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Author Topic: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?  (Read 27064 times)

neilep

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Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« on: 31/07/2004 14:30:50 »
Hello lovely people of scientific niceness ,

I suspect that this is a pschyological question (which is still a science is it not ?)....anyway...why is it that when you have a scab, one has the urge to pick it ?...what is it that compells the urge to scratch away ?

Your words of healing would be appreciated

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'

bezoar

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #1 on: 31/07/2004 15:48:27 »
Because they itch.

neilep

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #2 on: 31/07/2004 19:27:38 »
quote:
Originally posted by bezoar

Because they itch.



DOH !!!...but if I may be so bold as to be ever so slightly defensive Nance...not all scabs are itchy !....and still the urge is there.

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'

jai

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #3 on: 01/08/2004 10:23:20 »
because we are all curious and slightly masochistic!! :D

seriously, as a tattooist with lots of tattoos, i have a LOT of experiance with scabs! mostly in how not to get them. the scab is a protective mechanism which in most cases over works. when you have a light cut or abraision the way not to get a scar and to reduce the scabbing it is to wash it gently and well, pat it dry, and apply a little cream such as bepanthenol or savlon (a water based cream that will not irritate the skin is necessary). you must then repeat this whole process, wash, dry, cream three or four times daily until the scab flakes off like dry skin. DO NOT PICK! you will then find that the itchiness is usally after the scap comes off (about 5 days into the healing process) and that the skin is very thin.

as to WHY we pick them???? maybe it is just something to do, like biting your nails, squeezing pimples or picking at warts??

yes, but.........

DrN

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #4 on: 01/08/2004 19:52:36 »
well, its like the urge to press bruises, touch painful teeth, rub you sore elbow etc etc. there is a reason, apparently, for compulsive pressing of sore spots! licking your wounds I think, perhaps behaviourly linked to saliva containing healing properties, as our evolutionary ancestors in the animal kingdom tend to do all these 'touching, pressing and rubbing' actions with their tongues.

neilep

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #5 on: 01/08/2004 20:21:30 »
...I agree Lindsay...there almost seems to be an instinct happening here. like a psychological thing perhaps....I have a slight graze at the moment....it's not itchy...but I really want to pick it !!!...don't wanna lick it though !!!...well...might have a nosh later though !!

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'

rutica

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #6 on: 19/08/2004 20:01:41 »
hi,
this is my first time posting here. it seems like a cool site. i have been thinking about why we pick scabs for a while now. i have scabs on my scalp and i'm trying not to pick it.

i think we pick because it comes from our primal urge to groom ourselves like we did when we were chimps. we were constantly looking in our skin (fur) and the skin of our other chimp friends, looking for ticks and other tasty parasites. so when we touch our skin and find a bump, we automatically want to remove it.  that served us well when we were chimps and needed to remove parasites from our body.

so just tell yourself, bumps are good, bumps are healing, bumps are good.

OmnipotentOne

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #7 on: 21/08/2004 17:54:33 »
Cause Reaction? A stimulai. It feels so good though!

To see a world in a grain of sand.

OldMan

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #8 on: 23/08/2004 03:09:36 »
I had a thought a while ago that the itching is kind of like the bodies way of saying hey the skin underneath is getting ready to be exposed so start getting rid of this scab would ya. Of course I'm probably completely off track and my skin doesn't really talk to me does it.

Tim

Donnah

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #9 on: 23/08/2004 03:38:03 »
Your skin talks to you all the time.

DrN

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #10 on: 24/08/2004 12:39:59 »
i thought the itching was the actual repair thats going on. all sorts of things happen when you have a wound, blood cells clot to stop the bleeding, fibroblasts migrate in there, to replace the missing cells, all sorts of enzymes and chemicals are released to guide these cells, to make new connective tissue, to breakdown the blood clot etc. its fascinating stuff.

OmnipotentOne

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #11 on: 28/08/2004 16:47:00 »
YES it truely is, your body has the capability to repair itself.  It really is fascinating.

To see a world in a grain of sand.

cheryl

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #12 on: 13/09/2004 02:18:35 »
Hi, I am new here.  I have been to several dermatologists and used numerous skin creams with no relief.  My problem began about 3 years ago with an intense itching on my forearm. It was a stinging itch as if something was under skin stinging me.  I was first diagnosed with scabies and used the cream given, but still had the intense itching.  It usually became worse at night and the only relief was to put a wraparound ice pack on my arm.  But eventually the itching jumped to my other forearm.  It would go back and forth, while one arm would heal up from the scratching and scabs the other would flare up and the process would come and go.  It has now progressed to my legs and buttocks and the problem of itching mainly only occurs on my arms, and it occurs in the day as well as at night.  The itching in the day occurs when I get irritated or overheated.  The problem on my legs and butt is caused by my obsessive habit of scratching off scabs.  I can not explain why I do it but I can not stop doing it.  And it gets more gross.  I eat my scabs!!!!  Why I do this I don't know.  I used to be a compulsive nail biter, and had been for my whole life until stoppng last year at age 43.  Now, I think having nails is worse because I can not stand to have any uneven areas on my skin such as bumps or scabs so I pick them off(over and over so they never heal).  Is this a neurological disorder?  I am worried that I may have diabetes(slow healing) or liver problems(the itchiness). I am embarrased about the appearance of my skin, I even have lied to coworkers that I had poison oak and can't get it healed up.  Can anyone relate??

Ians Daddy

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #13 on: 13/09/2004 05:05:10 »
Cheryl, first, welcome to the forum.
I think we can all relate to the picking of scabs / sores / bumps. It's natural. Eating them? Not so much. I have had, as a child, something like eczyma / psoriasis and the itching was intense. It seemed to be stress related. I know that cortizone creams and ointments were very effective, as well as Boric Acid ointments. I would suggest trying to relax (lower stress), check your diet (especially the scabs part) and maybe see a D.O. as opposed to an M.D. and see if there is a root to the problem.

Just a thought,

Best of luck,

and, again, welcome,

Ronnie

neilep

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #14 on: 13/09/2004 11:30:51 »
Cheryl, I echo 'Ians Daddy' and welcome you hear.

I'm not a doctor but it sounds to me that your constant scratching and picking is akin to your history of nail biting which is generally the consequence of uneasiness and tension. Like Ronnie says, the best course of action is to see a specialist, like a Dermatologist.....one thing is for sure, you have to try and control your picking for any healing to occur, and you run the risk of scarring too...BUT do not panic....with the right treatment you can do it. Go to your doctor who can refer you....and DO GO...because it seems that it's making your life a misery..and do not be ashamed...for heavens sake please don't let embarassment control your health !!.....good luck Cheryl...keep us posted.


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'

bezoar

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #15 on: 15/09/2004 12:36:03 »
Hi Ronnie,
I haven't been on the forum in a while and I see you're back.  Missed ya!  Welcome home.

My suggestion to the above -- change dermatologists.  Without a medical reason for the rash, and thoroughly check that out, then it might be a psychiatric manifestation of some type of stress/tension.  The compulsion to eat the scabs is definitely shrink material.  Hey, we all manifest stress in our own way.

Ians Daddy

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #16 on: 16/09/2004 00:07:14 »
Thank you, Nancy! Missed you too.

spaghetti

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #17 on: 22/09/2004 10:11:50 »
Hey, this is my first time, too!

I've just been doing an internet search, and why is it that cutting and "self-mutilation" is glamorized like a teen fad, while scab-picking is looked at as "sick"? That's kind of offensive to me.

I want surreptitious help and I don't want to be judged for what I do. Some physicians' attitudes really turn me away.

tamster

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #18 on: 28/09/2004 07:04:02 »
CHERYL.

I thought I was the only one with the compulsion to pick and eat my scabs.  I know it sounds gross, but, for some strange reason, I find comfort in it.

I'm on anti-depressants, and I don't think it's helped at all.

My HMO doesn't care.  

I wish I could wear short sleeves and skirts again.

-tj

IDK

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #19 on: 04/11/2004 15:30:12 »
Maybe its because they are unsightly...cuz the monkey thing is wack!

tamster

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #20 on: 02/12/2004 07:10:34 »
well....
i've been reading up on childhood issues and compulsions.  i had some very personal epiphanies.  it's been nothing short of a miracle, cuz after discovering some of my issues, and dealing with them, the compulsion has all but stopped.
how cool is that?
the healing up tamster:I

neilep

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Re: Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #21 on: 02/12/2004 10:53:02 »
That is fantastic Tamster....a success story...well done...good on ya...!!

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'

Maxsparrow

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Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #22 on: 02/04/2008 01:31:59 »
I'm no doctor either, but I'm going to suppose that picking scabs is just a way your mind tries to remove things on your body (such as zits, warts, and scabs) that aren't naturally supposed to be there and are meant to be removed over time.  I think your brain just overreacts to it and automatically tries to remove it without realizing that it will cause a scar or bleeding and that that is where the impulse for the picking comes from.  Not sure where the eating comes from, but I very much like to lick my scabs.  People find it gross, and it does taste a little funky, but you get used to it, and I find it very soothing.  Running water over it has a similar effect, but I find licking to be softer and gentler than running water, and as that person was saying above about running water and using cream, perhaps licking my scabs repeatedly during the day and letting them dry causes a similar sort of effect where the scab dries out faster and is easier to fall off like dry skin, as he said.  I find that I only desire to lick it when it is very dry, so this actually seems quite likely to be an impulse in my brain to help scabs heal better, if all that is true about scabs healing better from drying out that is.  I've also read about dog saliva having healing properties and that is why they lick their scabs or their master's scabs, so perhaps our saliva has healing properties too? I'd like to research that...

R.C.

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Scabs...why the urge to pick 'em ?
« Reply #23 on: 06/04/2009 21:56:42 »
People don't like to have things on them ... so we take them off.

 

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