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Livy D , 27 Sep 2023

Excessive Picking on breasts

So I’m a 20 year old college student and I’ve been excessively picking at my chest since high school. It started out as a form of self harm during my depression. Even though I’ve cured my depression, the skin picking has developed into a habit. Anytime I look down I just start picking. I’ve tried taking off my glasses so I can’t easily see, but I can’t do that all the time. It’s gotten to a point where I’ve started getting gross sores. I’ve tried putting bandaids on them, but it just softens the scab and peels it off when I change out the bandaids. I can’t even focus on my schoolwork because I just look down and start picking. I’m just sick of it and today I decided to wrap my breasts up in gauze (not binding, just wrapped them up individually) to cover up the damage. Is it ok for me to wrap up my chest so it can heal without me messing it up? How can I heal the sores without the scabs coming off?

3 Answers
October 25, 2023


I'm really sorry to hear that you're going through this difficult situation. Picking at your chest can be a bother as it is so close to sight and easy to access. Also looking down, you can get easily distracted and tempted to pick.

Wrapping your chest with gauze can help protect the sores and prevent further damage, as long as it's done carefully and not too tightly, which could restrict circulation or physical discomfort. Make sure you are keeping an eye out for any infection and speak with your doctor to monitor any wounds or infections and guidance on how to promote healing.

It is great to hear that you have overcome your depression! This is proof that you are capable of accomplishing what you set your mind too. And it is no different for your skin picking. Have you tried any behavioural adjustment therapies (like CBT), replacement techniques or learning about your triggers?  

Don't forget to be kind and patient with yourself. Healing takes time.
November 06, 2023

I’m so sorry you suffer from this. Just know that you are not alone and that you can conquer this!!  As someone who struggled with recurring cellulitis infections (bad staph infections that can become very dangerous) due to picking, I am very familiar with the healing process. Keeping your sores moist (but not wet) is the best. So if scabs peel off, that’s okay. At my worst, my dermatologist recommended using aquaphor over neosporin because aquaphor keeps it moist but also lets it breathe/heal.   

I recommend using the SCAMP method found in the book “overcoming body focused repetitive behaviors” by Charles S Mansueto. If it’s ace sort for you, then get a fidget toy and instead of reaching for your chest, reach for the fidget toy. They have tons online and you just have to find the right fidget toy for you. For me, it was spinner rings I found on Etsy. Other than that you can try to get liquid bandaid or superglue and cover your fingertips so that you can’t feel your chest with your fingers and thus eliminating the urge to pick with ‘scanning’ if that’s is something you engage in.   

Do be careful if infections, especially staph since that is common in skin pickers. Signs of staph are pain, swelling, a golden discharge and very slow healing time. Staph spreads very quick and easy to other open wounds in your body so seek medical attention if you notice any of these signs.   

it’s important to know your triggers. I have 2 bracelets from habitaware called Keen that are calibrated to my hand motions and they will vibrate every time I reach my hand and start performing the kicking action. Becoming aware is HUGE. Picking can be very mindless and we don’t even know we are doing it sometimes.   

Keep a journal of when you engage, your mental state before/during/after, how long the episode lasted for….etc. this will provide some insight and allow you to become more aware.   

Also the supplement NAC (N-acetylcysteine) is the only scientifically proven supplement to help reduce skin picking behaviors. 

I’m a very well seasoned picker who is about at a 95% recovery and I have many other tips I can share if interested. I hope you found my above advise helpful. Although I have an extensive medical background, I am not a doctor so it’s always best to establish a dermatologist and therapist to help with this condition.   

You are not alone. You are strong. You are beautiful and you can and WILL conquer this.   

Warmest Regards my dear, 


November 27, 2023

Hi Livy,

I used to pick at my breasts not long ago, to where they were covered in gross sores. I also would just look down and start picking. I totally get that! I also used to pick at my arms, face, back, neck, and bikini line. I still do this, but it is not what it used to be, and all of the gross sores are gone (but there are still scars and dark spots.) What I found to work is that while I am picking, I use positive self-talk... even if I continue, as in "I love my skin", "my skin is beautiful", " I am going to think positive today"... anything good!! I found that when I pick, I am filled with negative self-talk and guilt afterwards and I think that fuels it. When I consciously think positive it's almost like the picking loses its power and I don't pick as long and am able to walk away easier.

Also, pampering yourself worked wonders! As in, wash your face in the morning with just water and a rag and add moisturizer with sunscreen or moisturizer and sunscreen. At night use a gentle facewash and add moisturizer. Also, add moisturizer to your whole body during the day as many times as you want. I was able to accomplish this recently for a week without picking at all! I became stressed since then and have fallen out of the habit, but I know it is just a matter of time until I get back on the horse! Also reminding yourself that when you pick... you are actually pushing the puss backwards also... just like a pimple pops from the top it also pops from the back and breaks into the deeper layers of your skin... which causes the pimple to reoccur, get infected, or scar, which is why it is best to leave them alone. I know knowing this has not stopped my many times, but it has stopped me sometimes and I'm sure it will work for you, too!

I can't wait to read the post by you in the future that says you have got this under control!! I know that day will come!


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