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Kikkina , 28 Sep 2012

Trying to stop

Hi... I'm so glad that I found out I'm not alone here. I need to vent and write down my story hoping that someone understands what I'm going through. Here goes... I'm 21 years old, and started obsessing with my face when I was around 12. I started having breakouts around that time of the month, but nothing out of this world. But it was to me. I couldn't accept that my skin wasn't smooth anymore. I was always consious of my acne, they were affecting me in all areas of life, I started to hide away in my room, making up excuses not to go out. I had no self esteem. While my friends were going out, talking to guys and looking forward to the weekend, I used to dread the weekend cause I knew that I would probably have to spend it inside. I tried to hide this from everyone, I tried my very best to still be the normal upbeat self I had been pre-acne. I did my very best to seem confident at school, out with friends, and while dating. But I was a wreck once at home infront of the mirror picking away and crying myself to sleep at night. To make things worse, my boyfriend at the time used to make fun of my acne, no matter how well I covered it up with make up. I was always not skinny enough, not beautiful enough, and I used to take his comments all in silently. We broke up a year later, and it seemed as if all his negative comments about me were haunting me everyday. My picking got worse. I started picking my back, my legs, and got even worse on my face. Fast forward 5 years... at 21 I have an amazing boyfriend with whom I'm going to spend the rest of my life with, have a good job, and amazing friends & famlily. And yet, my picking is getting worse with time. I do not have acne, but I pick away at every tiny blackhead, scab or zit I see. I cancel plans, lock myself inside, and I am fed up of living this way. I'm so young and have so much to be thankful for, I CANNOT understand why I'm doing this to myself for nearly 10 years straight. I try to brainwash myself saying 'I will not touch my face today', but to no avail. My boyfriend really wants to help me but he doesn't know what he can do anymore. He has now found a physchiatrist and has convinced me to make an appointment with him. If this doesn't work, I don't know what will. I don't want to be a model or be a star, I just want to be a normal girl with a normal and happy life. It seems like it's so much to ask for :( Thanks for reading, would appreciate your comments. x
3 Answers
September 30, 2012
I am new to the idea that skin picking is an actual disorder. For the longest time I didn't really think anything of it. I am also 21 and have been picking at my skin since probably the same age as you, but to be honest I can't even remember when I started. I assume it started with the few pimples that occurred during puberty, and I just made the picking a habit (which I think is now the cause for my acne). I have always been obsessed over my skin and even if there are no visible pimples, I will pick at what appear to me as blackheads or the onset of a pimple, which now I'm wondering if I am just imagining them being there in the first place. The longest I can usually stand not picking at my face is probably around 3 days (when I am usually more busy). Otherwise I will stand in front of the mirror at night for up to an hour picking. I do notice that my skin has the potential to clear up when I don't bother it, but I can not control the urge, even though clearly I know what will result. I catch myself picking when I am not even conscious that I am doing it.. when I'm watching tv, driving, or just sitting still. I don't understand why I do it either. As I'm doing it, I guess I find some sort of relief or pleasure (gosh that sounds weird) but as soon as I really take a look in the mirror and see my face all red, swollen, and sometimes bleeding, all I want to do is lock myself in a room and cry. I can't tell you how many nights I've stood looking in the mirror and told myself "okay this is going to the THE LAST time I pick", well I lied to myself every time. Trust me, you are definitely not alone. Thank you for sharing your experience, I'd love to hear how your psychiatrist session goes!
October 03, 2012

In reply to by kat_marie

Hi Kat, thanks for your comment. Like you, I have only just recently got to know through researching online that this problem is actually recognized as a disorder. About 3 months ago, I had gone for a whole month without picking (ok, I did pick at a few very small blackheads) but I was very strict with myself, and during that month, I never saw my face so clear, I was even going out without wearing concealer. Then... I was running a fever, and 3 pustules erupted on my face. and that was it... I squeezed them, new zits formed, and I was picking routinely again. I feel relieved too when picking, I get this feeling of 'oh not again!!!' and sudden excitement at the same time when I see a pimple, and just cannot control my urge to pop it. I really cannot tell you how many times I have said this is the very last time I'm touching my face! I have not made an appointment yet, my boyfriend wants me to, but I have been putting it off as I really don't want to hear that I have a 'problem'...even though I know I do :( but I don't think I can take it much longer... guess I'm soon going to have to make this appointment :/
October 03, 2012
I am posting today because it has been about a year and a half since I went through cognitive behavioral therapy. The treatment definitely helped me at a time when my skin picking was completely out of control and my confidence was at an all time low. I remember sitting in front of my mini magnified mirror for hours at a time literally tearing my face to shreds, going after every pore and bump i could feel or find. With the support of my boyfriend (now fiance!) and family I finally had the courage to seek treatment. I want to preface this by saying that I am not CURED. I have come to terms with the fact that my skin picking is something i will always struggle with but I hope i can get to a point where I can manage it most of the time. When seeking treatment I definitely recommend looking for a clinic that specializes in OCD, OCD spectrum disorders, and cognitive behavioral therapy. There is significantly more research on trichotillomania (I also struggle with this at times so I know there are similarities) so this website may be helpful in finding a therapist My therapist never focused on the root causes of my skin picking but rather, on giving me the tools to deal with the compulsions and the physical act of picking. He also helped me overcome some serious social fears I had about people seeing and finding out about my skin picking. Let me know if any of you have questions about my story, struggles or treatment. I know it is terrifying to seek help but trust me, you will feel better.

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