Intensified picking during winter.


Live a Happier Life - Free from Picking

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January 19, 2018

Do you ever resist picking or do you just let yourself pick when you get the urge? Is there a way to kill the urge?
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January 20, 2018

Hey RoseGold! Thanks for asking! Lately I have been noticing a pattern where I pick feverishly for a week and then resist for around four weeks. So I'm currently lapsing in such a manner...which is a good sign because such a pattern might signify gaining some control and stability over this affliction. This is exactly where I want to maintain it until I can start gradually extending the pick free weeks. Meticulous skin care and overall self care has been crucial and must be maintained in order to keep up with positive results. I believe that what I am doing in essence is simply relocating the "control" of the picking behavior into skin and self care. A divergent tactic. And at the root of our affliction I think we are dealing with controlling tendencies. So if I focus on skin betterment, I can over time condition myself to worry about maintaining my skin's overall health and improved look instead of just giving in to the pleasure of the urge to pick. In this way, I am testing my brain's neuroplasticity and my ability to reform negative ingrained patterns. But this self care regime must be followed nonstop...it's just like any other addiction. For example, people who struggle with alcohol and drug addictions are constantly working on themselves through rehab and change of lifestyle. They must actively work on themselves in order to maintain sobriety. Same with skin picking...it's constant effort to resist because our brain wants the easy, quick fix of easing tension through picking. Same thing as an alcoholic drinking to ease their tension. This is basic addictive behavior. So having a regime helps, self care helps, as well as empathy towards the self. Self forgiveness and healthy management of guilt are also important cognitive processes which skin pickers need to implement. What's key is to not imagine a quick fix or a cold turkey improvement. Addictive behaviors cannot be so easily overcome. If you put immense pressure on yourself to improve, the guilt of a slip up might send you cascading into a picking spiral. Acceptance and balance are important. What are your thoughts?
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January 20, 2018

I must also add that for the majority of the time I am able to resist the urge to pick because the urge itself is simply not as strong or I am able to somehow distract myself. (This has been a recent improvement since in the past I had phases where I would pick constantly.) What tends to trigger me is when I have a larger pimple and pick it, but experience slow healing (particularly if I injure previous scar tissue or if I am unable to extract everything at once)... which drives my urge up higher because I become preoccupied with the healing. So my obsessions start to ruminate upon how to speed up the healing and take care of the wounds. This usually draws out the healing and picking for seven days on average. Because I focus so much on the healing, I will scan the face more often and find clogged pores and imperfections to pick. So it becomes a longer picking phase. Once everything heals up in a week I experience immense relief and am able to resist further picking usually until the next time I become triggered by a pimple or a slow healing wound from one picked spot. What absolutely irritates me is how long scar tissue takes to heal. That is the main problem and one which I have previously been able to avoid with medium depth chemical peels which would soften the scar tissue to the point where once it was injured by picking, the entire scar would atrophy and peel off...and the skin would close up and heal in a day. Complete perfect, smooth healing...even if the scar had originally left an obvious indentation or hypopigmented spot, through this manner of scar atrophy and peeling the skin would be restored to it's original normal state. The scar would be gone for good. Its interesting to note that the normal skin treats the scar tissue as a foreign body and delays healing around it. I have been getting back into chemical peels but recent dry winter weather has been tough to deal with. Don't want to further risk using any chemicals when I am so preoccupied on keeping skin hydrated. When the skin is softened with acids, the scar tissue also becomes very pliable and this is the key to getting rid of it permanently. It would help my wounds heal incredibly fast as soon as the scar would detach from healthy skin. The scars are like flat white rubbery platelets which lie in the upper layers of the skin. They often create a hypopigmented appearance and can be indented or create a pebble look on the skin because they are more dense in consistency than normal skin (due to dense collagen fiber formation during healing). They can also have a flat white appearance on the skin's surface. For about three years of regular chemical peels I was able to permanently remove most of these scars....until I got married and relocated. During that time I stopped doing chemical peels. All of these changes caused me stress and a rebound of picking. So I created new scars which I will have to take care of again. Once the scars are peeled off, the skin rebounds and doesn't have the bumpy look to it. It's a fascinating process of picking and simultaneously improving the damage. I think that using retinoid creams helps to soften the skin further, which might also help scars atrophy when they are damaged, particularly in combination with peels. What I also find to be the case is that the scars cause blockage of sebum. Most of my acne was located on or under scars. As I gradually picked off the scars, the acne diminished. The scars are what causes a lot of the comedone formations and even cysts. Since scar tissue is more dense and doesn't expand as regular skin, it is more succeptible to blockage of sebum. And it tends to hurt more in those areas because the scar tissue becomes strained with inflammation. The surface scars act as barriers for underlying skin, which can accumulate pockets of sebum and bacteria.
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January 24, 2018

To me it feels like we're fighting a losing battle. The urge to pick will always be lingering in the background. We will only resist so much until we give into the urge. I think in order for us to completely get rid of the disease we must address the urge and not the action. If we can find a way to stop the urge we will be cured.
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January 24, 2018

To me it feels like we're fighting a losing battle. The urge to pick will always be lingering in the background. We will only resist so much until we give into the urge. I think in order for us to completely get rid of the disease we must address the urge and not the action. If we can find a way to stop the urge we will be cured.
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January 25, 2018

Not necessarily. I don't agree fully. It is possible to experience a gradual fading of the urge. It happens without much awareness...you will find yourself not being swayed by imperfections. And that will eliminate the need to "correct" the skin. I understand how it's possible because my nail biting habit of 20+ years is fully gone. It faded with the urge disappearing...it was extremely rapid in the last year... but the initial fade took a few years of meticulous self care and routine. Now I don't feel bothered by a dry or loose cuticle. I don't experience the hightened anxiety and feverish need to get rid of it. I just trim it lightly with nail scissors. Before I would turn my nails into a bloody mess and cause infections. Now I'm healthy in that regard. So I do believe it is possible to overcome skin picking as well.
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January 26, 2018

That's relieving. Maybe the picking is due to the environment were in? Maybe our bodies are subconsciously telling us that where we are in life isn't optimal for our mental health? Picking for me has always been an escape from reality, I guess I need to make my reality one that I don't want to escape. But I don't know how. I don't know if anyone can relate to this theory, but I do think if I was more content with my situation and environment the picking would subside. Any thoughts on this?
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January 26, 2018

Yes it can be due to environment. I grew up in an unhappy, emotionally abusive household so from the get go I would attack my own body to relieve stress and to dissociate. It can also be a way to try and dispell internalized guilt. (Children tend to put the blame on themselves.) My nail biting stopped after I moved out of my family's home. This was once I got married. Although at that same time my skin picking spiked. I guess the initial shock of marriage and moving to the other side of the country disregulated me in that regard. Right now I'm managing it better and have hope for the future. What do you think is contributing to your skin picking at the moment? What about your situation or environment might be causing you to pick?
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January 27, 2018

Honestly I have always felt stuck in life. Like I don't ever know what's next. There has never been assurance that my life will pan out the way I picture it to be...you know that fairytale family and vacationing and everything. I grew up in poverty and watched my parents work their way out of it, so money has always been an antagonizer for me. I also wasn't treated the best in my upbringing. The environment was very hostile and problematic, which is what may have led to the onset of my picking. Right now I'm in school pursuing a "maybe" degree as in maybe I'll find a job in this when I graduate but maybe I won't. The uncertainty makes me feel very stressed and anxious. It definitely triggers my picking because I've experienced having nothing before and I don't know if I can survive that twice. I also find it difficult to connect with my peers because I feel like I'm inherently weird and don't want them to precieve me the same way. I think the combination of loneliness, anxiety and depression I'm experiencing in my current environment definitely coincides with and triggers the picking.
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January 27, 2018

At what age did you start to pick? You are brave and determined to go to school, although I know how stressful school can be. The uncertainty and feeling doubtful of yourself are the hallmarks of a harsh upbringing. My family were also poor and lack of money was a major contributing factor to the stress in the household. I think people who grow up in such circumstances view life as a way to survive. If you take into consideration Maslow's hierarchy of needs, when life is difficult from the get go, you learn to focus on the basic needs of survival (physiological needs and safety). Kids who are brought up in stable, happy homes can focus on other higher aspects...(social and esteem needs, and eventually self actualization). I think from the start I was programmed to stress about my basic survival needs...and this chronic instilled anxiety is difficult to overcome. Do you feel weird as in having to battle with skin picking (and having to hide it from others) or do you also question your overall personality and sense of identity in relation to others? Skin pickers experience a lot of guilt and also a sense of needing to hide from the world, the disorder can seriously impede on your social life. I experience everything you describe and understand how difficult it is. I keep to myself and avoid people because I have a difficult time believing that others will be able to truly understand. I have a sense that people often enjoy looking down on others who are struggling...they see it as some sort of social lever. And while you are doing badly, they gloat in delight while pretending to care. As soon as you start doing better they either want nothing to do with you or they start belittling you in order to punish you for being better off than them. I have often been categorized in such a way and then had people turn around and become upset with me if I didn't act a certain way. When I didn't act by how they expected me to act...when I didnt fit their "role" which they set upon me. To this day I have a stalker of 3.5 years who just cant let go of the idea that I moved on. She keeps contacting my husband telling him how I was brought up in a poor family and listing off all the deficits I experienced. As if that's a reason for him to divorce me. As if im less than...not worthy of love.
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January 28, 2018

I'm not sure when it started but I think I was 8 or 9, (I would pick my legs)I'm in my 20s now. It intensified when I went through puberty and got acne. Now it has moved to my scalp and I feel like I'm doing irreparable damage. Like not only to my scalp, but to my brain. I think it ruined my short term memory. I'll tell myself to do something then forget it with no recall seconds after. I feel like I'm especially weird cuz of the picking, but even beyond that I just feel like I don't really connect with people like I want to. I can definitely relate to what you said about people being in your life just to witness your downfall but in my case I'm expected to be this perfect thing by my parents. I am supposed to be the prototype of "good daughter" and I have definitely fallen short of that. I hide all my trials and tribulations at all costs, just trying to maintain an image that I'm fine. It is too much to bare at times and I get depressed. Do you want an accountability partner? I've never really had anyone who gets it to confide in. Maybe we could check how the other is doing everyday on this forum...like we could list our struggles, what made us upset, anxious, happy, triggered us to pick etc, just so we can feel like we have an outlet. I feel for everyone who struggles with this ordeal. It is quite the roadblock.
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January 28, 2018

Interesting point you brought up about the impaired memory. I believe that skin picking is a form of dissociation, and each time we choose to pick we escape reality. So our brain might over time learn to "space out" more often than normal. I get that too...if I'm worrying too much, am too stressed, or when experiencing cabin fever. What is the worst that could happen if you let your family know how you truly feel? What do you fear? The guilt of causing damage is the worst feeling. I struggle with it, along with the guilt of accumulated damage from the past. On what platform would you want to connect? Where do you prefer to chat?
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January 28, 2018

Oh wow, I thought the short term memory loss was due to me constantly picking my scalp, but I could be wrong and hope for my sake that I am. I've told my family before and they basically dismissed it. It made me question if I was even "that sick". They know I do it, but I guess they think I'll stop when I want. It's not a big deal to them really. I was thinking we could just connect on this forum like we have been and leave detailed accounts sort of like a picking log so we can confide in each other and feel like we're being acknowledge and validated. You don't have to though it was only a suggestion lol. Sometimes I think I could be so normal if it wasn't for this condition. I feel like I've lived my whole life for it...I just want to know how life without it feels.
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January 28, 2018

How would scalp picking effect your memory? What is the exact logic in that theory? I dont feel comfortable sharing too many details on this website. Its public and I prefer to keep my day to day life private. There are too many lurkers on this site. If communicating one on one, I would ideally prefer some other platform. I know that many find that to be too close for comfort, so its ok no pressure.
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January 29, 2018

My theory is that the picking cause and effect on my brain because it occurs on my scalp and I experience horrendous headaches as a result. If it is capable of producing headaches able to affect my memory also I never experienced memory loss prior to picking scalp. Anyway it's just a theory. I prefer to interact on here because of the anonymity but I understand your concerns.
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January 29, 2018

Has an effect*
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January 29, 2018

Headaches due to infected sores on the scalp?
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January 29, 2018

Headaches due to infected sores on the scalp?
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January 29, 2018

I don't think they're infected but the constant picking is painful and gives me headaches. Does it not seem probable to you?
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January 30, 2018

I am not a scalp picker so I would not know exactly what you might be experiencing. The facial picking isn't painful. But I do strain when I pick, which hurts the eyes. During picking sessions a lot of mental energy can go Into the activity. And it drains/tires you out. Maybe that's why you also get the headaches.