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What Causes Excoriated Acne?

What Causes Excoriated Acne? What Causes Excoriated Acne?

Acne is a condition that occurs when hormones signal the excess production of oil, which can clog the pores and create a hospitable environment for bacteria according to MedlinePlus. While this kind of acne often can be treated or will subside as one gets older, those who have a condition known as excoriated acne will actually make their skin worse by picking or squeezing the skin. This medically recognized condition is important to identify and treat because it can cause facial scarring and non-healing wounds according to AcneNet.

Poor Self-Esteem

Excoriated acne is common among teenagers, whose self-image tends to be connected to their appearance according to the Dermatillomania Center. Teenage girls may especially be at risk. While these teenagers are experiencing acne as a result of hormone swings, they may develop an extreme desire to pick or squeeze pimples, which can have a cathartic effect on a teenager. While a teenager may have poor self-esteem, picking the skin can be a way to relieve emotional pain--as if the person is picking away their problems and worries. By pinpointing and picking at every pimple, they feel as if they can address their problems and the feelings they have about themselves.


Some people may pick and squeeze pimples as a way to cope with emotional or physical abuse according to the Dermatillomania Center. Making the face appear undesirable may make an acne sufferer feel their abuser will be less likely to abuse them if they have an unattractive appearance. Picking the skin can help a person find relief from emotional trauma.

Uncontrolled Urge

For some with acne, the very presence of acne blemishes and lesions may be unacceptable to the sufferer according to AcneNet. This person then experiences an uncontrollable desire to pick at the face, which can result in darkened brown spots, open sores, scabs or other signs of wounds. People who experience the constant urge to pick at excoriated acne often want to stop picking at the face, but may find themselves unable to do so based on their urges.

It's important to differentiate between the occasional desire to pick at a lesion and actual excoriated acne. Picking at an occasional blackhead or whitehead does not create excoriated acne. However, daily picking that involves nearly every facial blemish and leads to open sores constitutes excoriated acne. Excoriated acne creates red marks and open sores, and a person often finds they cannot stop picking at the skin without medical intervention.

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