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lulu161 , 28 May 2010

First attempt at getting it all of my chest to someone other than my dog..

Hello, I admit it. I am 100% addicted to picking my skin. I’ve never spoke of this to anyone, I keep it hidden- it’s my deepest darkest secret. I debated several times posting this for fear that it’ll somehow get traced back to me. I am however getting off my chest the things I’ve kept a secret and although anonymous, it’s my first step. I’ve never known anyone else with this problem nor can I recall seeing an individual with a face similar to mine, appearing picked. This problem tops my list of embarrassing issues and therefore kept it solely to myself. To humiliated to even tell my own dad who’s a doctor and is use to my private/embarrassing issues. I’ve tried to journal, but couldn’t put it on paper for fear that it would be found. All of you who have posted are the first people I can relate to. Thank you for allowing me the comfort to get my story off my chest. I’ve always picked at my skin, however the past 2 years done it very compulsively to a great extent. I first learned compulsive behavior and ways to hide it from others when I became obsessed w/ tweezing pubic/leg hairs. I’d waste hours doing this only to end up with swollen red bumps/scabs that I’d explain to my boyfriend as “razor burn” from cheap razors. I’m not sure why/how I switched from tweezing to compulsively picking at my face. I now constantly am touching and picking my face from morning till dawn throughout all my daily activities. It serves as a bad habit, occupies me when driving, studying, ect. and is incredibly enjoyable that my half hour study breaks I take I spend infront of a mirror picking my skin which never stops at a half hour. I’ll begin picking at individual pores which end up large, swollen, open wound/scabs the size of a dime to a quarter that never heal bc I keep picking. It gets infected, grows larger and eventually becomes permanent dark scars and indentions on my face. In addition to this I’ve picked up another addicting habit of plucking my facial hairs (not like dark chin hairs but the fine light hair that covers your face) bc I think the hairs root has oil/bacteria that’s bad for my skin. Then, I think I can see stuff that is clogging my pores and pluck them individually which leads to me just plucking off skin and causing large abrasions on my face. I don’t understand why I continue to think im “fixing” my skin when everytime I end up looking far far worse. 2 years ago I had very average skin and any breakouts makeup could easily hide. Now my face is covered with large swollen scabs, scars, discolorations and indentions I’ve been hurtfully referred to as “craters”. There’s been 1 time I was motivated enough to stop and lasted 3 days. What motivated me leads me to a question/topic I would like to hear others opinions on: Although I have never talked about picking my skin with family, boyfriend or best friend, do you think they are aware of it? I have always assumed that others see my face as a bad type of acne (as I saw it too and bought every acne product although really I do it to myself). However there was one specific day that I smoked marijuana (which I normally never do) and at some point after looking in a mirror I had a jaw dropping realization. At that moment It was suddenly clear to me that ppl close in my life that see me daily and with out make up, must know that I pick at my skin. They can probably tell by just looking at me and also probably notice how my skin changes drastically in 1 day that I heavily picked (unlike normal acne that comes gradually and doesn’t normally appear overnight as large scabs as my picking does). In that moment I realized for the first time that others could probably tell what I’m doing. I felt so embarrassed and humiliated that I did not touch my skin for 3 days, which has been the longest ive gone. I’ve gone back to my ignorant thinking ways probably because it enables to pick more. Im curious how you guys see yourself through the eyes of someone else looking at you. This is the first time since then that I’ve consciously avoided picking my skin. I have not picked or plucked today and although I unconsciously touched my hand to face probably about a hundred times today, as soon as I felt my hand touch my face I immediately took it off. I never imagined something like this would be so incredibly hard to stop.
2 Answers
May 29, 2010
Hey Im so glad you posted. Congratulations on talking about it on here. That is so huge and so brave and great! I have nothing but respect, especially since I know how hard it is. I spent a looong time terrified of telling people. I wondered, too, what people saw or thought. I have told many people about it, finally, and in the process have asked a few people what they thought about my skin/ if they suspected anything. When it was really really bad (infection/scarring etc) I told a new, but trusted, friend about it. She asked how long my face had looked the way it did. It hurt to have someone tell me they recognized my face was messed up. Somehow I wanted to believe that no one noticed, but I knew that they had to. I avoided mirrors and the true extent of the damage I had done for a long time, as a way to avoid the feelings that would come if I acknowledged how badly I had hurt myself and my skin. But one day, like you, I looked in the mirror and it hit me hard. I couldnt run from that one small scab or dark spot because my whole face was obviously infected and semi-deformed (i hate to use that word but its the only good way to describe it). Anyway that was extremely hard to face, but in a way it was what got me to apply myself to recovering again. I also asked my mom if she suspected anything (being that I wore heavy makeup and hid behind my hair for years). She said she always thought it was bad acne I was trying to hide. I think other people in my life knew what was going on, Im sure other pickers I met knew. I have seen some people in stores or walking on the street who most definitely are pickers. I saw one woman shopping for makeup once who was. She had a big hat on and tons of makeup and her hair was over the sides of her face. I immediately knew she was suffering from csp. It wasnt just her skin that told me though, it was the way she was acting. She was so shut down. Her head tilted down, walking fast, not making eye contact. I have been there so many times I just wanted to go up to her and tell her she wasnt alone. In a weird way it felt like a relief to see another picker out in public. A little while later I met another friend who does it too. She actually opened up to me about it, thinking she was alone. It was so cool bc i was able to tell her I was a picker too and knew exactly what she was talking about. You never know who you will meet or who can relate. Dont get down on yourself for picking again. I think the only way we can get better is if we are doing it for ourselves, so knowing other people know and might be judging isnt necessarily going to stop you. I know it slowed me down for a little bit, but I didnt stop. If we think the main thing we have to solve is fixing ourselves so we can be accepted then we wont get better. When I realized I had to stop for my own sanity, so I knew I wasnt physically and emotionally harming myself, and because I didnt want to be ruled by the addiction vs. stopping just to look good, something shifted. Sorry to ramble. In any case dont feel bad if people know about your problem. Chances are there are people in your life who know, but want to help you, not judge. They probably dont know what to say. Oh, and side-note...the friend who asked me about my face went on to offer me nothing but love and support. She was the first person(other than my mom and therapist) who I told face to face, and I was so scared about her reaction. I remember running into her the day after I told her and being freaked out as to what she would say. All she said was "now that I know how you are suffering, I just want to take care of you and help you". I couldnt believe it. Congrats on not picking today!! Its so hard at first, but it gets easier.
June 03, 2010
Just wanted to let you know you're not alone. I have both the plucking and picking problem and both are equally devastating. I have plucked my eyebrows to nearly nothing and could NOT stop myself. I was always convinced that that hairs weren't in line with my brow so I removed more and more and as they grew back I couldn't stand the texture so I removed them again until I was left with sparse eyebrows when they were once a perfect shape. I used to pluck ingrown pubic hairs out with the tweezers and in some ways I think this was a preferable activity because at least I could hide it. I have always picked at my face, every pimple, especially whiteheads and I like to pluck the blackheads that were big enough right out. Recently, I took a needle to my nose, I have no idea why. I couldn't understand why the pores looked different on my nose. My nose had been smooth before. I just couldn't make the connection. Then, one day I had the horrible realization that I had done it, that I was doing it to my face. I was horrified. I knew I was a picker, but I had never caused that much damage in such a short time or over one area. Usually, it was here and there and everywhere, not focused on one spot and I rarely scarred because my skin heals well. I had a breakdown. Absolutely shocking. I had no idea this is an actual disorder. I lived my entire life knowing that it wasn't normal but it never ruled my life until now. It's so socially unacceptable that even my mom who majored in psych won't accept that I have a problem. I am trying to grow my eyebrows back since I have isolated my self in my house. Even that is extremely difficult to do. The urge to pluck the growing hairs is intense. The urge to pick my face is still intense, even after causing so much damage and being so devastated over it. I feel your pain! I do think that those closest to us are aware of it but they either ignore it or don't want to see it as being an issue. My boyfriend told me that he just thought it was part of my routine and didn't even notice that I had become more obsessed than ever with picking at my face. Maybe he thought it was normal because he picks at his face too, he has just never taken it to the extent that I did.

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