The fingernails as well as skin on and around the nail — cuticles, nail folds, calluses, even hangnails — are the prime targets of the Dermatophagia sufferer. The slang term wolf-biter is sometimes used to refer to a person with Dermatophagia — the reference being to the way werewolves gnaw on flesh of their victims. In the case of compulsive skin biting, however — the “victim” is one’s own skin and fingers.
The common psychological drivers for Dermatophagia are quite similar to those of compulsive skin and finger picking — boredom, nervousness — even depression. The mental by-products of the habit are also the same — most notably shame.