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Why do we let ourselves do this??
Really I don't understand. Why can't we just stop even if we want to, especially since we know the consequences are negative? What is this doing to service us that we need it so desperately??!
We are seeking a dopamine release. That "aha" moment when you get the plug out, or extract the rest of the pus from a pimple. At that moment your feel good chemicals in the brain are activated and you feel a release from other tensions in your life. Of course with skin picking it doesn't always go so well (certain picking sessions end in disaster and disappointment)...but just like any other addiction you are likely to take the risk. That's why that urge is so strong...you know that you stand the chance of making things worse but you still pick because there is a chance that it will be a clean and pleasant extraction. Of course the symbolism of this act is in purging one's impurities. So we often tend to think that we are cleansing and improving our skin....or maybe that's what we tell ourselves as a justification.
I think this habit is also due to an inability to control emotional states. There is a lack of self control which is pushed outward into trying to control our appearance. The problem lies within us because our bodies are incapable of processing and dealing with stress in a rational and healthy manner. It manifests in this sort of picking behavior as a scapegoat tactic. Now the root cause of our body being incapable of dealing with stress ....that's a whole other topic and is most likely different for everyone.
Serene, you put this issue into words so perfectly.