Skip to Main Content

Adults - Skin and Hair Disorders

Download Information

Skin Picking Disorder is a serious and poorly understood problem. People who suffer from Skin Picking Disorder repetitively touch, rub, scratch, pick at or dig into their skin, often in an attempt to remove small irregularities or perceived imperfections. This behavior may result in skin discoloration or scarring. In more serious cases, severe tissue damage and visible disfigurement can result. Hair Pulling Disorder, biting the insides of the cheeks, and severe nail biting can also occur. Most people pick their skin to some degree.

Occasional picking at cuticles, acne, scabs, calluses or other skin irregularities is a very common human behavior. It also is not unusual for skin picking to actually become a problem, whether temporary or chronic. Skin Picking Disorder may develop at any age. How the disorder progresses depends on many factors, including the stresses in a person’s life, and whether or not the person seeks and finds appropriate treatment. In addition to reviewing these materials, you should talk to your doctor about whether counseling (also sometimes called psychotherapy) and/or a medication evaluation might be helpful.

Counseling Services

  • To access individual or family counseling using your health insurance benefits, call the “mental health benefits” number on your insurance card for referral to providers who accept your insurance. You can also access the website for your behavioral health insurance carrier to search for providers in your area and with the specialties you require.
  • If you are covered by Medi-Cal and you live in Sacramento County, contact the Mental Health Access Team at (916) 875-1055 to access counseling or psychiatry services. The after-hours number is (888) 881-4881.
  • Visit Sacramento County Mental Health Services

Frequently Asked Questions 

Trichotillomania Learning Center

  • This website provides a directory of treatment options, educational articles, and research information for those with hair pulling and skin picking disorders.
  • Visit Trichotillomania Learning Center

Skin Picking Support Groups

Emotions Anonymous

  • Emotions Anonymous is a twelve-step organization, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. Our fellowship is composed of people who come together in weekly meetings for the purpose of working toward recovery from emotional difficulties. EA members are from many walks of life and are of diverse ages, economic status, social and educational backgrounds. The only requirement for membership is a desire to become well emotionally. This website has a tab to help find the closest group.
  • Visit Emotions Anonymous  
  • Call (916) 366-0699 for more information.

Recovery International

  • Website offers information on different mental health problems, and a philosophy to approach recovery from them. There are free meetings in locations around Sacramento which you can find here or by phone 916.483.5616.

The Mindful Way Out of Depression (Coping Skills Group)

  • An 8 – week psycho-educational group with Shari Goldfarb, LCSW at Mercy Medical Group Behavioral Health will teach you cognitive, relaxation and other skills to help manage depression and anxiety.
  • The Coping Skills Group with Bonnie Jacobson, MFT, is a support and skills group.
  • Use your insurance and pay a copay to attend these groups. 
  • Call (916) 924-6400 for more information.