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sm123 , 02 Apr 2013

cant stop picking at my face

i have been picking at my skin since my early teens when i had severe acne, however i am sure it was made worse and worse by my constant picking. The part i hate most about my skin picking is feeling like i have to hide away my skin, i havent worn my hair tied up in months for fear that my skin will be more visible. i am obsessed with makeup and skin products and have a fixation with pore perfect skin. i feel so carefree and confident when the marks and acne are gone, and deep down i know i would have almost clear skin without the picking - so why cant i stop!?! i fantasise about going home and picking at my skin despite the damage i know it will cause, the fact that i enjoy doing it makes it so difficult to stop! even thinking about time when i have squeezed a particularly satisfying spot makes me feel relaxed and content. it is the ultimate stress reliever, but i really wish i could find something that would make me stop once and for all and to change my way of thinking about it. :( i am now living in an apartment on my own which means i can spend hours and hours infront of the mirror with no questions asked, without seeing anyone until the redness and swelling has healed.....not ideal at all! if anyone has any advice or wants to share a similar story let me know, i havent been able to find a solution on my own so need some help asap!
6 Answers
April 03, 2013
Every time I read some of these posts I feel like if I wrote it! The only difference from you is I don't pick because of acne, I pick/pluck hairs around my mustache are....tweezers are my worst enemy. But just like you, I don't like to wear my hair up, and I get a weird satisfaction from picking. For me it's getting the hair out. And even though I know how I'll feel afterwards and for days after while the wounds heel, I still do it. Then when I do start to heal and don't have to wear as much makeup or take forever trying to cover it up, I feel good, yet I go back to the picking! It's crazy how we could spend an hour or more picking. And an hour or more trying to cover it up. I'll spend my whole day thinking about the spot on my face. I've never been all about looks yet I look at a mirror every chance I get and I feel so ridiculous about it. I miss out on a lot of things too because of how I look. I've read about a lot of ways to get the wounds to heal faster, but the only thing that works for me is Neosporin at night. I put it on after I wash my face and sleep with it on. I read about calamine lotion on here, but like I wrote on another post, that didn't help at all and made my wounds take twice as long to heal. I was using a Mederma once a day scar gel once the wounds were closed and it did seem to be helping, but of course I restart the picking process and ruin everything. The Neosporin at night usually heals my wounds within 3-4 days which can feel like a lifetime. But nothing has seemed to work any faster. Also you know when you pick and the wounds kind of seeps like a clear liquid? Well if you out a couple drops of Visine for redness, that will stop it from seeping and even take the redness away. As for the ability to actually stop picking period, I'm still trying to do that myself. I even looked for something like AA for pickers in my area, but of course I found nothing. This website and another (stoppickingonme . com) are the only things I have found and it helps to know there are others out there, but it's still a process to get completely over this.
April 04, 2013

In reply to by Nikki179

i also have the same issue with picking at hair buts only ingrown hairs, luckily i have quite fair hair so i dont often think about them but when i find some on my legs i can pick for ages. have you considered laser treatment to remove the hair permanently? i suppose then there would be nothing left to pick at. i am currently trying a home laser treatment silk'n flash for unwanted body hair so i will let you know how it works! i use sudocrem for healing and redness and to moisturise the dry areas that are healing. otherwise i have also used salvon which really helps. i have also heard tcp is good for redness but never tried it myself. something else that really helps is cutting my nails really short and only ever using cotton wool or tissue to squeeze on my face and not fingernails which cause far more damage. its such a difficult thing to control - even though i want to stop so badly, the tweezers are still next to the mirror and always end up back there no matter how much i know theyre going to create a new sore. i think my main problem is that in the moment of picking i believe that i will somehow eliminate that mark or prevent the spot from getting larger. its so embarassing to know that people can see you have been picking at your skin. i often find myself picking at the skin at the top of my back while im at work or with other people, i wish i could stop because its such a gross habit in public and because i cant see the skin back there it creates big scabs which get picked over and over.
May 20, 2013

In reply to by sm123

From my last post I can’t say I have greatly improved in my picking situation. I sure am trying harder. I have a few days where I am like ‘ok I have this spot leave it alone’ and I put Neosporin on it and throw a Band-Aid on so I can’t pick at it. Then I take the Band-Aid off to let air get to it and before I know it I end up picking it!!! I have to agree with the post from sm123, ‘the moment of picking I believe that I will somehow eliminate that mark or prevent the spot from getting larger’ but in the end I obviously make it worse. I don’t really get why I have that mentality. It is so frustrating!!! I am stating to think it has to do with my anxiety why I pick too. Anyone else thing that?? But even now while I type this I can’t help but to pick at something. UUGGHH!!! I am also one to pick at an ingrown hair, and if I can’t get it I try harder and harder and then end up with a sore. Another I ‘attack’ is my cuticles, but I am doing much better on that lately. I find that if one area improves another area isn’t doing so well if that makes sense. I am really hoping to get better soon because for the first time (at least that I can remember) I am nervous for summer to get here because my upper back has a few spots that I have done my thing to. But thank you for letting me vent, for the first time I becoming more open about it. I think that this is a good start to our process to heal.
May 21, 2013

In reply to by hope86

my problem definitely links to anxiety. my life changed quite a lot over the last 6 months and ive had such bad skin - I think partly down to the acne getting worse through stress and the picking getting out of control. I pick without even thinking about it, its just such a hard habit to stop. I stopped for 7 days straight after coming on this forum, which is probably the most i've ever been able to manage for over 15 years, admittedly the only time i've genuinely tried. I've been beating myself up about getting back into the habit but i suppose 7 days is better than nothing at all. For me it really is all or nothing, because when I get going I can't stop and the feeling of wanting everything out of my skin gets worse. Even when I wash my face and can feel tiny under the skin pimples or blackheads on my cheeks I just want them out so bad. I think the word 'attack' is really fitting, its like having something overcome your body and you really have to snap back to reality!
April 13, 2013
I am not really sure where to start seeing that this post right here is the first time I have ever talked about my problem where others can see it. I am in my late 20's and I have had this problem for years but always thought it was just a habit, something I would grow out of I guess. But clearly that didn't happen. I feel that I have gotten a bit better with the control of it but not as much control as I would like. I pick at my blemishes like there is no tomorrow, even if I know that nothing is coming out of them in my head I think 'well if a squeeze a bit more maybe something will'. I don't like how the scabs look/feel so I pick at them even though in my head I am thinking to myself 'don't do it, leave it alone, this one is going to bleed, just ignore it' but I continue to pick at it and then I get so mad at myself. Another thing is if I see a white head and I know it is there but it won't come out I will try my hardest to get it out, even though I know it is damaging the skin around it and then it becomes a bigger problem which leads to the scab which leads to the cycle where I cannot leave it alone. For me it doesn't stop at my face, it is my back/neck and chest area as well. Which is something almost at another level because on my back I can't even see what is there, I can just feel it. If I feel something that can possibly be picked I can't leave it alone, no matter how many times I tell myself to leave it alone. Knowing it is there is the worst thing for me. I just recently came across this website while searching if skin picking is a disorder of some sort because my mom made a comment the other day that made me feel uncomfortable. I am now realizing that I need to figure out how to overcome this because it is starting to make me feel smaller and smaller. The thing is that I try so hard to leave things alone and yet I find myself picking anyways. This is the first post I went to and it made me feel a bit better knowing I am not the only person to have this problem. Honestly, I am getting a bit emotional even writing as much as I have but I feel like I am taking a step in the right direction.
April 15, 2013

In reply to by hope86

I also pick at my back, neck, chest, anywhere where there is a raised spot or scab. I think it's worse on my face because i can see it. I had a really bad time in my teens picking at my shoulders and it was so embarassing in the summer. I managed to stop that habit but now it's concerntrated mostly on my face and the top of my back. I agree it is really emotional to write about it because i dont think i've ever spoken about it either. Try not to let other peoples comments hurt you. I had lots of comments in my teenage years from other students which made me feel so small, i think people notice now but dont say anything because it's a sensitive subject and im obviously trying to cover it up :( I'm visiting this site regularly now because its helping to keep the problem in the forefront of my mind and really battle it rather than let it take over as normal. For me things like turning the light off when washing my face help, keeping the bathroom blind down for less natural light. Also for me, buying treatments that help the fundamental problem of the acne (however mild the acne may be) help to reassure me that i'm doing something to stop it and stop the picking slightly. I also cut my nails really short to try and prevent my nails getting into my skin. Dont give up hope, there are lots of techniques out there to help and one of them will work eventually!

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