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I just had to renew my password for this forum; SkinPick says I've been a member for about a year and a half now. God it feels like I've been F*ing with my face for ages though. I just wanted to start a thread that was all about support. Yes, it's therapeutic to rant about your personal struggles with picking, actually sometimes it's necessary so by all means continue to do so. I just wanted to started a conversation about the ways in which we can overcome this. And yes that's possible. I've only ever managed to stop picking for a few months at a time and its recurrence is undoubtedly linked to other mental health issues I have (which it very well is for many of us, so if you're having doubts about seeking professional therapy or psychiatry please do) BUT in the mean time, let's help each other out more. There may be no answers or cures, but there are steps we can take and I'll start by sharing mine. To STOP picking: 1. Get OUT of your bathroom/bedroom/house and AWAY from those mirrors. You don't have to go out in public but you do have to get out and away. Put on a hat and drive/walk to the nearest park. Do it. Right now. Bring your phone so you can keep reading. 2. Breathe. DEEPLY. Cry, if you feel the need to. Forgive yourself. You are not ugly or pathetic or broken. Forgive yourself. 3. Remind yourself that A) people have it MUCH worse than you do - somewhere someone has a genuine genetic defect that people will always chose to stare at and judge unfairly even over whatever mess you've got going on your face B) whatever/wherever it is that you picked, it only makes up a very small portion of your ENTIRE epidermis, the rest of which is probably just fine - to prove this, take off all your clothes, IDC do it in the park if u want to or wait to you get back home, but take off all your clothes and run your hands over your exposed skin, on your legs, arms, back, neck, hips, feet, fingers, breasts - do it in the dark if you're afraid but just feel how smooth it is. Amazing right? It's a nice reminder that you're not broken and most of your body is just fine. It's also wonderfully crazy to think that in public, people would ignore your picked face in favor of gawking at your naked bod, so you've always got that trick; and.. 4. C) You are NOT alone. It certainly feels that way. Best thing I ever did was start to open up to people about the fact that I pick my face. Who'd I talk to you ask? My parents? Sisters? Forget about it. While this may not be true for you, my family did not and does not understand this condition, among other things. My therapist? Nope. At the time, I just wasn't comfortable enough. Truth be told, the first person I told was a dear friend who was safely 3,000 miles away. But it was still nerve-racking as hell. But after I told him, and he loved me still, I was better able to confront other people and myself about it. I was able to tell my newish bf and soon even go makeup-less (which is something I NEVER do) around him. Ugh sorry for the rant there but you need to realize you are not alone and you need to tell someone, anyone who cares about you, in order to start having some accountability. You will not stop picking if it's always a secret between you and the mirror. 5. Log that sh*t. Sorry for my language but seriously start keeping track. Idk what works for you, a journal, a blog, daily texts to your confidant, an excel sheet, idk but you've got to start keeping track EVERYDAY (even perhaps subdivided days - morning, afternoon, night) where you just note: Did you pick? Yes or No. If yes, try and record what you were doing (possibility how you felt) before and after and for how long you picked. Trust me in that just being able to look back makes you feel more accountable. Also, and this is important, mark when you didn't pick :) It's awesome to see those little accomplishments in writing because they're really not that little and you should be proud you stopped messing with your face for an afternoon. I've found that incorporating my "person" aka confidant into my logging helps. Just a simple text - Hey I did/did not pick today/this morning/tonight - goes a loooonnggg way in the recovery process. If they love you (or are a professional there to help you) they will not judge or condemn you for it and they will be happy to help. They will either applaud you small successes or give you what you probably really need - ask you what's wrong. Either way - you're not alone and you're trying and someone else sees that. So good for you, sincerely. The sooner you set up a system with your person the better. Recap: Fresh Air. Forgive. Get naked(realize). Tell someone. Log It. Now you've started to get better. It's a long process, but congrats on starting. Those are just the first five hurdles to get over mentally, and we haven't even started talking about the skin. Sigh. I know. This Sh*t sucks - sorry again..don't they say honest people curse more? I digress. Now quick notes to start to heal the skin and scars..and lemme just say that here, my whole theory is that in order for the body to heal itself we need to give it the right nutrients and conditions to do as as well as rid it off all the toxins that would slow that process down. SO! 6. Drink plenty (read: more) water. 7. If your problem is you break out and then start to pick more, to mitigate the break outs as well as general inflammation, eat cleaner for a few days/week. Like food that you can identify all the ingredients too..like food you prepared yourself...like foods with nutrition labels you can understand. Fruits and veggies man. Lots of Fiber. You will just generally feel so much better if you eat clean for a few days and I hesitate to say this on the internet, but even if you fast for 18-24 hours (but keep drinking water!!) 8. Vitamin E tabs. Got em at GNC, can't say conclusively what their individual effect is but my skin's healed much faster since I started taking them. I also take them with food just to be safe..not sure if they are water soluble or not..I'll look into that. 9. I also take a half packet of emergen-C a day - it's got boat loads of vitamins Bs & Cs in there. I take it for my immune system but it hasn't hurt my skin at all. Dissolves right into my water bottle so it helps with the H2O intake. 10. ALOE. Miracle skin creams whathaveyou - just use aloe. Find a good, pure(r) product (Again GNC makes a nice aloe gel thats like $3 a tube) and slather that stuff on your problem areas after you've washed your face with a gentle cleanser. Well actually I go cleanser, dab peroxide with cotton square, aloe - just to kill any germs that mightve built up under my makeup. You don't need to rub the aloe in too much, you can actually apply a thin layer on your entire face like you would a moisturizer and then just leave a nice big dab over the wound/picked area. If you do this consistently every night, you'll see a BIG difference within just 3-4 days (not accounting for picking) Keep doing it and in less than two weeks time your gaping wounds will be small, smooth and pink. Note that if you think it could be infected, even the smallest chance, you can use antibiotic ointments (neosporin etc.) with the aloe gel, just slap it on there. 11. Dermarolling. I wish I could make this number like 45 because honestly you won't be ready to dermaroll on your skin until all the wounds are healed and you've just got scars. Dermarolling should NEVER be done on open or broken skin, only for scars - and not the fresh ones. If you want more info on dermarolling - google it and do plenty of research. It helps but its not a solution. You can only do it sparingly - every 6-8 weeks for a 1 mm roller - or you could F*up the healing process. It takes about two months to see the results of one session anyway, and there's so many other variables impacting our skin during that time that it's hard to tell what's reallyyy working but I can say I think that dermarolling has helped with the discoloration on my face from scarring. Then again, I've only done it twice. TRICKS of the..wejustwanttogetbetter. 12. When washing your face, or hands, when applying the aloe/neosporin or even just using the bathroom - don't give yourself any time. If I let myself stay in front of the mirror for more than 3 minutes, God forbid if I sit down (Yeah I will sit on my counter sometimes), then I'm done - I'll probably spend the next two hours picking, and then it's all, where has the time gone? Ihatemyself blah blah blah. It's too easy with the neosporin too - it pulls the infection to the surface and yeah. So don't give yourself the chance to pick. Limit your time in front of the mirror. Literally, set a timer. Or wash in the dark. OR take down all the mirrors/cover them. OR have your person stand watch outside the bathroom/on the phone/text them to tell them youre washing your face so they can call you in 4 minutes if they haven't heard from you. It sounds extreme. It is. then again, so is what I do to my skin. 13. Trim your finger nails short. 14. Take steam showers/just steam your face periodically. It feels good. Helps get the toxins out. 15. Wash your make up brushes. 16. Use brushes or sponges when applying makeup or make sure your hands are CLEAN with a good sanitizer. Same goes for when applying any creams/moisturizers/etc. 17. DONT TOUCH YOUR FACE! Sometimes when I'm sitting idly watching game of thrones or whatever I'll start rubbing and picking at the affected areas on my face. Bad. So bad. To stop I usually have to get up and get out. Back to square 1. Sometimes it'll be enough though if I give my hands something to play with - I really like sticky tack and putty for some reason but for you this could be a squeezing a stress ball, fiddling with some yarn, petting your puppy :) 18. Try to use less makeup. I know I know and yes I'm guilty of blatant hypocrisy here but less is so much better. I found that the more layers I glob on in an effort to conceal just make the area more noticeable OR I feel like my face is going to melt off annnyy second. Try a nice tinted moisturizer and LIGHT concealer and then some powder. The less makeup is definitely better for your skin and you'll find at some point in your routine that adding more makeup isnt doing anything and you're just applying more because youre super anxious about the way your face looks. So just try to do less and see how it looks. stop yourself early in the makeup process, walk away, come back five minutes later. is more makeup really the answer? probs not. still hate your face? go back to step 3 or hit up your person. 19. Your person. Use your person. Your confidant is there to help you. My far away friend used to send me gentle reminders every night. When I finally told my boyfriend, it was amazing to have someone to text before I left the house "hey I cant do this my face is really bad today." "hey yes you can i love your face" boom reassurance. 20. Pictures. And this ties into logging. But yes dreaded pictures. I take them for myself. I try to take one everyday, after I shower or wash my face and yea after I pick. I take a painfully close up selfie, hair pulled back and usually with my eyes closed. It's hideous and I hate having evidence as to how horrible my face really is but wow it helps. Recovering from skin picking is so slow and long and seemingly interminable that you cave and think "my face will never be better" and you pick. stop that. Not true. Get naked and go back to number 3. Give it half a chance, and your skin will be just fine. I find that with taking pictures, I can A) clearly see how damaging those numb hours in front of the mirror really are, B) I can SEE progress by flipping through the photos, I can see the days I picked and the days I didn't and it just helps to view the healing process almost objectively so then you can be like "damn that really worked" and C) I can see pictures to my person and HE can be like "DAMN that really worked. Your face is so much better" and THAT is awesome. 21. I read somewhere about a stress reliving exercise for when you're in the midst of a bad picking episode called "squeezies" - it's actually pretty ingenious and it relies on your body's natural reactions to stress and compression. That is, when you compress your body or squeeze it when under stress the uh..calming hormone is released and uh..the stressful hormones subside...Okay idk the science but it's the same idea behind why we instinctively seek hugs when were hurt or feeling sad. BASICALLY what you do for squeezies is take both hands, start at the foot/ankle of one leg and squeeze. Hold for about 10 seconds and release. Move up the leg a hands width and squeeze again for another ten seconds. Repeat. Repeat with the other leg. Now grab your hips, stomach, arms, neck. 10 seconds (or so) and release. This actually is realllyyyy helpful if you are just so overwhelmed and anxious and trapped in picking that youre just like "F the park man I can't go anywhere." try squeezies. it's a gentle, accessible way to get you mentally out and away from picking even if you can't physically at the time. Someone please look up more about this. 22. For way to address this sort of mental overload that can be a cause or product of picking, try mediation. I know it seems overrated but I distinctly remember an incident where listening to a mediation tape was the ONLY thing that could calm me down in the midst of a bad anxiety attack. Try listening to Mindfulness Introduction - Guided Meditation Practice (Album) Body Scan (Track) by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Narrator) idk I got it off a CD my therapist gave me but its soothing and its got this line that says "as long as you're breathing, there's more right with you than wrong with you" and yea. that's about when I start sobbing. Okay. so I'm tired now and it's getting late in this part of the world but I'd like to put out a HUGE disclaimer that I am not a doctor or a professional, this is not prescribed advice but suggestions as to how to over come picking from one person who struggles to another. I am not always right nor to I always take my own advice. So do with this list what you will but I hope it helps. Sincerely, hope it helps. and PLEASE people add more!! Share more tips! let's get better everyone. let's help each other. okay? Okay. Stay beautiful. be healthy. be happy. live rich lives. get better.