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laubie88 , 31 Aug 2008

'Buddy system' anyone?

Like many before I am both relieved and terrified to find that this thing I've been doing for most of my life has a name. It feels good to know you're not alone, but admitting you have a problem is the first step towards quitting it and just thinking about not being able to pick at my skin makes me anxious. I am 20 years old and picking my skin for over 10 years has certainly left its marks. My upper arms are always covered in red spot and little scabs. My chest looks pretty bad as well. About a year ago I began doing it to my legs as well and it has now reached a point where I can't wear shorts or skirts anymore, because it just looks too bad. The worst time for me is going to bed, because that's when I start, every day, to pick and don't stop for hours. It's severely affecting my life, not only because of my reluctance to form relationships or do anything that involves exposing skin, but also because I pick instead of sleeping. As a result I get only a couple hours of sleep at times and miss important classes. I am so done with this, but have found that trying to quit by myself isn't gonna work for me. Is there someone out there that feels the same way and would like to support me and be supported by me in this battle? I really hope so. Laura
56 Answers
September 01, 2008
Hi, I think having a support system would be great. Im 22, iv been picking since I was 4 or 5, it began with a scab on my nose I always scratched off at night, my parents could never figure out why it wouldn't heal. i try to be discrete with my picking, keep it places where people cant see, apart from my hands and my lips. i pick my feet, i got a tattoo a few mths ago, but i pciked it as it healed and now it has a scar over it and it looks bad. Iv just been on holiday and got burnt then started peeling, im a mess i picked the skin off so much it turned to scabs, peeled everywhere. I must have gone to the toilet 20 times a day so i could pick in privacy. Nice to talk to someone
September 01, 2008

In reply to by agnesuk

Thanks for replying :) Sun burns are the worst, even when I see it on someone else, I get extremely jittery. I had a hard time with my tattoo as well. The only reason it turned out okay is because it's really small. I'd really like to get another one, but am a little hesitant for fear of messing it up. Any time I know there is some blemish or scab or something somewhere on my skin, it has got to go. Obviously another tattoo would be a hard time, cos I'd know it was there and just be SO aware of it all the time. What are the most difficult times for you? Have you ever really tried to quit it before? Shoot me an e-mail at It really is nice to talk to someone!
June 10, 2009

In reply to by lil_sammi

I'd be happy to be big sister on this. Most of you sound as if you are aged where you could be my kids, but I'm also a children's writer so relate issues don't seem to be an obstacle for me. I cannot tell you what a relief this place is..and it comes on a day where something very significant, in a good way, just happened to me. My skin tends to itch like poison oak and that is my trigger and if I am calm or preoccupied it doesn't itch, so I've tracked it and it is definitely neurological. Mine started out though with my plucking chin hairs in my early 30s (they were not that bad, I wasn't a candidate for a bearded lady, but ye olde perfectionism spurred me to get rid of them), which left my chin with bumps and affected skin. I could spend HOURS at this. Then about a year ago it suddenly came to pass that the skin at the edge of my scalp, from one ear, over the forehead, to the next ear, seemed to have little bumps and they itched and I had to itch them and they opened...and the only one to know certainly about it was my hairdresser who dreaded putting on color when the skin was not healed yet. Sound fun yet? Folks, we'll get there.
September 02, 2008
I too am 20 years old and your story is so similar to mine. I pick in the same spots that you do and it's to a point now that I need to stop I just can't take it anymore. I also pick before bed. I think it's my reading lamp that makes the bumps more visible that starts me picking but that's just a guess. The idea of a buddy system is great. Knowing somebody else is in the same situation is very beneficial. Also, being able to contact someone when it's gets harder to avoid picking is helpful. dandilyon
September 02, 2008
I think my worst times are when im stressed, or worried about something but theres nothing i can do about it, like if theres a lot to do at work in the morning i worry the night before and pick because i cant do anything til tomoro. or when im bored, my fingers do it without even thinking about it. i have managed to stop, but only if i have a reason, like a party or holiday, and even though only for a few weeks max. I also stop when i go to the drs because i dnt want to have to discuss with them, weird isn't it? agnes is my nick mane screen name thing, you can get me on Lis
September 05, 2008
I think for me the reading light is also a major factor. With regular lighting I'm okay, because I don't see every little imperfection. When I feel the urge to pick I actually turn on the reading light just so I can see what I'm doing. Maybe we need to get ourselves lights with a really low wattage? It's not gonna stop the urge, but should make it a little harder to give into it. I think it can be of great help to know other people are going through the same thing and maybe hear how they are dealing with it. Can't be of much help myself in that respect, because I haven't really found anything that helps me reduce the picking, but still. Have either of you ever approached a therapist about it? I'm thinking about it, but am dreading approaching my GP about it to get a referral. It's something I've never talked about with anyone and am pretty ashamed of. It's one thing to talk to the person who's gonna help you with it, yet another to have to tell it to someone who's just there to refer you. And it's a big, big step. Either of you been brave enough to take it or are you contemplating it like me?
September 08, 2008
No i havent been brave enough my self. I have thought about it but i always manage to put it off, convince myself its upto my will power and i can do it on my own.maybe not. I have just found out I might have sleep apnea, iv got to wait for a sleep study, it cause sleep deprivation and depression, so im hoping if i get that sorted it mite help the picking. fingers crossed. i agree with the light thing, i try to put little lamps on rather than big overhead ones. the bathrooms always the worst, you cant avoid it. even if im in the dark tho my fingers are always running over me looking for bumps or imperfections which i can pick. my mind knows i cant pick a bump to get rid of it but i still do Lis
September 16, 2008
I am so with you on the buddy system! I've been sweeping my picking issue under the rug for years. I'm 25 (26 later this week) and I've been doing this since I was about 12 or so. It eventually became a nightly ritual, but I'm SO sick of it! Last night, I got into a compulsive pick-fest beginning with my face, then moved to my arms, then my chest, and when I crawled into bed, the backs of my legs. I lost hours to meaningless picking! What really boggles my mind is that the entire time I was doing this, I was thinking--rather, I was mentally screaming at myself to STOP PICKING! I really, really don't want to do this anymore! I had thought when I was a teenager (knowing then that my picking wasn't a good thing), that my skin would clear up when I entered my 20s and picking would be a thing of the past, but no, nope...still picking. And I still have the acne. I was thinking if I could control my little bit of acne then maybe I could go into pick-recovery. I'm fearing it isn't going to be quite that simple though. Especially since my face isn't the only area I pick, but maybe it'd give me a good start at breaking the habit. Has anyone had any success with chemical peels?
February 25, 2009

In reply to by Ange

I am 20, but I thought college would be the magic time for me and that I could stop. Your story is SOOOOOO me! seriously! can we be buddies? :D
September 17, 2008
You should definitely ask your GP about that; there's a lot of stuff out there that helps with acne ranging from antibiotics to bezoylperoxide. For me it also starts with a zit somewhere and then I just go crazy on my skin for hours even if there was no problem there until I created it. I think it's some sort of impulse control thing, cos I, too, am internally screaming at myself to stop it but it's like there's a break somewhere in the delivery system and I just keep on going. It's the same thing that addicts experience when feeding their addiction, actually. Short term gain that you pay for with long term loss. Alright, I think I'll make a doctor's appointment tomorrow to get a referral. Aaah, it's scary! I'm so freakin' mortified by this. Even I think it's weird and gross, how are other people supposed to take it? Have any of you told someone about it? I think people around me sort of know about it a little bit but they understand that my lame "allergy rash" explanations are more of a "don't ask, don't tell" thing. Still been picking like crazy, btw. :(
January 20, 2009

In reply to by laubie88

I told my boyfriend that I am a Skinpicker yesterday and he laughed at me. He didn't know I do it and he didn't believe me in till I showed him. I told my mom also and she said " you did eat at your hands when you were little but you hide it well" Scary I know it was for me also.
September 25, 2008
Hi Laura, I could really use a buddy in this, although i worry that it would not be helpful if my case is signifcantly more severe than yours: i am twenty five, and i have been picking at my skin (zits on my face, chewing skin from my lips, i've got keretosis on my arms that i used to pick at so bad i wore long sleeves every day in high school even in summer, etc..) for hours every day since i was twelve. i haven't been able to stop for more than a few days in the last thirteen years, and i have tried many, many things to help me change my behavior: plenty of exercise, a healthy diet, talk therapy, medication, meditation, and lots of little tricks like taping the lightswitch in my bathroom, hairspray-frosting the mirror, snapping a rubber band on my wrist whenever i'd think about it. In my most desperate attempts, I've even visited an optometrist, and asked him if he could make me contact lenses that would impair my close-range vision. It worsens the condition, i think, that i have incredibly fine detail eyesight. Unfortunately, he told me that my eyes adapt too easily... within a few minutes of trying out different glasses my eyes would adjust and i'd have my detail vision back, just at different distances. I would like to have someone to talk to about this, and support in overcoming it, but i worry that if i were to and quit together with a buddy, i would not be able to, and that would undermine their efforts. what do you think?
October 06, 2008
HELP! I was born with Keratosis Pilaris. Until I got to highschool I had ALWAYS wore long sleeves.. didn't matter if it was 100 degrees out. I was so embarrassed by it! I had always had an obsession with picking at them, both on my arms and legs. I have now gotten to the point where I am ruining my body by this obsessive picking, popping, and using tweezers to get rid of these ugly bumps. But it goes more deeper than this. I have a serious problem and cannot stop. I have been on medication for years to help treat my anxiety and depression, and just until now, I discovered there was a name for this obsession of picking. My legs and arms look like a war zone. It discgusts my husband, and my 2yr old son watches me do this 4-6 hours a day. I am worried he'll think taking tweezers to your body is a normal thing. I have so much scarring, and scabbing it's rediculous. My legs and arms are constantly sore because of all the abuse. And it seems like the more I do this, the bumbs come back 10 fold.. which means more picking! I also have a really big problem with biting the inside of my bottom lip. I also have some scarring on my face because I "find" imperfections. I fear leaving the house because of what I look like. But no matter how many times I tell myself I NEED TO STOP, I can't. Infact, doing this "picking" is like a drug.. I need to do it! What a weird thing. I can't keep on destroying my body like this. I already have self-esteem issues, but this Dermatillomania is making issues much worse. I would love to join a buddy system! I need all the help I can get!
October 06, 2008

In reply to by Aimes

Hi, its good to see that so many people are interested in the buddy system. Myslef, i've picked for around 15 years since i was young, mostly fingers, lips and inside of my mouth but my fingers are continously searching for imperctions on my face and body to scratch away. To me picking is like other addictions, except you cant escape from it because its your own body I dont have any cures or quick soluntions, but if you want to chat you can email me on x
October 18, 2008
Dear Laura, I just found this webpage and wondered if there has been a buddy-system set up after all the comments you got on your posting? If not, lets do it! I think it would be extremely helpful since most people need to share but do not have people around them with the same problem. Please let me know. Sandra
October 22, 2008
Hi, Im gonna be 21 in November and i am oh too familiar with CSP(compulsive skin picking). i been picking for almost 5 years now. My life has definitely been put on hold because of this. i pick at my face. i have scarring because of it. i been diagnosed with OCD. i go to a therapist and a phsyciatrist and im on medication. i feel like its gotten somewhat better but im still suffering. like just yesterday i had a bad episode with picking. i feel like its really important for us to be eachother's support. i havent met anyone else with this disorder. i been to OCD support groups but havent met anyone with CSP. i feel like am alone in this, its soo frustrating sometimes. i would like 2 be there for anyone who needs someone to talk too. we need 2 be there for eachother.. this is such a lonely disorder. it makes me feel like an outsider. would love 2 hear from any of you. :)
October 25, 2008
Hi, I'd love to have a buddy for this so we could encourage each other. I am 16 and have been picking, mostly my face, for several years. I'd like to catch this now before I get older and the habits get more ingrained. I have tried to quit picking many times before but in the end, nothing worked. Picking is a calming thing for me, even though I can't pinpoint any area of my life that feels especially stressful or unhappy. Like many others I feel reluctant to be close to another person or have a relationship because of this problem. So, I'm really tired of picking at my face all the time and want to quit! I'd love to hear from anybody. My email address is :)
October 25, 2008
Hey everybody! I'm very sorry for not replying to your comments. It is part denial and part being incredibly busy. Since you were all sweet enough to reply to my idea of a support system and there seems to be a lot of you who feel they would benefit form such a thing, I've (finally) thought about how we could accomplish it and come up with to following: a forum. It might seem a little redundant since, hello, we're already on one, but I think we might be able to make thing a bit more personal with just a little group of people who wish to support one another and be supported. Let me clarify that I do not at all mean that to be a jab at, which is awesome and great and I would go on a date with it! ;) It is merely an experiment and if it doesn't work out we'll know soon enough. Sorry for the lame name. :P I have no clue if you can join through just that link, cos I am ignorance personified when it comes to forums and websites and such. Let me know if it works! In any case, I'll send those of you who posted an e-mail address an invite. Let's try this thing. Laura ps. If you can't apply via the link, just post your e-mail address here and I'll send you an invite. Hopefully, that will work.

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