3 step cleaning to help stop picking

Tasneem Abrahams
May 25th, 2016

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Tanya Silva, suffered for years from Dermatillomania after she was diagnosed with an eating disorder. However once she overcame her Binge Eating, she was left with the skin picking. She has overcome her compulsive behaviours by healing her mind and shifting her thoughts, “your thoughts trigger your emotions and your emotions are what drive your behaviours”. If she can overcome two addictive behaviours, she believes that you can too. Her YouTube channel is for those who want to look, feel and be the best version of themselves.

Focus on Nourishment not Destruction

Tanya suggests focusing on nourishment vs. destruction and recognizing your picking triggers. Firstly, acknowledge your habit of going straight to the mirror and distract yourself.  Then ask “what else would create that same satisfaction or ‘high’”.  For some people this comes in the form of a hobby spending time with a pet, for others it comes from the release of endorphins through exercise. Tanya focused on successfully overcoming her disorder and visualized her skin being healed.  This positive thinking helped her develop a positive inner dialogue which she says had a great impact on her outer appearance.

In this YouTube video Tanya attributes her clear healed skin to a three step skin cleaning process that she learned from her dermatologist. The three steps are: cleaning, toning and nourishing (cleansing, toning and moisturizing). She uses all natural products such as witch hazel that she uses to tone her skin, reduce redness and inflammation as well as coconut oil to moisturize and nourish her skin.

The 3-step process

Since overcoming her skin picking, Tanya has managed to turn the condition of her skin right around through a change in mind set and the three step process that she swears by.

For someone who does not have their skin picking under control just yet. Here are some tips to get you started:

Find the cause

Since Dermatillomania stems from an emotional or mental health issue, it is wise to identify and understand the root cause of your picking, whether it is Obsessive Compulsive Behavior or stress, anxiety, fear, worry or an uneasy state of mind. Speak to a psychologist to help you find your cause.


At this point, you need to try to unlearn your picking habit and stop touching your skin, by creating barriers or distractions for yourself. Barriers include: wearing gloves when you’re at home; sticking a band aid over a spot that you are tempted to pick; keep your finger nails short and keeping your hands busy.

Skin care

Take extra special care of your skin to help eliminate spots and heal old scars and wounds. Try to avoid actually touching your skin as much as possible as you might be tempted to pick if you feel any bumps- use a loofah or washcloth to clean your skin; use cotton pads to apply toner or to remove make-up; apply creams and make-up with a sponge or brush.

Be gentle

It is not only your skin that needs to be treated gently, but you do too. Don’t get frustrated with yourself when you pick, anger, remorse and embarrassment only lead to more picking. Learn to be more understanding with yourself, overcoming your disorder will take time. Take bay steps and first develop your own plan to keep it under control.

Tasneem Abrahams

Tasneem is an Occupational Therapist, and a graduate of the TLC foundation for BFRBs professional training institute. Her experience in mental health includes working at Lentegeur Psychiatric hospital forensic unit (South Africa), Kingston Community Adult Learning Disability team (UK), Clinical Specialist for the Oasis Project Spelthorne Community Mental Health team (UK). Tasneem is a member of both the editorial team and the clinical staff on Skinpick, providing online therapy for people who suffer from excoriation (skin picking) disorder.

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