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EverydayaMasquerade , 19 Sep 2011

Tips and Tricks that have helped me:

QUICK TRICKS 1. KNOW what time of day in your daily schedule you often start to pick and plan not to be alone or totally alone. 2. WHEN YOU ARE ALONE: a)wear gloves b) reduce too much lighting c) relocate, remove, or cover mirrors 3. WHEN AT HOME BUT NOT ALONE: keep doors unlocked, ajar, or if possible wide open to reduce the feeling that your private bedroom is a "safe picking place" 4.TEST OUT CONCEALERS ETC AND FIND YOUR PERFECT MATCH Return or throw out products that repeatedly don't work to cover your skin and keep searching until you find the right one for your skin and this will reduce paranoia that people can see you are practically wearing a mask. 5. MAKE A SPECIFIC MAKE-UP ROUTINE knowing what products, in what order and quickly assess which concealer is best for that day to cover imperfections with the least amount of product necessary (example of quick assessment: today I just need loose powder on top of moisturizer because my skin is healing- or - today is an all-over heavy concealer foundation day). This reduces the amount of time spent alone in the bathroom with a light and a mirror and the time your attention is focused on your face so that it is easier to not notice new blemishes, feel angry over old ones, waste time trying ten different ways to conceal problem skin areas and then end up late. 6. When wearing short sleeves or tank tops, bring a light shawl or a cute cardigan to cover up in case you start to feel itchy, end up scratching and need to cover as well as protect your arms 7. Wash the pillowcases on your bed regularly to reduce oil and dead skin buildup which may lead to increased breakouts which increase temptation 8. Benadryl anti-allergy pills can help reduce itching. 9. Advil or another pain reliever can reduce inflammation and pain after you have already hurt yourself. 10. A soft gel ice pack in the freezer can be used to help cool skin when it feels hot or itchy to prevent scratching, and it can also help reduce redness after you have scratched and help start the healing feeling 11. At home or when out a beret or scarf on your head can reduce scratching your head in your sleep, and can protect old scratches from being rescratched by acting not just as a barrier but as a reminder when you try to scratch that you are wearing it for a reason and train yourself not to scratch as much with this constant reminder THE LONG VERSION: NOTE THE PLACE OR TIME OF DAY YOU USUALLY PICK: If you know a specific time of day that you almost always pick try not to be alone at that time (for example if at lunch break at work you end up in the restroom picking; always choose to sit with a coworker, plan with friends to have regular lunch dates, eat in a local park or cafe in public) IF THAT PLACE IS AT HOME OR YOU CAN'T AVOID BEING ALONE (I know I can't hire a babysitter to save me from myself... being alone is unavoidable even when married, or living with flat-mates): A) GLOVES: So.. If that specific time of day is when you are at home at night: soft cotton gloves are sold in most beauty aisles of drugstores or beauty supply stores. Simple soft white cotton gloves are cheap and easy to wash, comfortable enough to sleep in. WHAT IF I JUST END UP TAKING THEM OFF: put lotion on underneath and turn it into a spa-like experience for you cuticles. Or TRY to keep ONE on at least (the right if you are right handed or left if left handed) IN ADDITION: if you want to have more fun with gloves costume stores or lingerie stores often have lacy, silky gloves to have fun with. Even when it isn't winter a cute pair of lace gloves is a really unique fashion statement that can be worn to cocktail parties. A basic black pair can be worn while stuck in traffic I wear my "driving gloves" if I start to feel itchy or nervous while in long car rides or rush hour. B) REMOVE or REDECORATE PLACES WITH MIRRORS: If you have a specific mirror you habitually use, hang it in a higher place or move it to a place with worse lighting above a piece of furniture such as a shelf that makes it hard to look in it up close . OR simply take it down. If you have closet mirrors or floor to ceiling mirrors this is hard to escape: these can be covered with some creativity: wallpaper, nice simple wrapping paper, or hanging a curtain can cover them without being too weird. C) BATHROOM LIGHTING Having a mirror in the bathroom is essential whether you like it or not. We need them to comb our hair properly, floss our teeth, apply make-up, wash our make-up off etc. Use dim lighting, enough light to see if you got lipstick on your teeth but not enough to start analyzing every pore. When I use the restroom I only turn on a nightlight to see what I need to see. If you can GET A NIGHT LIGHT. If your mirror has a line of vanity lights over the top: UNSCREW EVERY OTHER ONE, so when you turn on the light it isn't enough to really see new pimples or clogged pores, but IS ENOUGH to see that you got your eye-make-up off 100% so you won't be worried about clogging more pores. KEEP THE DOOR UNLOCKED, AJAR OR OPEN : Tell those you trust upfront about why you are keeping the door open so that if your mom knows about your issue, ( or your sister, or your husband or best-friend/room-mate etc.) keep the door to the bathroom or your bedroom unlocked and let them knowit is unlocked so they need to knock (nobody wants their privacy invaded) but that way if you seem to disappear into the bathroom they are able to rescue you from getting stuck in a trance hurting yourself. Knowing someone could catch you picking even if they are not in the room helps SOMETIMES just out of the shame of not wanting to be "caught" doing something we hate doing but cannot overcome with willpower alone. EPECIALLY: If you are going into the restroom or bedroom to do something not private at all: get a kleenex, brush teeth... or read in bed, watch netflix, study for exams, fold laundry etc... KEEP THE DOOR WIDE OPEN so anyone passing in the hall is still a nonintrusive reminder to focus on controlling the urge. Having it closed simply makes it easier to transition from doing something normal and productive to suddenly realizing you are scratching without knowing what happened. Having it open makes it, once again, slightly less likely that you will end up picking for hours without anyone at home even noticing. NOTICE WHAT TRIGGERS YOUR PICKING: If you do it while driving in traffic and you are anxiously late to work NOTICE IT If you do it while getting ready to go to bed NOTICE IT If you do it when on a new diet plan and you feel so damn hungry NOTICE IT If you do it more when your boyfriend hasn't called when he said he would NOTICE IT If you do it when you are drying off after a shower, or right before a big assignment is due, or when your nail polish chips, or when you are reading fashion magazines, or after you failed an exam, or while you are taking the exam NOTICE IT. Why? BEING AWARE OF WHAT TRIGGERED A SPECIFIC EPISODE OF PICKING CAN HELP YOU RECOGNIZE THAT OFTEN THE CAUSES ARE ANXIETY, EXHAUSTION, SHOCK, PARANOIA, SHAME, DEPRESSION, PRESSURE, PANIC, EVEN BOREDOM... AND THOSE FEELINGS CAN BE DEALT WITH! Emotional or physical pain, hormonal imbalance can be helped by prescribed medications from Doctors that are meant for panic attacks, sleep apnea, depression, other health issues etc. and can help relieve you and by REDUCING OTHER HEALTH ISSUES CAN IN TURN REDUCE THE ADDITIONAL DAILY TRIGGERS THAT LEAD US TO PICK AND SCRATCH OURSELVES. Additionally, using this forum, joining other support groups, seeing a therapist or psychiatrist can lead to knowing more about yourself, finding help without feeling ashamed, and ultimately freeing you from mental burdens that can be the path to freeing yourself from CSP. Other stress reducers: peppermint or chamomile tea, the scent of lavender, music, writing a diary, a dance class, a yoga class, finding a mantra or quote to remind yourself to stay positive, meditate, pray, walk outside more, get more sunshine
3 Answers
September 20, 2011
This was very helpful just to see it in writing! Thank you!
October 04, 2011
I have had a LOT of luck with the amino acid N-acetyl cysteine, which is sometimes sold as N-acetyl L-cysteine, for my 11-year-old daughter who severely picks her skin (arms and legs). I'm hoping that everyone on this group will check it out. We started out at 1200mg each day, 600mg in the morning and 600mg in the evening. Then we worked up to 2400mg, 1200 mg in the morning and 1200 mg in the evening, within about 3 or 4 weeks. The study that was done in 2009 showed the best results were after 9 weeks of continuous treatment with this amino acid, also just known as NAC. We saw great results after 6 weeks. Please consider trying it. I am not a doctor, so please weigh out the risks for yourself. It has truly been a godsend. My daughter used to pick to the point of staph infections. She has scars all over her body. It works by regulating the URGE to pick. You can download the summary text of the 2009 study on this website - The study was for hair-pulling, but skin-picking and nail-biting result from similar sets of urges.

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