(A person chewing on their hand, a person pulling the hair on their scalp, a person picking at their face, and a person using tweezers to pull out hair on their arms)
Text: Excoriation disorder and Trichotillomania are body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). Excriation disorder is repetitive picking, biting, or pulling at skin and trichotillomania is repetitive hair-pulling or plucking.
(A person scratching at a patch of eczema scales)
(A person counting as they pull hair from their scalp)
(A person picking at the skin of their face)
Text: BFRDs are sometimes side-effects of other disorders (like eczema) that can cause skin or follicle irritation, or mental illnesses typified by obsessive behavior (like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and sometimes BFRDs are standalone disorders with no other symptoms.
(A person speaking on the phone seen from behind)
Person: Sorry, I can’t come out, I don’t feel well.
(The same person from the previous panel seen from behind but now we can see their reflection in the mirror; the person’s skin is inflamed and scabbed, they look upset)
Text: There are varying levels of BFRDs but generally the disorders are considered serious when they take up a great deal of time, impede on social and work responsibilities, or cause skin infections or lasting hair loss.
(A person shrugging, a person hugging themself, a person with their arms crossed)
Person One: It just calms me down.
Person Two: I feel like I have to stop breakouts.
Person Three: I really dislike the dry skin caused by my diabetes.
Text: There are lots of things that might cause BFRDs; some people pick and pull to self-soothe, some do it to try to repair perceived blemishes, and for some people it’s an outgrowth of another disorder. Now that you know what BFRDs are here are some of the things you can do to have an easier time living with them.
(A person speaking to a doctor)
Text: Ask for help from a professional – BFRDs can be improved with various types of therapy.
(A person putting a coin in a jar, standing next to a chart with stickers on it)
Text: Set small goals and reward yourself – a sticker chart or savings jar that you add to for non-picking or pulling days (or even an hour pick- or pull-free) is a good start.
(A person washing their face standing next to a person brushing their hair)
Text: Contact yourself in a loving way; wash your face instead of picking at it, brush or braid your hair instead of pulling it.
(A pair of tweezers sitting next to a pair of gloves)
Text: Hide your tools or put on fuzzy gloves until the urge to pick or pull passes.
(A partially complete scarf with a crochet hook in it, a handheld maze, and a bubble-wrap keychain)
Text: Keep your hands busy – take up a fibercraft or keep fiddle-toys around (bubble-wrap keychains and handheld mazes work well).
(A person in a dim restroom washing their hands while wearing sunglasses, there is a candle on the counter instead of an overhead light)
Text: Wear sunglasses, dim the lights around mirrors, or wear gloves – it’s harder to fixate on something you don’t perceive.
(A person wearing a hoodie with a band-aid on their face)
Text: Cover up – put your hair under a hood or put band-aids over blemishes to keep from picking or pulling.
(A person talking to themself)
Person: It’s okay, next time I’ll do better.
Text: Don’t get angry at yourself if you pick or pull. Forgive yourself and plan a strategy for the next time you feel the urge.
(A person writing in a journal)
Text: Start a journal to identify your triggers (stress, body image, etc.) and try to reduce exposure to your triggers.
(Two people smiling and talking)
Text: Spend time with people you care about or call a friend when you feel the urge to pick or pull.
(A person hugging themself and holding a large heart-shaped pillow)
Text: Try to love yourself. You’re cool and special and valued just as you are, and you should remind yourself of that fact frequently.
(Two people standing and smiling)
Text: Folks with BFRDs aren’t broken, crazy, or flawed, they are ill and their illness is valid.
(A person hugging another person who has inflamed skin on their face)
Text: If someone in your life is suffering from a BFRD offer support and remind them that they are loved, no matter where they are in the management of their illness.
(A person chewing on the skin of their hand)
Text: If you have a BFRD remember that everyone heals differently; some folks with BFRDs use picking or pulling to self-soothe or cope with trauma and picking or pulling doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
(The outline of a person with their hands on their hips)
Text: And keep in mind that if you are living with Excoriation disorder or Trichotillomania you are worthy of kindness, respect, and appreciation. Your illness in no way invalidates your right to be treated like the awesome person you are.