For a long time, skin picking has been viewed as little more than a bad habit. But as we learn more about the human brain and its various quirks, it’s become abundantly clear that skin picking often stems from something much deeper.
Unfortunately for many, skin picking (dermatillomania) is not just a harmless habit. It can cause pain, open wounds, and permanent scarring.
In some settings, skin picking is also seen as distracting, rude, or unprofessional. However, excoriation disorder is a recognized mental illness related to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Fidget toys can replace the physical sensation of skin picking or redirect hyperactivity manifesting as skin picking. They can also offer an alternative behavior for individuals who use skin picking to aid in focus or stress relief.
Of course, we recommend discussing the use of fidget toys with any professional currently involved in managing compulsive behaviors!
For a fidget toy that can be used by all ages, the Tom’s Fidgets Original Flippy Chain is a great place to start. Its portable, quiet, and intuitive design makes it one of the best fidget toys for skin picking out there.
|Tom’s Fidgets Original Flippy Chain
|Mr. Pen Spiky Sensory Rings
Best Fidget Toys For Dermatillomania (Skin Picking) 2023
Best Overall — Tom’s Fidgets Original Flippy Chain
Tom’s Fidgets Original Flippy Chain
Handheld, distraction-free fidget toy that can keep your hands busy for hours.
With Tom’s Fidgets Original Flippy Chain Fidget Toy you can keep your fingers occupied for great lengths of time without noise or visual distractions.
This fidget toy is perfect for anyone who idly picks at their skin when focused or stressed. It comes in several colors and can be easily kept in a pocket or attached to a keychain.
The small and discreet design doesn’t attract attention either.
The chain is made from a combination of stainless steel and silicone O-rings and is extremely durable. The overall weight is well-balanced, and it is smooth enough for easy spinning. Even though the design is simple, users have found it to be stimulating and an effective reliever of social anxiety.
If you’re looking for a noiseless fidget toy to replace skin picking, you really can’t go wrong with this little gizmo. It can be used for spinning, two-handed flipping, or even chewing. However, the small size poses a potential choking risk for young children.
Best Premium Option — Infinity Cube
Hefty fidget toy perfect for teens and adults who need help focusing or relieving stress.
The Infinity Cube is perfect for keeping on hand at your desk. Passersby may even think it’s a display piece when not in use!
When first using this fidget toy, you might find it requires more focus than other designs — this is great if you pick at your skin when feeling anxious. Over time, however, fidgeting with the Infinity Cube can become second nature.
Made from stainless steel and aluminum, the cube feels sturdy. It can easily withstand a few drops or knocks and is great for everyday use. Overall, the weight and the movements are extremely satisfying and can help one to focus.
While compact enough to use with one hand, the Infinity Cube is on the less-portable side due to its weight (just under half a pound) and bulky shape. It also may be too large for young children to fidget comfortably.
Besides, it is also a bit noisy. Some users like metallic noise, but if you prefer a silent fidget toy, there are other options.
Best Budget Option — Mr. Pen Spiky Sensory Rings
Mr. Pen Spiky Sensory Rings
Budget-friendly sensory rings that can eliminate or reduce the urge to pick at your skin.
For one of the simplest alternatives to idle skin picking, we recommend the Mr. Pen Spiky Sensory Rings. Made from stainless steel, the rings are safe and will not hurt your fingers.
These textured rings can be used in a variety of ways. Most notably, though, you can pick at the spiky surface of the ring instead of your own skin. Being silent, they are great for use in all environments.
Since these sensory rings are affordable and sold in a multi-pack, there’s less concern about losing them than may be the case with other fidget toys. But they are also far less durable and versatile than other designs.
Best Multi-Functional Toy — Fidget Dodecagon
12 sides, 11 things to spin or roll or click or flick!
It means 12, and it means your nimble, busy fingers will have A LOT on their plate.
The Fidget Dodecagon comes in multiple color combinations and has an ergonomic design.
With 12 sides and 11 different things to ‘mess’ with, it is a great toy to release nervous energy. It also provides you with both silent and noisy fidgeting actions. And even the noisy options are not super loud.
There are gears, buttons, joysticks, stress balls, and other options for you to pick from. The overall durability is great too. A silicone hop allows you to hang it from a bag.
You may need some time to get adjusted to the number of options. But once you get used to it, the device is a lot of fun. Moreover, it is popular with both boys and girls looking to release some nervous energy.
The lightweight product is made from premium-grade plastic and is easy to carry around. However, the Fidget Dodecagon Toy might be too big for small kids. On the other hand, it is not a choking hazard for kids.
Best Pick in a Box — PILPOC theFube Fidget Cube
PILPOC theFube Fidget Cube
Keep clicking the various functions to calm your nerves!
If single-function fidget toys fail to keep your hands occupied after a short time, consider giving the Pilpoc Fidget Cube Toy a try.
The toy is available in multiple colors and being a silent device, it is great for any environment.
Made from premium-grade materials, the cube has a rubbery feel and rounded corners that make it comfortable to hold. The silicone buttons make a satisfying clicking sound when operated. Besides, the carry case is well made and great for carrying the cube with you.
Shifting between the six different functions is easy and the variation prevents the sensory stimulations from getting monotonous. That said, some users mentioned that the gears and discs are too smooth and lack a satisfying feel.
Best Adult Wearable — MUCAL Fidget Rings 8-Pack
MUCAL Fidget Rings
Wearable fidget toy disguised as a piece of everyday fashion jewelry.
If you want a wearable fidget toy that will work as a distraction from skin picking, these stainless-steel rings from Mucal are a great choice.
At an affordable price, you get 8 pieces of fidget rings that are perfect for twisting and turning. They are available in multiple sizes and the fit is comfortable for both kids and adults.
For some users spinning rings are not as effective as fidget toys. But they are a perfect choice when carrying bulkier toys isn’t an option. These rings spin easily and offer a noiseless way to engage your mind.
Also, they look classy and look great with both casual and formal outfits. However, the sizing can be a little off.
Best for Parents — Magnetic Rings Fidget Toy Set 3-Pack
Magnetic Rings Fidget Toy Set 3-Pack
Both you and your kids will love playing with these wacky rings.
These are rings alright. But unlike the MUCAL above, they are not a fidget toy that looks and acts like jewelry. Instead, you can spin and rotate them and they’ll stick together thanks to the magnets.
They come in different designs and you get 3 pieces in a pack. The outer diameter is 1.2inch, making the rings small enough to carry in your pocket.
Made from high-grade ABS, the rings are super durable and have magnet inserts within them. The magnet is strong enough to keep the rings stuck with each other and you can rotate them in any way you want. The magnet is strong enough to prevent the rings from flying away. The rings work great for autistic adults and individuals with ADHD.
Previously, the color used to fade away with regular use. However, they now come upgraded with a protective film to prevent fading. Still, I wish they came in yet more color options.
Best Children’s Wearable — Impresa Monkey Ring
Impresa Monkey Ring
Textured sensory ring that can be worn or used as a handheld stress ball.
In the case of children, the Impresa Products Spiky Sensory Ring is a great wearable fidget toy that can keep their hands occupied during focused tasks.
This bracelet can be squished and pulled for different sensory experiences. The material is on the stiffer side and does not stretch much. The spiky texture can also be picked at instead of picking at cuticles, nails, or scabs.
Besides these rings are free from BPA, phthalates, and latex and do not have any offensive odor. They are also helpful for controlling the symptoms of ADHD. In fact, they can also be helpful for autistic kids.
Keep in mind that these are not designed for chewing. So, if your kid tends to chew on everything, this may not be a good choice.
For adults, this fidget toy could easily take the place of a traditional stress ball!
Best Picking Alternative — Anpole Peapod Fidget Toy 5-Pack
Anpole Peapod Fidget Toy
A super cute and noiseless fidget toy that is fun to play with.
Not many fidget toys come with a cute design, but the Anpole Peapod Fidget Toy is one such. These pea pods come in a pack of five and are small enough to attach with keys or any other electronic devices. It works great for kids as well as adults.
The item is made from silicone and the overall quality is good. There are no toxic odors that you might associate with synthetic products. Also, each pea has a facial expression that might help to cheer up every time you pop the pod. The faces will wear off after some months of frequent use, but the overall durability is good.
If your kids have the habit of squeezing toothpaste, or ketchup, the adorable design of this toy will surely get them hooked. Note, each pod has three beans and a few of the beans on the sides are not so easy to pop out for kids. So, make sure that they do not bite the pods as that will damage the toy.
Best for Creativity — Crazy Aaron’s Super Scarab Thinking Putty
Crazy Aaron’s Super Scarab Thinking Putty
A unique anti-fidget toy that was designed in collaboration with the special needs community.
This safe, nontoxic silicone putty weighs 3.2 oz and has a cool iridescent color and a great texture. Since it never dries, it will not stick to your hand or clothing, allowing the kids to play with it as much as they want.
When you play with it under the light, the putty changes color as the angle of the incident light changes. You can stretch it, twist it, or even bounce it like a ball. The attractive color and versatility make it a favorite choice for kids who fidget. Plus, it does not have any toxic smell either.
The putty can be used by anyone over 3 years. However, we would suggest not using it in any heated area and not to roll it around as it can pick up dirt. While it is not the cheapest fidget toy you can pick, it is definitely one that is super fun to play with. In fact, even creative adults can enjoy molding it into multiple shapes.
Who Could Benefit from Using a Fidget Toy for Skin Picking?
Despite promising results among subjects diagnosed with ADHD, there is little research supporting the use of fidget toys for skin picking.
However, there is little risk in trying this management technique for yourself.
With the oversight of a doctor or therapist, fidget toys may be used to manage diagnosed dermatillomania (a.k.a. excoriation disorder).
The best fidget toys for dermatillomania could also be effective in very mild cases of skin picking that do not require medical attention.
What to Consider When Buying Fidget Toys for Skin Picking
Children and adults of all ages can struggle with skin picking.
For some, skin picking is a temporary response to stress or the environment. For others, it’s a lifelong compulsion that may need to be managed differently at different times.
The most important thing to realize is that age can play a large role in which fidget toys are best for any given person.
For example, some fidget toys may feature small parts that are unsafe for unsupervised children.
Meanwhile, an adult who picks their skin may desire a fidget toy that blends into their outfit or personal belongings when not in use.
Nearly all fidget toys make some degree of noise. And this noise level can determine whether or not a given toy is appropriate in many situations.
Noise created by a fidget toy may disturb those around the user. This can particularly be a problem if the toy will be used at school, the workplace, or other public locations.
A fidget toy that makes noise can also draw attention to the user. So for those who wish to use a fidget toy for skin picking discreetly, excessive noise can be a big problem.
A fidget toy for skin picking is only effective when within reach. While many people find large fidget toys effective, they aren’t necessarily practical for life on the go.
Portability isn’t just about size, however.
The most portable fidget toys can be conveniently clipped onto a keychain, necklace, or even worn as a ring. These simple features help ensure that you’re never without a distraction when the urge to pick arises.
That said, the choice depends on the person using the toy. For some users, toys that are a bit larger provide a more satisfying in-hand feel. Larger-sized toys also result in more muscle involvement while being played with. So, a toy that is portable but flimsy may not be a good option.
On a similar note, ease of accessibility is a must for many people interested in trying fidget toys to mediate skin picking. After all, nothing is as accessible as our own skin.
No matter the motivation or trigger, skin picking often scratches a metaphorical itch for the person doing it. It’s important to find a fidget toy that scratches the same (or a very similar) itch.
There are more varieties of fidget toys available than ever before, making it incredibly easy to test out many different functions.
The motion used to manipulate a toy can be clicking, spinning, squishing, or twisting. A toy that uses multiple motions can be more satisfying than one that needs only a single motion type.
If a particular type of toy doesn’t “do it” for you or your loved one, don’t hesitate to try a different style!
As you likely already know, skin picking and similar compulsions often can’t be managed by one method alone.
Even the best fidget toy may not completely eliminate skin picking. And expecting a fidget toy to cure skin picking altogether is a recipe for disappointment!
Instead, you should view fidget toys as just one type of tool in your arsenal of preventions and redirections.
Keep in mind that a fidget toy is not exactly a toy. Unlike most toys, a fidget toy should be able to withstand repetitive motions without breaking apart. So, durability and wash-ability are two factors that you need to check. Usually, rubbery or gel-filled toys last less longer than toys made from ABS or metal. One thing is, make sure that the material of the toy is non-toxic and safe for use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do fidget toys help trichotillomania?
As with skin picking, there is no guarantee that a fidget toy will reduce trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling). However, it rarely hurts to try.
Some fidget toys designed for skin picking are also the best fidget toys for trichotillomania. But there are also a variety of fidget toys designed specifically for trichotillomania.
Can you use fidget toys to prevent nail biting?
Nail biting is yet another compulsion that may be managed with fidget toys.
You might find that many fidget toys that help with skin picking also mitigate nail-biting. However, we’ve also put together a list of some of the best fidget toys for nail biting for you to try!
Last update on 2023-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API