Peeling a scab is a bad habit that can sometimes be hard to break, but it can damage the skin and cause problems such as infection, scarring, or scarring. Also, if scab peeling is done compulsively, it may indicate "Excoriation Disorder" which is a Body-Focused Repetitive Disorder (BFRD). Although difficult, you can break this habit with patience, effort, and if necessary, outside help.
Method 1 of 3: Treating Scabs
Step 1. Clean the wound
Open wounds and lesions can lead to infection. So, make sure to always clean any new wounds thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible. Next, clean the wound with an antiseptic or a small amount of Neosporin ointment and protect it with a bandage. You can also try using Betadine or peroxide on the wound to clean and get rid of unwanted bacteria. These wound care steps will help clean the wound and keep it away from infection.
Step 2. Protect the wound scab
A scab will form on the surface of the wound to protect it from attack by germs as the body repairs its cells and tissues. Thus, to help the wound healing process, this layer must be protected.
- If you can't put a bandage on the wound, try applying a moisturizer or lotion while it's healing. If properly cared for, a scab rarely leaves a scar. Light massage while you apply moisturizer will also improve blood circulation, which will help the wound heal.
- Use a nail file to smooth the scab into the surrounding skin. This will make the scab more difficult to peel off, reducing your desire to peel it off.
Step 3. Take control
Minimize scarring by choosing the right product for your skin. Make sure the skin care product doesn't leave scars that will make you tempted to peel off the scab.
Method 2 of 3: Breaking the Habit
Step 1. Study yourself
There may be reasons that make you peel off your scabs, from physical reasons (because it itches) to mental or emotional reasons (perhaps as a way of releasing tension). Understanding the root of this problem will help you stop it.
- Not everyone who peels off a scab has behavioral problems. Sometimes peeling scabs is normal. Meanwhile, it can also signal skin problems, drug withdrawal, or other problems. Peeling new skin is a behavioral problem only if it is done so frequently that it interferes with other aspects of life.
- There are many reasons why people exfoliate their skin. For some people, this habit is caused by boredom. While for others, this habit is a way of releasing negative feelings, depression, or stress. This habit is sometimes done without realizing it, but sometimes people who do it feel guilty.
- Taking notes can help you know when, where, and how often you peel off a scab. Especially if you do this without realizing it. Make a note of each time you peel off the scab.
Step 2. Make an effective strategy to overcome it
Once you know when and why you're peeling your scabs, try using something to distract yourself from doing it. You may need one or more ways to control this behavior. Prepare that strategy and use it according to your situation.
Step 3. Try challenging yourself
If you're a highly motivated and competitive person, try turning scab quitting into a race. Set a certain amount of time, in days or hours, for you to refrain from peeling off the scab. Then reward yourself for your progress.
Step 4. Complicate your habits
One way to stop peeling scabs is to make this habit physically difficult. Trim your fingernails, wear gloves, or apply a bandage to the scab. Shorter nails will make it harder for you to peel off the scabs, which will help you to hold yourself back.
- Try wearing soft cotton gloves. These gloves not only serve as a barrier, they can also help you become more aware of your scab peeling habit while helping you reduce it.
- If you frequently get scabs on your arms or legs, wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt whenever possible. If you have scabs on your ankles, wear knee-high socks. That way, even if you fail to restrain yourself, you can only peel off the fabric and not the skin itself.
Step 5. Use acrylic nails
In addition to making you look more stylish, these nails will also make it difficult for you to peel off scabs. You'll have a harder time exfoliating with thicker nails. Meanwhile, thin nails are generally sharper so they can cut through the scab.
If you choose this method, ask a nail therapist to cut your nails as short and thick as possible. Nails like this are additional protection for your skin
Step 6. Replace your habits with better things
When you feel tempted to peel your skin, distract yourself or use your energy to do something else. Try reading a book, going for a walk, or watching TV when you want to peel off a scab.
Better yet, look for habits that will keep your hands busy and are generally used to aid the smoking cessation process. You might try drawing, gardening, knitting, playing puzzles, the piano, or crochet. You can even just hold a coin or paperclip. If neither of these methods work, sit down with your hands
Step 7. Try practicing positive affirmations
Remember to respect yourself every time you peel off a scab. Press down on the scab area or slide your hand across it, remembering that you love yourself and want to protect your skin. Try this technique every time you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning.
Step 8. Don't give up
Maybe at first, you need a long time to break this habit. However, if you have succeeded, even if only once, you can certainly repeat it and eventually this habit will lessen. Be grateful for your progress. Over time and with continued effort, you will gradually break this habit.
Method 3 of 3: Seeking Medical Help
Step 1. Identify the problem
If done uncontrollably, scabs can be a sign of a behavior problem called “Excoriation Disorder.” People with this disorder will touch, scratch, and rub their skin compulsively, causing scarring or even worse. Please consider the following questions:
- Does peeling the scab take up a lot of your time?
- Are there any obvious scars from peeling off the scab?
- Do you feel guilty if you remember your habit of peeling scabs?
- Is peeling a scab hindering your social or professional life?
- If the answer is yes to more than one of the questions above, you may have excoriation disorder.
Step 2. Seek help from a professional practitioner
Peeling a scab may signal an excoriation disorder or another medical problem such as psoriasis or eczema. It's best to consult a medical professional so that you can identify the cause, and determine whether this habit is a separate problem or a symptom of another problem.
- There are a number of therapies that can help you get over your chronic scab habit. Some therapy may involve medication to relieve physical triggers, and others may use behavioral therapy. Once your doctor finds the problem, he or she can help you determine the best treatment.
- Excoriation disorder is a variation of obsessive compulsive disorder because it is accompanied by a compulsive urge to perform a behavior repeatedly.
- Your excoriation disorder may be related to depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and eating disorders. Other problems similar to excoriation disorder include body dysformic disorder, trichotillomania (hair pulling), and nail biting.
Step 3. Follow medical advice
Your habit of peeling scabs may also be due to a physical problem, and not an excoriation disorder. These problems may be dermatological in nature, such as eczema, which is an itchy inflammation of the skin. In this case, the doctor may prescribe medications such as corticosteroids, or other topical creams.
Remember that medication will address the underlying problem of your habit of scab peeling. However, it does not overcome the habit itself. So even if the physical trigger is gone, you may still feel a psychological urge and need help
Step 4. Seek psychological help
If your habit of peeling scabs isn't due to a physical problem or an excoriation disorder, you may need to consult a professional psychologist. One of the most commonly used psychological therapy options is cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used to help people replace bad habits with good ones. There are various types of cognitive behavioral therapy available to treat the habit of peeling scabs.
- This therapy may include dermatological, antidepressant, anxiolytic, or antipsychotic therapy.
Step 5. Consider reverse behavior training
Reverse behavioral training is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, based on the premise that the act of peeling a scab is a conditioned behavior. This reverse behavior training will help you identify the situations that trigger your habit and reduce the habit by shifting it to another response, such as clenching your fists, when you feel the urge to peel off a scab.
Step 6. Consider mastery of the stimulus as well
Mastery of stimuli is another technique that can reduce the sensory triggers in the environment that cause you to flake off (which is then classed as a "high-risk" situation). This technique will teach you how to avoid situations that could trigger your scab, such as changing your shower habits if looking in the mirror was the trigger.
- Constantly peeling the scab will increase the risk of infection and scar formation.
- Seek help if you have a serious infection or can't control your scab peeling habit.
- Just like any other medical problem, first consult a doctor before you take action.