How to Stop Picking Scabs on Scalp and Eating them

While picking scabs on scalp may be a harmless indulgence prompted by itch, it could also develop into a repetitive behavior. In this case, it develops into a serious disorder referred to as dermatillomania, which will at times include eating of the picked scabs as well. Find out the reasons for scalp scab picking and how to stop the habit.

Picking Scabs on Scalp

Are you wondering:
“Does anyone else intentionally make scabs on the scalp and pick them once they form?”
While this may come as a surprise to you, there are more people picking their scabs than you can imagine and this includes picking scabs on scalp. Most people pick their skin may it be on pimples, cuticles, nails, face. Where this is a one off affair that goes off with time, it is a normal behavior.

Dermatillomania Scalp Picking

When this habit is so ingrained in a person that it results in them holding back their social interaction, feeling embarrassed, alone or ashamed, the condition is referred to as dermatillomania or excoriation disorder. When the condition is severe, it may result in scalp infections, disfigurement or scarring. 

While it is common for kids to pick off their scabs, they often tend to outgrow it. However, a few will carry on with it or develop it in adulthood, at times going to a point of eating them. While picking scabs on scalp may occur as an independent condition, t is also likely to occur in persons with obsessive compulsive disorder.

Causes of Picking Scabs on Scalp

For you to get to a point of picking scabs on scalp, the scabs must form first. This could be caused by:

Dandruff Scalp Picking

Scab picking may be focused at eliminating dandruff. It is a scalp condition characterized by excessive itching, flaking and scabbing. It usually results in white flakes getting attached on the hair shaft. In new brns, dandruff may appear in the form of cradle cap. The condition is not indicative of poor health or lack of hygiene. It is also not contagious and can be eliminated using medicated shampoos.

Psoriasis Scalp Scabs

Psoriasis is yet another cause of picking scabs on scalp. It results in formation of silver or gray scabs. In addition to the scalp, the skin condition also affects other parts of the body. While mild cases can be easily relieved using medicated shampoo, chronic cases may require professional treated which could include treatment with steroids.

Lichen Planus

If while picking scabs on your scalp you notice they are red or purple and are accompanied by excessive itch, lichen planus could be the cause. In addition to scabbing, the condition could result in hair loss and scalp scabs scarring. The diagnosis for this requires skin biopsy and treatment can be done using injectable and topical steroid medication. To relief itch, antihistamines can be used.

Ringworm on scalp

These are yet another reason why you may be prompted to pick at your scalp. The fungal infection involves formation of circular scaly patches that are quite itchy. It is common in children and quite contagious. Where it is not addressed, it could cause loss of hair around the rings, result in severe scalp skin inflammation and scarring in the long term.

Scalp Picking Hair Loss

Dermatillomania scalp picking hair loss can emanate from two dimensions: the conditions resulting in scabbing contributing to hair loss or the trauma inflicted on the scalp being so severe the scabs come off with hair. The latter is not always imminent since picking of scabs on the scalp is different from pulling. 

What happens is that due to repetitive scalp picking, the hair follicles and hair tresses get damaged. With time they become too week and there is hair loss. In severe cases, a bald spot from picking scabs on scalp may arise. Hair growth after engaging in this habit will depend in the extent of damage on the hair follicles. As soon as they heal and the scabs clear too, hair will grow back.

Picking Scabs On Scalp And Eating Them

While some people believe that eating scabs and boogers is good for you, it, nevertheless, will appear gross to those watching you do it. Closely related to dermatillomania, scab eating disorder is present in a few of those who indulge in scab picking. This group does not leave their picking on scalp scabs at that; they proceed to ingest whatever comes off the scalp. 

Can eating scabs make you seek? Not in the literal sense since you are only recycling dead skin tissue. It may be disgusting to those around you, though and result in strained relationships. Other than the social aspect, there are no know side effects of consuming scabs.

Scalp Picking Infection

If you are too much into scalp picking, it is possible that in the event that there are no scabs, you scratch in order to have some. This could result in skin infection. The resulting scabs will look yellow or green and the infection can grow into a painful sore. 

In case an infection occurs from the scalp scab picking, keep the area clean and disinfect it regularly. To ptotect it from further trauma, you ought to stop picking your scalp. Start by keeping the scab protected from germs to enhance healing. Bandage the area if necessary. This way any time you are tempted to pick at it you will be met by a barrier. For long term relief, check out the various ways on how to stop picking on scabs and adopt the best suited for your situation.

How to Stop Picking Scabs On Scalp

Quitting the habit of scalp or scab picking is quite a process that requires conscious efforts. It can be achieved, though, with sheer determination, consistency and persistence. Here is how to stop picking scabs on scalp which will also prevent you from eating them.

1. Find out Why You Pick the Scabs

The reasons for picking scalp scabs may be physical, mental or emotional. Itchy scabs result in scratching and could see you picking them at the same time. It could also occur as a result of skin problems, withdrawal of drug use or as an escape route for boredom or anxiety. Identify how regularly, when and where you pick your scabs.

2. Seek Treatment for Causes

Where the cause of the scabbing is a health condition such as those discussed above, you will need to seek treatment so that the scabs can stop forming. Follow up on the treatment regimen offered to clear up any condition as you make conscious efforts to quit picking on your skin.

3. Come Up with a Quitting Strategy

Once you are aware of the reasons for your scab picking, you need to develop relevant coping strategies. Put into place various ways to divert attention, keep your hands engaged elsewhere or reminders for you not to pick on your scalp. The best methods are those optimized to suit circumstances.

4. Set Targets

Another way to help keep your hands off and stop picking on the scabs is to challenge yourself using time limits. Start off by setting a number of hours through which you have to not pick the scabs after which you reward yourself. Keep increasing the duration gradually.

5. Make Picking Dis-interesting

One way to stop the picking is by getting the thrill out of the process. Since the aim is to inflict some trauma and pick scabs rooted on the skin, make this difficult to achieve. You can try this by bandaging the scabs, trimming your nails, wearing gloves all wearing a hat as well. These will act as a barrier and in the end make the picking hard to achieve.

6. Redirect your Energy

Any time you feel like picking on the scalp, try and redirect this energy to something constructive. Where the urge to pick hits you when you are idle, try taking a walk. You could also keep your mind occupied by reading a book.

7. Seek Medical Help

In case you can seem to kick off the habit at home, do not give up. This is more so where the habit is deep rooted and you take a lot of time picking the scabs, where the scabs on scalp are scarring, if the process is accompanied by guilt and where it incapacitates you socially. Seek professional help on scabs picking. They will help you kick off the habit through various therapy sessions and treatment options. They will evaluate you and come up with the best way to stop picking at scalp scabs.


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