Dermatophagia Symptoms

March 30, 2017

Dermatophagia is an anxiety disorder in which patient bite and cut off their skin. Dermatophagia is an obsessive compulsive disorder OCD. This disorder arise as a result of anxiety because anxiety cause mental uneasiness, obsession and compulsion. In this disorder, patient find it compulsive to bite their skin again and again. Excessive biting sometimes leads to bleeding and infection. In dermatophagia, patient usually bite his fingertips skin around the nails and skin around the joints. Patient experience a repetitive behavior and bite his fingers again and again. People with this condition are called as wolf biters. Other than skin on finger tips patient usually bite his skin present inside mouth and repetitive biting leads to formation of blisters. Signs and symptoms of dermatophagia are clear and can be observed easily from fingertips. So some common signs which can be observed easily are,


  • Bleeding from biting and chewing site.
  • Calluses formation due to hardening of skin as a result of biting.
  • The color of skin changes to red due to excessive and repetitive biting.
  • Anxiety of patient is visible
  • Blisters formed which causes pain and bleeding further. 
  • Compulsion behavior i.e. patient feel it compulsory to bite his nails and skin around it and could not stop himself from biting. 
  • Patient have low self esteem.
  • Ridges are formed on the skin which clearly indicate the presence of dermatophagia.
  • Patient show obsessive behavior.


Explanation of some Major sign and symptoms of dermatophagia are as follows:


  • Skin discoloration: due to repetitive biting, the color of skin changes and becomes colorless. Normally it is seen around nails. Skin discoloration occurs when biting fingertips become habit and patient do it on daily basis with repetitive action. Patient do not even notice it because he fine it hard to stop biting his skin. Patient experience a pleasure feeling like a dream come true while biting. 
  • Bleeding: when patient bite his skin on fingers again and again, the skin may get damage and bleeding starts. Bleeding is considered an obvious sign of dermatophagia. Bleeding is the worst condition of dermatophagia and sometimes patient still do not stop biting even after bleeding. 
  • Skin damage: the skin surface become hard and tough due to repetitive biting, patient with dermatophagia have scars on the skin surface usually around the nails. Skin become damage and looks like patient have cuts on skin surface. 
  • Calluses: when patient bite his skin again and again without any hesitation and break then skin start becoming hard and start changing its shape. Calluses form as a result. These calluses will lead to the formation of wounds. Infection can easily occur in these open wounds and lead to further complications. 
  • Ridges on skin: when patient chew and bite his finger tips, the skin surface start turning hard and as a result ridges are formed. These ridges are considered a visible sign of dermatophagia like bleeding. 
  • All these sign and symptoms mentioned above are related to dermatophagia and no instrument or test are required to diagnose this disorder.