Products to combat skin picking

Tasneem Abrahams
Apr 22nd, 2016

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Holly Stockport is a twenty-one year old from South Wales. She is a writer, blogger, YouTube star and sufferer of Dermatilomania. In her latest YouTube video, she lists the products that make her skin feel a little more comfortable while combating her skin picking. Holly’s main picking areas are her fingers, her face- mainly the chin area and her back.

For fingers

Holly relies on an exfoliating hand scrub to get rid of any dirt and dead skin. Salted Coconut Hand Scrub from Lush keeps skin soft and supple. Someone with rough dry skin due to Dermatilomania can benefit from the healing and moisturizing ingredients in the product, namely sea salt, argon oil, fresh lemon and coconut oil. Take caution if you have regular open wounds, as the sea salt and lemon will sting a little, but Holly claims the discomfort is well worth it. She uses this scrub twice daily and usually while she is in the shower, followed by a rich hand cream to keep hands soft and moisturized. Applying a hand cream from the Body Shop's Coconut range to her wounds on her fingers helps with skin generation and healing. She regularly uses a hand sanitizer from the same range as a barrier to bacteria, dirt and germs coming into contact with her open wounds.

For face

Holly’s has blotchy red skin, with a lot of acne scarring due mostly to her constant picking. Her doctor prescribes a topical cream called Duac which needs to be refrigerated, so she easily forgets to use it. She does however always remember to apply a tea tree skin clearing lotion from The Body Shop, which she uses twice a day. The product reduces spots and helps the skin heal quicker, before she is tempted to pick at it again. To treat scars all over her face and scars and cuts on her body, Dr. Organic’s Snail Gel is soothing, healing and fast acting.

For back

Holly uses a tea tree and witch hazel body/ back spray from Boots. The product fights spot causing bacteria and can be used whenever needed. The non-greasy tea tree oil is antibacterial, while the witch hazel is calming for acne prone skin types, reducing redness and inflammation of the skin.

Alternative products and therapies

Some alternative products and therapies prescribed for Dermatilomania sufferers include:

Psychological therapy and medication, to help identify picking triggers and treat anxiety related to picking.

Homeopathy, homeopathic medicines tend to be recommended for habitual type disorders such as skin picking:

  • Belladonna as a pain reliever, muscle relaxer, and anti-inflammatory. It works by blocking some of the functions of the body's nervous system and is used for skin picking where the behavior is related to sensory overload.
  • Cuprum is a metallic copper and is typically used to treat fear, restlessness and anxiety, a common trigger for skin picking.
  • Stramonium is used to treat restless sleep. Tarentula tablets, are used to treat impulsivity and mood fluctuations.

Nutrition and diet can be linked to mental health. A change in diet could be a treatment option to help reduce skin picking or stop it entirely. Increased skin picking has been found to correlate with low mood. Therefore refined sugars that cause the body to “crash” soon after eating, resulting in a “slump” in the energy levels and mood, should be avoided. Nutrients can help the body and brain to function optimally. A balanced diet will, ideally, provide you with all your nutrients in the form of healthy carbohydrates, protein rich foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, dairy and healthy fats, with minimal levels of sugar, salt or fats.

Lifestyle changes such as consistent exercise and activities that assist to destress could help to curb picking.

Online therapy programs are more accessible and more cost-effective thatn face-to-face therapy and allows for a level of anonymity for those who struggle to open up in therapy.

Audio books are helpful as a distraction and as a therapy tool that can be listened to anywhere.

Hypnosis has been known to curb obsessive compulsive behaviors and help people deal with trauma, anxiety and stress.

There are no miracle cures for Dermatilomania, the key is finding a treatment that works for you to either lesson or with consistency and practice, eliminate your need to pick.

Tasneem Abrahams

Tasneem is an Occupational Therapist, and a graduate of the TLC foundation for BFRBs professional training institute. Her experience in mental health includes working at Lentegeur Psychiatric hospital forensic unit (South Africa), Kingston Community Adult Learning Disability team (UK), Clinical Specialist for the Oasis Project Spelthorne Community Mental Health team (UK). Tasneem is a member of both the editorial team and the clinical staff on Skinpick, providing online therapy for people who suffer from excoriation (skin picking) disorder.

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