Skin Care after Picking

Trudi Griffin - LPC
Jul 24th, 2017

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Summary of the points in the video

How you care for your skin after you pick will determine how quickly and how well your skin heals. Neglecting these steps can result in extended healing time and damaged skin, including scabs, scarring, and permanent redness.


  • As mentioned in this video transcript, it is important to keep your skin, your hands, and your tools clean before and after picking.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals on your hands and skin. Your skin is a tender organ, one that can be damaged very easily. If you’ve drawn blood or scratched through the surface layers, be sure to use gentle cleansers that won’t cause inflammation from the harsh chemicals.


  • Some dermatologists recommend using a toner with antiseptic properties on your skin to remove any remaining germs or bacteria.
  • If you’re bleeding or scratched, you have an open wound and should treat it with Neosporin to prevent infection.



  • It may be tempting to leave your skin there, but cleansing removes oils from the skin that help with healing. Moisturize the skin with a light, chemical-free moisturizer to protect the skin while it’s healing. 


Full video transcript

Hi everybody this video is one dealing with mental illness so feel free to skip it but if you are like me and have problems with dermotillomania or compulsive skin picking this video is for you.

Now this video was born out of me searching for resources and not finding anything. I was looking for skin care solutions for after you’ve been picking. And everything I found was skin care to prevent picking. Advice like keeping your skin moisturized so it’s not dry and irritated, wearing makeup to hopefully disguise the imperfections that you’re picking at, and stuff like that. That’s all really good advice and I’m glad it exists, but as we know there are times where you’re going to pick anyway. You’re going to do everything right, and you’re so going to pick because it’s compulsive. That’s the meaning behind dermatillomania, or compulsive skin picking. Sometimes your anxiety gets out of control and you can’t help it and you pick. That is your stress relief, your anxiety outlet for it and so it happens. We’re probably going to pick. We’re all trying not to but it’s probably going to happen until you’re 100% recovered. I haven’t gotten there yet so I wanted to make a video on post-picking skin care, how to prevent scarring infections, things like that, when you’ve been picking at your skin. So it’s just a couple quick tips and I hope they help you out.


Step one:

Get yourself a face cleanser. I use this one from First Aid Beauty mainly because I got this little sample of it and I adore it and I’m going to pick up more of it because I love it. And this is their pure skin face cleanser with antioxidant booster. Any sort of face cleanser works. I like the First Aid Beauty stuff because it is designed for sensitive skin and as you can see, see all this redness…that is not a sunburn, that is not me picking, that is just my skin. I deal with redness. I have fairly sensitive skin. Not as bad as it was when I was a kid. When I was a kid I had horrifically sensitive skin, but I like having a face cleanser that is made for sensitive skin so I know it’s not going to make anything worse. So, if you’ve been picking, wash wherever you’ve been picking.  Cleanse your face, cleanse your chest, wherever you’ve been picking and scratching and poking. Wash it. Get all the oils off, get the grime off, get any remaining bits of makeup off. Fet that off of your skin because you’ve just messed up your skin. Honestly that’s what you’re doing when you’re picking. You are messing up the top layers of your skin and depending on how extreme you’re picking, you’re messing up the deeper layers, so we want to flush all of that out.



Get yourself a wound ointment cream. Something like a Neosporin, with or without pain relief, that’s up to you. Although a little side note: Neosporin without the pain relief stuff is safe for animals so if you have a pet with a wound, put Neosporin on it as long as it doesn’t have the pain relief. With the pain relief, it’s unsafe for animals. The Neosporin is really helpful if you’ve been picking and you have a spot that was bleeding or kind of scabby, something bad like that. The Neosporin is going to help heal that faster, get your skin back to normal faster, and help prevent bacteria and stuff like that from getting in there. To help prevent any infection



if you’ve been using tools to pick like tweezers or a little extraction tool like the ones used in facials and stuff, if you’ve been using these please make sure you’re sanitizing these. Wash them in some hot water after every single picking session, and preferably before too. Wash them in hot soapy water, doesn’t need to be boiling, but let it get hot. And preferably also soak them in some rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Dump them in there and let them soak for like 5 minutes, take them out, rinse them off, dry them off so they don’t rust. Because if you’re picking at your skin or scraping at your skin, especially if you bleed and then you get little bits of blood on there and then you don’t wash that off and then you’re picking again, you’re putting all that gross stuff back on your skin.

Wash your tools. That includes your hands.

Wash your hands. Before and after. If you feel the urge to pick coming on, get in the bathroom and wash your hands. Or don’t go to the bathroom if the mirror is going to trigger it even more. Wash your hands in the kitchen, get some hand sanitizer, get something, and clean your hands so that if you end up picking or scratching or prodding or just messing with your skin, you’re doing it with clean hands.

Those are my big tips to avoid any infection.

More on the cosmetic level. If you’ve been picking…for me, when I pick I don’t pick until I bleed, that was never my thing. I’m more of a squeezer and I do it more on my chest and my upper chest. What it leads to is me getting these big red splotches everywhere I’ve been picking because you’re pressing, you’re messing with it, and that’s going to draw more blood to the surface. And it gets all red and gross looking and those don’t fade right away. For me at least it can take a couple hours to go away and it can be really embarrassing. When I’m picking at my chest I try to find a real high neck shirt to wear to go out, even if to the grocery store, because it looks like I have hives. So, what I recommend is to get some sort of green concealer. This is the Maybelline cover stick, a corrector concealer and it seems really weird because that does not match my skin, but it’s not designed to. Green helps cancel out the redness. So it works really well if you have red pimples, but especially if you’ve been picking, as long as it’s not somewhere where you really broke the skin and its bleeding. You don’t want to put a bunch of makeup on an open wound, and that’s what that is, even if it’s just done by your fingernails, it’s still an open wound, so put some Neosporin on that. Let it breathe, let it heal first, but if it’s just areas of redness get some green concealer, some sort of green makeup product, a powder, a stick, a liquid, it doesn’t matter, stick it on there and blend it in with a clean makeup brush or your clean fingers. See the theme of this video?  Clean. 

Trudi Griffin - LPC


Education, experience, and compassion for people informs Trudi's research and writing about mental health. She holds a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Addictions and Mental Health from Marquette University, with Bachelor’s degrees in Communications and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. Before committing to full-time research and writing, she practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor providing therapy to people of all ages who struggled with addictions, mental health problems, and trauma recovery in community health settings and private practice.

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