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  • Writer's pictureMonet Ince-Amara

Harnessing NAC for Skin Picking and Trichotillomania: A Natural Approach to Support

Skin-picking disorder (also known as excoriation disorder) and trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) are challenging conditions characterized by repetitive, compulsive behaviors that can have a significant impact on an individual's well-being and quality of life. While traditional treatment approaches may include therapy and medication, some individuals have found relief from these symptoms through the use of N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a natural supplement with antioxidant properties. In this blog, we'll explore the use of NAC for skin picking and trichotillomania, discuss how it works to help, and provide recommendations for supplement brands, along with the importance of seeking professional guidance.

Understanding NAC and its Benefits

NAC is a derivative of the amino acid L-cysteine and serves as a precursor to glutathione, an important antioxidant in the body. While NAC is commonly used to support respiratory health and detoxification, emerging research suggests its potential efficacy in reducing symptoms of skin picking and trichotillomania. Here's how NAC may help:

  1. Glutamatergic Modulation: NAC is thought to modulate the glutamatergic system, which plays a role in regulating impulse control and compulsive behaviors. By restoring glutathione levels and balancing glutamate neurotransmission, NAC may help reduce the urge to engage in repetitive behaviors associated with skin picking and trichotillomania.

  2. Antioxidant Properties: NAC's antioxidant properties may also contribute to its therapeutic effects. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathophysiology of various mental health conditions, including obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders like skin picking and trichotillomania. By scavenging free radicals and reducing oxidative damage, NAC may help alleviate symptoms and promote overall well-being.

Top Supplement Brands for NAC

  1. Now Foods: Now Foods offers a range of high-quality supplements, including NAC capsules and tablets. Their products undergo rigorous testing for purity, potency, and quality, ensuring that consumers receive safe and effective supplements.

  2. Jarrow Formulas: Jarrow Formulas is known for its commitment to science-based nutrition and innovation. Their NAC supplements are formulated using advanced technologies and premium ingredients, providing reliable support for skin picking and trichotillomania.

  3. Thorne Research: Thorne Research is a leader in the field of integrative medicine, producing supplements backed by clinical research and evidence-based practices. Their NAC products are manufactured to the highest standards of quality and purity, making them a trusted choice for individuals seeking natural support for compulsive behaviors.

Seeking Professional Guidance

While NAC shows promise as a complementary approach for skin picking and trichotillomania, individuals need to seek professional guidance before starting any new supplement regimen. Consulting with a qualified healthcare provider, such as a physician or mental health professional, can help determine the appropriate dosage, monitor for potential side effects, and ensure that NAC is used safely and effectively as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.


  1. Grant JE, Odlaug BL, Kim SW. N-acetylcysteine, a glutamate modulator, in the treatment of trichotillomania: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009 Jul;66(7):756-63. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.60. PMID: 19581567.

  2. Bloch MH, Panza KE, Grant JE, Pittenger C, Leckman JF. N-Acetylcysteine in the Treatment of Pediatric Trichotillomania: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Add-On Trial. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 May;52(5):231-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.01.017. PMID: 23622851; PMCID: PMC3811126.

  3. Odlaug BL, Grant JE. N-Acetyl cysteine in the treatment of grooming disorders. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007 Jun;27(3):227-9. doi: 10.1097/JCP.0b013e31805541cf. PMID: 17502750.

In conclusion, NAC offers a promising natural approach for individuals struggling with skin picking and trichotillomania. By supporting glutamatergic modulation and providing antioxidant protection, NAC may help reduce compulsive behaviors and improve overall well-being. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional and choose reputable supplement brands to ensure the safe and effective use of NAC as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Contact Mendem today to see how we can help support you or a loved one who is experiencing body-focused repetitive behaviors.

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