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Acne excorie

Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 1999. Reviewed and updated by Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist; Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer; and Clare Morrison, Copy Editor, April 2014.

Table of contents

What is acne excorie?

Acne excorie is a term used to describe scratched or picked pimples. It may also be spelled the French way, acné excoriée.

Acne excorie

Most people squeeze or pick some of their spots in an attempt to be rid of them. This can makes the acne look worse. The acne may become secondarily infected and picking it may also cause scarring.

Some individuals excessively pick their spots. When their skin is examined, they have no active acne spots, only scratch marks, sores, pigmentation and scars. All the inflammatory lesions and comedones have been removed by picking or squeezing. This appearance is called acne excorie.

Most people are aware that their facial sores are due to skin picking, but they do not always admit to it openly.

Who gets acne excorie?

Anyone who gets acne can suffer from acne excorie. It appears to be more common in females than males, particularly women with late-onset acne. Spending hours in front of the mirror can also be a sign of stress or depression. Psychiatrists may classify acne excorie with body dysmorphic disorder (bodily focused anxiety).

Sometimes it is just a bad habit that's hard to break; the acne may not actually be all that severe. In fact there seems to be two subgroups of acne excorie patients – one where patients have primary acne lesions and those who have none or hardly any acne lesions.

Acne excorie can be very upsetting and embarrassing.

What is the treatment for acne excorie?

Treatment of acne excorie depends on whether or not the patient has primary acne lesions. Active acne spots can be managed using acne treatment depending on their clinical severity.

Some patients with acne excorie may just need to break the habit of picking, whilst other patients may have a compulsive skin picking disorder. This may require psychological therapy and psychotropic drug treatments.



  • Gieler U, Consoli SG, Tomás-Aragones L, Linder DM, Jemec GB, Poot F, Szepietowski JC, de Korte J, Taube KM, Lvov A, Consoli SM. Self-inflicted lesions in dermatology: terminology and classification--a position paper from the European Society for Dermatology and Psychiatry (ESDaP). Acta Derm Venereol. 2013 Jan;93(1):4–12. doi: 10.2340/00015555-1506. PubMed

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