General Question

ezraglenn's avatar

Do you eat your own skin?

Asked by ezraglenn (3497points) May 19th, 2008

Not in a creepy, cannibalistic way. Although feel free to share that so we know who not to invite to our christmas parties. For example, many people chew on their fingers or lips (is that skin?), but why? and when? Nervous habit?

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76 Answers

Mtl_zack's avatar

i can suck on my toes, but i dont usually do it because theyre dirty. i often bite my knuckels when im at a lecture an im listening very intently.

Randy's avatar

Chewing and eating are two totally different things.
Chewing = ok
Eating = gross…..

arnbev959's avatar

I bite the skin around my nails, and sometimes if a good sized sliver peels off I’ll eat it.

Allie's avatar

I agree with Randy.
I bite my lip, but I don’t eat it. Eating skin is nasty.

scamp's avatar

I bite my nails as a nervous habit sometimes, but I don’t swallow them. We had a thread a couple of weeks ago about nervous habits. I can’t find it, but we discussed oral fixations in it. I think what you are asking here falls into that category. i don’t know why people do it tho.

Mtl_zack's avatar

why does everyone think that cannibalism is bad? people are animals, but “more advanced”. we eat cows, but what would happen if cows eat other cows because they have no more grass to graze on? would that be disgusting? now replace word “cows” with “humans”. is it still disgusting?
however, what animals eat is the muscles not the skin, because the skin provides less nutrients and has a lot of bacteria on it. so i guess its irrelevant in this topic.

Notreallyhere's avatar

mtl zack are you a cannibal?

Mtl_zack's avatar

no i am not, but i would not discriminate against cannibals. i am not because i practise kashrut, which says that i cannot.

xyzzy's avatar

@mtl_zach. It’s more disgusting because there is a significantly greater risk of spreading diseases this way. For example, cows eating other cows (or rather, farmers reprocessing cows into feed for cows) is one of the main ways Mad Cow disease gets spread.

And there are a number of cultures that practice(d) cannibalism, so it is not a universal taboo.

ezraglenn's avatar

I guess I meant chew rather than eat…

Notreallyhere's avatar

when you compared human to cows, that’s where you lost me…so which one is more “socially advanced” according to you?

shrubbery's avatar

“what animals eat is the muscles not the skin, because the skin provides less nutrients and has a lot of bacteria on it.” -mtl_Zach.

We eat chicken skin though?

arnbev959's avatar

“what animals eat is the muscles not the skin, because the skin provides less nutrients and has a lot of bacteria on it.” -mtl_Zach.

I think most animals, like wolves, eat the guts (intestines, livers, all that good stuff).

shrubbery's avatar

yeah but why do we, we being humans, eat chicken skin if it has lots of bacteria and stuff?

arnbev959's avatar

it tastes good.

and we, being human, cook it (hence killing the bacteria)

shrubbery's avatar

ah, duh. sorry.

Mtl_zack's avatar

we eat the chicken skin, but we also eat the muscle (and wolves eat the organs) also known as the meat. another thing: if the chicken has been cooked at a temperature over 140 degrees, it is usually safe because most bacteria cannot live in that temperature.

about the cow analogy, lets scrap that and send in the dog analogy. in many dog foods, there are remnants of dead dogs, so the dogs are eating other dogs: cannibalism. there seems to be no problem with dogs. in fact, those foods contain more proteins that help them get stronger.

ezraglenn's avatar

1. since when does dog food have dog in it?!?!
2. How is any of this related to the question? I mean, okay, I guess the cannibalism thing. But still, it’s weak.

susanc's avatar

I do eat my own skin, in the sense of biting off bits of dead stuff from
lips, hangnails, bits of blister, and then maybe swallowing if distracted.

I don’t eat other people’s skin. I find that unmannerly.

psyla's avatar

I prefer to eat my own internal organs, usually when I’m feeling jealous. I drink alot of my own saliva. Are we talking about just eating & chewing, or is drinking included too?

peedub's avatar

Scabs are pretty rad until they get stuck in your molars and you have to pick them out. I like to bite off blisters and give them a good chew.

psyla's avatar

Why are you getting all those scabs and blisters?

peedub's avatar

I used to race a road bike. Thank god for Arnica Montana. I’m lucky to not have some gnarly scars

ckinyc's avatar

bite yes. Eat no! What about snot? < forget it! Me bad!!

psyla's avatar

Nasal secretions are a close relative to saliva. Why are people so repulsed by products of the nose? Noses are beautiful things. Does having a motorcycle make one more prone to eat one’s self?

peedub's avatar

Sorry, I meant bicycle.

It just means a lot of scabs and the occasional blister.

ckinyc's avatar

may be because it’s green!

psyla's avatar

Beaked Aliens are green and noone around here seems to be repulsed by them, considering how they constantly come up in the conversation! But maybe you’re right. The color of body parts might have alot to do with their favoring for cuisine. Vegetables are green though.

NOharmNOfoul's avatar

@ezraglenn: you just reminded me of Goldmember in Austin Powers…. He ate his dry skin. “Dr Evil could I paint his yuhoo gold??? Its kinda my thing you know”..... Classic line!!

jcs007's avatar

I think this answers all your questions. absolutely no mention of skin there.

psyla's avatar

Eleven servings of brains per day? The next generation of Zombies will all be overweight. They’ll all be dieting.

benseven's avatar

Oh… Oh.. Shave me from myshelf… bring me the shkin boxsh…

I love gooooollllldddddd!

jcs007's avatar

@psyla: Of course they’ll be overweight. It takes many more bullets to penetrate all that fat and kill those buggers. Hence, fat zombie = hard to kill = MORE BRAINS

Zombie logic is flawless.

judochop's avatar

I chew & sometimes I swallow a bit. Big deal. I also pick at scabs sometimes.

psyla's avatar

A hard-to-kill zombie will need to eat at least eleven servings of brains per day in order to maintain their morbid obesity.

NOharmNOfoul's avatar

@benseven: “how about no! You crazy Dutch bastard” LOL

eambos's avatar

I bite the skin around my fingertips and the insides of my cheecks. This is kinda wierd, but I bite the caluses(sp?) around my hands too.

manaf's avatar

ofcurse i eat it who dont it is tasty! ummmmm so good mwahahaha

breedmitch's avatar

The list of who is not invited to our xmas party grows and grows.

Zaku's avatar

Maybe it’s time to start the invite list for the autophage party.

breedmitch's avatar

Don’t eat the hors d’ourves?

Zaku's avatar

I imagine it’ll be BYO.

breedmitch's avatar

I never leave home without it.

buster's avatar

There is only on thing better than eating skin. Scabs!

jesuschrist247's avatar

i love eating skin on my feet especially when a big blister shows up i like the really big blisters there tasty and the skin around my fingers and lips im in heaven when i eat my skin it tastes like chicken i just want to eat my skin right now ummmmmmmmmmmm tasty

Allie's avatar


deaddolly's avatar

Yes to skin, no to finger/toe nails. I used to bite my nails a a kid…think I ate them then, but my mother would always tell me I’d get a pile of finger nails in my stomach…which scared me. Don’t know why, but it did.

Guney's avatar

I eat my lip’s dead skin. :) Tastes Good.

eatme's avatar

I have become obsessed with eating my own skin…it’s really become a problem.

genanorcal's avatar

I have had this problem since I was 5 years old. I chew and yes, (hate to write it) but also eat my skin. Mainly, skin on the inside of my lips, my hand and my fingers…It’s a problem I want to stop but can’t. My hands hurt and I dont have a good grip. Most of all, I always get questions as to why my hands are always raw and bleeding. I’ll lie and say it’s because of the hand soap I’m using, etc..Anyone else out there with this problem/habit?

rh's avatar

I bit off my lips skin and the other side of my cheeks (inside of the mouth).. Its become such a habit that chew on them throughout the day, sometimes even without paying attention. But I don’t eat them, although it can be sometimes accidental. I want to stop though.

xkennax_love's avatar

Well.. I used to eat my finger nails.. But then I stopped biting them. I’ve always eaten the dead skin on my lips, and if I pull off a live piece and start to bleed, I’ll suck on the blood. I also sometimes eat hangnails. And if I get cut and bleed, I’ll drink the blood.. As long as it’s not on my feet.

mzdee415's avatar

to genanorcal…... I have this same exact problem. I’ve had it since I was a kid also and it gets so bad that my fingers and toes get raw and burn. I try and use band aids and glove but it only helps temporarily. If anyone knows how to stop this….please post! =)

JGarcia60804's avatar

Well I eat my skin. It started when I was young just with like my fingernails but as i got older i started eating the skin on my fingers and hand. It’s really disgusting looking and it’s not like it taste good or anything. I don’t know how it started but I do know that I can’t stop. Its a really bad habit that seems to be unbreakable. I usually don’t know I’m doing it. I’ll just realize that oh my goodness I’m doing it…........... so yeah

theoflut's avatar

I think personally…. It’s like toddlers. They don’t like to pooh because subconsciously it’s a tiny part of them leaving there body. And they hold it in because they don’t want to lose that part of themselves.
So kids, teens and adults might think the same way about there skin.
Also I think it’s a curiosity thing. “How do I taste?”

pikachu6123's avatar

i eat my skin all the time.. its a real bad habit but has slowly been stoping over the years.
ill eat it till my hands are bleeding.. not just the tip of my fingers (thou that is a common place) once it was even my wrist s:

whoever0925's avatar

i happen to do this myself but it seems that it is not a “gross” activity but more of a bad habit. It is what it is as long as you’re not hurting another person or yourself it’s
fine. make sure you done hurt yourself tho

whoever0925's avatar

All those people who say they chew their skin/nails and say that swallowing your skin/nails is somehow worse I say its ridiculous. The same satisfaction applies, people just dispose in a different way. Settle down people and dont respond if you’re not going to be PRODUCTIVE

IlleK's avatar

I’ve chewed my whole life, finger tips, inside of my mouth & cuticles. I enjoy the crunch of skin between my teeth…that’s my goal. I hate when I bite to deep. I regret that pain and wish I could stop. I could care less about swallowing but I do because I chew the bite till it’s gone. Then I need more. Why do I do this? Is it self loathing? Do I wish I didn’t exsist? I’ve actually wondered about the calories/protein and could I survive on feeding on myself? I think my Mom used to chew the inside of her mouth but I’m not competely sure. Nobody else in my famly does this except one person. I have 2 daughters. One I gave up at birth for adoption but I still see her, the other is my younger daughter I ‘ve been with 24/7. The daughter I gave up also chews but it’s the outside thumb skin and the one I am the Mother to does not chew at all.

2010's avatar

i’ve eaten my skin since 4ever. None of this nails and lip b.s, but ripped, stripped, peeled, pinched, scraped, scratched pieces of skin, from 2mm up2 as big as i can off my neck, forearms, inner thighs, back of my knee or where ever. I have eczema, and with all the scratching, comes alot of ‘shed’ pieces of skin. I collect them in little, sometimes huge piles and then eat it. I’ve once had so much skin in my mouth that i had to chew through all the loose pieces of skin. There was skin all over my mouth. On the roof, in the teeth, around my gums. I peel off pieces of skin percise and slow, inorder to peel off as big a skin as possible for my consumption. I’ll probably continue for a while, although i do wish i could stop. Really, i couldnt give a damn about what others thoughts are on the subject. For what i get up to in my private time is on me. Is this weird? probably. Is it unhealthy? obsessively. Will i stop? hopefully. And 2 answer the question, ‘Do You Eat Your Own Skin?’ Hellll Yes

breedmitch's avatar

Seek Help!

whyigottajoin's avatar

OMG and I thought I was the only one that was weird. I bite off little pieces of skin from the tip of my fingers and off the inner sides of my cheeck daily. Sometimes the sides of my tumbs bleed a bit and burn. I wish I could stop but as soon as I see a loose piece I can’t just leave it hanging there so I bite it off and chew on it. When I was little I used to chew on fingernails untill little and spitt the pieces out again. I stopped doing that but I now chew up little pieces of skin and then forget to spit them out again =S I wondered why I do this, the thought even crossed my mind that my body lacks some kind of protein or whatever or that those little pieces might have nutrians I might need/lack. I wish I could stop, when I was younger I used to take breaks and let the skin heal again but now (20yrs old) I have a boyfriend/job/school and lots of stess. So they stay bitten up! Srry for the long text. Love from Holland

maybesure's avatar

Yes, to answer your questions in a way that will make sense to you, the skin on your hands, primarily places where callus form (fingertips, thumbs, inside base of fingers), can become habit forming places to chew and subsequently consume the tough skin. In the brain, endorphines are released from the completely unique taste of living flesh, and phycologically the trend seems to fall along the lines of a way to cope with stress. Though you may not realize your biting your nails/hands or thinking of a future stressful situation, all the studies ive seen into this indicate that the trigger to biting is habitual and stress induced. I bit my nails for like a month and since i cant stand bad habits of any kind i did a lot of research into it to overcome it. So none of you are going to end up losing a limb unless your Jeffy Dahmer, but its something you should work on to remedy.

BishiAfi's avatar

When i haven’t eaten for the day, i nibble off the entire inner layer of cheek tissue (or most of it) in my mouth and eat it until i’ve found some thing to eat. I’ve been doing that since i could think about doing it. Sometimes if i bite too deep it hurts and bleeds a little and i can’t eat or drink anything hot or spicy. The taste of blood is not bad it’s just like if you suck on a papercut. When i was younger i used to chew the skin from around my fingernails. To me the cheek tissue doesn’t have a definite taste but i think it’s more like a comfort thing though. I’m glad i saw this discussion because i thought that i was the only one. Btw eating scabs and peeled of skin from eczema is just your way of cleaning yourself. it’s just that most people were trained to do otherwise but what you’re doing is your preference and it’s not a disgusting thing it’s your business, but i’m glad you all shared.

bongo's avatar

I love eating my skin, toes, fingers, even my heels occasionally and of course scabs. Its all good. I’m clean, I know where ive been. Trouble is at times i take scissors and nail clippers to my hands and feet. gets a bit annoying when they bleed. never gone for the cheek skin before and i have never had eczma so no problem with that. I used to be an absolute cronic nail biter with it but my hands are LOADS better now ive stopped biting them. feet are horrendous tho. i sit at my desk and just hack into my little toes with my nail cutters then eat the bits of skin. I dont know why i do it but i like it and i CAN NOT leave a little piece of skin or nail sticking up or flapping. even if i put a sock on, knowing it was there would drive me mad.

cfish's avatar

I actually do eat the following (just off myself, not anyone elses!) = Scabs, snot, finger nails, and skin (from my lips, around my fingers, and from over top of blisters) I find this all okay and quite tasty.

TunnelingPigeon's avatar

well i personally eat the skin around my fingeres my or my scabs occasionally and i chew my nails alot but im also one creepy guy

gjmhfrommtl's avatar

I realize it is supposed to be a sick & disgusting habit or neurosis and maybe yes it is caused by anxiety and/or stress, whatever it may be I also suffer with this affliction of eating one’s own skin. It started when I was young and I used to suffer with eczema and my skin was in very rough shape, so I used to peel the layers of skin off so my skin would look smooth and try to heal properly (aka debriding the skin—> Debride: To remove dead, contaminated or adherent tissue or foreign material. The purpose of wound debridement is to remove all materials that may promote infection and impede healing. This may be done by enzymatic debridement (as with proteolytic enzymes), mechanical nonselective debridement (as in a whirlpool), or sharp debridement (by surgery). Debride comes from the French debrider, to remove the bridle (as from a horse).), but instead of throwing it (the dead skin) out I used to bite it off and swallow it!

In addition to the fact I always bit my nails for as long as I can remember (both finger and toenails) as well as picking my nose and eating that as well… I have reduced the toenail biting and the nose picking and eating to a minimum since my younger days; however I still eat my skin on fairly regular basis and biting my fingernails is another story altogether… I am 47 years old and I don’t know if I will ever be able to get over these extremely bad habits… If anyone has any advise please let me know… thanks <3

Robinson's avatar

Ok if you find it gross fine i dont care
but since i was a child i have engaged in chewing and consumeing flesh, mucus,scabs.flesh and blood. self canibalism its called i dont know what it is but i have mentioned this behavior to my doctor and so far he hasnt helped me at all he just shrugged and said hmm thats diffirent as for some saying it tastes like chicken you havent had human flesh then because it actually tastes like pork, as for blood it has that metalic taste copper like with a hint of pork in it, makes sense consider pig organs are the same size as humans also their genetic make up is very close.

missanonymous's avatar

I have a huge problem with eating my skin, and again I thought I was the only one. I have been doing it ever since I was little, I don’t remember how old I was when I started. I actually get toe nail clippers and cut off skin from my feet and eat it :( I feel like it’s so disgusting, but I can’t stop ever. When I go anywhere I don’t take my shoes off bc I don’t want people to see underneath my foot. Also if anyone asks I say I cut off dead skin.. so they don’t freak out. I don’t know how to stop. And sometimes I do it to the point where it’s so painful and I bleed and it hurts to walk because I press hard on the spot I took off the skin. What should I do?

Otep_Baby's avatar

I thought I was the only one but apparently not. Lets me know Im not THAT big of a freak. I don’t remember when it started but at a young age 8–10 possibly I started taking nail clippers to my hands and feet and ate the skin. I stopped for a while and then did so again and ever since I haven’t been able to stop. Its however not my only issue. I also eat fingernail polish and pencil erasers and blood and I do chew the inside of my cheeks. They call this Pica (when you eat something other than food)....

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I was about to just go ewww… hell no! and then I thought about it and yes I do bite the inside of my mouth. It is an anxiety pressure valve for me, and I have done it in the past to the point of chewing holes into the inside of my cheeks.

But does that count really, if it was already inside my mouth anyway?

MrB's avatar

Whenever i get a scab or something ill pick it off then eat it, i like the crunchiness of it. With skin on my hands and feet ill eat because i love the taste, the salty taste with another sort of taste that i can never find anywhere else.

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