Tips to Limit Skin Picking

Tips to Limit Skin Picking

If skin picking is making you feel alone or embarrassed, you should know that this condition affects at least five million Americans (and I talk to at least 1 person struggling with this habit every single day.) 

Skin picking disorder (which can be part of attempting at-home extractions for acne) is related to obsessive compulsive disorder, where the person cannot stop themselves carrying out a particular action. Often skin picking is compulsive, and is a habit that requires professional help from a therapist to control. You are not alone if you struggle with this habit. It is not shameful, and it can be helped.

It can be triggered by:
• Boredom
• Stress or anxiety
• Negative emotions, such as guilt or shame
• Skin conditions, such as acne or eczema, or other blemishes that the person wants to get rid of (these may not be noticeable to other people)

Skin picking is often called a body-focused repetitive behaviour and is similar to repetitive hair pulling disorder (trichotillomania).

12 Tips to Limit Skin Picking

1. Create Barriers

If you know you tend to pick after a shower, try keeping gloves by your mirror. Slip them right after you've done your skincare routine and move on. 

2. Ditch the Mirror
If you look for it, you'll find it! A magnifying mirror will obviously only magnify texture and acne causing you to feel as though you need to touch it to fix it. 
3. Ice It
Cold therapy will do more for your skin and acne than digging your bacteria coated nails into your live, precious skin tissue ever will! 
4. Keep Your Hands Busy
Channel your energy into hobbies that promote mental health (especially if they use your hands) You can try gardening, coloring, knitting, or journaling. 
5. Use Face Masks
Not only will a face mask distract you from any bothersome breakouts, it's a soothing self care activity that can support your skin and help with acne treatment. 
6. Use Pimple Patches
While they're not a treatment FOR acne, this will cover the wound and help it heal while keeping it protected! 
7. Consider Dietary Triggers
Certain foods like whey, dairy, peanuts and seaweeds can be fuel to the acne flame. If these foods promote your acne, and thus, skin picking, they are worth removing from your diet. 
8. Enlist Friends
Getting help and support from friends, family, or a partner can help you stay accountable and know when it's time to seek a doctor or therapist if the habit is uncontrollable.  
9. Find An Esty
Often we pick because we don't trust our skin is healing and we want to regain control. When you work with an acne specialist, they can ensure you treat your acne every single day and relieve the burden. 
10. Google: Acne Scarring
We don't always realize the value of our collagen until it's gone. Once the tissue is removed, it's not something that is guaranteed back! Picking feels good in the moment but comes at a cost.
11. Consider Therapy
Did you know skin picking is classified as body-focused repetitive disorder? A therapist can help monitor, track, and treat skin picking with HRT or ERP therapy.  
12. Track Triggers
Noticing when you are triggered, and even tracking in a journal when this occurs can help create awareness. Once you feel the urge, try crossing arms or closing your fists. 

What to avoid if you notice yourself picking 
• Do not let your nails grow long – keep them trimmed and clean.
• Do not keep things like extraction tools where you can easily get at them (if you aren’t a trained pro)

Talk to your GP or therapist if:
• You cannot stop picking your skin on your own
• You’re causing serious damage to your skin by picking it, like cuts that do not heal within a few days, or creating wounds that scar or pit
• Picking your skin is causing you emotional distress or affecting your daily life

Resources for Skin Picking:

In my humble experience, seeking out an acne specialist is hugely helpful for those who struggle with skin picking as it releases the burden from the individual to the professional. You’re in good hands with me, so there’s no need to use your own!

Thank you for reading! 

This article of the Skinsider Scoop was graciously written by Licensed Esthetician, Tessa Zollyand edited by the Clean Skin Club team. If you're interested in more from Tessa, please shoot us an email, and follow her Instagram - @myestytessa