Picking Skin Around Nails and its Causes


Compulsive skin picking disorder is not limited to certain parts of the body, it extends to a lotof parts as well. It may include skin around nails and at certain extreme occasions, even the feet. Onychophagia is called the continuous biting, chewing and picking of skin around the fingers and cuticle areas. This is a common oral compulsive habit in children as well as adults.

An effect of picking skin around nails is the sensitivity of pain to bitten fingertips. The area where the sensitive part occurs is the edge of the nail and the skin. Hangnails are referred to as the broken skin around the cuticles. Broken and loose distended skin particles are often painful when hit by other objects. To remove them, nail clippers and tweezers are utilized. If they are improperly removed, chances of complications may occur.

They are prone to microbial and viral infections. The transfer of bacteria may come from under the nails or by pinworms from the anus region straight to the mouth. The social aspect of one is also affected since the nail’s destruction can lead to low self-esteem which leads to lesser interaction with people. What is more depressing is if the person has OCD, he or she will keep on picking the skin until it reaches further skin damage. The damage skin is an open invitation for the person to continue picking, biting and chewing.

There a lot of methods employed to treat people picking skin around nails. The usual treatment is the Habit Reversal Therapy where the bad habits are replaced by constructive ones.


The other types of treatment are behavioral therapy. This is employed where other treatments have failed. To unlearn the habit of nail biting, habit reversal training is employed. Stimulation control therapy on the other hand is a form of therapy that seeks the cause of the picking off skin around nails and then eliminates it all together.

What matters is diagnosing and treating the disorder.