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heleng , 16 Oct 2009

Help me to stop picking

I am so glad that I have found this forum. I honestly thought I was the only one with this problem. I have picked my face as long as I can remember and it is now a mess with scabs & scars, but I just cannot stop picking& I can pick for hours. When I pick I have to use tweezers & not just on my face, anywhere there is an embedded hair or a stubborn scab or spot. This sounds gross but some time when I pick I get these what I call stalkers or plugs, they are plugs of skin that I have to dig at with a pin & then pull out with tweezers, the spot/scab then weeps & bleeds & leaves a hole in my face. I know I have done wrong but it just feels so good at the time. The weird thing is that I have to eat what ever comes out or I make a collection to see how many of these plugs I can get out & then eat them. I have been to the doctors so many times throughout my life (I am now 36) who have told me to take antibiotics & use acne creams which just do not work. The worst advice was that I needed a chemical peel so paid £600 to get a chemical peel done which was not a good idea as my face scabbed up & I just picked at it making it even worse. I have an appointment soon with the dermatologist but I don't think it will make a difference. My face is so scarred with pits & holes that I cannot look in the mirror, I feel repulsed with myself for getting this bad. I also have to pick out all the hairs from moles, cuticles & in growing hairs, I just get such satisfaction from seeing the embedded hair or puss come out, It makes me feel all the badness is coming out of me. I had a crappy childhood including abuse, mental, physical & sexual and as a child & adult I just feel worthless, this is my only relief as it makes me feel good at the time. I really want to stop but at the moment I just cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel :(
7 Answers
October 16, 2009
Hi, I have picked my head for as long as i remember, I have bald patches and hair loss due to this horrid habit............ I hate myself for this, I also pick ingrown hairs scabs spots and even get satisfaction from doing it to others which is really sick. I recently had to queue on some stairs and I could see people looking at the scabs and bald patches on my head I was so embrassed, I am too ashamed to go to my doctor about this but I have to stop before I go bald :(
October 16, 2009

In reply to by littlemo

I find it very difficult to talk to people face to face as I know they are looking at my scars, it's so embarressing so I totally know what you mean. I have never mentioned anything to my doctors about my picking , what would they say. I am in the UK & I don't think they have ever heard of Dermatillomania I am just too ashamed to mention it to anyone. This is the first time I have talked about it.
October 20, 2009

In reply to by heleng

I have a hard time talking to people too. I would suggest trying to talk about it. I did with a friend and it helped a lot. It was really hard to get the words out, but in a way I think "coming out" to people who love you is really important. Im going in for a physical later this week and I am making it a point to talk to my doctor about this. I know its going to be extemely difficult, and Im scared I will whimp out, but if i can do it i know it will be worth it. Id rather go through some excrutiating/scary moments, than stay "safe" and stuck with this addiction. Im hoping she can help me somehow, but if not I will at least have had another chance to talk about it, reaveal myself to someone, and see what thats like. Ive found its usually not as bad as you think its gonna be. and hey if it does turn out to be awful at least there is the forum....its great to talk to people who understand
October 20, 2009

In reply to by cherrycolalola

You know, everyone already knows we are pickers...whether we think they know or not. We think we do a great job hiding our picking secret, but in reality the people close to us already know. Think about it. Of course they know. The hard thing is getting it out in the open. The hardest thing is telling them, "I know you know about my picking and I want to try to explain this problem to you so you may better understand why I do it."
October 19, 2009
Heleng, I have gone to the doctors and I live in the UK, and although I admit it's not being successful just yet and she hasn't dealt with it before going to a cognitive beahvioural specialist could help. One of my main problems apart from it feeling so good and relieving when I do it is habit. I'm used to feeling my face and so it's a case of breaking that cycle. I wouldn't feel my skin to pick the spots which makes the spots worse and so I have more. I work in a mental health clinic (and ironically got referred here by my doctor even though I said not to and then got whisked aside here by the clinic manager to let me know a referral letter had arrived and that did I want to go somewhere else - embarrassing now 2 people here have read the letter about my problems). So I managed to go to another one locally. Think of it almost as a compulsive habitual disease. They didn't think mine was compulsive but if they did you can get medication for that. Probably 99% of the people I know have mental issues and what we have is just another form of one. Maybe if more of us took the courage to go to the doctors more doctors would be aware and it more research might get done? Also I guess we get embarrassed by the visibleness of the scars and scabs as I do but you are one in hundreds a doctor sees and I'm sure they come across wounds/more embarrassing problems all the time.
January 15, 2010
it is really painful post, Ayurveda is able to solve your problem or only use natural products on skin because cosmetics products so harmful,it contains lot of chemicals.Yoga is another possible solution for you.if you are suffer from hair falling than Hair transplants is best option for it.this is desire solution of hair falling if you have got baldness than it is only unique solution for you. Mack
January 17, 2010
You're going to the wrong doctors. Your issue isn't physical, it's mental. If your skin was better, you'd find other things to pick at. Think about it - you know that the picking causes the problems, yet you can't stop. That's not trying to fix the problem; that's a compulsive behavior. I read one of the responses where someone said that their doctors didn't think her problem was compulsive. That doesn't make sense to me. Any time you have to do something, even though you want to stop and know it's not good for you, it's a compulsive behavior. If you could stop, you would. I HIGHLY recommend that anyone with these issues see a psychiatrist. It was immediately obvious to mine that I have OCD, based solely on the skin picking (the intensity and duration might have helped in the diagnosis - when I was diagnosed I was picking for hours each day). Apparently, any compulsive picking is at least an anxiety issue, if not full on OCD. I was shocked to hear that I had OCD, and at first thought it might be a mistake, but after my doctor diagnosed it, I started thinking of a million other ways that I'd obsessive or compulsive. I'm not the typical germaphobe, so I'd just never put two and two together. However, as soon as I went onto medication my picking improved. It took a long time, and a few medication increases and changes to feel like my picking was finally fairly under control, but, for me, medication was definitely the real solution. I'd tried to quit many times, with lots of different creative approaches, but until I solved the underlying chemical anxiety nothing was ever going to work long term.

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