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hyperbole , 18 Nov 2009

Quick tricks and distrations from picking. Want to know what you think.

I'm making a compilation of tricks and distractions used to temporarily avoid picking when the urge strikes, with medicinal backup of course. What little things have you discovered helps you when the going gets rough? A few of my examples: wearing gloves, covering mirrors, not wearing makeup and forcing myself to face the consequence of my actions, buying/using expensive skincare products, exercise (ps. does anyone avoid exercise for fear of sweat clogging pores and making something new to pick at??), napping (I dont pick when unconscious.. I hope). It is my sincere hope that something on this site will help.
14 Answers
November 19, 2009
The only 100% effective way for me to stop picking is to be in public or with company. The best my skin ever looked was when I had roommates and a live-in boyfriend. I was almost never alone, not open about my problem and avoided biting and picking unless I was alone because I didn't want them to know what a "freak" I was. When I feel a bad session coming on, I try to reroute myself. Get dressed, put makeup on, leave the house. Call someone and invite them over. This works well too because I feel the urge to clean up and by the time I'm done they're here. If I'm alone and don't want to be in public, it's a recipie for disaster. Sometimes I just don't feel like trying hard not to bite and pick. Sometimes all I want is to sit and destroy my fingers. These are the hardest times to get through. I try to keep myself busy, wear bandaids, clean or cook something so my hands are dirty or in rubber gloves and not accessible. I'm afraid of germs as well so I won't bite my fingers if I think there's a possibility they're contaminated. The main thing is keeping busy. It distracts me, lowers anxiety and when I'm finished I feel much better about myself and am more likely to sit and relax rather than go on a picking spree.
November 19, 2009

In reply to by allegory

Hey, thanks for sharing your strategies!...i'm the same i always get the urge to clean whenever i have people coming over so it actually stops me thinking about picking! Does anyone else take herbal remedy sleeping tablets to help wth night time picking?
January 13, 2010

In reply to by 2and2alwaysmakea5

I too pick my face and scalp; particularly when reading/studying/taking a test. I found that exercise helps a lot and after I'm done, I immediately wash my face/shower after I'm done cooling down - that seems to help prevent the sweat from "setting in." However, I still have trouble dealing with the urge to pick. I really like the gum wrapper Idea. I recently just opened up to my boyfriend about my problems and he was very open, understanding and willing to help - he's going to keep an eye on me and distract me instead of criticizing or judging my habit. When I'm at my desk reading, I've found that underlining helps keep my hands busy - I make sure that I always have a pen in my hand. Perhaps instead of reaching up to pick my scalp or forehead, I could keep a pen in my hair. Any other suggestions as to how to prevent subconscious picking? These are all great tips!
December 01, 2009
I pick my scalp, and I am always so ashamed because I still pick even when in public such as the library or class. I live with a roommate here in college, but it doesn't really make a difference, I pick anyways. However, I do find that wearing a hat keeps me momentarily distracted when I do my homework, so now I always wear a hat in the library. I waste so much time picking that I should be using studying, so the hat helps me get my work done.
December 04, 2009
I am a dancer (and former dance teacher) that would get very sweaty and the salt/sweat would irritate acne/bumps/scars/scabs on my body and then I would pick and scratch on the car ride home. I found if I bring a change of clothing it definitely helps...otherwise I am more tempted by the scratching, stinging feeling especially if my clothes are damp from sweat.....
December 07, 2009
on one of these someone mentioned puzzles because of its likeness to picking. ive started buyign the gum that comes in the plastci packages with the foil oin the back. when i finish the gum i peel off all of the foil. some sticks to the plactic and you have to pick it off. and smooth your finger over it to look for a spot that sticks up to peel. its so much like picking that it kind of feels like it but i have to make an effort only to do it at one of my prime picking times and not just as a new habit. good luck/1
December 11, 2009
Not wearing makeup sounds like a very good idea. However, also something that is very difficult...
December 12, 2009
I usually wear a thin pair of gloves (check CVS for cheap gloves) while i'm at school. When people ask why i just tell them that i have poor blood circulation (which is also true!). Also my skin gets very dry which makes me want to pick my fingers even more, so i use hand lotion alot. At night i put aquaphore on my fingers and cover my hands with gloves. My fingers are looking better. The only problem is when i have art class i can't wear my gloves, so i just put bandaids on the fingers that look the worst. and don't forget to cut your nails! :)
March 13, 2013
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March 20, 2013
just registered for this forum - very interesting question. i would say crafting, keeping my hands busy is a big part of not picking....knitting, sewing, cross stitch, writing. i also work with people with autism, we often use 'fidgets' to distract the mind - i will play with bobby pins, clay, string, wrappers, whatever is around to keep my fingers busy. i noticed one preoccupation that at least keeps me from hurting my skin is that once my nail polish has chipped, it ALL has to come off that nail, so i pick at it. this probably isnt good for my nails but i can hide picking my nail polish a lot better than my arms. ------------------------------------- de-stressing. i pick when i am stressed or feel out of control or uncertain about the outcome of something major (a big project, a job interview, etc). exercising helps me with this although i can't go to the gym late at night which is sometimes when picking occurs. this is because i work out, i get endorphins and feel more confident, feel better about myself then don't feel a need to pick. i don't know if it works this way for everyone. i also notice i pick if i have a big conflict or unresolved issue with a friend or family member. ---------------------- someone mentioned being around others, i live on my own now so picking seemed to have gotten worse in some ways, but i'm out of my bad living situation so it has decreased in other ways. i think about summer coming up and wanting to wear tank tops and swim suits (upper arms picking) and how mad i get when people ask me what is wrong with my arms. i say i have a bumpy rash like keratosis pilaris, which i think i do have, but then i pick at it. or i blame it on allergies, because i have pale, really sensitive skin and i'm allergic to a ton of stuff, so i do have breakouts.
March 23, 2013
I'm a compulsive scratcher / picker. I read that acrylic nails work well so I have them done regularly now and it helps a lot. The acrylic nails are a lot thicker than natural nails, making it nearly impossible to pick off scabs. I find that even if i scratch the hell out of myself- it doesn't tear open my skin like it used to- but still gets red, hot and a little scaly. When you lessen the damage done to your skin theres less to pick at.

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