cant stop picking my face

hi everyone, i'm totally hopeless. i have this problem that i'm picking on the pimples and the dark spots on my face and its stronger than me. i just have to do it i dont know what to do. my face looks like a car wreck and as soon as it gets any better i start all over again. i dont understand anything anymore.
What do we do?? i cant go on doing this its destroying me and my life i need do we stop this disgusting thing??
im unusual in that i'm a guy that has this problem and i'm in my twenties. i've had the problem for 4 or 5 years now but not as bad as some people. i pick maybe 2 days outta the week, 3 on a bad week, but those couple of days ruin my face and can keep me from going any where for weeks. i actually dropped out of college because of it. i'd just feel like i looked to bad to go out. i've lost friends because of it, canceling get togethers for various lame reasons just cause i felt bad about my face. i had gone nearly a week without picking till last night. i couldn't sleep, and i ended up picking my face for a few hours, really not even realizing it. i got up and felt like shit knowing what i might see in the mirror, and sure enough most of my face was red. it has to be one of the most depressing conditions out there, i'm just lucky i have yet to have hardly any scaring from it. i feel for all you, cause i know how tough it is. my friends and family i do tell dont even believe it's a problem they just act like i'm an idiot that wants my skin to look bad or something. it's ruining my life every time i pick.
My mom thinks its just an excuse I make. I am not totally sure why she thinks I would WANT to do this to myself. My family thinks I can just quit with "will power." It is so frustrating when no one around you understands what you are going through. I have canceled many outings for the same reasons. I am never going to be able to have a real social life again if I don't stop.... but as we all know, I can't.
I'm so glad to know that I'm not alone...I'm almost nineteen and I've been picking at my face since I was about ten. I have these horrible brown acne scars all over my face, neck, chest, and back that make it nearly impossible to wear swimsuits or low cut shirts without feeling completely hideous and self-conscious. If anyone finds a way to quit, please let me know!
.............omg, I have been picking my face for over 5 years. I am 58 years old and I won't bother you with specifics, as you already know how I feel. I have found a few tips to help me and I wanted to pass them along. First, I have my nails done professionally and I find that I am unable to grasp the thin dead skin with the enhanced nails (I have silk overlay). My nails look fabulous but my face still suffers a little so I use Aquaphor to soften the dead skin. The combination helps but does not prevent me from picking. I have just discovered that this bad habit is considered a form of OCD and I was happy to find the site, however, unhappy to realize that so many of us suffer from this humilating condition. My husband is constantly slapping my hand! Hopefully some of you can benefit from the tips that I am passing along. If you have found something that has helped you, please pass along!
Hello Fellow Facepickers: I am 45 and have been picking for about 3 years now. I've had some sort of fidgety obsession for as long as I can remember. It was usually biting my fingers or picking lint and rolling it into balls (how weird!). I remember crying as a kid because my dad pulled a "pickey" off the arm of my housecoat. I try now to use a pickey instead of picking my face, scalp or legs but I still can't resist. Hours are wasted!! So many people "scold me" about it all the time. Most have given up. My family persists though, even though they have a similar obsession as well. It definitely runs in my family. I believe I have OCD because it is so compulsive and obsessive. Like many of you, I go into a trance like state which feels safe to me. I have oily skin but good skin, except for my chin that I can't stop touching. I take anxiety meds but it hasn't helped so far. Hypnosis and acupuncture hasn't either. I started plucking my chin when my mother came to visit me after my one and only child was born five years ago. She brought her magnifying mirror to Florida from Maine and plucked her chin hairs each night. I started doing the same, then blemishes or ingrowns would come; I would push and pick at them (several times I had hard infected bumps that required antibiotics). I make faces and look disgusting but I can't stop. I know I suffer from low self esteem and depression (another family trait) but making myself ugly seems to make me feel better. Most people don't understand that but I know most of you do. My husband has given up on saying anything but I still try to hide it from him. I bought a self-help workbook but I haven't finished doing all the "self work" yet. I keep telling myself to do it but I'd rather pick. The same with crocheting. I wish I knew a surefire way to be cured!! I haven't given up on hope but I haven't stopped or let up on picking yet either. I don't want my son to remember me as picking all the time. I wish I could bite my fingernails instead or something but it's not as satisfying. I believe it is a way for me to escape my world; to become numb to the rest of the world. When I read the yarn Pickey I have is enough but that's the only time. I wish TWEEZERS were never invented. I must have at least 12 of them!!! Take care everyone and let us know if you find a way to STOP!
i have the same problem, and its really getting me down because ive seen how good my skin can look when i stop picking, but then i just start again and can't stop. im 13 and everytime i pick my spots, i tell myself that im weak because im letting it control me, but i cant stop picking, some-one PLEASE e-mail me with help and advice, im trying to get into acting, but this i holding me back hugely. Please help me.
I'm desperate for help! I have been picking my face since I was 12 years old and I am now 20. I want so deeply to stop and I just can't. I have tried everything I can possibly think of and nothing has held me off longer than a month. It makes me sick to think that I do this to myself. There are milions of people around the word with worries much worse than mine, terrible tragedies they have no control over, and here I am, day in and day out causing my own misery. I have always believed (or rather convinced other people) that I was a strong and confident individual, but I can no longer say that this is true (I cant even fake it anymore). In fact, I have a hard time even leaving the house. In short, I have, gradually over the course of the past 8 years destroyed myself and my life. I have never communicated my problems with picking to anyone, not even my closest family members, whom know of my disgusting habit only by the results shown on my face. This is by far the most critical point I have yet to reach, and I am scared to death of what my life is sure to become if I fail to control this once and for all. I have consider many many times of seeking out help, through books or therapists, but I am so ashamed of myself, that I decided not to go through with seeing a specialist. I therapise myself enough, I figure theres isnt much left to say that I havn't told myself. I long ago believed that this was an adolescent stage I would obviously grow out of, but to my horror it has grown with me and become a more horrible concept than I ever could have imagined. As I matured, so did my picking habit. I have forced it from my mind for so long that, now, standing here for the first time truly facing it, I've realized the magnitude of my situation. I have slowly but surely created an addiction for myself. Coming from a family riddled with drug and alcohol addicts, I am no stranger to the danger of substance abuse and have always strayed from those things. And now, despite my efforts to avoid these more obvious dangers, I'm faced now with an addiction I could have never seen coming. I am a prisoner within my own mind. Every piece of my existance now revolves around this addiction of picking my face without mercy. I have slowly cut off contact with friends, as I pick more and more frequently I am never in a state I wish to socialize in. Once a national soccer player, I've quit. A student in high school not long ago, I barely graduated, as I missed such a large amount of school, and now I am a student in university, starting my education for a brand new career and what I hoped and prayed would be a new life for me, I'm on the brink of expulsion due to too many missed classes, guess why?!? Looking back on my teens, a time that should have been joyous and full of memories I'll always cherish, I am deeply saddened as I reaize how much I have missed. Nights out, trips with friends, even graduation. I attended but when I think back on it, I think only of how miserable I remember being as I was forced to cake my face with makeup to cover what I truly looked like. I felt like a disgusting disfigured human being, amongst a hundred beautiful princesses, I find myself looking back with hatred. Hatred toward all of those girls with beautifully smooth, radiant, flawless skin. Skin is a concept that has never and will never enter the minds of those girls, and yet to me it is the most constant idea. I even dream about it now. Like many of you, it does give me a small amount of hope and peace, in knowing that there are other people who are experiencing the same thing I am. The exact same thing in fact. In reading all of your comments I was in tears. I have truly given up. I have a very serious problem, and it has becomed deeper and more complex than you can imagine. Most of the time I can't even keep up with myself, and yet your all here, and word for word, as if it's coming from my own thoughts, you have expressed everything I'm facing. Thank you all for that. Well. I don't have much else I can really say. Thank god I know, nothing short of a novel is what I've written here. The only thing left to say, or rather ask, is that if you read this and you can understand the pain I'm feeling (causing), please respond. I need all the help I can get.
Hello, I am 38 and have been doing this awful frustrating deed since I was a teenager. I have watched the slow decline of my complexion and share your pain. It is so bizarre to be an intelligent human being with such destructive tendencies. This in itself creates an anguish as I think, "God, am I mad or something? Why am I doing this?" I get so angry with myself and wish so hard I had never started. Of course this only heightens the sadness as there is no magic cure! I think I had worries about my appearance when I was a lot younger only because I knew what I was doing and knew that I had created the red marks and enlarged pores (that others probably didn't even notice or would accept as simply a spot, nothing in that, we all get them!) However when I look back now I realise that it wasn't so bad! Now however is a very different story. I wish you all the luck in the world as I feel many of "us" will (oh the reassurance of finding others, I have only this week been made aware of this condition!) in finding ways to stop. I would be happy to chat more with you if you would like. I very rarely pick anymore but I am always aware of my appearance and it affects my personal life immeasurably. It is sooooo tiring. Social situations are avoided regularly and as I am single I become quite sad about never being in a relationship because if I dislike the way I look and feel unhappy about it most of the time then who in the hell would want to be with me? This is compounded because as a personality I am great company, witty, creative, fun loving and caring. This condition debilitates me and strips away all that is fun and light about me. It will be good to be here and to talk about this and share experiences as I am sure I am amongst friends. I don't believe we are mad, for all it makes us feel this way. I think we are sensitive individuals who have been let down by people who should have shown they cared for us. I start counselling to try and sort out the deeper route causes of my periods of stress that led me to this condition and also I hope to combat the shame attached to self destructive behaviour. I would welcome a friend here if any of you are willing. I hope to find strength and a common goal, along the lines of "feeling the fear and doing it anyway". Maybe we could come up with our own slogan? We may display our problems for the world to see and we may feel ashamed of ourselves for doing so but does that make us bad people? No. I don't know about you all out there but I am actually a very good person, would do anything for anybody and care a great deal about the feelings of others. Social situations stress me out the most when I am feeling ashamed of myself and therefore very upset. This is because I cannot meet other peoples eyes. I walk with my head down and do not say hello or speak at all sometimes. I can only feel desparate about getting from one place to another. This makes the situation much worse and more intense. People respond to your body language and actions much more than your appearance. On my good days I can see this. So that it what I am currently working on. It's tough though! It would seem I am writing a book! I shall stop now and await a response. I feel for all suffereres. We can fight back though can't we?
Hi Freeme Am also 38 ... I've been doing this for 25+ years but only discovered that it was a disorder 6 months ago. I never gave it much thought. As I read the info I'm astounded at all the different elements of this that I do - a bit depressing actually. I found it quite a relief to know that I'm not the only one in the world that copes in this way. But it's quite sad to know that so many us have to resort to self inflicted pain to cope with our stressful situations. It shouldn't have to be like this (my favourite quote .. from The Grand Canyon with Danny Glover and Kevin Kline). Well hang in there ... reading some of the chats I despair that I'll ever overcome this - partly cos I hear the desperation and frustration in the chats and partly because some of us have been doing it for 25+ years ... is it possible to unlearn these coping mechanism and replace it with a healthy (safer) alternative. Must be. So I too am just beginning this voyage of discovery. Sorry if I sound a bit depressed / down hearted. I suspect we'll go through many mood changes as we work our way through this. Take care, think happy thoughts (dunno .. does that help?) S
Hiya Sweetpea, No it shouldn't have to be like this! I wish I had known their were fellow sufferers years ago! Still, better late than never. You didn't sound depressed or down hearted but if you're having the same range of feelings as me then I guess at times you feel very much like that. Oh, and never apologise for it anyway. I think that is half the problem with us sufferers. Why do we, why should we apologise for having our emotions? It is for this reason I believe we turn in on ourselves. If we were better able to express our emotions without fear of judgement then maybe we wouldn't have so many of our feelings locked up inside us and causing us so much harm. Have you tried counselling to better understand the reasons behind the behaviour? I believe this is where the problem lies. We need to treat the cause before the symptoms! As I said before, part of my healing has to do with forgiveness for what I did and accepting my appearance. Do you have insecurities around your appearance also? Thanks for replying. Good luck with your journey. Would you like to be friends and maybe share any thoughts/feelings along our journey? Only if it helps. Take care L x
i have been going through the same exact thing as everyone else on this site, I'm 22 years old and this addiction has ruined my college life. it makes me sad to know that so many other people have experienced this. if ANYONE wants someone to talk to send me an email at or message me on aim because i have picked my face tonight and will not leave my room.... matric87 Ive never talked to anyone about this awful problem, i think it will help to talk to someone.
Hiya Matrik, Reading your message took me back to my own college days. Days I would sit for ours picking at my face in the mirror. I lost a lot of time at college, often off for weeks at a time. I can identify so much with you and feel deeply for you and send you lots of love and hope. Try to understand that you are not alone, you are not a freak and you are not a fool. You can stop this and there is help out there. You have no doubt being berating yourself and your self esteem is on the floor. Is it effecting friendships and your work? Are you behind in college or have you quit? What are you studying? Questions questions. I am just interested! You need to realise that you are lovable and this is not your fault. Put your head up high and fight this feeling. When it pops up and you feel yourself going to the mirror. DO SOMETHING ELSE. If needs be scribble over paper, cut up paper, have a bath and read a book. Keep trying to distract yourself. Also, even though the pain of what you are doing is intense and keeps you in for days at a time. Your skin heals again and you can try and forget that you do it and there is no evidence to the world. Let me tell you that once you get older your skin will not repair as well and I do not wish for you to have the intense experiences I now have because of the condition of my skin. You can talk to fellow sufferers, you can get help, you can try diversion tactics. YOU CAN STOP. I looked at a youtube clip yesterday that may help you. If you google skin picking on youtube you will find video clips. You have an advantage. You are young and you know you are not alone. I wish you huge amounts of strength and love. L x
Hello Freeme! First of all, thank you very much for your kind, thoughtful , and inspiring response! While i hate making excuses for dropping out of college, this certainly played a huge part in me dropping out. I couldn't even go to my classes. There were days where i would literally be bleeding from my face, and i would have to use band aides to cover my face, it was horrible. My friends never even made a big deal about this skin picking problem, I was the only one that made it a problem, and distanced myself from a lot of my friends. I am now starting to rebuild some of those friendships. I even had a beautiful girlfriend that loved me, but the emotional embarrassment of my face killed me inside, and i eventually ended the relationship. thankfully, managed to keep a job in health care, working on a ambulance, and in a hospital, it made me feel great to help other people. It kills me to know that all of these problems i created myself. Thankfully, i re enrolled in college a month ago, and am doing very well in my classes, for the first time since middle school..... I will be studying biology and hope to one day become a doctor. I wish there was a easy cure out there for all of us, but it will be an everyday struggle. I wish no one ever had to go through the suffering i have been through. My only concern right now is the future. We can learn from our mistakes in the past. I truly believe everything happens for a strange as it sounds, this could be a blessing in disguise for me. I like who i am today, and have hope for the future. Best of luck for everyone out there.
Anyone else out there in their mid-30s? I feel like the sad old lady in this bunch. I never thought I'd still have this problem at this age (I'm 35), thought it was something I could outgrow by now, but I'm still here picking at zits. I have scars now on my chest, shoulders, neck and face. I seek out bumps and seek to make them smooth. I take any perceived imperfection and make it much worse by picking at it. It's an irrational thing, I know; I too go into something of a trance as others here have said. Who knows how much time I've dedicated to this hobby. I can't leave the house now without make-up, which makes it hard to live with someone now (my husband) who will see my naked face. I live in fear that he might see the real me, so I have to worry about being made-up day and night, in the shower, etc. The worst part of this, and I think the reason why I'm finally seeking out information/help on this issue, is I have a new baby daughter. I can't be this sort of mother to her, imparting god-knows-what sort of lessons. I know I have these issues because of a combination of genetics (OCD mom) and environment (mom had an eating disorder, as have I; dad was an overbearing disapproving grouch, life was very hateful in a home full of continual screaming). I also know I have to take control of this issue for myself and stop putting all the blame in the past. I really just never imagined having this issue at this stage in my life and as a new mom. Sure enough, it truly is hard to change. But if I could stop making myself throw up, than I must be able to stop this, yes? For the health of my daughter, I hope so. I want to do better by her.
Hiya, I am 38 and have a 3 year old son. I have been bulimic in the past (won that battle too!) I lived with a worring, nervous and emotional illiterate mother and a very overpowering aggressive father (a grouch if you like!). I can identify with you wholeheartedly. I too have the constant stress of being made-up. My relationship broke down when my son was born, unfortunately I picked a wrong one, so I am currently single, so although I don't have a presence in my home that I have to hide from (I feel for you on that score - deeply! Although, are you sure that he would mind so much? Could you try to be naked faced for him? I don't know, maybe this could help you break the shame cycle?) I have the same issue in my every day life and I fear I will not be able to find a partner because of how this behaviour has affected me. I totally understand that feeling of not wanting to be seen without make-up. That someone would stop loving you or fancying you if they saw it. It's exhausting isn't it? I have a close male friend, who unfortunately I cannot fancy, I wish I could because he is a great guy and friend. However, I have discussed my problems with him and have been brave enough to let him see my un made up face. He certainly did not recoil in horror and he still claims to love me! I know this is scary. I hope that you are able to stop the anxiety this situation causes. Yes you can stop it. I think this forum is fantastic for making us aware of each other and our shared experiences. This behaviour is a habit as powerful as the urge to smoke for smokers and not to be taken lightly, it is about breaking the habit, forgiving ourselves and being able to appreciate ourselves more. We have enormous amounts of power. I am now facing up to this as a condition. I am seeking help to address my past. I wish you all the best of luck in beating this too. Happy to talk again. L x
You're definitely not the oldest person with this problem. My mom also picks at bumps on her face, and she is 50 years old. We always had a very positive household though, so I think it's probably more the habitual OCD of doing it than the things from your past and blame. Congratulations on overcoming the eating disorder. That's a real challenge, and I think if you can do that then you probably have more strength than you realize. You also have the motivation of being the best mother you can be. I wish you the best!
in order to stop u have to admit u have a problem (woohoo dont worry i do it too) second we have to research and get an idea of what were dealing with. then we need to understand the condition (by the way it is curable) then together we can work towards stopping and realizing we are only hurting ourselves. its ok
(Jessie) .... I'm exactly like you! I'm 21 also, going to be 22 this year though. Only difference between us is, I've been picking my face since I started getting spots, which was at the age of 15 and my face is terribly scarred now. It doesn't look as bad as it used to be when I was at school, but I still look at my face and feel depressed most times. I actually just came out of the bathroom now from picking my face, I was bored and just gradually started looking in the mirror to see if i could get rid of any black heads or small white heads and now my face just looks red all over. I try to do this thing where I set a date on my calendar to see if I can stop picking my face for a month and if do stop throughout the whole month I treat myself to some shoes, but this has only ever happened once. I still can't stop picking and I don't know why. I do feel relieved when I pick my face, but then when I see my face looking red and disgustingly blotchy I feel upset and I try and make myself feel better by covering up where I've picked my face with face mask. It's very silly. My mum says that my face isn't even bad and that her's used to be 100 times worse than mine, but it's like the way I see my face, I know now that because I've examined my face soo much, I will always see that horrible spot and the scars where I've picked and I my confident goes right down when I'm out because I think everyone can see my scars even with makeup on. Makeup is another issue. I am never even satisfied when I put makeup on, because it doesn't look right. My face will look fine for one hour with makeup on, then after than you'll see lines of my makeup coming off and my scars show even more :( ..... I'm trying to just live with it now, but I'm also trying very hard to stop picking my face, by not looking in the mirror at all now.
I am so relieved as many that I am not the only one! I started reading everyones blog- and i had to register, guess to just vent and share my experience as well. I am 33, and have been on and off picking for a while- Like most people here it affects all aspects of my life- Imagine this- I am a hair stylist so I have to avoid looking in the mirror with other people- I have spent so many hours picking at my face I would be a millionaire if I got paid 10 cents per minute! I in recent time, ( last year) have graduated to using my cuticle nippers to cut away dry skin, or skin that is still needing to heal- I have red spots all over my face-and the dark ones people complain about as well. I read somewhere on another site that this could be related to being picked on as a child- which is totally true for me- I just wonder what my life would be like if I didn't have this disorder- When I see other people's blackheads I think how gross they should do something about that- then be like me a freak that is 33, without a boyfriend or husband because she is soo freaked about her skin! I don't know if ther is help for me becasueit has gone on for soo long- but if you want to email me pls do at divalisaeve at aol dot com. I went on accutane a long time ago- and for a year had perfect skin- even strangers would say how great my skin was- now i just want to stay at home and sleep when I dont have to work just enough to survive-obviously this is caused so much depression- sometimes i just say screw it people like me for me- but really I am bummed I don't even want to put pictures up on face book because I look so bad....;(
I too have this same problem. Like many others I do not get many pimples but the blackheads that started on my nose as a teenager have now spread to the sides of my nose on the cheek area, my chin, and occasionally my forhead. I am now 31 and have been dealing with this since about 16. My dad also had the same problem. The only difference between him and I is he dosent pick. Usually every day at the very least every other I come home from work and shower stop at the mirror to brush my hair and then the picking begins. It can last for an hour or more. I will pick every spot I can get at until they bleed and scab. Now I look worse than I did before but I feel a little better. You see my dad dosent pick and his blackheads have gotten so dark they are clearly visible to everyone. I do not want this to happen. My blackheads are very small and that makes it an even bigger ordeal to pick them. I dont know why I do this I just cant help it. I know they are there and I cant stop. Im not sure about anyone else but my very oily nose also dries and peels at the very same time. Is this due to picking? How can you be oily and peeling at the same time?? Now I have a scabby, peeling oily nose, enlarged pores and I still have blackheads. But I still cant stop picking. What is wrong with me. Again most people say they cant see them but I can and I know my husband must and I avoid too close of contact with most people so they cant.
I feel for you sister- I get some relief as I am picking like I am in control- but really it is.
I totally understand, I've been researching about this issue for a while now and I'm really glad I found this website with this forum with people that have the exactly same problem. I'm not alone, wow. My parents used to nag me about ruining the skin on my face... When I got them to stop it kind of helped. But I never stopped, its been going on for about 2 years now and I really need help... Please mail me, I would really love to get to know someone else who suffers from this and seeks help. I think none of us can make it alone or with the "help" from people who just tell us to stop... Knowing that I'm not alone and that other people understand me is a good start.
After 15 years of picking my face, I'm now 31 and have to stop. In this last year, I've started to get terrible red veins and brown spots on my cheeks...I don't think I've seen my nose NOT red in god knows how long. I actually don't know what I really look like anymore. a red face has become normal. Even when I'm "good" (which means picking only a little for a max of 3 days), and I think my skin looks good, people ask me what's wrong with my skin. I have no perspective, and I truly cannot stop. I don't even know what the desire is, besides an overwhelming pleasure of knowing that my pores of clean (even if they are bleeding and scabbing and red). Has anyone ever tried the Dan LeGrand 9 minute miracle video to cure picking? Supposedly you stop picking immediately.
I am dealing with these same issues. My parents constantly tell me to "just stop." They have taken lightbulbs out of my bathroom to try to get me to stop, but I just take other lightbulbs and put them in so that I have light. They also try to make me spend time with them more so that I won't pick, but I just pick when they aren't home. I sit in front of the mirror for hours and pick at any small blemish. I do not have acne, just blackheads which drive me crazy even though no one else can see them. I have been doing this for 2 years now and I am 21 years old now. I want to stop really bad, but once I am able to stop for a few days I go right back and pick again. I have stopped socializing all together- I stay home, skip class, sleep a lot. I would love to talk to somebody who is going through the same thing, I have been reading many of your posts and I seriously thought I was the only one with this problem. Plz email me at I just want to know how to stop so that I can live my life to the fullest and be the happy girl I used to be. Thanks.
I can relate to your situation almost exactly. I am also 21 and have been picking my face for 2 yrs. My face is polluted with blackheads and maybe one or two pimples every now and then. My mother especially is always telling me to just leave my face alone, don't look in the mirror, there's nothing wrong with my face and that it's beautiful and I'm the only one that sees imperfections. I think that that she is the wrong one. I can't look into a mirror without winding up in front of it for hours obsessing over everything that I hate, picking at every single blackhead I can find. Its so frustrating!!!!!!! I notice that I pick mostly when I am stressed, or having a bad day - specifically those days when I struggle with my appearance. It's ironic because picking actually makes my skin look worse, but I somehow feel better, relieved in a sense. I have picked and pulled and dug at my face so much that I now have fine lines everywhere, which gives me another thing to be upset about, and another reason why I feel like picking. Has anyone else done this to their skin? It's like a never ending circle, and I always feel self -conscious when in public - like people think I look disgusting. I thought I was the only person who did this and no one could ever understand. I am glad I found this site and will hopefully find some advice on how to stop this annoying habit because it is ruing my life. The best thing I have found to help so far is to seriously just not look, and when I feel the urge, to just take a deep breath and quickly find something to distract my hands.
(Jessie) .... I'm exactly like you! I'm 21 also, going to be 22 this year though. Only difference between us is, I've been picking my face since I started getting spots, which was at the age of 15 and my face is terribly scarred now. It doesn't look as bad as it used to be when I was at school, but I still look at my face and feel depressed most times. I actually just came out of the bathroom now from picking my face, I was bored and just gradually started looking in the mirror to see if i could get rid of any black heads or small white heads and now my face just looks red all over. I try to do this thing where I set a date on my calendar to see if I can stop picking my face for a month and if do stop throughout the whole month I treat myself to some shoes, but this has only ever happened once. I still can't stop picking and I don't know why. I do feel relieved when I pick my face, but then when I see my face looking red and disgustingly blotchy I feel upset and I try and make myself feel better by covering up where I've picked my face with face mask. It's very silly. My mum says that my face isn't even bad and that her's used to be 100 times worse than mine, but it's like the way I see my face, I know now that because I've examined my face soo much, I will always see that horrible spot and the scars where I've picked and I my confident goes right down when I'm out because I think everyone can see my scars even with makeup on. Makeup is another issue. I am never even satisfied when I put makeup on, because it doesn't look right. My face will look fine for one hour with makeup on, then after than you'll see lines of my makeup coming off and my scars show even more :( ..... I'm trying to just live with it now, but I'm also trying very hard to stop picking my face, by not looking in the mirror at all now.
I just came across this site. I am know 35 and have been doing this at least 10 years and is getting worse. I have been diagnosed with OCD as a teenager, but not due to picking. I am so paranoid that people think I'm using drugs due to my huge sores. I find myself going to work, coming home and that is it. To do anything other than that just isn't possible, either because I'm so ashamed of my skin or I'm to busy focusing on picking. I have thought all this time it was a horrible case of acne, but I know I make it horrible. It is so very painful and as I pick and there is so much blood, no matter how hard i try to stop I am determined to get whatever is in there out!... After of hours of picking, pain, bleeding, with no results, except tired arms and being very depressed and swollen all over my face. Then I definitely don't want to see anybody. I have people always saying what is wrong with your face you used to have perfect skin? That for some reason makes me upset and will set me right back in front of a mirror. Do any of you have to stop doing important things just to go home and pick? My boyfriend will always say stop that your just making it worse! Well duh, I think to myself if you would just shut up I would stop, but know I have to do it more. Oh my gosh I can't live with the physical pain that I am doing. I don't even know if I want to live anymore due to the isolation. Anybody have any words for me please, please, please help me.
i'm only in high school but i've stopped doing things that i love because of this. i can't bring myself to tell anybody about it so i do all i can to hide it. in order to do that, i've given up so much and i've passed on oppurtunities that i may never have again because there would be the risk of someone seeing what i can't help doing to myself. sometimes, i can't even make it home, i just start scratching and picking as soon as i get in the car. i don't know if any input from a high schooler affects anything at all and i can't really speak for everyone else but i know that i feel a little better knowing that therer ARE people like me who go through the same things i do. it helps knowing i'm not alone.
Hello everyone...I am a 24 year old female who is currently dealing with this terrible disorder...I feel for everyone on this site...I know how horrible it feels to pick at your skin, but remain unable to stop...I did manage to make it through college and get a degree and work many jobs, but it has been a long, rough road to get to where I am...I know what it feels like to pick at your face and not want to leave the house...but I just try to force myself to do it...My father has severe OCD, and I also grew up in a very turbulent environment, (he was an alcoholic)...I believe that these two factors contributed to my started when I was about 13 years old, and though I've learned to control it a little, it always flares up with stress...I have been to numerous psychiatriasts and been on many different medications with no complete success...I wish everyone on here the best of luck! and it is nice to know you are not alone...if anyone would like to talk sometime about having this disorder, feel free to contact me...I am always interested in meeting new friends, especially someone that has this in common with sn is Ropp724 on aim and I am online pretty often...this is also my email at to hear from you soon... -Laurie-
I have had ocd symptoms since I was 8 and I'm now 19. I have had an obsession with my face for a long time. I can stand in the mirror for hours. My skin isn't bad, but I somehow see any imperfection and make it worse by picking at it. When my skin gets better, I just do it again and again. My parents get angry and want me to just stop, but I can't. They tell me to sit on my hands when I get the urge, but it doesn't work. I tell myself all the time, its the last time, but the next day I'm at it again. I have no control over it and I don't know why I do it. I just discovered this site today and found out that there are others out there as well with this problem. I've been so embarrassed and thought I was all alone.
I too have this major obsession with skin picking my face my whole body basically and I want to stop so bad BUT I JUST CAN'T It drains me and prevents me from doing many social things I go to work everyday but think everyone that looks at me thinks I'm the ugliest person alive, and to be honest not concited I believe I was attractive but now it has just desroyed my self esteem, It runs my life and I'm so sick of it !!!!! but I am a tiny bit relieved that their are others with this disorder or obsession. What are we gonna do somebody help This is a daily occurence for about 3 years now everyday I tell myself that this is my last day of doing it but sure enough I do it again and again IT DRIVES ME CRAZY 27 year old female Although through the very minimal research i've done majority of people who have this compulsion are female I'd love to meet some of you only because I'd like to stare it right in the face to see what I actually look like cause you know how when you have makeup on or you just live with it everyday you sorta become blind to the truth (until you have no makeup on and stare yourself in the mirror) I hate it I hate it so much I'm almost crying just typing this. We should have some meeting it would feel so good to see other people cause I have never met anyone with my problem
I would like to invite all of you to visit my blog, I'm a 24 year old female, and I've been suffering with CSP for most of my life. I used to pick at my face, arms, hands, shoulders, chest, legs...anything within reach. I've been working on getting better for a while now, and I decided to start a blog because I want others to be able to learn from my story. I used to think recovery was impossible, but through therapy and other methods, I'm getting better. I'll be documenting my journey and posting about what kinds of things I find helpful, from techniques to prevent picking in the short term, to therapy techniques that work, to book reviews and experiences. I hope the information will be helpful. You can leave comments or ask questions, please feel free to stop by!
I'm 16 and I can't stop picking anything and everything... How did you do it? I tried to find your blog and I can't find it...
I was 14 when i started picking on pimples on my face. I would have brown spots after words. It was mostly my for-head. I would just touch all over my face to see what bumps i could pick off. Doing this also made most of my for-head red and sometimes I would have to leave my house looking like that,foundation doesnt help.Im 20 now and I still do the same thing. When my face clears I love it, but when I get one pimple or little bumps I cant help but pick it off, when I know what will happen if I do mess with them. I also cant help but pick on my lips. I will put carmex on them and when they start to heal I can feel the skin so I mess my lips up all over again.
I totally know what you are going through. You confession has made me feel a little better knowing others are experiencing this unexplainable habit..and to know that i'm not alone. I have been going through the exact same process as you, and no matter how many times i convince myself to stop the picking, i seem to restart the cycle all over again--wihout me even realising i'm doing it. And its really ruining my life and self-esteem. I feel i'm withdrawing from society. And just can't bring myself to stop it. It taking me over. And i'm considering dropping out of university just because I feel I can't concentrate on the work and be in the close presence of others because i can't bear the thought at others looking at my scabby face...although i cover the scabs/spots up rather well with concelor everyday, it doesn't seem to be solving the problem. I just go home and pick the scabs and find new pimples on the face to pick which then again form into unsightly scabs and the process starts all over again. And afterwards i just feel truely terrible. But at the time I don't seem to think what i'm doing is bad...well i do...but i just can't stop myself once i've started. One successful picking of a pimple just leads to finding another one to squeeze. It just gives me a feeling of satisfaction. And I can be doing it for up to 2 to 3 hours at a time...finding other spots and pimples to pick on the body. And i don't have an acne problem. It's just little pimples on my face/body that i feel need to be picked(but don't really) but it ends up getting out of control. And just feel unable to face anyone when i look at the red sore mess on my skin after i have picked at it. I just say to myself..'why did i just do that..when i said i wouldn't?' It's destroying me and I feel the problem has become worse in the past few months..especially since starting university ... although i think i began when i started secondary school --around age 13/14. I feel i purposely distance myself from my uni friends and others and i don't get close to my friends just because of the unattractive scabs on my face that i just let heal...i'm scared what they might be thinking. And I know deep down if i just let the scabs heal and left new little un-noticibable pimples alone...than my skin would look so much better and i wouldn't have to hide away from others and have to plaster my face in concelor everyday when i know i have to be out in public...I just need to stop this.It's really getting me down and preventing me from living life to the full and letting others see my full potential just because of this obsessive picking that seems just so unnecessary. I'm a 19 year old female, from Wales in the UK.
Ok, I was sure I was the only one with this problem. To be frank, I don't think that anyone who doesn't suffer from dermatillomania can give completely sound advice on the topic or on how to overcome it. I know that a lot of medical professionals cast a blind eye on the compulsion and pass it off as a "phase" that many people go through, but I think that everyone in this forum realizes it is, in fact, a fully-fledged addiction. I have deduced this from my own symptoms which include: the absolute need to pick my skin (especially when I'm feeling angry or down) the increase in heart rate as I'm scanning my skin and discover some squeezables which persists all through the squeezing session, the sheer gratification of seeing anything come out despite being well aware of the tissue damage I'm causing, and finally the feelings of despair and regret when I tear myself away from the mirror, knowing that this not is the last time I will inflict this upon myself. I can empathise completely with everyone who said they wake up going "aw shit I picked my skin last night." For me, it's even embarrassing leaving my room in the morning without make-up on because it's blatantly obvious to my family that I've been doing it. I think that shame is actually another clear indicator of addiction. From the limited research that has been carried out on dermatillomania, I have deduced that this activity releases endorphins, the same way chocolate, exercise and sex do. Although it ruins a little part of my life, this intrigues me and I'm really determined to overcome it as I know all of you are. I'd really like to know more about your personalities just to see if there is something common to all of us that we might be able to associate with this condition and therefore target. I know for me, it's chipping away at my confidence more and more cause I'm 19 now and most people have almost totally grown out of the pimple stage so it seems to me that all people notice when they talk to me is my skin. Aside from this problem I'd say I'm quite a confident person and I feel in control of most other aspects of my life. I'm in university, play sport, music, have a large network of friends and would rarely let this problem prevent me from living my life. I'm generally really happy and love joking around and not taking things seriously. The thing that strikes me about myself (I know it's weird getting inside my own psyche but whatever) is that I sometimes feel really, really angry for no particular reason. I've been picking my skin for so long now that I cant decipher whether this is the cause of or a consequence of the picking. This is usually what sparks these stupid skin-picking episodes which in turn make my feel ugly and inadequate and I always tell myself I deserved it afterwards. It's weird cause I know I'm not ugly and I know I've a lot to live for but I do tend to bottle things up and rarely cry and always try to maintain a strong facade around my friends. This is sort of my secret devil that only you guys know about. Is anyone else the same? Is anyone else here generally really happy and outgoing but struggles silently with this one aspect of your lives? Do you think that maybe the habit could sort of be paralleled with self-harm? If anyone has actually read my big massive rant then thank you so much and you deserve a prize.
Hey there Kiwi. Yeah I'd say I'm happy and have a generally content good life .. and I think so would my friends. But inside is a completely different story. This is included in self harm / self injury and I've found info on their websites very helpful in understanding the CONCEPT of why I do what I do - very interesting, but how to change that hmmm that's a whole different ball game. I think I have a huge anger problem - but instead of getting volatile and blowing up at other people (probably because I'm scared that they may be better able to fight back and then I'd come off second best) I turn inwards on myself - so instead of it being explosive it's implosive (like when the demolish buildings). I battled for a looooooong time to recognise and acknowledge that I have anger issues - because I dont rant and rave and swear and pull zap signs or push and shove ... it just all gets directed internally - I'm extremely hard on myself and super self critical. I'll make allowances or excuses for other people's bad/poor/inappropriate behaviour but not my own. Me, I must be perfect and totally in control all the time. I think I'm impossible to live with because I'd really like people around me to agree with me and do things my way. Ridiculous isn't it.
I'm 27 years old, almost 28 and I am like you. I am very outgoing, have friends, I feel confident - except when I am picking or directly there after, and am in general very happy. And I think I always have been happy. I've always made it a priority to be happy and do things that fill my life with joy and satisfaction. But after 27 years of picking my body - my little almost non-existent pickables (love that you called it this!) until I get to them, my nose, my ears (a recent obsession is cleaning my ears), my cuticles is another big one. I also itch my genitals, which is new in the last four years. As I get older I feel like I my pickables are expanding... and it's starting to reflect on my self-esteem after all these years. Recently I have really started to try to restrain myself from picking - finding root causes, breathing, more yoga, more walks, I'm even trying out the 4-step OCD Brain Lock treatment. I really don't want to use medication so I am trying all I can. One thing I want to share with everyone is that in the last three months that I have become hyper aware of my picking and the realization that I really want to stop, I have STOPPED making impossible expectations to live up to. I think the Brain Lock steps helped me realize that if you want to stop doing something and you put your energy into it, and then, in a moment of frenzy, you just find yourself in front of the mirror and, and ahhhhhhhhhh you can't stop. When you do stop, instead of feeling even more upset about it (although its important to allow yourself to feel your emotions), just say to yourself, as I do, "Today, at this moment, my picking won. It's okay, next time, it will not. I will walk away from the mirror..." - or changing the language to whatever works. It's just something I have found to be useful. And I don't want to give off the wrong impression, some days I stop trying to help my CSP addiction because I think healing will take more energy than not.... but each day is a new day, and each day I hope we all have more energy to heal ourselves.
omg, as i was reading your note it as as if you were telling my life story... I hate that i tell myself not to pick but I can't stop i sometimes dont even realize i'm picking my skin, i do it unconsciously. I am so embarrassed to go out with out make-up, I never do anymore. I thought i had a low self esteem before (despite everyone saying how pretty i am) now it has completely taken a nose dive. I wish someone could rescue me, i sometimes wish there was someone who could save me from myself.
Kiwi, everything you said is /exactly/ like me. Every detail. I'm 19, and know how you feel when you say all your friends have grown out of the pimple phase but you. Every morning after a picking session is just... ugghh.. As well, I dislike how doctors just pass over our disorder like it's nothing. They don't know what it's like! The way you described how your heartbeat rises as you are scanning your face for something to pick... it's so true. It really is the best feeling (yet also the most guilt-inflicting). Sometimes I just wish I could move away to a cave somewhere where no one ever sees me so I can do it 24/7 without worrying. I too am a very happy person with a normal lifestyle and many friends. I've never had a big traumatic experience or anything like that. However, my Dad has Trichotillomania so my problem might be hereditary. In other aspects of my life I'm very proud of myself, at 19 I own my own condo and have a steady job and go to college for something I love. Yet this one huge thing controls my life, and I hate it. I discovered this disorder a few months ago, and of course, after realizing it was a real disorder, I freaked out and vowed never to pick again. Guess how long that lasted? :P I've had the disorder since I was about 10 or 11, and used to try everything. I tried covering all the mirrors in my house, cutting my nails (which are naturally very long and not easily breakable which may don't help my problem) down to the stub, even putting tape on my nails, and signs up around the house in random places like 'DO NOT PICK!!' and marking on calendars on days I didn't pick... the list goes on. Needless to say, I stopped trying, especially because it was sort of a trance and I didn't even notice I was doing it. Now, it's getting worse. Before I would just pick at my face, but now it's anything I can find. Especially on my shoulders and the tops of my arms, where people can't see when I wear a t-shirt. It's still really bad though, I'm afraid to take my shirt off in front of my boyfriend, and just last month I skipped my work Christmas party because I knew I was going to have to wear a dress and people would see my shoulders. Do you see any patterns so far? I hope I've helped. It was good to finally tell people my situation. To be honest, I think I've given up. A few months ago I really thought I was going to stop, it was the hardest I've ever tried. But since that didn't work it feels like nothing will, and I've pretty much given up all hope.
i feel the same way you do where i get angry at myself for picking. and it's like i don't ever really know which came first, the picking or the acne. I have a goofy light-hearted persona externally and with friends, because they can distract me enough to just be happy. but when i am alone i am always so frustrated with myself for letting it get this bad. i wish i could figure out what to do or how to make it stop. i always feel so disgusting and dirty and just plain weird after picking or popping.
****ALSO LADIES...INSTALL LOW-RESOLUTION LIGHT BULBS IN ALL OF YOUR RROMS OF YOUR HOUSE!!! ESPECIALLY BATHROOM! THE BATHROOM SHOULD BE THE VERY LOWEST OF LOWS! This helps keep your mind off doing the compulsion, and when your in the bathroom or any room, you cant do it! Because the light is so low you cant tell if you have anything!
Hi Kiwi, I don't think your response was a rant at all. I think you are at the point where you are really starting to acknowledge this whole thing as part of your life and questioning it. The fact that you shared your "secret devil" with the forum, and that you seeked out this site shows that. I'm 43 years old and have been doing this forever. My face still breaks out all the time- and I'm torn between disgust (and wanting to hide from society), and "excitement" of there being something new to pick. After all of these years- I JUST brought this out to my therapist a few weeks ago. I've been hiding it for so long. I'm so embarrassed. She said that it is a form of self mutiliation (like cutting). And it is an OCD. It's not something that is talked about- so people really don't think about it as a "problem" that needs treatment, I know it took me finding this site and reading everyone's posts to be able to confess this habit to her. That was my first step. Your "rant" as you call it is your first step. Be proud of yourself for that. If you want to email separately- feel free:
You are not alone. I did it for awile all over my body, but my twin is worse, she does it to her face and uses needles, tweezers and other sharp objects to do so. All of the feelings you feel is how she feels, it is an obsessive compulsive disorder. My twin would do it so bad that she couldnt hide it with makeup having 2inch scabs and gashes and would stay home from school. One thing she did is she went to a dermatologist and got prescribed some medication that drys out her skin. It makes barely any small bumps to pick at. I also know from experience that I got into washing my face instead. I use a deoderant soap such as lever 3000 with aloe (the green one) antibacterial soap, I even use dish soap! It drys out my face and makes wayyy less of the bumps, also, you need to realize (what I tell my twin) that if you get under the zit and push it once, it isnt going to go. And thats a plus with drying out your skin, because all of my bumps pop out so easy! They are blackheads and whiteheads now! And you can see the infection under the skin, so you need to teach yourself the 1 pinch rule. Dont use sharp nails on them. And if you do or dont pop it and it hurts(deep on the inside) to lightly push on it, then it has more infection, but isnt ready, put a hot washcloth on it and give it a few days. And ALWAYS....ALWAYS WASH YOUR FACE AFTER TOUCHING IT! EVEN AFTER A SHOWER! Especially if popping! you can get the infection in other pores!, dont use anything but your hands, washcloths are rough and damage the skin and take the good oils out of the skin, causing it to over produce oils. ONLY hands. Wash often, I was 2-4 a day. Hope this helps, helped for just to fix the nails and lips....
i totally get the whole needle/tweezers thing. just be careful about drying out your skin too much...if your face is sensitive or combination oily/dry, then you might get the lovely side effect of peeling and scaling (even if you moisturize a lot...which can lead to more bumps and pimples if you can't find the perfect balance between enough moisture and not clogging pores...hint from my dermatologist: just because it says it's noncomodegenic, doesn't mean that your specific skin won't react)...anyways, my lovely skin-picking brain found this to be the perfect picking opportunity. argh! i'll have patches of skin that just...come's looks like my "face is falling off." i sleep with neosporin/band-aids on a lot of the time (but only on dry/red/peely/scabby parts that aren't because of a zit...want that to air out/dry out asap...but would neosporin help the infection, or just clog it? idk, another question i've never asked my dermatologist). it's just so frustrating because part of my skin are so oily, and then others are just rough and dry and peeling...and some parts are both oily AND peeling! but i feel for everybody on the cycle thing...just when i think that my red spots/patches are fading and things are healing--BAM--i break out and everything starts all over again.
I just wanted to say i really appreciate your post. I do some very similar things as your twin and sometimes i feel like I just can't stop myself. I can't stand having any white heads on my face. I will get these huge postules that will top off with a white head and it is so hard for me to leave them alone, and when I do not try and squeeze them they take forever to go away. I will use tweezers to get out all the white I see. In reality i realize i am just making my skin worse but it is so hard. i feel like it has impaired my social life so much and I always think other people are looking at all of the spots on my face. Does anyone have some of these similar experiences?
i can't take it anymore! this is ruining my life! I've been doing this ever since i was a kid--started with lip and scab picking. My face looks horrible--I'm already on meds for anxiety and depression, but it's not getting any better. I had no idea that this habit had a name or a following--like trichotillomania. I even have a background in mental health--psychology, social work. I just want to learn how to stop--I feel like a freak!
Hi i just found this site .. i have the same problem as the rest of you... im 25 year old female .. and ive been picking my face since i was about 16 or 17 ... i really want to stop this obsessive habit..but i just cant seem to make myself stop, Its like the blackheads get clogged into my pores and i can feel them in my face or something and it really bothers me so i squeeze and pick until i get them out .. and i no this is bad for my skin... but i continue to do it... If anyone out there is having this same issue and has been able to keep from doing it as much .. please email me at and please tell me how u did it .. it would be highly appreciated.. thanks
I have the same thing, and I am completely aware. I just can't stop doing it! And the same like you, when it starts to clear up, i find SOMETHING else to pick because it just feels good. Don't Worry, Your not alone! Good luck to you =]
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