of spots
  • Early scar treatments can mitigate permanent scarring

Why is wound care so important?

Because it can prevent infection & reduce scars. If you are not open to help, at least I can help you reduce permanent scarring. This is super important as skin picking scars can be bloody challenging to treat, especially hypopigmented scars. By reducing scars, my team & I may have an easier job when it comes to helping you, should you require scar revision.

Skin picking leads to loss of collagen as well as pigmentation changes – either darkened scars, or loss of colour (deeper scars).

How to reduce or prevent infection?

If you develop an infection in picked scars, your rate of permanent scarring exponentially rises. You can prevent or more accurately reduce infection by-

  • Cleaning your wounds with chlorhexidine or iodine. Do not use alcohol as it stings. Ideally clean once a day, using a sterile dressing pack. Look on eBay or Amazon.
  • Apply antibacterial ointments such as Bactroban, or Bepanthen
  • Use appropriate wound dressings, such as Melolin, Bactrigras, Opsite- ask a pharmacist
  • Wrap the area in Tubi grip. Obvious not an option of you have skin picking wounds on your face
  • For facial lesions, clean as above, then apply acne hydrocolloid patches. The patches provide a clean & moist environment for wounds to heal. They also act as a way of giving you haptic feedback if you re-pick these spots

What’s the deal with nails & gloves?

A time-tested trick that dermatologists employ is to get you to cut your nails really short. This reduces the urge/ability to gouge.

If you continue to pick at night, wear some cotton gloves. Get your partner-family-friends to use duct tape to secure them. If you feel the urge to pick, you could try techniques like habit reversal training. 

Can phototherapy heal skin picking scars?

Yup. There are two forms of phototherapy. Medical phototherapy uses a special light source called narrowband UVB. This treatment can reduce the urge to pick by stabilizing inflammatory & mast cells, reducing histamine release. This treatment is covered under Medicare.

Light in the form of yellow & red light can be useful for acute wounds. This type of phototherapy is not covered under Medicare. My nurses & dermal therapist perform this form of light treatment.

Davin’s Viewpoint on Skin Picking- how to manage wounds

The second step, after prevention of picking, is early & appropriate management of wounds. If you can find yourself a family physician who can look after your wounds in a specified wound care clinic, you are ahead. Failing that, the simple DIY treatments as listed above can make a significant impact on mitigating long term scarring.

Remember, it scabs its scars, & grease for peace. A moist & sterile wound environment is required for optimal scar remodelling. You don’t need expensive – fancy patches, simple hydrocolloid dressings will do. There are many videos on YouTube describing how to look after wound from picking & cutting.

I highly encourage patients to at least start CBT & habit reversal training at the same time as wound management. This will prevent further scarring & will herald the first steps to getting better.

Disclaimer: My team & I are a tertiary referral centre. We do not provide acute wound care; however, we can liaise with your GP or refer you to a public hospital for management.

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