Dermatophagia is a body-focused repetitive behavior that causes someone to gnaw or bite their skin, especially around the fingers. The disorder involves conscious and unconscious biting on the skin around the nails and knuckles. This biting leads to discoloration, pain, bleeding, and scarring. Typically, dermatophagia does not include the consumption of the skin being bitten. The disorder can be associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which, by definition, would trigger someone to continue doing the behavior even though it is damaging the skin and causing pain. There are some telltale signs of the disorder that should be recognized when getting a diagnosis or assessment. Additionally, the chewing can occur on various parts of the body, like the inside of the mouth, fingers, and lips.
Presence Of Red And Raw Skin
This disorder is more serious than just periodic pulling or biting of the skin around the fingers and fingernails. This is a compulsion the patient dealing with dermatophagia cannot really control. When the patient continues to bite the skin around their fingernails, they will cause red and raw skin. It can be bloody and painful, but the patient continues to do it regardless of discomfort. It can cause them to isolate themselves because they are very self-conscious of the condition of their fingers. They may feel embarrassed by their condition and try to hide it. Understanding dermatophagia is not just a habit is important. This distinction will allow a patient to get help with managing the chewing of the skin around the nails that causes sore, bleeding, and painful fingers.
Keep reading to learn more about the warning signs of dermatophagia now.