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MustStop , 08 Jul 2011

Just found this site- my two cents

Hello- I just came across this today after a slight pick and have decided to just write everything down. I have been picking at my skin here and there since I developed moderate acne after giving up smoking back in 2006. Before then my skin was flawless aside from the odd teenage spot. My skin has in general cleared up massively after being prescribed Differin Gel. But the habits of picking that I got into when suffering from the worst phases of the acne have been hard to let go of. I do suffer from depression and OCD tendencies- I have a phobia of being unwell (viruses etc) so there are clearly some issues going on. I also have the ability to be extremely critical of myself and look for faults. My worst habit within this situation, is that I create problems when things are just improving. I have noticed certain patterns too. I have to be very careful in the week before I get my period as I seem to lose any rational thought processes and can attack myself to a much larger degree at this time. I also recognize that when I have been in the cycle of picking, trying to heal, picking a little more again etc etc- then it becomes almost impossible not to be thinking and focusing on my skin. If I have got out of the habit, my skin is clear etc then I can go for months without picking. But if my skin starts feeling a bit bumpy and I am not able to get a facial done by a professional who can extract, then the temptation can become too strong and I may have a small pick. When this is done, the skin looks worse than it did before. Probably to many people it would still look like fairly normal skin. But to me the line has been crossed and this kind of devil may care attitude starts to occur where I'm thinking things like: 'Well I've already done a bit of a pick so might as well try and just get that other little bump I can see so then they can all be healing at roughly the same time'. And then I will just get more and more involved with picking my skin- scrutinizing it first under ridiculously bright light, checking every pore. I KNOW it will look worse than it did before I pick because I have had so many experiences of that! But when the urge comes, somehow that part of my brain is not operating and I can actually be telling myself in my head to stop WHILST I am picking. It's like a delirious relief to pick- then the horrible, awful sensation of despair when you realize just what has been done- followed by the manic attempts to try and heal the skin straight after (in my case various creams and sometimes quite expensive treatments). So here is what I have observed and also some of my advice: 1) Once you 'break the ice' as it were, with this habit- it DEFINITELY (in my opinion) becomes harder and harder not to pick. If you feel some minor bumps and have some spare cash try booking a facial (with extractions). The bumps will be lessened and it will be done by a professional. If it is not possible to get the facial and you feel the temptation try to distract yourself with something where you can release some of that nervous energy. 2) I have a comfort place where I do the picking. It is ritual when I am in 'Picking Mode'. It's on my sofa, with a mirror propped up under a lamp so I can see EVERYTHING- things that other people would NEVER see (I can tell myself this now!). Here I feel in control as I pick. Only afterwards do I recognize what I have done. I have attempted to remove the mirror from the room and leave it in the bathroom. I am short sighted so require the mirror to be nearer to be able to see to pick- consequently if I manage to leave the mirror (or my boyfriend forces me to because he knows I might pick!) in the bathroom I do NOT pick. 3) I am angry if people tell me not to pick and wish to be left to it- even though it breaks me out of the intense concentration for a few moments- enough time to think: 'Oh damn what am I doing?'- it primarily makes me angry (and rarely makes me stop- unless I am feeling calm enough to think more clearly and stop myself). 4) So I would say that attempting to break the OPPORTUNITY to pick is crucial- be it removing the mirror for a while and making a friend/hubbie/mother- (anyone who knows and you feel comfortable with) store the mirror away so quite simply you cannot get your hands on it. Then try and occupy yourself with something else that is fiddly but not damaging your skin- I find weeding helps! I know this may sound a little odd but it does help. I get my fix of fiddling, tweaking, perfecting, being a bit OCD- (whatever it is I need to do to feel kind of cleansed) WITHOUT having hurt myself. I am then distracted and simply not dwelling on my skin. But this takes willpower and obedience not to just demand the mirror back! (Or to go off somewhere, somehow and be a bit crafty and do the damage elsewhere- I have done a fair bit of picking when my boyfriend is in the bath upstairs for example. I will reassure him that I have the mirror in front of me to slightly tidy my eyebrows for example, or to 'rub cream on my face'. I am lying. I know full well that as soon as I hear him shut the bathroom door, I'm there with my tissues (I always pick with tissue- lesser of the two evils I think) scrutinsing and beginning to pick. When he comes down, 20 mins later I am the picture of innocence rubbing cream into my newly damaged skin in specific ways so that he can't see what I've done. Or I might be at the computer with cream on my face feeling awful but pretending I haven't done anything. He knows more now- I had to talk with him about this in more detail, but I still break from the routines we try to set in place to get me to stop doing this to myself. 5) Guys- It is BORING! It is boring wanting to wear this dress but not feeling you can, it is boring getting in a depressed state of mind cos you have picked and then needing other people to listen or comfort you- it's boring for them! It's boring not going outside in the sun, or going on that date or that birthday party because YOU have picked your skin! Boring, boring, boring! Ok- so this a condition, a habit, whatever- it's no good to beat ourselves up about it and we must get help in the ways that seem appropriate for our individual cases at it were, but let's face it we ARE choosing to pick! I think removing the 'props' that help get one into the cycle is vital! For me, it's the mirror and the lamp and having tissue paper downstairs. No tissue- I won't pick. Ever. So look out for the things that help make it EASIER for you to pick and try and remove them. And I KNOW THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE!!!! Ok finally here's my advice if you HAVE picked: 1) Wash your face with warm water and a face wash that you know is suitable for your skin type. Don't RUB your skin harshly with the flannel- I have done this before to try and get the healing skin to come off faster. It don't! It just needs to heal up again cos I've damaged the skin more and scar I'm left with gets pinker. 2) Apply Sudocrem to the damaged areas- it is cheap, you get a lot of product and it heals skin quick. 3)Drink green tea daily- it really help clear the skin from the inside. If the skin is clearer, in general the temptation to pick decreases. 4) Try not to dwell on what you have done as this will only make you want to pick more- to kind of see if you can 'solve' what you have started. ('There might still be something left in that pore cos it's feeling sore etc etc'). Don't! Just leave it alone- let it heal. Otherwise you are going to 100% be making it worse! Try to focus on something else. (If need be, consider tackling the OCD part with actual treatment.) 5) If you are desperate and have some spare cash (usually around £40 a treatment)- microdermabrasion does work a treat, helping to fade minor to moderate scarring. Few last thoughts- 1)I have noticed that if I watch an episode of Gok Wan helping ladies sort out their fashion issues it makes me feel better. Let me explain! These ladies in general are average ladies. I mean that in a good way. They have some lines and spots and flaws. They are human. They learn how to make the most of themselves. And they seem happier for it! After watching an episode I fell calmer, more in control. I FEEL like trying on that new dress I got the other day. I FEEL having a nice warm bath and exfoliating my skin in a PRODUCTIVE manner. I FEEL like taking care of myself. I do NOT feel like picking my skin. Because I know I am human and not perfect, just like those lovely ladies on Gok Wan's TV programme.. So try one of those episodes and see what you think. 2) Write a list of all the things you feel when you HAVE picked your skin. Like the horrible depressed things. The things you don't feel you can do because of your skin and the damage done. STICK THIS ON YOUR MIRROR!!! 3) Similar idea to number 2 but more graphic- take a photo of your skin immediately after picking it. Let's face it, it's not gonna look good. If you feel tempted to pick get it out and have a look at it. REMIND yourself of what happens when you pick- IT ALWAYS LOOKS WORSE AFTERWARDS!!!! And finally- try to remember that if you are young and picking your skin you are wasting your youth (when the skin is line free etc) on this habit. If you are older and have a few lines that is life and is normal but picking at your skin might make you feel like you have more issues with your skin. (Please keep in mind everything here is my opinion and I am in no way attempting to tell people what they should do with their situations, please always speak to a doctor before trying new skin treatments or other therapies etc.) I really hope by writing this I might help someone (including myself). I am by no means trying to suggest that this is an easy thing to stop and these examples/thoughts/ideas here are my own and will not be relevant to everyone. I also fully recognize that it really is all easier said than done. But there might be something here you can grab hold of- and keep inside, and evolve yourself- that might help you and your particular situation. Ultimately, I think when it comes down to it, to break this habit you need to believe that you don't NEED to pick your skin, that you are lovelier than that and don't need to hurt yourself anymore- but rather be proud of yourself and your uniqueness and focus your energies on finding out what you want in this world, what your talents are, what you are about! And then there will simply be no TIME to sit in front of the mirror, at 4am, damaging your delicate skin, because you will be too busy LIVING. Well, good luck everyone, I'm going to try and follow some of my own advice- I look forward to hearing any thoughts re what I have said here xx

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