Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder among adolescents and young adults with acne-induced postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and scars.

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A plethora of health-related concerns, including skin disorders, are particularly common during the critical periods of adolescence and young adulthood. Their reactions to skin-related disorders can be different from their reactions to other disorders. While medical problems could be physiologically impacting, skin disorders like excoriation disorder can, in addition, directly affect their physical appearance in ways that have psychological consequences like anxiety, low self-esteem, and impaired quality of life. The increasing prevalence of excoriation disorder has resulted in its inclusion in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and the eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) manuals as one of the obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD)-related disorders. However, health care professionals may not often recognize this important entity especially among adolescents and young adults with acne vulgaris presenting with chronic or recurrent acne-induced postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and scars. A number of self-reported tools are available for use in screening and/or assessment of excoriation disorder and to aid its management. While both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies are available, patient education is important. Physicians who usually make first contact with patients, such as Family Medicine Physicians, Pediatricians, Dermatologists, and Aesthetic Medicine Physicians, should have a relatively high index of suspicion for this disorder, especially in those presenting rather frequently with new or repeat lesions. Prompt referral to licensed mental health specialists is encouraged in order to ensure the provision of holistic care to affected persons.


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Authors: Rabi I Ekore, John O Ekore

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