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Lip Picking

ar6473 , 01 Oct 2009

severe lip picking

I have been picking my lips my entire life( as long as I an remember) and I'm a 20 year old female. Sometimes I can go a day without doing it, but usually I cant. I do it probably over 100 times a day without even noticing. I dont even realize my hand is up at my lips when it's happening until a few minutes later. My bf gets really upset with me about it and wants me to stop. he doesnt understand that it is so incredibly hard for me to control. Every time he sees me doing it he yells at me. He thinks its going to help and make me stop. It just makes me do it even more when hes not around. I feel like I HAVE to do it, and I can't imagine ever stopping. I can remember so many times when I have sat down and decided I wasn't going to do it anymore. Then about three hours later I catch myself doing it. When i do catch myself, i make myself stop but I start getting extremely anxious and my head starts to hurt if I can't let myself do it. It almost relieves the physical pain I feel when I cant do it. When my bf slaps my hand away, the urge do it becomes so much worse. I feel like im going to go crazy if i cant. I have literally no idea what to do. I am so tried of my bf getting upset with me over it. He gets really mad everytime I do it, and he doesn't understand that I'm not able to control it. He says i need to replace it with something else. But nothing can replace that. I cannot imagine ever getting over this, but I would give everything I have to never do it again.
165 Answers
k8ejohns
October 14, 2009
I understand where you are coming from. I've picked my lips until they've bled, become cracked like craters, stayed scabbed over for months at a time. While I was reading your post I felt compelled to pick at my own lips. Do you pick your cuticles? FOr me, I'm either picking at my lips or my cuticles, or both. I'm never pick/bite free. Have you explained to your boyfriend that there is a reason you are doing this, and you need to get to the bottom of it? He might not be able to empathize because he doesn't have the same problem. It took a while for my husband to understand that what I was going through was clinical in nature and not just "in my head." Best of luck. You are not alone. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to stop the habit. My advice is to be as honest as you can with your boyfriend and yourself as you try to find out why and stop the habit.
todd5524
August 16, 2012

In reply to by k8ejohns

Yes..I have been picking my lips since the age of 17 and I am now 39 male. I have discovered online various multiple reasons why I do this persistantly to the point where they hurt, swell, bleed...ripping loose skin off them at times. I do this at least 1 time every 20 minutes all day every day. My causes I fear are Anxiety disorder, depression, add/adhd, low self esteam, panic attacks, and now having been diagnosed with Huntingtons Disease. I obviously dont work, and collect social security. But still look for ways to help me stop this terrible ugly imature looking habit...and good luck to all of you.
Johno
April 26, 2016

In reply to by k8ejohns

For about 30 years I had an overpowering compulsion to pick at my lips and I used to feel absolute shame at the injury I'd done afterwards. I thought I'd never beat it, and would be scarred for life. I tried everything I could, but nothing seemed to work. The only progress I'd made was moving from the middle of my upper lip to the right side of my lower lip. Damage limitation is all I could call it! Crazy what you go through with obsessions like this.
This winter I started to use a good quality organic lip balm. I kept it with me at all times and whenever I felt a compulsion to pick I used to put some balm on the area. Many times a day at first, but then less frequently. Surprisingly, after a couple of months I noticed I hadn't used it for a week... and hadn't even needed to! It felt like a HUGE victory, I was so proud of myself. The worst times for me were usually sitting down at a computer like I am now, alone. But my compulsion seems to be absolutely gone, I've got no urge at all now. Sometimes after a night of drinking, the next day I'd have the compulsion while my brain was a bit disorientated, but there's no trace of that urge now. I can't explain how it works, just like I couldn't explain why I had the compulsion in the first place.
It was always a very private thing for me, a personal battle, but now I feel I've overcome it I want to share it with you all. Maybe I'll need a year or so to be sure it doesn't come back, but there doesn't seem to be a danger of it right now. I'd recommend the best lip balm you can afford. It'll be well worth if it works. I'm not sure if the type is important. My theory is that each time my mind wanted to self harm I would treat myself to smooth soft lips instead, and the compulsion just seems to weaken to nothing over time. It would be great to hear from anyone who benefits from this method. All I can suggest is buy the best you can afford, just an organic balm, nothing synthetic. I tried a couple of brands and managed to completely stop half way through the second balm. It's worth a try. I hope it works for you.!
Thanks for reading.

hatesherface
November 26, 2010
Hi, I'm also a lip picker. The bleeding and the pain is awful, but somehow the process is fun, in a very sick way. I try to stop, I manage for a few days, but I start again. I know what I'm doing too. I pull off one flake and think, 'oh on. not again' or I remind myself that I've gone 3 days without picking and everything will be ruined if I do this. But once I start I can't stop. I have to finish, I have to make all of the surfaces feel even. I hate myself so much right now (I ruined my 3 day streak earlier). I couldn't eat with my family tonight because I coudn't get my top lip to stop bleeding, and didnt want everyone to stare at it, or ask me whats wrong with it. What do you guys do when people ask? my mom is the only one I've ever told (it would be hard to keep from her, since I've done it since before I started kindergarden). But I never know what to say to my friends when they ask what happened. I know they wont get it, and honestly it doesnt feel like it is worth the emotional effort it would take to explane when its a friend asking, but not a close friend. They ask about my fingers and hands mostly, I dont have a boyfriend or husband, so I guess no one stares at my lips too much. Maybe that is even the reason why I have trouble in that department. but I know how both of you feel, I hate myself after I do it, and I wish I could just wake up one morning and have my lips be healed. I think if i had a fresh start I would be okay, if there isnt anything to pick..... but what ever, that isn't happening. how long would healing completely take anyway? not that it matters. but oh god, i just get so frustrated. There don't seem to be many lip pickers out there. But really, what do you guys say to other people (who you aren't that close with)? and I;m sorry about your boyfriend, I don't know what I could say to help that, I have absolutely no experience where boys are conserned. But I hope it helps you to know other people share your problem. I wish there was a therapist who specialized in this stuff in my state (there isn't). But maybe there is one where you live? I dont think any of us can do any of this on our own.
Woodhona
August 24, 2011
Hi everyone. I was reading the posts and it made me feel better that I'm not alone in this lip picking thing. I went to the doctors about 8 years ago because I did not know why I could not stop picking my lip. The doctor told me I had depression/OCD and gave me medication it helped for a while but then the picking got worse. The worst Part of the picking cycle is how satisfying to peel the skin off but then you feel guilty for picking because you are always trying to stop . I also used to obsess that I would get cancer from picking. I don't know how to stop :( any suggestions or helpful hints?
ducky
February 01, 2013

In reply to by Woodhona

hi I don't know if you will answer this but you said you went to the doctors, I didn't think this stuff was worth going to the doctors about even though I want to. what should I say to them It sound bad me saying Im here because I pick my skin all the time?
heywood1976
October 28, 2011
Like everyone elses comments i always thought i was the only person to pick at my lips. My dear mother would drag me to the kitchen and rub salt into my cracked and bleeding lips when i was a young boy in an effort to stop me picking. Her main concern was that my lips made people think i was a beaten child! As other people have mentioned my picking can be linked to stress, but just being sat in front of the t.v can be enough to start me running my nails across my bottom lip looking for a bump or ridge to pull at. I have read of the dangers of this odd habit but being a smoker as well my health never really bothers me. Knowing that other people go through the same problems helps though.
kris27
December 21, 2011
I had no idea how common this habit was... I'm 35 years old and I've been picking my lips for as long as I can remember. As a child I was ferocious about it. I would over pick them and of course they bled. As bad of a habit I know that it is and sometimes I do want to stop but I've also master the art of it so I do not cause any wounds. The reason I don't stop is because I like how smooth my lips feel after I've successfully removed that daily build up of skin. And for the record, using any sort of lip balm does not help stop this habit, it only helps you do it. Carmex is especially helpful because it 'preps' the skin for easy removal. Lip liner is very helpful in drying out that top layer as well. I'm sorry I've giving tips on how to continue this awful habit but it's a habit I rather enjoy doing and can be pleasurable when you do it properly.
dommi9877
January 14, 2012
I do pick my lips really bad too. I just can't help it. Right now my lip is so swollen i cant even close my mouth.!! I am going out in public tomorrow and hopefully it will be gone. Hope things go well with you :)
Happypickins
January 18, 2012
I watched this video today on youtube about a girl with trichotillomana and how she is struggling with it. It got me thinking, which led me to google and then finally this site. I have spent well over an hour reading about people with the same problems as me. I pick my lips till they bleed, scratch off scabs...you know, the whole shebang. The only thing is, I don't really see any underlying depression or anxiety that would cause this. I just don't like the way my lips feel when they are all crackly and chapped. I use chapstix like no other and lather on the lotion, but I find myself rubbing my finger on my lips or back or arms or even chest to find the bumps/scabs. I guess that is kind of obsessive...oh well. It really does gross me out, and i cant stand seeing other people do it, but I can't really stop. Actually, I guess I've never really tried to stop. Okay. I will. Today. At 5:58 pm on January 17th 2012, I officially stop, or at least try to stop. Wish me luck....
heartz2love
January 27, 2012
I started picking my lip at age five, I remember feeling something prickly on my lip, It was skin. I remember picking it off and feeling as though i needed to pick some more. Every since ten I just couldn't bring myself to stop. even after the fact that I drew blood, I still picked until my fingers were bloody. I feel like this is something I wish I didn't have to deal with, I hate going in public and having people look at me funny because i cant seem to stop doing it. I can stop for a little but I always find myself doing it again. I'm 20 now and I've been doing this for fifteen years straight everyday.. I just wish it would go away!!
kilgoretrout
February 19, 2012
Holy crap!!!! I'm not the only person who does this? Well this sucks. Cause now I can actually be classified as having some sort of disorder. Great now I know I have OCD. I did a search on lip picking because I was sitting at my computer picking my lips when I thought to do a search, and I'm sorry that I did, because now I kind of feel like there is absolutely no hope of stopping and having "normal lips", which I know absolutely nothing about, since I have never had them and have been ravaging the epidurmis on my lips since I can remember. Hello. My name is Charlie, and I'm a lip-picker....F@%$ ME.....
Liverlips
March 22, 2012
I'm right there with you! I'm 29 and have been doing this since I was 7 or 8. I read your story and it's a mirror image to mine. Telling us not to pick is like telling a cut not to bleed! I want to stop doing it but I get angry when others tell me to stop. It truly is a compulsive disorder. Almost as if some subconscious part of you wants to be defiant of your best interests. My boyfriend put off proposing to me because of this issue and I don't blame him. I've tried getting fake nails, bitter or spicy things to put on my fingers so I don't pick, carry vaseline around and have it stashed around the house, etc. Lately I've noticed I have constantly swollen lymph glands in my right neck and my ENT doc is concerned that this rapid tissue turnover and constant illness I subject myself to may lead to cancer cell development! That was a wake up call! I can't imagine my life being cut short by something so ridiculous! So now I'm enrolled in counseling for behavior modification therapy and considering some medication to treat this aggressively. If you take away a behavior you have to substitute something to take over for that loss. I realize I can't control it and I'm powerless over it. I need a professional's help. It was embarrassing to go and admit but no less embarrassing that my nasty lips that draws in everyones attention!!! I wish you the best too! I'm coming to the page more for more support!
MessyLips
March 29, 2012
Wow..these stories are totally me!! I'm in my 50's and have been picking and biting my lower lips since a teenager. I have a daughter who also has trichotillomania (hair pulling) so it does run in the family. I know that the outcome of doing this will make my lip sore, cause bleeding and leave a scab but I can't help myself. I literally become obsessed with having to pick my lip. it's terrible. But it's great to know there is a place where others are doing it as well.
OrangyPineapples
March 31, 2012
I'm 19 years old and i've been picking my lips since I was 5, My mother is 40 and she also picks her lips. So I guess it runs in the family. I have tried so hard to stop picking my lips but I can't. My bottom lips is not even its natural color anymore due to all the picking. Sometimes I don't even register that i'm doing it, it so natural to me. I go crazy if I can't pick them. I admit to picking my lips bloody and raw till their literally sore, but even then I go on. And sometimes ya'll might know what i'm talking about, I get this really like hard patch of skin on my lips and it's so hard to get it off. (I'm going through that now.) And it drives me crazy. So sometimes I use little thread needles to stick under the skin to rip it so I can pick at it. I end up stabbing myself in the lips all the time. It's so embarrassing, because it's so ugly and people have to see it.
MessyLips
April 01, 2012

In reply to by OrangyPineapples

Isn't that the truth? One can be picking for hours and not notice until the lip is bleeding and hurts. It seems like the picking is more important than the pain. I get the hard patch too and I want to pick that off as well. Some days I look like someone punched me in the mouth. I'm getting married very soon and I don't want my wedding photos to look like I've had a boxing round!
kalogirourania
May 27, 2012
Hey everyone. I am an 18 year old girl and until now I never knew that lip picking was something common among so many people. It makes me feel quite better I guess. Like most of you I have been doing it since I can remember myself. I would describe it like my stress fighting habbit, the same way that some people bite their nails. Everytime I need to concetrate on something or I am writing an exam it's NOT POSSIBLE to stop from doing it. Other than that though, I do it at random times around the day because I life the feeling of peeling the skin of your lips. I don't know exactly how you do it... I guess that is a weird question, but I use my thumb and middle finger to tear the skin. My lips always have "skinless" patches especially on the inside but never too the point where they are bruised and notice by anyone. I don't know how hard you are doing it. They are bloody most of the times, but it has never been something that I'm "ashamed" of. I have been doing it for so long i'm quite used to the whole thing. Of course, my mom and everyone close to me has been persuading me to stop, but it's just not possible. Also, I don't know if this make me extra weird or if it is also common but when I remove the skin and it's caught up under my fingernails I find it relaxing to slowly remove it while smelling it. As I said, it calms me down.... I guess the only part that sucks is that when done around people you look very weird and make ugly faces trying to get the skin from all the parts of your lips. Do you ever get that? Rania
Ivyfweber
June 29, 2012
Wow it's great to know I'm not the only lip picker out there! Im so sick of it. I can't help it. Once I start, I don't stop until my lip feels "evened out" It's the worst when I'm at work. I'll go outside for a cigarette, I'll come back in with half of my lip torn up. No one at work asks me about it, they probably think I'm disgusting, but I can't help it! It drives me nuts if I don't pick on a daily basis. I get extremely nervey and almost pissed off. I've been in a relationship for over two years, and I'm so lucky to have a boyfriend who understands this issue I have. Only thing that really sucks is that it hurts when we kiss :( I want to STOP. It makes my confidence go down and I hate it. How do I get over this!??

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