Hi everyone, I've been a skin picker all my life due to my severe anxiety, family issues, and moving around alot as a child. Ever since I can remember I was picking mosquito bites on my legs and somewhere during puberty I started picking my face. I never really had bad acne, I broke out here and there, but then I'd pick at the sores relentlessly and end up splotchy, bloody, swollen skin.. I'd miss school because of it, pretending to have severe period cramps or a cold. I don't know what would come over me, I'd stand in front of the mirror and almost fall into a sort of hypnotic state and just go to town on my skin. This hurt me a lot as you can most likely relate to. It prevented me from making friends even though I was very socialable. I became an outcast, which as an artist isn't very rare, but it wasn't my personality. I became depressed because I couldn't/wouldn't stop. The skin picking triggered several things for me, hereditary bipolar ii, bulimia, and eventually suicidal ideallations.
I was recently escorted by policemen to a psych hospital after threatening over the phone to my mother about wanting to crash the car I was then driving. (I was currently being targeted at work(I worked at a salon) for my skin and was called the pizza face idiot every day by my coworkers.(amongst other things, but pizza face was their favorite.) I was bullied during high school and I thought life after it would be different but it wasn't. ) Anyway, I was taken to the hospital where I stayed for 8 days.
EIGHT DAYS without my face washes, creams, lotions, and oitments. Since I was self concious about picking in front of others, I stayed away from the mirror, ashamed of myself. I took hours long showers three times a day because of how unclean and stupid I felt. And then I noticed something on day three when I went to look in the mirror.
My skin was flawless.
I had a few pimples on my cheeks but nothing noticable, it was soft, not flaky, it was even and glowing. I broke down crying, my skin hadn't been this clear in years. SO a revelation came over me.
What if I just wash my face with water?
So after I got out of the hospital, I kept with just water, no touching my face and staying away from the mirror at all times. My parents couldn't believe how beautiful my skin looked, my mother cried! My dad wouldn't stop taking pictures of my face!
But then I relapsed.
I got stressed out one night after I realized nothing in my life had really changed and I picked and picked and picked and picked. I locked myself in the bathroom for hours waiting for the swelling to go down, and boy did it look bad. I had to wear a hat and my hair in my face for weeks..
So eleven days ago I finally decided after being humilated at work once again, that enough was enough. I was doing this to myself and I needed to stop. I identified the stressors in my life: my health, my grades, and worrying about what other people think. And every day I'm improving. I'm studying extra hard, started drinking more water, not eating as much junk, meditating and starting my paleo bathing routine once again.
It's week two of no picking and my skin is still recovering from my relapse, but it looks really good. There's some flakiness from a few sores that are still in the healing process, but for the most part my skin is glowing, the scars are fading and I can finally see my tan skin and freckles again. I did have quite a bit of little "purge pimples" on my forehead and cheeks, but they weren't noticable unless you got up close. Purge pimples are pretty much pimples that are expelling the trapped toxins in your skin, they will happen the first week and will be gone within TWO-THREE days, I promise. They happened both times.
The key is NO PRODUCTS WHATSOEVER, the skin WILL heal itself. Spot treatments are good every once and a while for those really painful zits, but NO MASKS, NO CLEANSERS, and DEFINITELY NO LOTIONS. All these things clog your pores and prevent the skin from doing what it needs to do. You're probably like "no lotion? what if my skin gets dry?" After a week your skin's natual oils will replenish itself, it's a really beautiful thing. Neosporine will be your best friend during days 1-3, but ONLY apply them directly to the open sore, not on the skin around them, this oinment is definetely a pore clogger. Absolutely NO MAKEUP for the first few weeks, you need to give your skin a break. Eye makeup is fine, but no foundations, no concealer, and no lipstick/lipgloss. These things clog the skin and I will say once again, prevent the skin from healing itself. Your skin creats pimples because it's suffacating, then what happens to those pimples? WE PICK THEM. Guess what guys, you're skin's probably gonna look like shit the first few days, but after week one, you'll be like, "WHOAAAAA, is that me?!" So please try out the paleo bathing and remember...
-WARM WATER FIRST, THEN COLD!!!!!!
-NO MIRRORS!!!! LOOK AWAY WHEN BRUSHING YOUR TEETH!!!!!!!
-IDENTIFY THE STRESSORS IN YOUR LIFE AND MAKE THEM BOW DOWN!!!!!!
-DRINKING MORE WATER DOESN'T HURT!!!!!!!!!
-READ "STOP PICKING ON ME" FOR FREE ONLINE!!!!!!!
Another thing that really helps me is journaling. Pretend to talk to yourself. Sounds weird, but it helps identify whats really going on. You are your friend, act like it.
Comment below if you have any further questions. I'm here to help, I know where you're coming from and I UNDERSTAND.
Good luck and thank you for reading my story. -Mina