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Featured Skin/Nail Peeling Stim

Discussion in 'PDD-NOS, Social Anxiety and Others' started by Tyrantus1212, Jul 15, 2017 at 11:58 PM.

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  1. Tyrantus1212

    Tyrantus1212 An odd dinosaur. Yet a dinosaur.

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    Hello guys, so this is something I do regularly and without even being aware; I believe it's one of my stims. I constantly peel skin from my fingertips and lips, as well as fingernails. It's become such a long-time habit that I ended up doing it subconsciously, and still do. I also notice that it happens whenever I'm nervous, and that's pretty much all the time. What I worry about is that sometimes it causes bleeding and that's more than I can handle. I have to get up and go to the nearest bathroom in order to wash the affected area - and this means stepping out of the office at work.

    Anyway, what if I do this (subconsciously) with dirty hands? Would washing the affected finger or lip prevent it from becoming infected? I mean it's been years and that's never happened yet. Once the bleeding occurs I HAVE to wash it no matter where I am and I just hope that this is enough. These cuts are not deep but I still worry about infection. I had a tetanus booster done very recently, but what about other crap like Staph? Does anyone else exhibit this type of stim? Anyone able to cope?
     
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  2. Katleya

    Katleya Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I do it with the skin on my lips as well (actually, I was doing it just before reading your post), but I also have urges to pick at my skin in various places, which even with clean hands leads to some inflammation because I never give the skin enough time to properly heal. And then the inflammation makes my skin itchy, and I pick at it some more.
    Only solutions I've found so far are vaseline on my lips (hate getting my fingers sticky, so it's somewhat efficient), and an occasional scrub with a baking soda & water paste to relieve the itchiness and make me pick a little less at my skin. But it's far from perfect.

    My father does the same as you on the skin on his finger tips and around the nails. I think he also still picks at hangnails, too, and I've never seen his hands blatantly dirty, but I know he's had paronychia a few times, and I think even a boil once (guess that was from Staph). You don't need a deep cut for an infection, you just need the barrier (your skin) to be broken. Staph are small enough to get in if they're around, as are most bacteria or fungi. I think he uses rubbing alcohol when it happens, but it's not always enough.
     
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  3. Gracey

    Gracey Member

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    I have a thing when nervous whereby I subconsciously use a fore or index finger to worry the cuticles on my thumbs. So much sometimes that I can work tiny pieces of skin loose. This can sometimes result in bleeding.
    To date I haven't had any problems with any sort of infection but also have to mention that I have a bit of an obsession with hand washing too so perhaps between my own immune system and the hand washing I've avoided any infections?
     
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  4. Tyrantus1212

    Tyrantus1212 An odd dinosaur. Yet a dinosaur.

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    I wash my hands quite a bit, but what if I do this whenever a bathroom is not available? Will wipes do the job? Dear God I really loathe the bleeding...
     
  5. Katleya

    Katleya Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You could keep one of those bottles of antibacterial lotions, that would do the trick.
    Don't overuse it, though, you don't want to destroy the good bacteria either.
     
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  6. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    I do this too with the thumb and forefinger. So did my Dad. Tend to pick lips also. It is a fairly common thing with Aspies, usually because we have good deal of anxiety.
    Dermatillomania (also known as compulsive skin picking or CSP) is an obsessive compulsive disorder characterized by the repeated urge to pick at one's own skin, often to the extent that damage is caused. Sufferers of dermatillomania find skin picking to be stress relieving or gratifying rather than painful.
     
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  7. Tyrantus1212

    Tyrantus1212 An odd dinosaur. Yet a dinosaur.

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    I find it gratifying until the bleeding happens and causes further anxiety about infections, which might make me peel even more (different regions, of course).
     
  8. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    The bleeding usually is enough to make me stop.
     
  9. Momo

    Momo Active Larrikin

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    Sometimes I'm glad my nervous habit is simply jiggling my leg around like a lunatic. But I don't think you'll get an infection, and if you are very worried about it just carry around some antibacterial cream and put it on whenever you peel so much it starts to bleed. Problem kind of awkwardly solved!
     
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  10. WereBear

    WereBear License to Weird V.I.P Member

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    I do the same thing with nails; any little piece will demand some kind of attention :)

    My solution was to get one of those grooming kits, with file, little clippers, etc. I hang in there and groom it away when I can, and this has cut down on the incidents.

    It know it's hard, but it can also switch to distracting myself with a better stim, like a fuzzy cloth or a worry rock, which are my favorites.
     
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  11. thom&bonnie

    thom&bonnie A Boy and his Dog.

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    I would like to thank you for bringing this topic up.

    My symptoms began as nail biting and scab-picking during pre-adolescence. Any irregularity, except for my few moles (my mother told me that picking those would cause cancer when I was a little boy) was fair game for attention. Because I was very active (ADHD) and spent a great deal of time hiking and climbing in the local forests and creeks there were always scrapes and scratches to attend. Very healthy, I healed quickly so no difficulties were encountered. Of course, biting my nails and peeling the remaining edges often led to a bit of bleeding and pain, but never infection.

    The fingernail biting behavior lasted well into my thirties, however at some point it transitioned into finger-tip and -joint biting as I usually have callouses there and their roughness draws my subconscious attention. The only nail-biting now is usually limited to peeling, which still occasionally causes bleeding, but that has never concerned me much.

    That said, I do have a relatively new complication. Since my last exposure to poison oak in my early fifties my epidermis no longer heals very quickly at all except upon my palms, fingers and soles and hence the various cuts and scrapes caused by my continued hiking and climbing (yes, I still climb cliffs and trees) can literally take months to fully heal considering my propensity for unconsciously picking at them, so instead of just one or two sores, I usually have seven or eight at any one time on my forearms and lower legs; not particularly attractive cosmetically.

    I have never thought of this compulsion as stimming, but I am new to my self-realization of ASD and now, thanks very much to your topic, I can clearly see that it is, for me, a stimming behavior indeed. I have always found it calming in that it engages and stimulates a part of my mind that may be bored or restless.
     
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  12. Kyn

    Kyn Active Member

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    I do the bit with my forefinger and thumb when I am stressed/nervous/anxious/whatever, and once the skin starts to peel back, I just can't stop picking at it. When it gets bad, I will put band-aids over the areas so that I can't further damage the skin. Sometimes I end up with band-aids on both thumbs and half of my fingers and I am sure people wonder what on earth happened, but at least my skin is protected.

    As far as infections go, I have had a few small, localized ones, but nothing that a little hydrogen peroxide didn't fix. I also live in a relatively germ-filled environment- I have horses, dogs, chickens, and I garden all of the time. I wash my hands frequently, and keep an eye on any breaks in my skin for signs of infection and I have never experienced a problem.
     
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  13. Abe1

    Abe1 Well-Known Member

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    Not quite the same but I used to play with my hair and twist it into twirls and pull it out so much so I had a bald patch at the top of my head.
     
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  14. Tyrantus1212

    Tyrantus1212 An odd dinosaur. Yet a dinosaur.

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    I've had a few localized ones too, evidenced by the little bit of swelling and tenderness; even a bit of pus here & there - but never had anything that warrants worry. That might have just been lucky, I'm not sure. I've exhibited this behavior since childhood. Hmmm, never thought about applying band-aids; I'd probably have to cover every single finger. For toes I usually wear socks, so it's less of a problem.
     
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  15. Tyrantus1212

    Tyrantus1212 An odd dinosaur. Yet a dinosaur.

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    Worry rock...that's like a stress ball right? My boss ended up getting me one because he noticed how anxious and panicked I always am.
     
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  16. Tyrantus1212

    Tyrantus1212 An odd dinosaur. Yet a dinosaur.

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    My hair is always short, but I still twirl it and scratch my head when it doesn't itch. People would always tell me that it may lead to a bald patch; as much as I don't want to have one, I can't help it because I do this without being aware.
     
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  17. thom&bonnie

    thom&bonnie A Boy and his Dog.

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    I neglected to answer your question regarding infection except briefly in passing.

    Let it be said that I have never had any aversion to dirt nor have I ever worried about infections.

    That said, I do know that experimental studies have been done regarding children that bite their fingernails and cause bleeding and/or children that suck upon their thumbs or fingers. Of course, before being taught about germs and the convention of washing hands many children have a tendency to dirty scrapes and cuts as well as to suck upon dirty fingers.

    It is now quite well understood (by many of the scientific communities directly related to human biology and those in the health profession) that this kind of exposure (under normal circumstances sans imminent local threat of highly infectious disease or sub-standard sanitation methodology) is not only innocuous, but a natural and predominantly healthy way for said children to be exposed to potential local pathogens, allergens and parasites and thus incrementally build immunity via exposure, much like vaccines themselves work.

    Of course there is a statistical curve and some children's immune systems are inadequate to the task. Considering that the behaviors themselves are natural to natural selection the resultant consequence (natural immunization to local pathogens) are as well.

    Of course, this does not mean that "anything goes" or that one should just arbitrarily relinquish all caution or routinely circumvent commonsense prescribed preventative techniques such as hand washing or modern sanitation, but it does suggest that occasional exposure to the normal ambient "dirt" of life can even be beneficial.
     
  18. abby normal

    abby normal Well-Known Member

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    I useta do that during my working years as stress relief. thankfully I was able to ditch the lip [skin] tag peeling before serious scarring/disfigurement took place. but I have chronically chapped fingertips whose skin flaps I feel off or clip off with fingernails so they won't tear when hung up on sticky parts of clothing.
     
  19. Adam Kep

    Adam Kep Well-Known Member

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    I do not really do this except for constantly clipping my nails,however usually not to the point of bleeding. Anyways I cut myself A LOT and only really use water and a variety of plants like plantain on my cuts, and I have yet to get an infection. People worry too much about germs nowadays, its a proven fact that children who grow up on farms get sick less and this is due to all the germs/allergens they are exposed to over the course of their lives. Anyways try not to worry so much about small wounds, you are tough and they will heal as long as you are in a relatively sanitary environment.
     
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  20. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You can replace stims with other stims, in my experience. A few months ago I gained a new one, which is basically cleaning my nails with my other nails (although that's not the purpose). I also lost one that I no longer remember exactly what was, but I do have fewer claw marks. Sure, the soft skin under my nails kinda suffer, but at least I don't look all stripey.
     
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