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stinabb , 18 Aug 2012

I am so sick of picking my face...and neck...and back...

Hi everyone. I have been picking since I was I guess 7 or 8, so...20 or so years? I used to pick my lips, nails, cuticles, skin, and scalp...I think the nails were a phase, but I was picking everything else well into my teens. My lips and fingers (thumbs especially) and face always had scabs and/or open sores on them, and I would eat the dead skin from my lips. I managed to quit the lip biting, but I have struggled with the others ever since. I only recently quit the cuticle picking, but still have an intense urge. The scalp picking really isn't as bad, but still a problem, especially when I am bored or trying to fall asleep. The skin picking is what is really getting to me right now...I will find tiny little blackheads or bumps, and push and pick until whatever I think is in there is out, usually after I have made it bleed and scraped off all the skin around it. Then I usually won't let it heal, because I keep picking at the scab. Doing this for most of my life has left me with some unflattering scars on my face, and some horrendous ones on my upper back. I was able to stop for a while, I went on Accutane and got rid of my acne, which helped. But I recently stopped taking the pill (which was keeping my acne at bay) and got a UID, which doesn't help with acne at all, so I had a few bad flare ups, which started my picking all over again. Now I can't seem to quit - and have scabs all over my face, neck, and upper back. Forget wearing cute, breezy summer tops that show off your back. If I do, I have to wear my hair down to hide it, but it doesn't even hide it all. It seems like it is running my life, and I am ready to be done with it. I just don't know what to do - the strategies I used to quit eating my lips and picking my cuticles (lip gloss that tastes bad, nail polish, clipping hangnails, keeping my lips and hands extra moisturized) really don't apply to picking my acne and skin. What strategies have you used to stop? Cold turkey? I've tried cutting my fingernails as far as they would go, but I can still manage to pick anyway. I am so embarrassed to talk about it, but I feel a little less neurotic since I know that others do it too (it doesn't make me feel better - I would never want anyone else to have to go through this!)
6 Answers
August 18, 2012
I wish I had some advice, but I just 'discovered' I have this problem too. Someone on this forum somewhere suggested bandaids on your fingertips. If you are scalp picking when bored or going to sleep, I can see how this would be helpful. If my scalp doesn't heal in the next few weeks by my concerted effort to STOP PICKING, then I will try that. About your acne.....have you heard about the oil cleaning method (OCM)? I just learned about it a few days ago on this forum and implemented it immediately (I'm desperate, but don't like to use chemicals) and I am floored at how well it is working already. You may want to google it and do a little research before you dismiss it, due to your acne which I assume you have oily skin. Seriously. I mean....what have you to lose? Best of luck to you. I sincerely hope you find something that works. Being a picker sucks. Someone asked me today if I have the measles. HA! I only wish!
September 07, 2012
I've been affected by dermatillomania for about 11 years now and I would imagine you ask yourself "how did it get this bad?" as I do. There are several factors that start this addiction and fuel it, but regardless of what keeps it going, you need to realize one important thing: it CAN be stopped. Remember, it doesn't control you, you actually control it. Subconsciously, there's that voice that tells you that the drive to pick is just too strong to stop. Also, when you start to pick and scratch, you pick to "finish the job" and even out your skin. The first step in controlling this is to be aware that you are doing it and be conscious of your skin. The second step is to simply turn away from picking. This solution may sound overly simplistic, but if you just make yourself aware when you start to pick and then stay calm and exercise control over it, you'll see that this addiction is mostly in your mind... and then your skin will start to heal! I really want to help others; feel free to visit me at a delic
Crystalia Dawn
October 26, 2014

I have been picking my face,chest,breasts,stomach and back for 18 years...I also suffer from extreme anxiety disorders and OCD. I am now in therapy for skin picking but I must admit I have a very smug attitude when it comes to therapy and it working for my skin picking. The rational side of me wants to stop as the scarring and infections are getting worse. The irrational side of me doesn't want to quit because its soothing and feels good while I do it. I'm sure you can relate to these feelings. Currently I have been picking extremely bad, to the point of much pain, I too have cut my nails down to stumps, but still manage to get at these areas, especially with the help of tweezers. So for the past 3 days I have been wearing gloves. The kind that still allow you to touch tablets and cell phones and what not. While at times I simply take the gloves off and pick for hours, I am getting better at making myself wear them at all times, including while I sleep. It is highly annoying at first and from time to take them off for five minutes to let my hands "breathe". I also went and got OCD tattooed on the wrist of the hand I use mostly for picking, as a reminder to not do so. It doesn't always help, or I ignore it but it is a reminder of what I am doing and that deep down I want and need to quit this compulsive behavior.

October 27, 2014

In reply to by Crystalia Dawn

You poor thing. I can relate as I just started wearing gloves too. they work somewhat, but are a pain when trying to do ordinary things like load the dishwasher. taking them on and off drives me crazy. I ended up having a really bad picking session last night and was so mad that I took the gloves off. I find that I sometimes get some satisfaction by rubbing cold cream on my cheeks. it somewhat soothes me, almost as good as picking. you may want to try that. good luck

Crystalia Dawn
October 27, 2014

Thank you so much for your response! I immediately tried cold cream on my face and it gives me the sense of cleanliness which helps immensely. I am still wearing the gloves, even as I type this out, but I understand the frustration of doing daily tasks and having to take them off. Making coffee is a hard one for me, and then as I wait for it to brew my cup I stand there and pick because I have taken the gloves off. Ugh! This cycle is maddening. I will continue to try the cream on my face whenever I get the urge to pick. Since I have this relentless feeling of impurities being on my face, so I scrub, and pick, and then scrub with hot water and pick and then scrub again because I have moved all the dirt around from my open sores to other parts of my face and body. Thank you deelo! <3 and good luck as well:)

December 12, 2014

I totally understand. Picking at blackheads is my favorite. I really enjoy seeing all that dirty gunk come out of a pimple. However, those times blackheads and pimples don't want to come out, I just can't leave my skin alone. I keep picking and picking, then end up with a scab and eventually a dark spot. It's terrible. It definitely helps to have a good anti acne regimen and try to stay away from mirrors so u can't find all those tiny imperfections that drive us crazy. What I'm trying to do is tell myself I'm allowed one squeeze a day. Then pick that squeeze carefully and after that's done just walk away and have your other one tomorrow. It's been semi successful for me.

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