When your mother used to tell you that picking at a cut would make it worse, she wasn’t kidding. If you are still doing it to this day, however, then the chances are that you have a compulsive skin picking disorder – apparently not that uncommon in this day and age. But picking at a healed cut or spot is a big mistake. It can lead to a small scab becoming a large wound, and can very easily result in infection. The unsightly blemish that results is known as excoriated acne.
“Excoriate” means to strip the hide or skin off something. It is a word that is used figuratively as much as anything, often being used to explain the severe telling off that an unruly child might get from a parent. But it does have a literal application, and the obsessive habit of picking at our skin is an example of how excoriation is a genuine problem. Anyone can develop excoriated acne, but it is more common among women.
Excoriated acne is the result of a desire to pick, squeeze, or scratch at blemishes, even creating new blemishes in some cases. This leads to open sores which, when they scab over, are prime for picking again. It can be a very hard habit to break, sometimes only stopping when the skin ceases scabbing. At this point, what you are left with is open red sores and inflammation. This is excoriated acne, and can be very unsightly and also potentially very unhealthy.