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Compulsive Skin Picking (face, arms, legs, and body)
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Compulsive Skin Picking (face, arms, legs, and body)

(THIS IS NOT AN ACNE PROBLEM!)
I have a really clean face and body, I just destroy every piece of it by doing this.

Well here, let me tell you my story. I'm 17 years old, the typical high school teen.I have the compulsion of looking in the mirror and standing there for hours looking at every pore on my face then picking. Then it over turned to my whole body, its gotten way worst since I begun doing this since 1 1/2 years ago. Its been putting me down a lot then turning into depression because I can't wear short sleeves or shorts in public without someone noticing i have multiple scabs, bumps, blemishes going everywhere and questioning me about it. I hate this because I thought it was nothing at first, but when I started noticing marks, scars, bumps and never healing scabs that were left after picking or messing with, its become embarrassing. I miss having a clear/clean body and face, but its like a urge to me. Its like an itch that has to be scratched, if you don't itch it, the urge will grow until so. So after I became aware of my problem, I took my time to see if other people had the same symptoms as me, and I actually found a bunch of people. Well I also found something called Compulsive Skin Picking. Which it is but if you search it up on Google, its more of a mental thing, not a hormone imbalance that a drug would take care of it. I recommend not to take any prescribed drugs for this problem, because I can already tell you NONE will work. Probably just a medication that would mess with your mind or make you depressed. Try these helpful hints that I'm going to be trying out also...

When tempted to pick, care for your skin by applying a moisturizing lotion instead.

Cover or remove mirrors if they act as a trigger and get rid of all implements such as tweezers and pins used for picking.

Consider the use of artificial nails to make picking more difficult, it may work for some.

Wear rubber fingertips or cotton gloves whenever possible if you feel the urge to pick.

Try replacing some of the sensory aspects of skin-picking with a more desirable alternative. For example, keep an object by you that you can manipulate (squeeze or pull) such as a soft rubber ball.
( I play with a rubber band around my wrist to occupy my hands when the urge comes.)

Keep your hands busy with something else such as a puzzle or knitting.

If you bite the inside of your cheeks try eating crunchy snacks when you feel the urge to bite.

Reward yourself for making progress with some kind of treat.

As you gain more confidence gradually begin to expose your hands, arms, face or legs to others starting with family and friends. You will no doubt benefit from their support but at the same time the negative consequences of engaging in your habit will be increased.

If all fails, get advice on skin care. If you have a skin complaint see a dermatologist.
(I went to a bunch of doctors and all they give you is acne cream or something along that lines. Most of the doctors won't understand until you explain every little detail of you problem that your having so they can get an idea of whats happening.)
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I have devoloped CSP, compulsive skin picking oddly enough at age about 22. I'm 25 now. It started as a mundayne thing i would do while doing more normal daily activites in the bathroom, and turned into very quickly, subconsiosly, started in the bathroom at say 11pm and not getting out of there from picking for my record at 8 hours. I am a recovering IV Drug User, I was addicted to both heroin and cocaine. I haven't used either in probably 3 years on heroin, and 3.5 years cocaine. I currently also have other pysciatric disorders, such as, PTSD, Terrible Anxiety, Paranoia (Everyone is out to get me type feeling), and of course Depression. I have on my mom and dads side opiate and or opiod addiction, benzo or barbituate addiction and even Stimulants, but mainly Alcoholism. I oddly enough, hate alcohol, the taste, the high, everything about it. Also my mother lost 2 older brothers who were killed at young ages of 19 and 23, 2 seperate automobile accidents, both killed in South Padre Island Texas, by drunk mexicans with no liscences or anything. One was decapitated immediatly by the windshield, the other on lifesupport as a vegtiable in a coma and eventually past. So alchol too wasn't really an option. My mother hates alchol and people who use it, which in my extended family on my dads side, my moms side are dead or non existent, all drink daily multiple times, and take pills with them, such as Valium, Vicoden, Darvocet, Neurontin and etc. My mom and dad have no smoked pot, so they claim and never drink or claim to have ever been even intoxicated. So for there son to be a junkie, they had no clue what to do with me or a clue on what i was going through. So i was just shipped off to rehab after rehab for about a year and a half, in different ****** towns in TX, seeing no family or most importantly friends that entire time. I was basically a problem for the family, we have money, so my mom checks Dr Phils advice and sends me to the first rehab she finds not researching it, its procedures, its detoxing methods or anything that is VITAL to your very expensive recovery stay. Anyway, i'm now back obviously and the picking started in that year and a half, when i came down with some bacterial infection on my face, i forget the term, but it was from working for the slimeball who ran the half way house i was staying at, he would pay us **** to go and help him renovate new halfway houses he was building in the greater Dallas TX area. Quick note, the guy who ran the halfway house, was in the pen for 5 years on charges of distributing cocaine, he was driving 7 corevettes before he was arrested one for each day of the week. So he is yet another one of the addicts who is exploiting the recovery industry for a quick buck. To make a long story short i was moving a refridgerator that had been unplugged and had some type of milk, cheese or raw cabbage or something that had been sitting in it, in TX heat, 100 F and above for almost a year. the stench alone, you could smell before you walked into this 3 story house, i helped move it and just from the fridge somehow my face broke out with what i thought was acne but was a viral infection. So i would pick and prod at them to get the puss out to relieve the pain and to hopefully fix it. It got worse and then covered my whole face, it looked like poison ivy and of course i was swollen too. But i was in a Dallas, with no transportation, no money, but i was staying at a halfway house that cost 1400 a month since it was in a prime neighborhood in dallas. The person running the joint wouldn't even take me to a doctor, so finally a week later, my folks picked me up and then i found out it was serius and got some antibiotics and sure enough it went away. But even though it was gone i still had the odd desire to look my best and work for hours on my face mainly, and make it look like somebody kicked the **** out of me, and never could i tell anyone that i did this. I worked as a computer salesman in a store similar to a CompUSA but you actually make commision and a real salary, so customers would see my face and ask if i fell off a bike or skateboard and slid on my chin till the skin came off and scabbed up, I said allergies always. But it was then escalating to the point that people would ask  me why i looked so torn up, and then i started on my arms, and of course dumb ***** who have no brains, thought at one job the scars were track marks. And this would be a welt maybe a 1/4 inch in diameter and its like, unless i was using a like elephant 2 gauge needle it would create that type of scarring. But recently i picked on something in my mouth and it was then got infected and abcessed and i almost, according to the doc, if i waited one more day, would have lost part of my upper lip. To think i thought i was making myself look better and here i'm about to loose part of my look and be disfigured for life. My arms already bear scarring that will take years to go away; I take medication wise, Methadone for my Opiate/Opiod dependence legally at a clinic, and also see an addictionolagist with a PHDs in neurology and psychiatry, it cost 150 bucks, no insuranse just to talk to her, But its worth every penny. I take Klonopin 2mg tablets to just calm me down during the day and also Klonopin meltable wafers for fast action when I have a picking attack. I also take Promethazine because when i get nervous i become nauseaus. Then Tagament for my heartbburn. But i have no diseases like Hepatis C or AIDS. But until last week when i had to goto the ER and a few days before that i for the first time check the net for skin picking and had no idea this was a real SERIOUS OCD like or is OCD type disorder and a wave of comfort finally came over me that i'm not alone. I thought i was just a crazy schizoiid who they would just have to contiunually tranquilize me to calm me down. But i've been doing accupuncture, which has done wonders, meditation along wth swimming. Stuff to keep my stupid *** away from mirrors. I was thinking of even in my personal bathroom removing the big one and just having a small one to use. I put a clock in there too so i can see when i came in, and also set my g-shoch watch timer for 15 minutes, since brushing teeth, quick shave, and some other personal grooming shouldnt take much longer for a man, unless theu are taking a shower too. Anyway i apologize for this thesis of a response but i am soo realized too see other people who suffer this also, thanks for anyone who reads this.
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i'm turning 19 soon... and have also picked at my skin.. i get random ingrowns on my leg and pubic region.. and i have an obsession of using an eedle and scissors and digging at them until i get them out..  i have gashes  all over my  my shins that just look like big mosquito bites...
i just want them to go away.. i want to stop, but then when i see one im like hmmm maybe just this one... then i start going and it feels so good to get them out.. but after spending hours in the bathroom i look at myself in the mirror and still feel uglier then i ever felt. i'm tall, skinny...  i could potentially have great legs.. if it wasn't for all the scarring...  i get questioned all the time about it.. it just makes me feel worse and worse.. then i see people with gorgeous  perfect skin and it makes me jealous and want to go at it again....
i just want to stop and have flawless skin, how is it some people get blessed with naturally  glowing skin ,and im stuck like this
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I am 45 and pick my face, back, neck anywhere I may have an imperfection.  Thank you for having the courage to write.  I think it sounds like OCd but what do i know.  I am on Celexa and Wellbutrin.  It seems to have intensified since I started these medications.  any advice?
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It is such a 'relief' to read your posts as for a long time (3years plus) I have felt like I'm going mad and must be the only person on the planet that picks at their legs / body/ face.
I am trying so hard to stop but soemtimes I start to pick without realising (there is definately a subconscious aspect), sometimes I feel that I actually enjoy picking and that makes me feel guilty. I am too embarassed to wear skirts / shorts as people always ask what's wrong with my legs.
I will often use a needle / scissors to get out ingrown hair and will even end up going over wounds that haven't healed properly - so it takes even longer. My legs are quite scarred and my shoulders are also becoming that way. I haven't been to my doctors yet, I guess I have been worried he'd say I was going mad! I don't really know why I do it - and I have thought long and hard, and I couldn't even tell you why I started. I am finding that will power alone is not working (sometimes for a few days) and I feel like a failure because at the age of 29 I think I should be able to control my actions. I will often tell myself that even if I do pick it will just heal up - which I know is not the case.
It would be good to get some advice from other sufferers, even just to share experiences. A couple of family members know about this but it is difficult for them as they can't understand why I do it; and sometimes they will ask why and all I can say is that I don't know.
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I too am a picker.  I have been making sores and scabs to pick my entire life.  Whenever I have a scab it takes forever to finally go away because I seem to not be able to leave it alone and the compulsion is so strong that I can't ignore it.  I have recently been diagnosed with OCD, PTSD, Anxiety, and depression.  I also have been on Paxil for 1 month now which helps tremendously with keeping my emotions even and over all I am in a good mood and no more PMS!  I see someone above who is on meds pointed out that the picking got worse...I have noticed that mine is worse now as well.  I also run my hands through my hair on my head and find myself doing this all night while watching tv and I can't stop and because I can't stop it drives me crazy.  I get tired of doing it but can't stop.  I have read others say how you get almost hypnotized by the repeated action.  I am going to try my best not to touch my head or scratch every bump on my back tonight.  I have been washing my back really good and using rubbing alcohol after every shower but evertime I reach around and feel something I pick it and then strain to reach every little spot and pick it off...

It is good to know I am not alone.  It is part of the OCD which is what I have come to realize after reading other posts and researching OCD.  I don't know why the meds don't help though.  I guess I will mention it to my psychiatrist at the end of the month.

Thank you all for posting!
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Wow I'm not alone!  I too pick at my skin.  The pores drive me crazy and I squeeze them and pick at them, and at scabs or anything that I feel shouldn't be there.  I spend hours in the bathroom sometimes.  It is embarrassing.  I also bite the inside of my cheeks.  I have been diagnosed with bipolar, OCD, borderline personality disorder, depression blah blah blah.  I am on luvox and it has really really helped with my obsessions, not so much with the picking.  I have scars all over and scabs.  It really upsets my husband.  I've been doing it for years used to be a cutter at least i stopped that.  I'm also super fat largely because of the meds but can't live without them ( I get suicidal).  Fun fun!  What a trade off.
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wow, my husband keeps telling me to stop picking, and I keep saying "I can't".  I never thought that might actually be the truth.  I pick at everything, but only with my fingernails, never with needles or tweezers or anything, but I also bite the skin on my lips, the inside of my lips and cheeks, and the skin on my fingers.  I guess this will be one more thing to talk to the therapist about...
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I have been obsessive picking my face for as long as I can remember. It has gotten worse the past couple years, because I have found good makeup that helps me hide it more, which has lead to even more picking. I have just realized last nite that I need HELP!!! Has anyone had any success with any types of medication or therapy? Any suggesstions would be greatly appreciated. I do not take any other medications or antidepressants, I think I manifest all of my anxiety throught the picking.
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i just thought i'd post because i too have a problem picking.  in my case, it has been my just my legs i used to pick ant even the slightest little scab that appeared on my legs.  over time, my legs became covered and eventually i would rip off half the skin on my lower leg every time i picked off the scabs.  this was when i was about 12.  i am now 17 and only have scabs on my legs when i fall or skin myself.  i dont pick at them so much, but the urge is always there.  it was like a drug to me and i couldnt stop for the life of me.  the urges did, however become less powerful and occured less often.  i never took medication for it, and i never had therapy or anything, it just kinda slowed down when i started thinking about other things.  specifically, i started playing video games when i would get the urge to pick, and then, i would pretty much forget all about it.
recently i found out that my girlfriend has a similar problem and i was wondering how one would go about helping someone with this issue.  i went through it but i never really had real support, just my parents yelling at me to stop.  so what can i say to her to help her out?
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i feel so relieved that there are others like me. i use tweezers and pull out hairs from my legs. i get bumps from it and i can pop them like pimples. that's my favorite thing to do, but i also pop zits on my face, arms, and chest. and more recently i discovered that i can pull out little hairs from my butt (ya, its kinda weird) and thats also something that i do alot. i've been picking since i dont even know how long. it started as just popping pimples and at bumps on my arms. my arms got so scabbed up that i never wore short sleeve shirts. in my sophomore year of high school i tried using my tweezers to pull out hairs on my legs because i thought it would be like waxing them, only one hair at a time. but i started getting ingrown hairs, which i would pop. sometimes i cant pop them, so with my tweezers (which are really sharp) i dig down until i can get to the hair and pull it out. i gave my tweezers to my boyfriend today (lukester1250) in the hopes that maybe that would at least help me keep from pulling out hairs. i really have no idea how to get over this. i've tried but i can only go for a few days before doing it again. if im not doing one thing, i'm doing another. i dont like all the scars that i've put on myself and all the blemishes, which sometimes hurt. is there anything i can do to make this stop?
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Here's my story. My problem started when I was about 10 years old, when I started tweezing my eyebrows and eyelashes. I remember the first time I did it, I was looking in the mirror and just wanted to tweeze the hairs in between my eyebrows. I went too far back, so it looked like I tweezed half my eyebrows off. I also began pulling my eyelashes out, so it was literally bare in the middle. I eventually stopped pulling eyelashes, and thank God they grew back. But I couldn't stop tweezing my eyebrows, and the result is, 18 years later (I'm 28 now), they will never grow back to what they once were. I saw a picture of myself from before I started tweezing, and I had beautifully shaped eyebrows. When I was 11 or 12, I also started picking at the hairs in my legs. The ingrown hairs really bothered me, and I loved tweezing them out. Sometimes you have to take a sharp needle to pick out the hairs without damaging the skin too much. But my legs still get red and scarred, especially when the tweezer can't pull out the hair at the root and just breaks off. This, as you all know, is the ultimate annoyance because it won't heal quickly and you know you're going to go back in there and try to pull it out again before it heals. I've been picking my legs for at least 16 years. I am desperate to stop, but obviously easier said than done. I refuse to wear shorts and skirts, which is tough because I live in a warm climate, everyone wears shorts. I have to sweat and be miserable and embarrassed. WHY CAN'T I STOP??? Why do I do this??? I have never talked to anyone about this. I just picked a couple hours ago, I do it at least every other day. And I always tell myself, this is the last time. Then I do it again and again and again. I have nice legs, too. I'm destroying my legs like I destroyed my natural eyebrows. I have to wear eyebrow pencil everyday to fill in the gaps that won't grow back! Sixteen years folks, and counting. What the hell am I supposed to do? I hope that writing this post will help. Is there anyone out there with any advice? I don't think I can do this on my own.
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I to pick..I pull the skin off on the sides of my thumbs..I pick at scabs that I make..and at my hairline..I asked my counclior about it and she said it's just a nervous habit..I usually do it when I'm watching t.v..I don't do it in public..it's like u know it's there and u have to do something about it..Good luck
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I just stumbled upon this site, and was so amazed to find others just like me.
I have been picking my skin for as long as i can remember, i am 28 right now. I remember being very young 11 or 12 i guess, and standing on my bed so i could get more sunlight from the window so i could see my face batter so i could pick hairs ,pick pimples and scabs on my face. I remember having a scab on my scalp, which was the result of a fly bite, that kept scabbing, and i kept picking for over a year and a half, the SAME scab....like"what the hell". I still pick my face, more that anything, i do pick my legs, and pubic region for ingrowns, and my chest.
My newest thing is inside my ears. I started to just scarpe the insides of my ears with my fingernails, because of some dry skin that had started there. But now im completely obsessed, i do it at work in the bathroom, hoping that a scab has formed, and on my drive home from work, is the best, i pick my face, i dont even need to see what im doing, then i go to my ears again. It even hurts sometimes, but you get past that pretty quickly.
My friends tell me to stop. I can't, i dont think i want to stop.
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I was just wondering...
How many of you smoke cigarettes habitually or socially?
&
How many of you would consider yourselves sexually frustrated since you haven;t got some in a while or a virgin?
This may sound crazy, but I have the same picking problems as many of you do, and the other day I was reflecting on this sole problem.
If we all have smoking in common, then maybe it is the chemicals in the cigarettes that is causing this
&
If we have sexual frustration, or are still proud owners of our virginities still, we might just be searching for that "pleasureable release."
Let me know what you all think about my theory, and if you feel that you are a member of one, or both of these factors.
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I didn't know that there was such a thing as OCD for picking your body, Im nearly 18 and Ive been picking my legs, thighs and now arms for about 2 years now, I thought I was the only person, I'm glad to know there is a name for it, when I stop picking I can't stop, I can go for hours picking my legs, I've got scabs all over my legs and have to cover them all the time, I hate the fact that I have to do this as all my mates go out wearing dresses and skirts, I really dont know what to do, has anyone got any advice on what to do? I'm going uni next year and I want to stop this! I hate it! :(

Maya
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I dont smoke and Im not sexually frustrated, i really dont know why I'm doing this, it gets me so down..any solutions? thanks
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For me, it's more of a feeling of "Cleaning the wound". To me..the crusty stuff is just gross and has to go away...but then once it's gone, I'm so disgusted with myself for making it bleed. What can I do to stop this?
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-take down or cover mirrors with newspaper/ductape if mirrors are the instigator

-rubber band on wrist at all times, snap before, after, during picking (as much as possible, will make you think about what you're doing and associate it with pain)

-try being on the phone or with somebody when in bathroom (if mirrors are the instigator)

-if it gets really bad or you want clear skin for an event, stay with someone or go on a vacation or be very busy (cut out opportunities to pick)

-get a pet. rats will happily sit on your shoulder. good luck picking or feeling depressed/anxious with a cute thing snuggling, sniffing, or tickling you. a dog, especially lap dogs, will follow you everywhere, also will be a distraction

-it might help to keep all blemishes/perceived blemishes covered with an opaque mask

-write about each picking session after it, notice what your thinking about, what causes them, and what times sessions occur at. change your routine to keep these times occupied, avoid mirrors, etc at these times.

-when your disgusted with yourself after a session, think about other things and good thoughts, put on a mask and go to sleep. your skin will calm down when you wake up.

-talk to a close friend about it

-find a psychologist
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i don't have skin picking problem....i  have hair plucking problem...trichitillomania its called.
i have hormonal problem because of which i have excessive body hair..it can be taken care of by waxing or epilating but i have extreme hatred with my body for that....its okay to wax and all but i always my skin was clean and clear like others
i just hate to see hair on any body part except my scalp

i start using tweezers or my hand every chance i get

i don't use mirrors....so can't remove them.but what do i do about my eyes which scan every inch of my skin..........come hell or hay..i have to pluck

my therapist told me start learning to delay it and gradually it'll work
its worsened.....................

i have ruined my underarm skin.....i am tired of wearing long sleeves all the time even in scorching tropical season of india!

need help!

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I have been squizing my face's pores and pulling the hair from my legs for 15 years. I have found two solutions:
1- because i was picking my pores, i developed or aggravated a terrible rosacea that i have around my chin. now i know i have to take antibiotics if i squize my pores around the chin so i do it a little bit less.
i also found useful removing any light around the mirror so i can't see the pores.

2 - for my legs, i did the laser for permanent hair reduction. i am still doing the treatment so i still have some hair. however, because the treatment costs a few thousand dollars and if i pull my hair again it will make my hair growth back, i don't pull my legs' hair anymore.

however, now i became obsessed with my split ends: i cut them with a scissor and i can't stop for hours. today i hide the scissor... let's see if it works.

Everytime i am facing a stressful situation, even if it makes me a little anxious, i start having these compulsive behaviors. So as a solution i avoid stressful situations and i asked my husband to help me with this.

Also, i started to do sport. It relieves stress. I go swimming so i do repetitive movements for a long period of time - in some way these repetitive movements are similar to my compulsive behaviors.
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Another solution that I found for stopping pulling hair from my legs and that worked for about a year (since an event that gave me some anxiety happened) is the follow: I created an image of myself like the person i wanted to be. in my case it was the image of a confident and rational professional who always does the right thing, is efficient, etc. I adapted all my behaviors to this image. I created a very specif image of who i wanted to be and i imagined all the actions that this person was doing. so every time i started one of my compulsive behaviors i thought about my ideal me that i was becoming and then looked at the behavior i was having.
the image of myself and the behavior were contrasting so much that i stopped the compulsive behavior.
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I, too, pick my face (only) and it has now caused severe scarring and marks. I am totally disgusted with myself after I do it, and especially when I have to deal with covering the damage I've done. But as many of you stated, I still have the urge to pick! I've been able to conclude that it occurs during times when I need CONTROL over something. For example, if I'm angry with my boyfriend and alone at home, if my job has been incredibly stressful and the tasks have overwhelmed me, or if my apartment clutter has reached a point of "where do I begin cleaning this" THAT'S when I decide to head into the bathroom and pick. I've given myself the infection Impetigo on multiple occasions within the past year...ho the hell am I going to stop?? I'm beautiful and I'm making myself look disgusting :(
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I have been frustrated with my picking obsession for 34 years.  I pick cuticles, scabs, pimples, ingrown hairs, I can't wait for a sunburn to peel...and its not even just me, if my husbands sunburn is peeling I am compelled to peel it...  it drives me crazy...it drives him crazier...I have stopped for a little while and then I start again...it's nice to know that other people have similar problems.  I just wish there was something to help long term, other than just distracting myself from the urge or medds...any suggestions? I would dearly love to stop finally!!!
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i am 41 and i cant stop either i willbeg myself to please stop and then i find myself at the next mirror for sometimes hours.  have been late for work and other thing , mainly trying to cover up the damage i have caused.  and oh my god taking a shower after a pcking session it hurts.  so until i can stop how do you all cover up your distruction.  please help!!!!
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I pick at my skin. My face, my legs, my arms, at times even the skin in between my breasts. pretty much any "harder" surface. so not really my thighs!

I have dark spots all over them. it's been 5 years since the last time i wore a skirt, shorts or short sleeves! It bothers me so much.it was amazing how reading the comments here felt like I had written them!

I find that pick at my skin mostly at nights, when I need to brush my teeth and take my contacts off. I can't cover the mirror since I share it with my sister. I find that it helps if the mirror is placed far away from me though. like if the sink cabinet area is really wide. although I have even found myself climbing up and sitting closer to the mirror just to pick.

I tried a lot medications... i don't really have pimples or anything. I bet I could find something to pick at on angelina jolie's face too!

I find that I mostly do it when I'm really stressed, or angry.
Sports really really do help. staying away from the mirror helps too.

I also try wearing long sleeves and pants at home as well so I don't get a chance to pick at them. Little lighting helps too.

I tried laser hair removal, but I pick at the loose ends of hair on my legs regardless!
I really wish I could stop it. I also bite the inside of my cheeks, but I had no idea it was sth that could be related.

It's so hard to do things. i love swimming but can't go. I have a great body but can't show it off.
The lights have to be off for me to even let my boyfriend touch me. and every morning I ave to wake much earlier than him to cover my face with make up again.

sigh
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I also have a skin picking obsession that comes in intervals of about a month apart. I have been doing this for about 4 years now, and it started out just picking blackheads that I wouls get around the time my skin would change from PMS. I use to bite the inside of my cheek from childhood to around 20 something. I am 40 years old now and just recently got diagnosed with MS. I also have Bipolar disorder and ADHD. Over the past few years that I have started skin picking, I have fallen into a ritual that gets my skin infected and I can press on my skin and create a bump filled with pus giving me another thing to pick. Now I have picked so much that I have about 5 or 6 episodes where I think I am pulling some type of parasites out of my skin. I can take a piece of tape and rip it off of my skin and wait about 3 seconds and see these little white hairlike things come out of my skin by themselves. I finally got my mom and my daughter to see these white things emerging from my skin but I still have never taken anything out of my skin that is alive. I have started with my scalp also and on a couple of occasions I swear I have found lice. My family gets so embarresed and I dont know what to do to stop these episodes. I get so bad I think I see little worms in carpet,and a couple of times in my food. I am very scared and I have never contemplated suicide, but when is there a breaking point? Any advice anyonef?
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i am 23 and have been picking at my skin since i was a kid. i quit when i was a teen and then after some short lived drug abuse 5 yrs ago i started again. i pick at my face my arms my legs and buttocks. i cant quit. its embarrassing to me and shameful. im lucky though that my skin doesnt scar very bad. i would have beautiful skin if i could just stop doing this. most of the time i dont realize im doing it. i wish they would do some more research on this. i am very aware of my problem and ive cried countless hours about it but still i dont stop. i cant stop. i hate it.
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I thought I was the only person in the world that did this haha,
It's become such a time consuming habit, I stand in front of the mirror for up to an hour and a half just poking at my pores etc...i do it to my back too, see my skin is fine, average teenagers i guess, and it would probaly be perfect if it wasnt for this effing habit...
I've been biting the inside of my cheeks for YEARS! Once again, I thought I was the only one that did it.

if I feel the urge to do either of these things I just feel this pressure builing up inside of my, starts off at my hands and my head and spreads out further and becomes more intense, like energy dying to be unleashed...and once Ive dont it I can breathe easy again....Annoying...
Those tips are quite good, Im gonna get a stress ball tomorrow (:
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My 10 yr old DD just started this about 1 week ago.  We were on vacation and all of a sudden my husband and I realized, if she wasn't playing with her silly putty or on the computer, she was picking at her skin non-stop.  I also noticed that she stopped reading as much as before, so I started handing her her silly putty, allowing her to use the computer as a distraction, and/or reading with her.  She has a tendency toward OCD and is ADHD, and we have BiPolar and depression in our family, so much of what I read above is not surprising.  I also see the agony many of you are suffering with and I worry for my DD.  Thanks for the advice and the best to all of you....
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I'm so shocked that this is an ocd! I have been a compulsive skin picker and scratcher for about 20 years! I have had other things that i know are ocd related like, compulsive armpit washing-strange i know. I know where that comes from though, i get convinced i smell and it dosn't matter who tells me i don't or how many times i just can't stop by will. It seems to fade by itself but i don't know how. The skin picking gets worse at times but is always there. I scratch my skin till it bleads and it looks like a big graze on my leg/arm. I can pick my skin for hours and hours, i pick the skin on my face,neck, back, legs, arms and scalp. I know i'm usually looking for spots that don't exist but when i pick i have a feeling that i want to get rid of any dirt or yukkiness under my skin, i have a feeling of disgust with it. I even do it to my partner sometimes, which is awful! I have a lot of small scars because after i have made my skin bleed i still squeeze or pick it until it becomes quite a large area of -well-mess. I have a big old history of mental health issues (i have bi polar but only diagnosed with episodic major depression) so i guess this one has been overlooked. I have to say though it is really good to know how many people have this apart from me and that it's an actual ocd, i thought i was just yukky.
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Hi all, i have a picking and scratching tendancy too which worsens when i am nervous, stressed, tired and not eaten well (think too much sugar and caffine sets me off).

I suffer from anxiety and depression but fairly mild. I am not prescribed medication and have been seeing a counsellor weekly for the last 8 months.

Recently my scratching and picking has got worse so discussed it with my counsellor who asked when i tended to do this.
I pick to satisfy a 'wanting to feel clean' feeling, think i have it in my head that i need to get rid of any spots/bumps and picking/scratching will help when actually it doesnt!
I also pick and scratch when im nervous and my counsellor asked if i may be doing it as fight or flight preparation - which i think could be the case. I think too much when talking to people and realising im overly concerned that whatever i may say may come across wrong or offend. I need to stop this but it's not something im consciously aware i am doing (well i notice while doing it but start without realising).

Hopefully will carry on working this out and stop but have a feeling may take some time as have had this habit since i was about 12 and I am now 32! Will come back with any breakthroughs..

Good luck everyone and thank you this forum is v.helpful    
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I've had mild OCD my whole life, mainly just a neat-freak.  But it never occurred to me that my addictive habits could also be a form of OCD, until I started reading this forum.  I've been picking at my arms and face since I was a teenager (I'm 36 now).  I did suffer from acne in college and went on Accutane, which miraculously completely cleared up my skin and scars!!  But as I've aged and recently had a hysterectomy, my skin problems have come back and now I'm more of a picker than ever!  And I'm starting to scar, which has made me feel completely mad at myself.  I can not stop.  I also chew the inside of my mouth, which as a result of the grinding of the teeth, has caused receeding gumlines.  So, I wear a night guard as much as possible to try and stop the chewing.  I do notice that when my pimples on my arm and face clear up in the summer from sun, I stop picking so much.  But when I am tired or stressed, I will sit under a light and pick my arms forever!!!  

I've tried Lexapro and it doesn't really help.  The only thing I can do is try and make myself stop.  Any other suggestions out there??  (cutting my nails does help)
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wow i thought i was the only one with this problem i guess not,
i to have OCD axitey and problems with depression, but for a while now i have been picking at my legs and face alot. i will spend a long time just twezzing and picking the hair's out, its getting bad may legs look soo bad like some one took an ice pick to them i need to stop but its really hard. and one mark got infected because i keep picking at it, i allway pop every singel white head on my face and i am making my skin so bad. i need to stop, i didnt relize that this is also another part of OCD, because i have all of the other problems with it as well i guess you can have more than one OCD issue.
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I feel like my life is ruined with my face/arm/leg/hip/back picking obsession. I have severe anxiety and after reading these posts I'm sorry to say it but I was extremely relieved to see that cheek biting comes with the teritory because i felt so alone. It has gotten so bad that i cant even look at my boyfriend anymore without wanting to pick at him! He doesn't even have acne he just never exfoliates so he does get a lot of blackheads which drive me the most crazy. Not like thats an excuse though, they really arent even noticeable to anyone but me. He actually slapped my hand so hard when I picked something on his arm and I was so shocked because I didn't even realize I was doing it. We eventually broke up. Not like I blame him or anything but what does this make me want to do? pick pick pick. I pick at myself so hard that it looks like i have a skin disease when in reality I have amazing skin and I always have. The entire thing is ironic because I am an esthetician and specialize in skin care and can actually make people look pretty good. I don't dare pick at people the way I pick at myself and I really enjoy making people feel good about themselves, probably because i feel like s**t 24/7 and have resulted in not leaving my house and covering all the mirrors. If only I could practice what I preach. I think this crazy habbit started 6 years ago when I turned 14. I am 20 now and recently when my life has become really stressful it has become extremely severe and I am really beginning to fear for my life. Like I said, this pushed my boyfriend away after 2 years of being together. He knew I had OCD but it has never been this bad where I am keeping myself locked in the bathroom for hours. So I have just started seeing a hypnotherapist but our 2nd session is coming up and I fear this wont be able to help, like its more than just mental it is like a mother f***ing DRUG! The worst part is that no matter how much people listen to you, unless you yourself have the same problem NOBODY will ever understand so thank you all for posting. I'm so sorry to hear others are suffering like I am from this awful addiction. Good luck and thanks for listening
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Just when i thought i was the only one with sores on my face as a result of self induced pivking i was definitely wrong....

i never wanted to own up to a problem but it seems i do and in definite need of some help as it is very embarassing and hurtful too when you go out and people see these lesion on your face or an attempt to cover up but look worse than with the sores.

I dont know how to stop and get rid of these either....not sure what creams to use or anthing that will make me stop....my face looks awful.

Its only my face i do it too - no where else. As a kid i used to pick legs and arms too but stopped. I get the urge to pick off the scab/makeup from my face to cover up as i know airing it out will help it to heal only to re-pick at my face thinking it will be better if i do and reduce the lumpyness in my face.

I really want to stop - just dont know how
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I have this! I am 20 and realized for the last few years that I have OCD, and its getting worse. Not like dibilitating, but constant hand washing, germaphopic, etc. I honestly hold my breath when people sneeze around me! Well, the last year or year and a half I have been constantly picking at my legs, arms, and face. I don't have a bad complexion, except for when I pick. My legs and arms are absolutely ruined. I am so depressed about it. I am suppose to be young and enjoying life, instead I have to completely cover up and cant do anything fun during the summer. I am noticing that depression/OCD and skin picking are often related. My family has a history of depression (clinical) so i am very prone to it and have been showing more and more symptoms in the last year as the stress of college has picked up. This is probably the reason for the continued skin picking. I have tried talking to a close friend about it but he never understands. I suppose I can't expect him too because he has never experienced OCD so how could he know? Its just difficult to explain that I cant stop, I pick before I even realize what i am doing. I am so disgusted with myself. I tell myself I will stop because I get so mad and feel guilty after picking. Then i just do it again, its like the cycle of abuse. I am definitely going to log my feelings about it, try to keep silly puddy or something on hand, and take the light away from mirrors. When i am sitting around and have the urge to pick, I sometimes paint my nails because I cant do anything with wet nails! (sorry guys-no help for you) I am mostly concerned now with the scars! I HATE them and honestly feel like they are ruining my life, that may sound extreme but its a battle i fight literally everyday.  Does anybody have ANY new suggestions to get rid/fade them? I have gone to two dermatologists and a skin clinic and they have all said there is nothing i can do to get rid of them. I cant settle for that though, I want my life back! Its summer and I would like to go to the lake, wear shorts, etc. I thought about making an appointment at a skin and laser office. They offer this treatment called Fraxel, but I am not sure it will work on these kinds of scars, the yellowish brown marks that remain, but are not raised. Does anyone know if this Fraxel treatment would help? The consultaion appointment is 75 dollars so I dont really want to go if they cant do anything for me. The treatment is expensive, but honestly, i am willing to pay any amount to get rid of these scars at this point.  Ok, this was a long comment, but any suggestions will help!!!! (I am already using fade creams/cooca butter/vitamin E cream etc. but am not very patient and honestly dont know if the diligence will even pay off.

Alright, thanks and to everyone else out there, I know EXACTLY how you feel! Let's just try to take this one day at a time.
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EVERYONE:

I cannot tell you what this forum has done for me. I NEVER had ANY clue other people had this problem. I have been made fun of and teased since I was around 8 years old because I just cannot stop. First it was my legs. As time has gone on, I have gone to work on my face and most obviously, my arms. It truly is like I cannot stand to see/feel/know a bump or spot or ingrown hair is present. I will do whatever it takes to get rid of it - even if it causes bleeding, open wounds, horrific scaring and embarrassment. I would give ANYTHING, and I do mean that - to stop. I just can't. My parents give me hell about it. I wear long sleeves EVERY day to work. I know people wonder why. The skin on my back is beautiful. I so wish my arm skin looked the same way. I have VERY, VERY thick black hair. One thing I noticed is that 2 hairs are growing out of almost every individual pore on my arms. Because of this - I always have the urge to pluck out my arm hairs. Well, YOU ALL know what this leads to... small white bumps, the desire to pop them so they are not there, then finally, a scab which you have to pick off, and a never-ending cycle until there is a huge scar and it looks like you were once burned badly with a cigarette. (except it was more like 23,890,798 packs of cigarettes)

I am so embarrassed about it. I mostly catch myself doing it (when I actually realize I am doing it) when I am sitting in the bathroom. My coworkers probably think I have a stomach problem - but I'm really in there picking at my arms! PLEASE HELP. I'm on Zoloft and I have Klonopin for anxiety attacks, but none of this medication treats the picking problem - maybe this is because I have never told anyone about it until now. This is a big relief off my shoulders. Thank you, thank you for sharing your stories and suggestions. I will try everything mentioned above. Good luck... I'm going to throw away my tweezers NOW!
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I just realized a few days ago that I do have a problem and suspected OCD. I have been picking since my teens, in the last three years it has gotten way worse. It started with my face, now although I have been able to for the most part control that the rest of my body is way worse. I am afraid to show from my neck down. My worst area is my breasts and thighs. I go to the bathroom and I have to check, have to squeeze until something comes out. I will continue at it especially if it is any other color than blood. I tried stopping being a female and having the marks on my breasts are quite embarrassing. The ones that I have been picking at for the last year are so are finally healing, but now I have about 10 to 15 more that started as scratching that turned to scabs. Wanting to pop others blemishes also has been a big thing. I also scratch my head, I try not to do it in public, but at work when no one is looking I do. I could do this all day. Any little bump I feel I have to get. It doesn't matter where. I am so very lost, but glad that I found this site. I don't have insurance so I am going to continue to try and control it myself. Maybe reading all this will help............
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I guess I can say I am one of the lucky ones because I don't pick anywhere but my eyebrows and my head..I also have done this as a child..I do my picking when I am watching t.v,weird because thats the only time I pick..I get flakes in my hair from picking and I will take a fine comb and run it through my hair to get the flakes out,most of the time there is still some left there..I also have the habit of pulling skin off my thumbs for whatever reson I don't know..I do that when I am with others or by myself..my room mate will catch me picking and tell me to stop picking..I pick my head daily and I'm sure I have sores and I want to go get my hair cut but I am embarressed to go,as they will see scabs on my head..I have bpd,stress,anixiety,panic attacks and depression among other things..I think I do it just to be doing something with my hands because of all of the everyday bs that comes along and it is by all means a disorder..my Dr. told me and my therapist that there is nothing wrong as I do not pick at other areas on my body,I disagree..I may not pick at everything but I still pick on an everyday basis..Good Luck to you all and thanks for sharing..
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I have been a compulsive skin picker since I can remember.  It started in my early teens (maybe 13)... and I'm pretty sure it all started after the death of my grandparents.  My family life changed, and my mother changed.  Being an only child, I felt trapped and started picking to deal with the messed up feelings in my head.  Skin picking didn't help, and I actually became a cutter.  I was a skin picker and a cutter for almost 10 years. There isn't a place on my body where I haven't picked or cut.  I was diagnosed with major depression at 14, and took celexa for a few years, but it didn't help. It's been two years since I stopped cutting, and I have my own reasons as to why.  

I wasn't majorly depressed.  Sure, I had stages in my life where I was suicidal and depressed, but I'm pretty sure I was diagnosed wrong.  I'm about 90% positive that I'm OCD and have episodic depression. I've done lots of research throughout the past 5 years, and as you all know, skin picking is one of the new mental illnesses and doctors are still trying to figure out why.  Why do I think I'm OCD? Well, after researching all the different types of obsessions and compulsions, I realized that skin picking wasn't my only problem.  I always had to be perfect, and reminded and told when I did a good job.  Money always has to be the same direction, and I arrange everything in an symmetrical order.  I have recently been diagnosed with anxiety and occasional panic attacks, and these are actually some other symptoms of OCD.  OCD isn't just being a germ freak.  

Here's the problem with Compulsive Skin Picking (it's medical name is now Dermatillomania).  It could be a form of OCD, but it can also be an Impulse Control Disorder, which is different from OCD.  There's CSP, Body-focused Repetitive Behavior, and a whole bunch of other ICD's.  The symptoms are different from OCD.  There's also Body Dysmorphic Disorders, which can occur for someone who's OCD.  Look into that, it can be a scary thing. CSP can also come out of being depressed, but almost every other mental illness has depression as a symptom. Honestly, I don't believe too many psychiatrists and doctors understand this, so you have to do research on your own first.  This webpage helped me understand the types of OCD:
http://www.ocd-free.org/typesofocd  
But honestly, research everything and anything, and try to understand for yourself before you talk to your doctor. It sounds dumb, but I was a Psych major in college for a while, and half of those people have no clue what they're talking about.  Plus, every single one of us is different, and what works for me may not work for you.  

So what do we do to stop?  I have stopped in the past.  Without medication or therapy.  I made myself stop cutting.  Honestly, it's our minds and we do have some control.  I met the man of my dreams (sounds fairy-tale-like but it's true), and I stopped picking and haven't cut myself in over 2 years.  I was really really happy, and my job and life wasn't overly stressful.  I exercised and ate healthy food.  And then my man (now my fiancee) went into the Airforce.  I've been without him for over 6 months now, and I slowly started picking again.  Plus my job changed, and I'm the Marketing/FOH Manager of a busy restaurant.  Stress built up, and I started picking again at night.  I sucked it up, and went to a doctor,  and now I'm on Paxil and Xanax.  It ***** sometimes because I feel loopy, but it helps me not think about picking so much.  

There's a whole ton of things that can be done for CSP.  Of course there's medication, but you have to believe it will help.  Don't feel guilty if you need medicine.  I use to think that being on meds would label me "crazy" or something.  Now I realize that the chemicals in my brain (serotonin and dopamine) are lower than normal.  Paxil is a SSUI (look it up) and puts extra serotonin in my brain.  Makes me feel a little happier.  The Xanax helps for my compulsive and stressful panic attacks.  If you're not into medication, there's Cognitive Behavior Therapy.  You can go to group sessions, or one-on-one therapy.  A lot of therapists recommend keeping a journal of your skin pickings.  Write stuff down as soon as you stop.  Try to figure out why and what causes the compulsions.  It helps to be around people; it's harder to skin-pick.  Covering mirrors can help some people, and throwing away your "tools" also helps.  Exercise does help too by releasing those happy chemicals in your brain.  

So after writing a book for anyone who reads it, my conclusion is: we're not alone.  More and more people are coming out of the CSP closet, and eventually it will be fully understood by all those doctors and psychs.  My life has been a battle for over 12 years now, and I'm just hoping and praying that once I'm back with my fiancee, I'll stop picking again.  I did stop for over a year (my record) while living with him, and his love is stronger than any medicine or therapy, and it overcomes my picking habits.  I still want to take medicine for my OCD and anxiety, because it helps, but I hope the skin picking ends.  

I hope my story and the information I've provided gives help to some of you.  We're not alone anymore, and that feels good.  
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I'm 30 years old and I've been picking at my skin since I was a teenager on and off.  The problem has become more serious in the past 5 years or so - I basicaly go crazy at every zit, white pimple, black head or scab I see on my body, so that afterwards I'm left with holes in my skin and when they heal they turn into brown spots. When you have to use concealers on you back, arms and thighs before getting intimate with your husband - you know it's bad!!!!

My plan of action:
1.About three years ago I went to a dermatologist and I had 3 chemical peels (glycolic peels) done on my back, they were pricey - $150 a treatment, but it worked I was able to goin a two piece swimming suit at the beach.  I can't afford to go to the dermatologist again, but I have found this website - www.skinlaboratory.com where they sell glycolic peels (and other peels, but I'm a big fan of glycolic peels). I bought a small 35% roll on bottle for $15 and I was able to use it 3 times, but I used it on my face , whole arms, legs and on every brown spot on my body. It really helps to fade the hyperpigmentation spots (brown spots) and it actually also helps with reducing breakouts. Next time I will get the 50 % concentration though.

2. I noticed that I don't pick as much when I have acrylic nails, because it's difficult to pick - so I try to do that as often as I can.

3. I am going to get hair laser removal, because I notice that I usually pick on my arms and legs, or wherever I shave and get ingrown hairs or those white pimples that usually affect the hair follicle. A very affordable way to go about that is www.triabeauty.com - the first real at-home laser - owesome! It costs $795, but right now they have this easypay plan, whrere you pay $399 as a downpayment and then $66 for the next 6 months. If you make the math,  it comes to exactelly $795 and you don't pay any interest. All you need is to provide a credit card number.
The best candidate for this device though is someone who has white skin and dark hair.
There's another device Silk'n that I'm considering for my legs, because it has a bigger tip, so you cover a big area of your body, like the legs, quicker. The only thing is, this device is advertised as a hair laser removal device, but I don't think it really is. However, people claim they really have permanent result with it, so I'm still looking into it. This one is cheaper, you can buy it for around $500, but you will have to keep buying new lamps for it for $50. The nice thing about it is that it's corded, while the Tria is cordless, so it can happen that it will run out of battery in the middle of a treatment and then you will have to recharge for 2 to 3 hours. I personally have my mind set on Tria for now, because it's the real thing!

4> I'm planning to buy the Thermaclear Acnee Clearing device - www.sephora.com sells it for $149 and they have great return policy if it's not working for you. Like with everyhting i buy, I make a lot of research obout a product, so I really think this will help me a lot, because it will give me the satishaction that I'm doing something about my "problem" - pimples, so instead of picking them I will just zap them with this device all day long!! :0)

All the reasearch I have done and am hoping to help me is above, I hope it will help someone else.

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Thank goodness - so glad I found you guys!  Just spent about 3 hours picking my entire face, so it's now red, lumpy, sore etc, but when I look in the mirror I just see the bits I missed.  My partner just begged me to stop, said it's not normal to do that!  So I googled, and I found this discussion.

It's nice to hear about others, even though it doesn't stop me from doing it.  I've picked for ages, I get really bad ingrowns esp around my thighs/pubic area, and I will sit for hours with a needle & tweezers, digging at hairs that may or may not be there.  I just can't stop.  If I don't keep busy, I find myself inspecting any accessible area of my body, arms, shoulders, legs, tummy, face, and picking at whatever I can find.  
If nothing else - I want to stop coz I'm getting a sore neck from being hunched over for hours on end!!

As I pause to think about what to say next, I'm attacking my shoulder.  Hmm.

Starting now, I'll make a serious conscious effort to stop!  Well, at least cut down, to start with.
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I'm sorry for the group of you that feel comfort in having  this problem in comon. Try being the other person in the room trying to eat while the picker is picking their scabs from one skin location to another. Not washing their hands because they don't realize they are picking. Or try talking to the person chewing the inside of their lip like there is a bit of meat left on the bone and pretending you don't notice their face is completely distorted. Hey folks it's a form of self mutalation and if you can't stop for yourself maybe you could have some consideration for others around you. It's gross to see someone covered in open sores. Please don't assume others have to be tolerant of this. Have some retraint. If you're going to pick until it's an open sore.... put a bandaid on it or cover it up. Your coworkers and family should be a consideration when you have an overwhelming urge to rip off your skin. Really people, do you know the amount of germs that are generated from skin wounds. Pickers love to tell stories of how their skin got to be in such poor conditions like bug bites, acne, allergic reaction. Does anyone realize when they go to their doctor a doctor looks for an acne pattern? A bug bite heals in a number of days and an allergic reaction has certain characteristics the provider looks for.Be honest and get the help you need. The excuses make you look like your unstable.
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im 25 and been picking for about 15yrs constant i spend the day mainly in a trance picking at my face body anywhere im covered in scars all over my body and this has completly ruined me, but i cant stop all i do is pick pick pick i could have nice skin and feel nice but i dont i pick where ever i am and whom ever is around i recently lost my job cause of the picking i have never spoke to anyone about it. i have had a series of mental health problems during my life bipolar personality disorder manic depression and its only cos my bloke mentioned how much i pick that i decided i have to do something but i cant tell my doctor im too embarrassed
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Ive had OCD almost all my life. It used to be opening and shutting doors, checking and re-checking things ect, having daily routines for everything. When i was about 11 i began to pick at my feet (i know, eww) so violently that i couldn't walk and id have to wrap them up in bandages, my mother was so scared and everyone told me to just stop picking (it hurt so bad) but I just simply could not. Lately they picking came back, picking the dry skin off my lip, even when there not cracked,just pulling at the skin. It hurts so much sometimes. I didnt realize there was a name for it, and other people did it until a few months ago, I thought I had complemently gotten over my OCD. Just to realize it was just as bad, ive just switched up many if not all my habits to other things. Bleh, skin pickings the worst. I always got grossed out at the thought of people who compulsively picked and pulled at their skin/hair like that, and didnt realize, I was doing it too. =/
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hi, i have been picking at my skin for a few years now i guess.  it started when i got eczema on my ears and i pick at them especially when i'm studying for a test or something stressful is going on, but also i now do it unconsciously.  i also have ocd about tweezing my eyebrows, they have to be perfect and i will spend up to half an hour every time i'm in the bathroom b/c i feel the need to pluck.  and i also pull my arm hairs out unconsciously, somehow it just makes me feel better.  i don't know what to do b/c i can't stop and won't admit i have a problem except on here.  its gross but apparently other people out there do it to so that makes me feel like less of a loser
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god i thought it was just me, i have picked my arms for years and years, and now gone onto my legs as my arms got too bad i actually caused a scathoid i think that is what it is called it is scar tissue because i constantly picked at it, it is twice as big as my tb which is just below it everyone keeps saying your tb is big.

And i also pull my eyelashes out but after i have to rub them on the top of my lip for some reason it is soothing.

I didn't know it had something to do with ocd i was just being nosey on here as my daughter does a lot of ocd things but i must admit the more i think about it i do a lot of ocd things, like count four pegs out, colour coordinate pegs and clothes, but i just thought that was normal, i am also anxious when out. So are my children. Xharon x
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Avatar_m_tn
We know we're disgusting freaks. We know.

Personally, I go through a box of band-aids every three weeks, mostly so folks like you don't need to see my ravaged skin.

Of course, people ask no matter what. If I don't wear the bandages, it's "Oh my God, what happened to your hands?!" If I WEAR the bandages, my hands are covered in 2-4 band-aids (which never match my skin as closely as I'd like... the fabric ones seem least conspicuous), and I get the same response ("Oh my God, what happened to your hands?!").'

(Answer: "Dry skin." Which isn't entirely a lie. In the summer months, it's "oh, y'know, I Rollerblade," which is a little more misleading.)

Because I need to wash my hands on a regular basis (even non-OCD people need to use bathrooms), and even the super-sticky bandages don't hold up to that kind of abuse, I need to wash my hands in a special careful way and carry spare bandages in my pocket when water or sweat makes the original ones fall off.

Washing my hands hurts like CRAZY in the winter.

Because wearing four band-aids on your hands at a time is really, really conspicuous, I try to limit it to just the two worst spots. Unfortunately, this leaves the other two of my favorite picking spots unprotected, and I tend to unconsciously attack them while I'm in meetings. Once I notice I'm bleeding all over the place, I have to try to maintain eye contact with the person while digging into my pocket for a spare band-aid, quietly opening it, applying it, and stuffing the wrapper back in my pocket.

I've blown job interviews because of this.

I pick my face, too, and it's scarred pretty badly now, but I can usually pass that off as acne. I spent most of undergrad with aluminum foil covering the mirrors in my dorm room, which was loads of fun to try to explain.

Where do I even start with getting out of this?
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm Sorry You Are illiterate and Can't spell Correctly.The People on here are comforted by the fact that they are not alone, they're not happy because they have people to have picking parties with. Apparently You have no compassion for others, these people here are going through a living hell and they have  idiots like you making them feel bad that they have a problem. Do you know what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is? Look it up,It may take you awhile to understand but do try. As You Said yourself they are unaware that they are picking. Why? Because  they cannot help it, it is the same as being mentally handicapped,I'd hate to see how you treat them.And Just to let you know, Pickers as you call them  are very aware when they have open sores you don't think they get embarrassed when people stare? Are you that Naive or are you just heartless? Are Disabled people lesser than you? Is God Beneath you?Apparently you think so. If you have a problem with the way some one looks you must think you're perfect, Everyone has something wrong with them. And Having Consideration for others? Look Who's talking. These people have OCD what's your excuse? You have a stick up your ***?  Pickers do not love to tell stories about how their skin got so bad, They lie so ignorant people like yourself won't look down on them.And Yes Dear, People who do pick are unstable. I know you can't spell... apparently you can't read either. So If it bothers you so much having to see it, why don't you just look away? or better yet, put band aids over your eyes.Being a stuck up ***** shouldn't be tolerated either I'm sure these good people would agree with me.By the way "picking" is actually a medical/Mental condition the proper name of it is dermatillomania you might want to look that up too. Have something to say back to me? Go for it!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Everyone

I can relate to these posts so much.  I am a recent picker and have been a plucker for several years.  It started when I was a girl and I started pulling arm hairs out and then went on to shave and then pluck.  I started plucking facial hairs, nose hairs, knuckle hairs.  My hair was normal before this.  I don't know why this started but the hairs grew back thicker and darker.  I was always self-conscious of it and still am.  Lately I've been concentrating on tweezing every nose hair visible to me and very recently I became a pimple picker.  I've never had an acne problem but recently something caused me to break out on my face.  I began to pick at them and of course they got worse.  I even started on my scalp and neck.  I have big scabs I can feel on my neck and scalp and I'm trying to leave them alone.  It's sort of a comforting thing to do, why I don't know because it looks bad and it hurts.  The underlying cause?  Maybe low self-esteem, worrying, some OCD?  All I know is it won't go away until you stop doing it.  Try to think of something else and keep your hands busy.  Don't look in the mirror.  In a few days there will already be an improvement.  It's easier for me because I haven't been a picker for long but the tweezing is hard to give up.
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Avatar_m_tn
...Mentally handicapped? Disabled? I wouldn't call that a comforting description, either.

For some of us, it's a bad habit that we need some help getting over--like nail-biting or hair-twirling or butting into conversations. For others of us, yes, it is a compulsion, which I guess implies you're a bit off in the head, but still.
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Avatar_f_tn
Reading all of your stories has been such a relief. I thought I was the only person who did this.

I'm 19 and have picked at every inch of my body (mostly my arms and thighs) since I was 14. At first, I didn't think I had a problem; I'd just sit and pick when I was bored. When I was 16, I started going into trans-like states where I could lock myself in the bathroom and pick for hours. I began to feel extremely ashamed when my friends and family started noticing and covered up with long sleeves and pants, even in the summers. My mother would scream at me and began punishing me when she'd see my skin. She's not a cruel or unreasonable women; she was just horrified at what I'd done to myself and didn't know how to make me stop.

Aside from being revolted by my skin and strange uncontrollable behavior, I don't have a self-esteem problem. I've always been complimented on my looks and feel perfectly confident in my personality. I've never been bullied or rejected. I have a loving boyfriend whom I have lied to about my problem (I say I have extreme allergic reactions and scars from scratching hives). It's so hard to keep this from him. I feel like I have this disgusting secret. I'm not addicted to anything besides picking the **** out of my skin. I need to stop. I've tried to on my own, but I haven't made it more than a few days without another picking episode. I've given myself skin infections, and even picked at those. I have horrible scars.

Knowing now that this is a legitimate disorder, I feel encouraged and am ready to seek professional help. Thank you all for your honesty. It's really helped. I no longer feel isolated in my odd problem. My mom will be excited to hear that there's a medical term for this and that I'm ready to put a serious effort into resolving my issue. I wish you all the best of luck. Hopefully further medical research will go into our compulsions and we'll have the answers and cures we've become desperate for.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been picking at my face before I was even ten.  people at my elementry school have been making fun of me and asking what has happend to my face.  I have been lieing saying that my cats had scratched me every where.  It is embarrasing but i can't stop.  Even if I try.  It is so hard. even my family members make fun of me.  It is so sad for people like me.  I mean, I'm very smart, I get good grades, but i pick my face when I can, it's a habbit that i can't get rid of.  And i think i will never get rid of it and get teased for the rest of my life.  I hate it.  Please help!!!! and just know that you are not alone.  And i will even say it, I'm ten, turning eleven this year, and i still pick my face.
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Avatar_m_tn
I read most of your comments and felt as if I had written these comments. I did suffer from this cronic (chronic) obsession to pick my skin. I typically wasn't prone to acnes but; as many of you have stated...I too enjoyed plucking my hair out (the in - growth)..this consistent behavior resulted in my entire arm being awfully scarred. I would be sitting to study and would get lost for hours picking my skin. I was too obsessed with this behavior to let it go. And the realization of having unhealthy skin didnt seem to bother me initially. I continued this behavior, and once involuntarily kept pinching at a smal bump on my chin.. this turned into a wound, which I again kept pinching. Before I knew it, this turned into a callous - a protruded skin on my chin. Everywhere I went, people asked me what was up with my chin. I used couple of medication for it to subside...and for once it nearly healed. And then I again had the nerve to pick on it...which made it regrow into an ugly huge callous. And this time no matter what I did, it didnt go away. People continued to ask.... It was quite embarrasing to say the least. Then I ended up going to this doc, who probably was more of a quack...He said he could get rid of it for me by pouring a certain chemical on that spot. I agreed as I was frustrated with the condition of my chin, and was doing my post-graduation at that time. So going to college and receiving raised eyebrows, questions and comments had reached a saturation point. The ******** doc poured the chemical which burned my skin, and it was too late for me to undo anything. I realized how foolish I had been. It has been 5 years since this incident, and I still carry around the scar on my chin. Though it has faded over time.
Perhaps this extreme incident was what shook my head...and I havent picked my arms ever since...though I am tempted once in a while. It seems all futile and I sense an alarm/realization into what I'm doing - which makes me stop right there. I personally think it is all in our mind. If we succumb to any form of compulsive behavior- it takes you in. It is best to talk yourself out of it slowly. Avoidance also is a good tool. Keep yourself busy in other activities, wear long sleeves as often as possible. You would notice, how days pass by and you would not have picked your skin. As time passes, you feel more confident in being able to control your own behavior. Trust me our minds are capable of much more than we think it can.
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Avatar_m_tn
The ROOT CAUSE of Skin Picking.
All human behaviors have a cause. There is always a reason.  The second thing to remember is that the medical profession divides the body & mental/emotional problems into many little boxes. You have a separate specialist for every organ, & a different name for every little behavior. This helps Drs to learn but is confusing to the public, & is often overdone. Fear of spiders (Arachnophobia) & fear of crowds (Agoraphobia) are really the very same problem, merely a different focus of unreasonable fear.
Working backwards from the behavior to the Root Cause, you find a logical progression of a "disease cascade" where one step leads to the next.
Skin picking is a one type of
Obsessive Compulsive behavior, which is one manifestation of
Chronic Anxiety, which in many cases is caused by
Neurotransmitter defficiencies, caused by
B6 & Zinc defficiencies, created by
Pyroluria, which is a "medically unrecognized" but very real condition, wrongly assumed to be Genetic.
I urge all people with any type of Chronic Anxiety related problem to personally research Pyroluria to see if they have some symptoms such as fine grooves running the length of the fingernails, poor dream recall, crowded teeth, inability to turn off the mind, dry skin on torso, arms & legs, dislike of early big breakfast, & more.
Check several websites, also Google: "Pyroluria infection."
Hope this helps
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OMG I AM ABOUT TO SCREAM! i swear to god i thought i was the only one who had to deal with this crap! i am 15 years old, and have been compulsivly picking at my arms, face, chest and back, ever since i was about 12. i have no clue why i do it. i have tried so many times to stop. and at one point i did for a few weeks and my arms and everything were looking alot better, but then for some unknown reason i started again! please, i have so many questions! why am i doing this?? how can i stop?? and if/when i do, how long will it take for the scars to fade, if ever? my arms look awful, and i dont wear sleeve that are to short. they have to be either long or quarter or half length. and on the sometimes 90 degree days in Ohio, it really *****. it's held me back from everything. i cant have a boyfriend because i am afraid that when we get to the point that i am ready to do things of a sexual nature, then he'll be disgusted with the entire upper half of my body! please, if you know anything about this, e-mail me at ***@****!! you can also e-mail me if you just want someone to talk to one on one that understands what you are going through! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
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Avatar_n_tn
finding this forum has been absolutely amazing! I SERIOUSLY THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY PERSON IN THE ENTIRE WORLD THAT PICKED AT EVER SCAB I HAVE ON MY BODY NO JOKE!! i feel so much better knowing theres hundreds of people out there that do the same thing.... i still do it though and cant stop... im on effexor and wellbutrin and thought that would help me stop but it doesnt... any advice?
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Avatar_n_tn
I also thought that I was the only one who picked at their skin. I have been picking/creating scars on my body since 1999.  The picking got extremely bad after I suffered a traumatic event in 2001.  I want to stop picking but I can't.  I pick when I am over tired or stressed.  I have tried different doctors, psychologist and psychiatrists to no avail.  I have been put on different medications (for OCD, depression, anxiety) but nothing has worked.  Last year, I gave up and quit all medications.  Thank you to those caring people that have posted here.

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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you so much for your courage and honesty! I have been a skin picker since I was about 15, when both Grandmothers died and I dropped out of High school. i can remember my mother picking a scab on my arm a young boy so I was taught this behavior as a way to deal with stress. It intensified to many areas of my body and became a habit for me as a young man. After some intervention, psychological help, the problems resided but not being out in the open has allowed it to fester and I have continued it until the age of 30. Last night I made a vow to quit! I am so grateful to find I am not alone in needing this. I pray that you all will be freed from this addiction and take responsibility for it. For me my church has been a huge help. I can bring my problems to God there, people will pray for me when I ask and I have been able to face it. I also enjoy writting and running, the excercise is wonderful and gives me an outlet that helps me sleep much better. Journaling is also a wonderful way to focus your mind on the beautiful things in life, what you really want in life. One of my favorite verses is Pillipians 4:8 Whatever is true, whatever is honerable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, let your mind dwell on these things... that is my prayer for you until the cows come home!!!   with love
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Avatar_f_tn
so hard to stop.
so many 'first days of the new life..without picking and scratching.."
so many dreams of perfect me in the future..
I always thought that I am going to cope with this problem..but it stronger than my will. I am 25 years old.. it lasts since 10 years..
will it ever end? I am ruining my life, I had so many plans, I am postponing everything till the time I will have normal face, arms, back...
i am abandoning my goals..
help


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Avatar_f_tn
Like so many, I really had no idea so many people had this problem.  Three cheers for the internet!!  I still haven't found anyone who does exactly what I do and I can't even tell a doctor or anyone as I'm too ashamed/embarrassed.  My husband now knows, but I've dealt with that by simply being brazen about it now and saying "yeah, so, and what are you going to do about it?", which doesn't really help anybody.  So maybe saying it out loud on the internet will help ...... OK - here goes:  I pick the inside of my ears with tweezers.  I also keep the skin/scabs - isn't that disgusting.  I have absolutely no idea why this should be so enjoyable and provide such relief.  Yes, I know, it's dangerous, but I've done it for over 30 years and I'm not deaf yet!!  I hadn't thought of it as a compulsive disorder, which is pretty stupid really, as it feels incredibly compulsive.  I've always been very clear that it's been some way of coping with anxiety and stress, but knowing this doesn't seem to help and I still can't stop.  In a way i enjoy it, so why would I stop.  And yet it prevents me from getting on with things, succeeding at things (same old, same old, it's easier to fail than succeed), and makes me sneeze like crazy and feel washed out, so I guess the pay off is I feel too unwell to do a lot of things, so that's a good excuse for not starting - if you don't start you can't fail.  I've also realised it makes me feel secretive and that I'm not being my true self with people, but then I'm terrified my true self isn't very nice.  So as you can see, it's definitely tied up with screwy thinking, that is so deeply embedded, I really can't see how it will ever go away.  I had anorexia when I was in my teens, and although I've managed to move on from that in many ways, the impulse to control never goes away, and I think ear picking, or skin picking is just another way of trying to deal with things.  I've tried the 'do something nice for yourself instead' routine, but I can't think of anything and there's a limit to the number of times you can go and buy yourself something with out going bankrupt or eat sticky buns without getting huge!!

Any ideas anyone?  It's true, what so many of you say - it IS a relief to know I'm not alone.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm amazed how many people do this! I don't think i can stop at the moment as i pick/pull hairs for hours every day - but i would like to know if anyone has any good creams etc that help with the scars?
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Avatar_f_tn
All through high school and the beginning of college I had perfect skin. Then all of a sudden, at age 20 I started having skin trouble. And what's been the most difficult to realize is that it's entirely my fault.

A couple of months ago I went to a dermatologist who suggested that I might have a mild case of OCD. I baulked, but the more he described this issue the more I identified with it. And the more I read these entries, the more I realize that this is a real thing. And I really really struggle to control it. I know it happens after a long day at work when I unwind, and I know it happens when I'm wondering where to start on a project at home, and I do it when talking on the phone just to keep my hands occupied. It's totally a dealing with imperfection thing, and I hate hate hate that I've gone through some of the most beautiful years of my life with major blemishes that I've caused. Especially since in every other way, I have made these years incredible for myself.

This community helps. It helps me realize that I'm not alone and that this is a real issue that I need to deal with. So, this is my plan of action:
- keep my hands occupied. It seems silly but already while writing this entry there have been several times when I've felt the urge to pick, so I am going to make a conscious effort.
- as someone suggested, I will take healthy action for my skin when I feel an urge, like using lotion or toner
- I will be honest with myself about this problem and recognize that it's not a minor deal. It's a major, real thing that I deserve to pay attention to for the sake of my own happiness and beauty.

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Avatar_m_tn
I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM AND I STOPPED. HERE IS WHAT I DID. SOME THINGS WORKED AT DIFFERENT TIMES. I CONSTANTLY AM ADDING AND CHANGING THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WORK IF I RELAPSE. IT SERIOUSLY IS LIKE ANY OTHER ADDICTION AND I'M SERIOUS ABOUT THIS.

1. TALK TO A PROFESSIONAL. I TOLD MY THERAPIST AND DIDN'T HIDE ANY DISGUSTING DETAILS. I EMPHASIZED HOW CRAZY IT DROVE ME AND THAT I REALLY WANTED HELP. WE APPROACHED IT FROM A OCD STANDPOINT.

2. GO TO THE DERMATOLOGIST AND GET ACNE MEDICATION, INGROWN HAIR MEDICATION, DRY SKIN MEDICATION ETC.

3. BEFORE ENTERING THE BATHROOM AT NIGHT TO GET READY FOR BED TAKE 60 SECONDS TO FIVE MINUTES, SIT IN FRONT OF THE BATHROOM DOOR AND CONCENTRATE JUST ON YOUR BREATHING AND NOTHING ELSE. THIS RELAXES YOU SO THAT THE ANXIETY CAUSES DON'T KICK IN AS EASILY

4. HAVE A LIST OF THINGS YOU NEED TO DO BEFORE GOING TO BED (EX: TAKE OUT CONTACTS, BRUSH TEETH, FLOSS, PEE, WASH FACE, PUT ON ACNE MEDICATION). POST THE LIST ON YOUR MIRROR AND FOLLOW IT RELIGIOUSLY. TIME YOURSELF TO SEE HOW QUICKLY YOU CAN GET IT DONE. EACH TIME YOU DO IT UNDER A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME REWARD YOURSELF WITH SOME CHOCOLATE OR A TOKEN AND WHEN YOU HAVE ENOUGH TOKENS BUY YOURSELF A MASSAGE. THIS WILL GIVE YOU MOTIVATION TO GET IN AND OUT OF THE BATHROOM AS FAST AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT PICKING.

5. IN THE MORNING WAKE UP WITH ONLY ENOUGH TIME TO GET READY. I RUSH EVERY MORNING SO THAT IF I TAKE ANY TIME TO PICK I AM LATE FOR WORK AND GET YELLED AT BY MY BOSS

6. EXERCISE!!!!! EASIER SAID THAN DONE RIGHT? AND I'M SURE YOU HAVE HEARD IT A MILLION TIMES BEFORE. JUST ADD THESE TO YOUR MANY REASONS YOU SHOULD. IT'S RELIEVES STRESS, IT MAKES YOU SWEAT WHICH REGENERATES YOU SKIN AND YOU ARE LESS LIKELY TO GET THE FLAWS THAT YOU PICK AT

7. LASER HAIR REMOVAL

8. WHEN YOU DO RELAPSE DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT IT. HAVE ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT ON HAND AND IMMEDIATELY PUT SOME ON. IT WILL HELP IT HEAL FASTER

9. THINK ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAD RIGHT NOW WHO WOULD PAY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO BE IN YOUR BODY. IT MAY NOT BE PERFECT, BUT IT WORKS AND YOU ARE DAMN LUCKY FOR THAT. REALLY THINK ABOUT THIS AS MANY TIMES A WEEK AS YOU CAN (ONCE A DAY?). LEARN TO LOVE IT FROM A DIFFERENT STANDPOINT. NOT BECAUSE IT IS FLAWLESS, BUT BECAUSE YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE IT.

10. THINK OF EACH PIMPLE AND BUMP AS A CUTE LITTLE PUPPY OR KITTEN. GIVE IT A NAME AND PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS. TALK TO IT OUT LOUD (WHEN NO ONE IS AROUND). TELL IT HOW MUCH YOU LOVE IT. PET IT. FEED IT. EACH ONE OF THOSE CUTE LITTLE PUPPIES REALLY NEEDS ACNE MEDICATION OR ANTIBIOTICS IN ORDER TO BE HEALTHY JUST LIKE A PUPPY NEEDS WATER AND FOOD. YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO HURT SUCH A CUTE YORKIE/PUG/LAB/BENGAL/SIAMESE PUPPY OR KITTEN WOULD YOU? SOUNDS NUTS BUT IT ISN'T AS NUTS AS YOU DIGGING AWAY AT SUCH A BEAUTIFUL PART OF YOUR BODY.

11. IF YOUR ACNE ISN'T THAT BAD BUT YOU JUST FIND THINGS TO PICK AT THEN GET SOME GOOD WATERPROOF MAKEUP, PUT IT ON AND KEEP IT ON. ONLY REMOVE IT IN THE SHOWER AND THE SECOND YOU GET OUT PUT IT RIGHT BACK ON BEFORE YOU LOOK FOR FLAWS. THIS WAY THEY ARE ALWAYS COVERED UP AND YOU CAN'T SEE THEM.

12. FLAUNT YOUR FLAWS. INSTEAD OF BEING REALLY EMBARRASSED WHEN PEOPLE SEE YOUR SCARS, SHOW THEM OFF, IF SOMEONE ASKS SAY "I HAVE A HABIT OF PICKING AT MY SKIN, WEIRD RIGHT? OH WELL AT LEAST I'M NOT A PSYCHOPATHIC KILLER" GIVE A HUGE SMILE AND CHANGE THE SUBJECT.

13. READ SOME SELF HELP BOOKS. THEY WORK FOR SOME PEOPLE.

14. PINPOINT THE TRIGGER AREAS. HAVE A DEFENSE FOR EACH OF THOSE AREAS. FOR EXAMPLE IF YOU PICK YOUR ARMS WHILE SITTING IN TRAFFIC, HAVE AN EASY LONG SLEEVE SHIRT TO PUT ON, DRAPE IT OVER THE DRIVERS SEAT. TOO HOT FOR THAT? PUT ON THE AC. LONG SLEEVE SHIRT AND PANTS JUST FOR THE BATHROOM. A COSTUME MASK YOU PUT ON WHILE IN THE BATHROOM. REMOVE MIRRORS FROM YOU ACTUAL ROOM. LONG SLEEVE PAJAMAS. ECT.

15. TAKE THE LIGHT BULBS OUT OF YOUR BATHROOM AND REPLACE THEM WITH CANDLES. CAN'T SEE ACNE SO WELL WITH THAT LIGHT.

16. FIND A HEALTHIER HABIT. IT MAY NOT BE AS SATISFYING, BUT GIVE YOURSELF SOMETHING TO DO INSTEAD. CHEW GUM, POP BUBBLE WRAP, TAP YOUR FINGERS, TEAR UP PAPER, GET A COLORING BOOK (LOOK UP PHIL LEWIS FUN STUFF)

17. THE TIME YOU WOULD HAVE SPENT PICKING VOLUNTEER INSTEAD. AN HOUR A WEEK EVEN. IT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF, AND BETTER ABOUT YOUR OWN LIFE. AS BAD AS YOU HAVE IT THERE ARE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO HAVE IT WORSE I PROMISE YOU. IF YOU SEE IT FIRST HAND YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO LET GO OF SOME OF THE SMALLER THINGS.

18.NEVER GIVE UP.ONE DAY YOU WILL BE READY AND IT CAN ALWAYS GET WORSE SO DONT GIVE UP BECAUSE OF THAT

19. TRY TO FIX THE UNDERLYING REASON. IT IS PROBABLY SOME SORT OF ANXIETY, BUT IT COULD BE ANYTHING. YOU MAY NOT SEE A DIRECT CONNECTION, BUT AS SOON AS THE OTHER PARTS OF YOUR LIFE FEEL BETTER THEN THIS WILL GET BETTER TOO. FOR ME IT WAS THAT I NEEDED TO FIX MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MOM. PROFESSIONAL HELP IS A HUGE HELP HERE IF YOU CAN GET IT.

20. HAVE FRIENDS AND FAMILY HELP YOU. SIT DOWN WITH EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY. EXPLAIN TO THEM THAT YOU HAVE A SERIOUS OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER AND YOU ARE GOING TO DO YOUR BEST TO STOP AND YOU REALLY WANT THEM TO HELP YOU IN A POSITIVE WAY. TELL THEM TO KEEP AN EYE OUT IF YOU SPEND TOO MUCH TIME IN THE BATHROOM. HAVE SOMEONE YOU LOVE AND TRUST CHECK YOUR SKIN AT NIGHT BEFORE BED. EMPHASIZE THAT YOU DON'T WANT THEM TO GET ANGRY AT YOU, BUT TO GIVE YOU POSITIVE FEEDBACK IF YOU HAVE A SUCCESSFUL DAY OF NOT PICKING. AND IF YOU HAVE AN UNSUCCESSFUL DAY THEN GIVE THEM SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK YOU, SUCH AS, WHAT WERE YOU FEELING WHEN YOU DID IT? HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW BETTER OR WORSE? WAS THERE ANYTHING WEIGHING ON YOUR MIND BEFORE YOU DID?
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been picking at my face for about... 1 and a half years now. I am currently 17 years old and i would have a beautiful face if i didn't pick at every little pimple or blemish. Sometimes i pick at things that aren't even there! I pick at my face for about 1 to 2 hours at a time, 3 times a day. I CANT STOP! I also have a tendency to scratch my head constantly. If i am not scratching at my head, I am picking at my face. I see my face getting worse and worse and seeing my face so ugly just gets me depressed...but i still can't stop.

Anyone have any suggestions?
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Avatar_f_tn
THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I feel like we have the same triggers and EVERYTHING you said surprisingly made sense! Im definitely going to try your methods out and please if you do make any adjustments or discoveries in the future let me know! I'm seriously copy pasting your post and printing it out for reference. I've been struggling with this for 8 years and i've seen a once outgoing and confident girl turn into a reclusive and insecure woman. I have scars now on my arms bikini lines and thighs along with the current scabs of my resent picking that i'm ready to be thing of the past! Question- Do u ever consciously let yourself squeeze any pimple or bump now or do u just put acne cream on it or what??  I'm just worried that when i do get the occasional pimple that needs to be squeezed and cleaned I'm not going to be able to do it without triggering obsessive compulsive picking response. I've never not picked a pimple I felt needed to be squeezed and I was wondering what you do in these situations. Most people pick they just don't take it to the extreme. Can people with this disorder pick at all? Also any scar cream suggestions?
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm a leg picker.  I realized this at work because I woke up feeling sick and I had a lot of anxiety.  I had to go sit in the bathroom, originally just to get a little breathing time to try and cope with my anxiety.  As i was sitting there I started picking at my legs.  I could have sat there for hours.  All the sudden I realized that this is not normal.  Most people are not like "hmmm.........I have some spare time, I think I'm going to pick my legs till the bleed! FUNNSIES!" (-_-)  

I've been reading a lot of things and I hope I can try some of the things everyone has recommened and it will help me.  I'm just so glad that I'm not alone in this.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm 13 years old and I've been picking for as long as I can remember.
Mosquito bites, pimples, bruises, anything that can be scratched/picked, I've done it.
When I'm doing it, I feel like I'm accomplishing something but when I'm done I feel ugly.
Especially because none of my friends have this problem. I feel miserable when I see them in shorts, skirts and dresses. Because of that, I've grown to hate summer.
Now that I've learned about makeup and concealers, I pick knowingly and then steal my mom's makeup to cover them up cause I know she'll yell at me.

Sometimes I picture my friends and how gorgeous their skin is and I start to cry.
I used to think that I was the only person who picked. But I'm happy to know that I'm not alone.
During the past year I've used numerous bleaching cremes on my legs in hopes of getting rid of the scars and I feel ashamed but yet I continue to scratch. I'm convinced that I have CSP and I'm going to get myself the help I need to stop scratching :)

Thanks to everyone who posted. I don't feel isolated anymore :)
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Avatar_n_tn
I never thought any one was like me everyone says im beautiful i want to make me ugly i dont want anyone looking at me.  i pick so much it hurts
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Avatar_m_tn
It was many years I did this with all the terrible consequences, the only thing that helped was Geodone, the habit is very infrequent now.

WhiteTigers
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CSP is such a strange habit. I started when I was 16 and I have been trying for years to figure out exactly why I do it. It seems like it can be for one of two underlying reasons depending on what is going on at the time: Sometimes I want to be perfect, so I feel like I need to clean my skin out and make it prettier. Other times I want to make myself ugly. This usually happens after I get some sort of attention for my body (such as someone flirting with me). I've also noticed that when I pick to make myself ugly, I am much more aggressive about it and it results in more damage. I believe that if I overcome the deep-seeded reasons I pick in the first place, maybe I can stop.

Mandy of www.*************.com
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Hey, (first of all I want to say sorry about my English-not native language) I dont smoke, but I had this same theory about sexual supression, as I was 22 and still virgin and working/studying all the time, and strict upbringing with high expectations. Recently I experienced the sexual thing, but my skin picking (not so extreme, but I would pick any pimple, Id see on my face or anywhere else, and small bumps on my arms when Im especially stressed about something) I still pick, I dont have a partner that I see everyday though, its long distance, and I still work the same thing, I just think too if everything would be perfect in my life and the way I wish Id not pick, Im thinking its my fault Im not living the perfect life, and Ill stop once everything is the way I wish with my career. I dont know I just wish I could stop, Ive been picking since high school early years, it sometimes stopped but than once the stress levels are up it always starts again, and Im so depressed that I leave these red spots on my face, Im tired wearing this make up everyday. also  aftr reading some comments here I remembered being a smaller child and liking to take of crusty parts from any wound Id have.
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Avatar_n_tn
hi. i have found a wonderful product that helps heal open sores/wounding from picking acne. it is amazing and gets your face looking better faster and once you see that better skin and complexion you are able to stop and think and just STOP PICKING> look at how good you are under there!
(thats what i say to myself
its called contractubex. i have only found it on ebay. its a prescription for recent wound healing and scar healing. it's a pretty legit product. i am a pretty smart well researched woman and trust this product. its healed my face in 2 weeks. and its kinda peel-y so you can peel it off and see it healing which is satisfying to someone who wants to stare at their face.
anyway, ive been wanting to share this info for some time. I'm glad i found it, its not advertised in America (its a German product), it should be available here, its nearly a miracle. we all know that after we destroy the pimples, zit-cream doesn't work anymore, its now a battlescar. we need not battle with ourselves, there are better ways to communicate self-dissatisfaction.
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Hello
This is my first time looking my skin picking compulsion in the eye and trying to find a solution to this constant problem.  I didn't know there were so many people out there who are just like me and struggle with this problem the same way I do.  It is hard to write about this because I have never even spoken about picking my skin.  It started when I was an adolescent and my mom saw me in the mirror and told me to stop, but I never did.  I'm now 22 and a senior at a university where I am double majoring. I have constant school work, not to mention a neverending list of housework and a boyfriend I live with that makes me happy, but simultaneously stresses me.  

The reason I searched for this problem is because I just spent almost 45 minutes in the mirror picking at my skin, trying to get out the tiniest blackheads and causing huge red welts all over my face.  Now I am missing my class because I am so ashamed to show my face in public.  I am so tired of this problem, I feel so repulsed by myself, because I am the one responsible.  I feel like it is the only part of my life that I can't control because I keep going back to the mirror to obsess over my reflection time and time again.  I hate myself for doing it, but I am too embarassed to admit it to anyone.  

I lost my mom to cancer in 2005 and have not been able to get over her death.  Sometimes I will cry for hours until my face is swollen and I can't see because I miss her so much.  I'm afraid to go talk to someone because I know how many problems they will tell me I am facing.  I know I am struggling with anxiety daily, plus depression and after reading this forum, I'm sure I have issues with obsessive compulsive disorder.  I don't know what to do because I am destroying my skin with my own hands, and I realize when I do it that I am talking down to myself and stressing over everything in my life.  I have to force myself to stop by walking away, but it is the hardest thing to leave the bathroom sometimes.  Almost every night before bed, I pick, and by the time I get into bed sometimes an hour later, my boyfriend is always asleep, he has no idea.  

I don't know what to do, and I'm not sure if I feel better or worse from confronting this problem by making this post. I'm afraid that I'm scarring myself for a lifetime and it's all my fault.

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Thanks for posting. I'm 23 and I've squeezed the pores on my face and popped pimples for about 7 years. It has gradually spread to my chest, arms, shoulders, back, butt and thighs. I've tried to stop but not hard enough. The pores on my face are now much larger than they used to be and this makes it more likely that they'll get infected and I'll get pimples. Its a cycle. I'm realizing that I do it when I'm anxious and when there's internal conflict. It helps me to have compassion for myself and understand that there are reasons I'm doing it, rather than just blaming and getting upset with myself. I think for me at least it comes out of a neurotic inwardly directed judgment tendency (my dad was highly judgmental, and unpredictably so. He is borderline btw) so getting upset with myself is not constructive at all and just perpetuates the coping style. When I feel compelled to squeeze/pick, when I feel neurotic/anxious/conflicted and don't feel efficacious, I importantly think about what it is that is making me feel this way. There's always something. I try to come up with a direct and constructive way of dealing with the issue. I try to adopt an approach orientation rather than an avoidance orientation.

When I look in the mirror, I try to remind myself that I don't want to be doing it and that I have the power to not do it. I look away, and when I catch myself searching for stuff to squeeze I stop myself. I try to take a wider perspective, step back, and this has required increasing my consciousness of the behavior and exercising self-regulation (change it up and do other things so it is less of an automatic process). I think to myself about how its gonna look if I squeeze a pore or pop a pimple or take a scab off, that its just gonna cause a salient red mark that wont go away for a couple weeks. And if I touch my face it leaves oil that leads to pimples. I try applying acne cream to my face instead of picking as a replacement behavior. I still allow myself to do it a little (for some pimples there are ways to lightly release the white stuff that doesn't cause damage). I think this is probably good because whenever I do it, I'm used to doing a little so it doesn't become a huge thing. I still do have a problem with it.

But I can do it, and you can too! It just takes compassion, thoughtfulness and self-regulation.
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Avatar_f_tn
i just read what everyone had to write. I too have been picking at my legs for a very long time. Since i  was around 13- i'm 19 now. I guess it started because my mum use to allow me to wax my legs only (when i was old enough to be too embarrassed by leg hair) and because my hair would grow between wax sessions, and i was forced to wear a dress as part of my school uniform, i'd secretly shave my legs...even dry shave them, so that mum wouldn't find out- hence i ended up with terrible rashes and ingrown hairs.

before this, and sometime after, i was also a compulsive nail biter. i'd bite all my nails off as well as the skin around them.

The leg picking started and continued after the shaving, and i just cannot stop! it moved to all areas of my body that i remove hair, but i was able to get it down to just a few areas- my legs, and when i'm frustrated with my appearence- the faint hair on my upper lip.

i managed to stop biting my nails, but i've always been obessed with something. BIting my nails was the first thing. Then it was the leg picking, then my hair had to be dead straight and smooth ALL the time (i got over that once i was able to grow out my damaged hair). i also bite the inside my mouth, and had no idea it was linked.

Although i have never been properly diagnosed, i go through massive bouts of depression, i'll stay home for three weeks straight and avoid everyone i know...attempting to let myself 'heal' both physically and emotionally...normally i just mildy heal emotionally and able to resocialise.

Since i no longer bite nails (was tough to get over, nails polish and moisterizing of the cuticles helps, as well as using nail clippers on any loose skin) and no longer pick my face, stress over my hair, or pick at other areas of my body where hair grows, I mainly focus on my legs. I do however have a few techniques to help with the aweful appearance of them...which in turn will relieve my picking issues until i feel the appearance is starting to look shabby.

first off, a tan! either fake or real helps, it makes the scars much less noticable, and you then forget they are there and hence pick less.

i got burnt one summer on my legs, and they tanned beautifully and i was able to avoid picking for around three months.

also a microdermabrasion mit helps. it gives you that feeling of getting rid of the impurities/ingrowns/rough skin...but it's really just sloughing away dead skin...this helped me stop picking for two months. (i bought mine off ebay for $20)

also, i just started using ingrow go by doctor lewin. it's not great stuff, but it helps things heal a bit faster, and it give me the feeling that i'm treating my skin...so i'm not allowed to touch it. i started this a week ago, and it stopped my picking for five days...then i had a picking party and could not stop! i just started it again now and hope to go for longer.

i also plan to buy some vitamin E, or bio oil and use that as another treatment.

i thought i was just silly and obssessed, i didn't realise that this all might be inbuilt into my system. My brother and mother also suffer from ocd issues. They both also bite their nails. My brother is convinced he needs a nose job, so is constantly pushing/punching his nose (he's had a big red sore/bruise on it for about four months now). My mother obssesses over everything, and has a tendency to think people are out to get her/overthinks every situation. she also has weird habits, such as has to twist and turn in her chair to 'straighten her back'.

this forum has kind of motivated me to work hard to avoid this habit. i feel as though i now know it's a real issue, and i have to stop it!

thanks so much for all your sharing, and i hope i helped in some way also Xx
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hi im 12 years old and i thinki i have csp.Its very hard because im going to have swimming next term and my arms and legs are scarred. all the girls in my class have one or two scars on their skin but its there. i cant tell my parents because im scared  that they are going to get mad at me.i really want to get help or just get some skin care products but i would have to tell my mom and she would ask me why im i getting that and i dont want to tell her.i stop for like 3 weeks but then these scars came out of no where and i just have to pick at it.i feel like a ugly beast and i could have a beautiful body if it wasnt for the scars i really dread going swimming because i have to wear a swim suit and so my skin out. i first thought that i was the only person in the world with this problem but i found out that a bunch of people have this people to. i just wish i wasnt so scared to tell anyone
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Well this is the pits ain't it.  I can't stand for a scab, bump,pimple, black head, dry skin or anything to be on my skin.  It started when i saw these little black things that look like little splinters under my nails so i picked them.  A friend said that they were seed warts and the more i picked them the more they would spread.  I think she was right i pick everything now and everytime i break the skin i see these black spots in there when i try to get them out they seem to burrow deep in my skin b/c  don't see them until i put alcohol or peroxide or something like that they come back to the surface but once i pick at them they are gone again.  It makes me pick more i feel the need to try to get them all which i know that is impossible.  Does anyone else ever see anything like this.  I also have a terrible rash that after i pick and scratch all the skin off it is just awful i see those black things in there too is it the same things that was in my nails is there a doctor on here anywhere who can give some advice about what these black things are is it normal i can't see them very well unless i have a magnifying glass maybe it is something that everyone has we are just not suppose to see them.  This has been going on for about a year and a half and i'm so stressed about it my hair is falling out now HELLLLLLLP
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To: everyone
Hi there yall. For the first time I feel a real need to post something about this problem. The skin picking problem. To start out with, Im gay, beautiful, intelligent, from a poor family, stubborn and always trying to find an easy way out. When I was 13 I noticed my first bump, it was on the side of my eyebrow by the hairline. It was only a little bump. My mom had gone through bad skin problems for a few years beforehand, not knowing it was from her birth control, had found her solution with Proactiv. So she told me to use it. We really messed stuff up that day and its lasted for the last ten years almost. I took it all too far. I had seen people mess with there skin before and my sister had even picked at my arms once when I got ingrown hairs. I thought I knew what I was doing, and you couldnt stop me. I used tons of face products from then on, and I hurt my skin in alot of ways. I might not have, but my mom showed me how to use concealer, so I was really set. I could cover anything up. And luckily, as a very androgynous gay guy, I could pull it off. Well so I used tweezers at first, hurting every pore, and I would put almost a whole thing of blue mask on as soon as I was done and I slept in it thinking it would act like a bandaid. Geez. I rarely let anyone see my real face for two years of that. I looked bad, I even developed body dysmorphic disorder because I couldnt accept what I saw in the mirror. This was middle school, and those years I pulled it off somehow. I guess Im just going to tell my skin story alone, cause thats really the point, and itll make this shorter. My whole life was my skin. Every second checking my makeup, and picking my skin all the time. Its soo weird that no one just took me to a dermatologist to tell me how skin actually works. I failed 7th grade from being absent too much, but then went to private school, where I was put into 9th grade. My last day of school was my 15th birthday, February 13th 2004. It was all such a battle with my family I cant go into it. I was confident enough to be taken seriously about what I thought was right but it was just all I could do. I needed to be at home to think cause I felt like I was in a hole, with too many questions, so I needed that opportunity. It was of course a mistake though, it meant I could do whatever, including at one point getting my first real scar, one day where I went soo deep into my nose I left two big tweezer scars. They look interesting enough for me to accept but if someone notices them it kinda says that Ive had a hard time. I also by the way did do all the other kinds of picking, arms, legs, pubes, even my nipples. Luckily I realized that was pointless and not worth it after maybe two years. It wasnt part of any goal, but I still pick at my nipples sometimes. Im 21, 22 in a month, and at the moment I havent left the house in a few weeks. Im okay with spending time by myself I guess. There was period when it was alot harder though. I just have really high standards. Anyways, theres some of my story. No ones alone in this. You should really just leave your skin alone. Thats the only way. Anything can be a badge of honor but this stuff shouldnt be. Do everything you can to see other points of view. And dont every do anything permanent to yourself, its not worth it. Try and get on a health kick instead of picking, or with picking, do everything you can to not scar. Learn from your mistakes or leave your mistakes behind. Thanks for reading this everyone. I wish y'all alot of luck and if you want to message me feel free.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello,
I have had this all my life... at least since i could remember. It does get worse under stress and depression gets worse or anxiety is kicked in. I have the compulsion to pick my arms and my legs if they are exposed. I pick my arms as if they are big zits and i pick until they bleed. so my arms are scarred up alot by now.. and alot of scabs that look like bug bites... i dont ever notice i do it sometimes but i try not to around people such as my boyfriend... he gets mad when i do it but i never notice.. i do notice its bad wen i watch scary movies as if its like nail biting. i have had alot of things happen in my lifetime that most double my age never experienced. so i believe it maybe anxiety, depression and ocd?? i havent been to a doctor about it because ive been pretty embarassed about it. i do notice that it itches sometimes but i think itsd because my skin is very dry anyways ...

BUT I have found what works.. . well helps take the redness, bumps and itchiness away.. a couple things anyways.

1. I get fake nails and get them rounded.

2. tanning helps big time for some reason

3. oil your skin with like baby oil or tanning oil and keep doing it every time your out of the shower.

4. Ive recently been using Fucidin cream so far its ok but not doing the job well enough.. may be different for others

5. most likely mental help would work.. i havent gone for it yet but looking into .

i know it relieving to pick, i can also do it for hours especially in the bathroom but right when i am done i feel horrible cuz i know what my arms will look like the next day and people always ask if i have mosquito bites or some sort of rash.. anyways there is more to it then just what i wrote down. just sending out wat has helped for me even tho i never continued with it im sure it would keep helping if i didnt have to talk to soemone about past issues. thanks for all your input and nice knowing im also not alone :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Please if you are still dealing with this problem and want to stop contact me. I feel if we all support one another by keeping in touch through emailing or texting we'll be able to overcome this problem we all have. It's running my life and im ready to quit. Im sick and tired of not wanting to go anywhere or swimming. It has affected every aspect of my life. So please if you too want to get through this with me contact me through email. Im only 15 and i want my life back. I just need someone to talk to when i feel like im the only one.
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Uggggh. This is ALL too familiar.

I'm horribly embarrassed, but yes, I do this, and for some reason it's worse than it's ever been.

I see my doctor in about a week, and I plan on confessing.

Some of my picking wounds lately have gotten to the point where I need to be concerned medically about infections and such.

It hurts to see comments from people who think that this is some sort of 'bragging' - this is an anonymous online group, and the first time many of us have admitted this. It is scary, and no matter how many times I promise myself I won't stop, or how completely disgusted I am with myself for it, I cannot seem to get through this.

To all my fellow pickers - I am sorry. If this were as simple as just wanting to quit, none of us would be here. Maybe if we keep promising ourselves that tomorrow we won't, it will be true, and we won't have to cover up our skin from embarrassment.

I see I am sadly in good company, and I respect every person on here who has admitted they have a problem. I've been doing this for way too long, and I'm just now to the point where I'm going to have to admit I can't do this without help. Kudos to those who are realizing it only a few years in.
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should read *will stop
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I am a 42 year old woman who had no idea this affects so many of us. When Iread your stories it makes me so sad to think that a lot of you are so young and already isolated. Thinking back, this started at about age 8 in different ways. As a teenager I bit my nails, and in my early 20's i was picking at my lips. I was able to overcome those two things, but this face thing I can't seem to get over. I know now that it's all connected. I had a very volital childhood and I wish I would have dealt with this sooner and gotten my life back 20 years ago. I've just found out in the last couple of days that there was even one more human being on the face of the earth that could relate to me. I pray we'll find peace.
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I am almost 16 years old, and I have been picking at my skin for 3 and a half years.

It started when I was in seventh grade. I am a perfectionist, and I always, always compare myself to other people. The girls in my grade are always viewed as prettier than me, smarter than me, etc. I started to become really self-consious of my looks. As I started to go through puberty, I got blackheads on my nose. (As you know, blackheads are tiny, and very unnoticible!) But for me, it was still an imperfection that I wanted to get rid of completely.

So, I spent hours in the mirror, analyzing it, scrutinizing it. Those small teeny blackheads caused me agony. So I started to dig my nails into the skin...and dig...and dig...until after about an hour and a half of picking, I had an open sore the size of a quarter on my nose. I had literally, ripped layers of skin off of my face. It later scabbed over many times as I continuously ripped off the scabs, and finally formed the scar. But that was the first time I had begun skin-picking, as a young 12 year old.

Now, almost four years later, I am still struggling daily with CSP. Some days are so bad that I will pretend I am sick in order to not go into school and be embaressed.

I never thought that so many people experience this. I was so ashamed, of myself, of my face. It brings me the upmost of comfort knowing that I am not alone, that people every day deal with this crap. It breaks our loved ones' hearts to see us like this, and I know that one day we must stop it for good.

To everyone dealing with CSP- you are not alone. and you are much stronger than you think

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I'm trying to concentrate really hard tonight and remember how much better my face will look if I can just leave it alone right now. I had to work today with scabs rising throughout the day in a few spots. I know people who see me looking like this think I'm some kind a crack head. Gotta be on meth or something to be like this right? I don't have a weight problem because I'm to busy picking my face. I can make it a few days until life deals out some stress, then I'm a mess again. And a few days is super high concentration. I can't tell you how bad the scars are under the make up I wear, which very few people see me without. This is not the way for anyone to live. I so badly want to live again, without feeling this need to tear myself apart. I hope that by me sharing my story, someone out there can begin to make it out of this hole we're digging ourselves into. I am so tired of me being like this! I really want "life" back!
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I am 13 and I have been picking my skin for years I am so embarrassed when I go to school because I just want to have normal skin like all the other girls. My skin is consistently red and foundation doesn't hide it. I pick any imperfection I see and after I have done it and see what it looks like I just do it again even though it bleeds I feel like I can't stop. My back,chest, face, arms, legs and shoulders are covered in scars and I know people look at me funny so I really need some advice on how to stop non medical. I don't want to grow up picking and hearing some of ur stories I just feel like maybe I will. I am only 13 but I have no self confidence and feel like my friends hate me for it. Please help me I just feel awful
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i am also a skin picker. im 17 years old also, i used to have such nice skin. i used to always get compliments on how small my pores are and how lucky i am. now i have huge holes on my face, scars. ones that wont heal. ive been picking the past 2 years. it started with my scalp when i was 8 then at 14 i started picking my face, then led to my chest, back, arms and legs. ive been trying to stop for the past year and a half. my mirror is currently covered, and my face isnt looking too bad right now except old scabs.. which i continue picking (dont need a mirror for that!) and scars. ive picked things on my chest where they have become cysts. it used to scare me, i was so scared id pick it to the point i where id develop some type of permanent cyst. it took me a year to stop picking this one bump on my chest. now once in awhile ill still try popping it thinking i can get something out of it, then it swells up immediatly. and turns back into that huge cyst. because i have covered my mirror ive been picking my chest and legs horribly. because i get ingrown hairs shaving, i decided to try waxing. definetly not a good idea for me. when the hairs begin to grow back in they look like little blueish/black dots under the skin. it drives me CRAZYYYY. then when i squeeze them it pops out. oh my goshhh . my legs look horrible right now. covered with scabs and welts. i just wish i could tie my hands behind my back. i drive myself crazy idk what to do anymore.  but i make everyone just get mad because  i complain and get upset after i pick. i just feel like i cant help it. ive tried using fake nails, it made the situation worse. because i would still try picking things and they would rip my skin veryy easily. so now ive gotten to the point i file my nails until their bleeding because i dont want to pick so badly.although i always find a way. i dont know what to do anymore. and i really think this habit should be addressed more often, so many people seem to be unaware of it. although it seems so many people have skin picking habits whether its picking scabs, the skin off your fingers, cuticles, or bumps. i wish you all the best
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for your arms/legs, wear a hoodie and sweatpants to prevent you from picking when your home. I used to have csp but I quit cold turkey abt a month ago and havent picked since. You'd be suprised how good you feel abt yourself when you stopped for good. time heals everything trust me. If you find it in yourself to quit and do everything in your power to ensure you dont pick absolutelyy anythinggg... even the darkest scars will heal.. with time. so start now! if theres anyway I can help you or anyone else message me.
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After reading all of your stories I've realised I'm not just gross and alone. I'm 17, female, and I have recurring scabs on my scalp, I don't know why or where they came from originally, but most are there because I had to find something to pick at. I just subconsciously picked for about 2 hours reading this forum and now I know when I shower in the morning it's going to burn like hell. My head is the only thing I pick at generally, unless I find dry skin in my ears, or I have popped tiny whiteheads, which turn into pimples, which turn into scabs, but the thing that made me turn to this forum and ultimately find out I have a real problem was having the TINIEST whitehead at the corner of my lip that I tried to squeeze like one of those normal 'wormy' blemishes where it does no harm. But it did harm, turned into a scab, and now it looks like a corner-of-mouth sore or coldsore all because I had to scrutinize the tiniest bump. I just yawned and it was excruciating. I know my boyfriend notices my picking because when I'm at his house laying down I do it when I'm bored, and it frustrates him because I'm always moving and he's one of those people who can just lay there completely still.

I also suffer from Panic Disorder, an anxiety disorder based primarily on the fear of having panic attacks, I'm medicated for it with Xanax and it makes life so much easier, but I think I use the picking as a coping mechanism for the anxiety. When I'm picking at my scalp, I go into a trance like state where my breathing is the last thing on my mind and I'm completely relaxed.

I've decided tomorrow I'm seeking help from my old counsellor, who I used to see about my anxiety. I'm guessing the head picking has spawned from the anxiety and it's been getting worse for a couple of weeks. I want to be rid of this problem once and for all, my first step was buying extensions, which for most of the day will prevent me from picking the bottom half of my scalp, and that's a start. Secondly I've become a religious moisturiser, so if there's nothing dry on my face to pick at, I won't have any temptation in that area. Your stories have all given me the inspiration to also make a change and kick the habit for good, no more letting my regrowth grow out so I won't have to feel the excruciating pain of a scalp bleach. >_> Good luck to everybody dealing with this problem, it sure is a pain in the ***.

- Rachael.
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It is such a relief to read all of your comments. I am a skin picker, and have been for the past 5 years or so. I'm almost 20 years old, and I have such low self confidence because of my skin. My arms, chest, and back are all scarred from picking. I can't stop! I'll literally sit in front of the mirror for hours picking my skin, looking for any kind of imperfection. When it scabs, I pick the scabs and it seems like my wounds never heal because it's an ongoing cycle. I'll squeeze, pick, do whatever it takes to try and get rid of imperfections, when in reality it's making my skin look way worse. It's summer right now, and I feel like I can't wear short sleeve shirts or put on a bathing suit because my arms and chest are scarred or scabbed. I've done a lot of research on this and it's definitely related to OCD, and it's called CSP (cumpulsive skin picking). We have a chemical imbalance, so it seems like drugs would fix this but a lot of times it makes the picking worse, and just causes depression. Behavior therapy seems to be the best thing for people with this issue. When you have the urge to pick, try rubbing special scar remover creams on your body instead, or lotion. Try squeezing a rubber ball, or pick up a new habit that involves using your hands, such as knitting. Find SOMETHING though, to replace picking. If this doesn't work, maybe trying out medication would be a better option. All I know is, no matter how hard I've tried, I haven't been able to stop. It seems like a lot of you are experiencing this same kind of thing. We need help. We can't fight this on our own. So go get help! We don't have to live our lives embarrassed and ashamed. We should be able to wear short shorts and sleeves, without feeling self conscious about our skin. Go get help!
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I am 56 and recently started picking my skin.  It starts when my puppy jumps on me and creates a scratch.  I pick the scab/skin until it turns 10 times the size.  It takes over a year to recover.  I am seening a physcologist because 8 years ago my 21 year old son died while in the U.S. Coast Guard.  He left a 21 year old widow.  No matter what I try, I can't stop picking.  I have two huge places on the back of my hands and one ugly place on my arm (right below the elbow).  I hate it.
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I thought I was the only one who did this. I pick my arms legs face anywhere I have little bumps. I can't help it. I do it mostly when I'm stressed out or have nothing to do. I've been doing it since freshman year I'm 21. My boyfriend tells me to stop but I can't. I even pick the skin off my lips. What do I do? I need to stop.
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i pick at my upper arms and all over my breasts. my arms are just a battlefield of scars topped off with new scabs and sores. my breasts are also covered in scars. im 17 and ive been picking since i was in 8th grade so i guess since i was 12 and ever since the scars and sores have appeared i never go in public without sleeves. and i know how tough it can be. it definetely takes a toll on dating life because you dont want a signifigant other to see them, but you just have to trust. i started to cry as i read all of the posts before mine and i found a sense of relief and acceptance among the picker community. i appreciate every single person here who has made a comment. i get upset when i see it though because i am a very anti feminist girl and i believe in femininity and it pains me to see all the scars especially on the breasts because in my mind women are supposed to be smooth and soft. there is hope for all of us. just love your imperfections as they are because we all know it wont be changing and find someone to love your scars. "you are a child of the universe; no less than the trees and the stars. you have a right to be here" ~Max Ehrmann's Desiderata.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been obsessively picking my skin for about 4 years now... (im 15) I developed mild acne in 8th grade and I quickly became obsessed with popping/picking everything I could find on my face. (I have this crazy obsession that I CANT have white heads or bumps anywhere) I've picked scabs from little things since I was little, but it's so much worse now. I jsut recently have starting picking my legs (about a month ago), I try to pop and pick everything and they look absolutely horrible, and I'm so ashamed and I feel like I have to wear pants everywhere. People notice and ask whats wrong and I just saw mosquito bites but it's obvious that not the case. I want to stop so bad because I know this is the skin I will have my whole life, but I simply can't find the will to stop. Its the worst habit and I just want all the little scabs bumps and pimples to go away so I won't think I need to pick anymore. My mom wants me to go to a therapist but I know they won't be able to do anything for me besides give me meds that could have other brutal side affects. Help. Me. Stop.
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Well, here is MY story...

I am a 47-year old male and have always been a bit self-conscious about my appearance. I never really had bad acne, per se, but I developed a habit around 15 years ago of taking a pair of tweezers and attempting to extract hairs growing under the surface of my face. I have resorted to using a sewing needle to help in the process. Oftentimes it is an easy process with the hair follicle quite visible and am able to yank it out without damage. Other times it gets messy....REAL messy...where I literally dig huge holes in my face in an attempt to find that elusive hair and end up bloodied, depressed, and ashamed.

I have done this with so much regularity that the entire right side of my face is scarred and hair follicles do not grow out naturally, making the entire saga even worse. My social life has suffered greatly. Even the simple receipt of an invitation out to dinner, or to a party, sends me into a state of anxiety. And when I DO venture out, I try to avoid places with bright lights and attempt to carry on conversations with others with only the right side of my face exposed to them.

Once the damage is done, I apply neosporin to the affected area...but there are times when the sore is so intense that there is NOTHING I can easily (or wisely) apply to it. It then can take up to a full week before the scab falls off naturally, but I stupidly attempt to hasten the process and pick off the scab prematurely, causing even further damage.

I have been happily married for nearly 20 years and my wife has been very supportive in helping me overcome this, but I can sense that even her patience is wearing thin. Have tried meds to no avail, have visited several dermatologists who have used a few minor procedures to help my face look somewhat normal again, but nothing is going to get better unless I break the viscous cycle of  constant skin picking.

I have good days, sure, but the bad days are waaaaaaaaaay too often for my liking. Finding this forum has given me hope, and a sense of comfort that I am not alone. God bless all of you. May we overcome this sickness and get our lives back.
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The 2 most effective ways to deal I find are
1. Remove mirrors
2. Change the lighting
I knew mirrors were my trigger, because when I'm out camping, or in a place without mirrors, I don't pick my face for days or weeks, but near a mirror, I'm right back at it. The lighting I recently discovered when I moved to a new place with a mirror glued to the wall. I discovered by accident that when I used the soft overhead light, and didn't turn on the bright lights right over the mirror, I don't have the urge ever. Whenever I turn on the bright over-mirror lights, which is a couple times a week for tweezing or any sort of care that requires good light. No matter what I tell myself before turning on the bright light, I always end up picking my face after tweezing or whatever I set out to do. About 95% of the time I turn on the dim overhead light, and overall, I pick way less, and the mirror doesn't trigger picking. I can look in the mirror to comb my hair, brush my teeth, whatever, and won't pick unless the bright over-mirror light is on.
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The 2 most effective ways to deal I find are
1. Remove mirrors
2. Change the lighting
I knew mirrors were my trigger, because when I'm out camping, or in a place without mirrors, I don't pick my face for days or weeks, but near a mirror, I'm right back at it. The lighting I recently discovered when I moved to a new place with a mirror glued to the wall. I discovered by accident that when I used the soft overhead light, and didn't turn on the bright lights right over the mirror, I don't have the urge ever. Whenever I turn on the bright over-mirror lights, which is a couple times a week for tweezing or any sort of care that requires good light. No matter what I tell myself before turning on the bright light, I always end up picking my face after tweezing or whatever I set out to do. About 95% of the time I turn on the dim overhead light, and overall, I pick way less, and the mirror doesn't trigger picking. I can look in the mirror to comb my hair, brush my teeth, whatever, and won't pick unless the bright over-mirror light is on.
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I have been picking at my skin since I was 8 yrs old. My acne started then and was told to pop every pimple because it contain posion. From then on and I am now 41- that's what I have done, pick pick pick. I have huge sores on my legs from bug bites- went to a dermatoligist and had a biopsy done on one of them and its now cancerous. I can't believe it! I have to drain all sores because they are filled with toxins...and the thought of not picking one send me into a panic attack. I can't stop...can't find someone around me that can help...I watched all the obsession shows and I feel their pain. Just wish someone would listen to me. My husband says to me all the time...:just stop your hurting your self..." He doesn't understand at all....and the more stress I endure the more sores I have. I have stop picking at my face as much- I now pick at my chest, neck and legs. I don't wear shorts that much because of the scars. I scratch constantly.....and feels as though a million bugs are crawling on me. I need help....I know....but can any therapist help? I am glad I am not alone. Everytime I pick..which is usually all day...but when I pick at a deep one....the shear pain is how I cope. If anyone has any suggestions...please please please help
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I have been picking at blackheads on my face since I was 16, but I think the problem goes back way farther than this.  I picked at my scalp for a while (before I migrated to my face), my legs for a while (trying to stop picking at my face), and I remember picking my nose as a child, so I think I'm just an obsessive compulsive picker.  In response to Beans 101, who theorized that we might all be compulsive smokers or sexually frustrated, I've never smoked and I'm blessed with a great husband and very healthy sex life.  

Unfortunately, at the age of 31, I still can't stop picking at my acne on my face, which I create from picking.  I would love to be able to walk out without makeup, but I can't due to the redness and the scars.. :(

I've tried so many times to stop on pure willpower, but I can't.  I relapse every time.  I've noticed my triggers are mirrors, anxiety and loneliness. When I'm stressed out, I find myself zoning out and picking.  When I'm alone, I pick more often, because no one is there for me to be embarrassed to see me.

I'm an attractive woman, and before my looks start to fade and the wrinkles become deeper, I'd love to have an attractive face to go with the body...

I've never been on anti-anxiety medicine or anti-depression medicine, and I've never done therapy, maybe I should but from what I read here, it might not help...

I wish I had the solution. But if I find it - I'll share!
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You all have posted to a very old threat.  If you want more up to date suggestions, I would post again under a new thread.  
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Sorry...meant to type "thread" and not "threat"
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Avatar_f_tn
i have been picking since i was about 4 years old.im 17 now.I will get bit by a misquito and pick it and it will take forever to heal.whenever i look at them i feel like i need to pick them..Im really hating myself for it and im very insecure...my legs are covered with many many scars and it drives me into deep depression.i feel abnormal.i dont pick nearly as much as i used to but i still always have the urge.I want to wear shorts so bad does anyone know how to get rid of the scars caused by picking thats not expensive?please help...
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I am soooooo amazed I found you all on here! This is my story exactly! I am so afraid my skin won't grow back cause it does and it peels right off. It's not coming together anymore and I dont' want to have a skin graft cause of it. I have the same problem as the guy who has been married 20 years. I use tweezers to get hairs out of my face and then use a needle to dig them out. My chin and jaw is so messed up! But I broke my tweezers tonight (for the hundreth time!!!!) and I applied bandages to my entire chin and upper lip area. I look like I have a fake santa beard on! I am planning to stay in my house for 3 days to see if this bandage will heal me. If not I will make an appointment to see a dermatologist. I am just so relieved to find out I'm not the only one with this problem. I would spend at least an hour on my face every single night plucking and digging out hairs. I hate it. But you all have helped me realize that this problem can be helped and I am not alone!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your stories. We're all in this together. I will pray for each and every one of you through God's grace to close this chapter of your lives. I am praying it for myself too!!!! Thank you all again for sharing your stories. I feel so relieved I could cry!!! Bless you and let's get through this together!!!
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I am soooooo amazed I found you all on here! This is my story exactly! I am so afraid my skin won't grow back cause it does and it peels right off. It's not coming together anymore and I dont' want to have a skin graft cause of it. I have the same problem as the guy who has been married 20 years. I use tweezers to get hairs out of my face and then use a needle to dig them out. My chin and jaw is so messed up! But I broke my tweezers tonight (for the hundreth time!!!!) and I applied bandages to my entire chin and upper lip area. I look like I have a fake santa beard on! I am planning to stay in my house for 3 days to see if this bandage will heal me. If not I will make an appointment to see a dermatologist. I am just so relieved to find out I'm not the only one with this problem. I would spend at least an hour on my face every single night plucking and digging out hairs. I hate it. But you all have helped me realize that this problem can be helped and I am not alone!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your stories. We're all in this together. I will pray for each and every one of you through God's grace to close this chapter of your lives. I am praying it for myself too!!!! Thank you all again for sharing your stories. I feel so relieved I could cry!!! Bless you and let's get through this together!!!
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When you go to the dermatologist, ask them if they can refer you to a therapist to help you to stop these obsessive behaviors.  You don't have to live your life this way.  There are cognitive behavioral therapies you can learn to help you to stop and/or there is medication that can also help.  A dermatologist is a good start but I don't think it is the end either.  You need to see somebody that can help you stop the behavior, not just treat the damage that has already been done.  

Keep everyone posted about how your appointment went.  
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I couldn't believe other people suffer from this!!!! I'm 16 and a perfectionist, I think for me it's a feeling of being in "control", as it were. I hate doing anything less than someone else. Being petite, I hate the feeling of short legs and feel like by having no hair I am somehow making up for the lack of height/image insecurity/lack of self confidence. I pick my legs constantly with sharp tweezers and my nails but for some ironic reason I then moisturize them as well as apply scar serum!!! I totally know how stupid I am doing it and that I have to stop otherwise I will be scarring my body, but honestly I have found that none of anyone's techniques mentioned help. For me, positive strong thinking and working on resisting bodily urges helps.
Here are some ways I've found to work:

Think about tomorrow. Do you really want red legs for school, work, a party?
Buy yourself a beautiful new swimsuit and ask a friend to hold it for you. Don't let them give it to you until you've stopped picking for at least 3 weeks.
Think about how ugly your body looks afterwards and how nice it looks without the scars.
DO WEAR SHORTS. Let people stare. Remind yourself of how horrible it looks and that people COULD be looking one day at how nice your legs are. Sometimes the hardest way is the best way- suffer a bit to really kick into yourself how damaging picking is.
Throw away tweezers, needles or scissors. Don't let yourself near them and ask a family member to hide them if need be.
Use moisturiser on your entire body every day.
KEEP HAPPY- This is the best cure. I have minor depression but I've found that by looking for the little things that make me happy- blue skies, people smiling, a flower growing on the sidewalk- I can instantly become happy and by keeping my mind occupied with happy things I'm not tempted to pick.
TIME YOUR SHOWERS- I found being in the bathroom after a shower was my trigger. By timing your shower and drying off in your room it helps resist the "mirror trigger".
Find a hobby- keep those hands busy!!!
Confide in a close friend who'll understand and keep them updated about your progress- it helps to have someone to talk to.

I hate my picking. I haven't entirely stopped, every so often it returns with a vengeance. But I'm heading to  FIJI in a few weeks and I plan on wearing a bikini. I want beautiful, glossy, smooth legs. So I'm trying hard to be strong and resist any urges, to keep busy, happy, and remember that beach in Fiji!!!!
Be strong and resist your bodily urges. Don't listen to them!!! We all hold in our need to pee sometimes right- at church, work, a seminar, a concert! And sometimes it's worse after, sometimes it's passed. So try holding it in and trying to relax your body while the urge passes. Of course sometimes you may need professional help- OCD can be difficult, and understandably I'm no expert nor do I claim to be.
I truly think the best thing to do is be happy- be happy, busy, and remember that by keeping your mind happy and occupied you havent' got time for the little things.
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I couldn't believe other people suffer from this!!!! I'm 16 and a perfectionist, I think for me it's a feeling of being in "control", as it were. I hate doing anything less than someone else. Being petite, I hate the feeling of short legs and feel like by having no hair I am somehow making up for the lack of height/image insecurity/lack of self confidence. I pick my legs constantly with sharp tweezers and my nails but for some ironic reason I then moisturize them as well as apply scar serum!!! I totally know how stupid I am doing it and that I have to stop otherwise I will be scarring my body, but honestly I have found that none of anyone's techniques mentioned help. For me, positive strong thinking and working on resisting bodily urges helps.
Here are some ways I've found to work:

Think about tomorrow. Do you really want red legs for school, work, a party?
Buy yourself a beautiful new swimsuit and ask a friend to hold it for you. Don't let them give it to you until you've stopped picking for at least 3 weeks.
Think about how ugly your body looks afterwards and how nice it looks without the scars.
DO WEAR SHORTS. Let people stare. Remind yourself of how horrible it looks and that people COULD be looking one day at how nice your legs are. Sometimes the hardest way is the best way- suffer a bit to really kick into yourself how damaging picking is.
Throw away tweezers, needles or scissors. Don't let yourself near them and ask a family member to hide them if need be.
Use moisturiser on your entire body every day.
KEEP HAPPY- This is the best cure. I have minor depression but I've found that by looking for the little things that make me happy- blue skies, people smiling, a flower growing on the sidewalk- I can instantly become happy and by keeping my mind occupied with happy things I'm not tempted to pick.
TIME YOUR SHOWERS- I found being in the bathroom after a shower was my trigger. By timing your shower and drying off in your room it helps resist the "mirror trigger".
Find a hobby- keep those hands busy!!!
Confide in a close friend who'll understand and keep them updated about your progress- it helps to have someone to talk to.

I hate my picking. I haven't entirely stopped, every so often it returns with a vengeance. But I'm heading to  FIJI in a few weeks and I plan on wearing a bikini. I want beautiful, glossy, smooth legs. So I'm trying hard to be strong and resist any urges, to keep busy, happy, and remember that beach in Fiji!!!!
Be strong and resist your bodily urges. Don't listen to them!!! We all hold in our need to pee sometimes right- at church, work, a seminar, a concert! And sometimes it's worse after, sometimes it's passed. So try holding it in and trying to relax your body while the urge passes. Of course sometimes you may need professional help- OCD can be difficult, and understandably I'm no expert nor do I claim to be.
I truly think the best thing to do is be happy- be happy, busy, and remember that by keeping your mind happy and occupied you havent' got time for the little things.
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow I am not suprised to see how active the comments are after 3 years.  I too, am a compulsive picker.  I have missed about 2 months of work this year on and off due to the horrible marks that take weeks to heal and I keep picking at.  I cannot go to work as they will know my secret.  I also pull my hair, I never had any of these habits, or so I thought.  But I recently went through some old photos of my self about 15 years ago, and nearly each oen has me with marks all over my face, neck, arms from picking.  I keep telling my BF that if there were not blemishes, I would not pick, but i know that's not true.  The hair pulling was never a problem until 4 years ago.  I have been on celexa for many years, switching from Paxil about 11 years ago now, but all symptoms have only gotten worse.  I have always had trouble with OCD, but it was ina a form of counting, repeated movements/words.  Never came out in such a way as pulling my hair, the picking has gotten worse, I used ot be able to stop.  I have to make up lies as to why I cannot go to work, my mom will not let me join in family photos.  I am 27 and this is ruining my life.
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How long have you been on Celexa?  If the symptoms are getting worse or never fully went away in the first place, then you need to consult again with a therapist.  You may need an increase in medication or a whole different med entirely.  Also, I think you could benefit from some behavior modification strategies that a psychologist can teach you.  

Try to be cognizant of when your hand goes to your face, neck, arms or hair.  When you notice it, stop yourself.  Picture in your mind a red handle that you pull backward and then say STOP.  Write down on a card positive things about not picking.  Take that card out and read it several times a day.  It could say things like "my skin will look so much better if I don't pick."  "I will not let this affect my ability to work therefore I will not do it."  "I will not be afraid to be around people if I stop this."  "I won't have to make up lies anymore if I stop."  

I am truly sorry that you are suffering with this.  As a person with OCD I know what you are going through although I will say that picking has never been a compulsion for me.  Checking yes, irrational thoughts, double yes.  

Hang in there and get a new consult and go from there.  Post again if you need anything else or have any questions.  
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To the post regarding occupying yourself with other activites and or people to stop picking?!!! I just wanted to say... right on ..this is the first person to make sense of it all and give awesome advice..im  33yrs old female  from squamish bc and my bf who is 32yrs old also picks//we started about 1 yr ago due to cutting my foot open on a rusty vent in thr house we were living in. which then caused an infection and you know what happened after that..god damn we pick each others faces and arms and *****..just kidding hhahha about the *****..but seriously its freakin pathetic and we arent junkies nor ugly people..i htink personally we are very attrative and im not getting anhy younger and this obsession is driving me nuts.i have bought everhting under the sun to cure it. i go online and google everyting and think i have all these medical problems and that we are going to die or something. the worst one is MORGELLONS DISEASE. if anyone knows anythnign about that it scares the **** out of me to think it could be that. and even to think that im freakin crazy/ we have good days and bad days and comments from anyone and everyone .saying we are jib heads and ****.im sick of it cause it isnt true and i dont even want my children seeing my face.. i would love anymore advice but again thank you to the person wit the advice on writing down my episodes and what not cause i mean i really never thought of that.. i was too busy picking...lol anyway take care ya'll and good luck
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You're awesome!!!!! Thank you for this!

It sounds stupid to say now, but I really did feel like I was alone in this and no dermatologists or anyone have ever helped, but this list is really something. It's especially taboo for me I feel because I'm a guy, and even the thought of someone seeing this is my search history is embarrassing, but seeing your post among this huge group of people who all have the same issue is so empowering.

I have psoriasis as well as mild acne and the two make for a picker's worst nightmare. Constant scaling and peeling in certain areas as well as dryness and uneven skin tones just seem to draw me in, but with your suggestions I hope to change all that!!

I really hope you know how empowered your post made me feel, and I hope you're having success with your own battle!

Thank you again, and keep remembering that you're beautiful!

TFS
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I'm so glad I have found some other people that do this... I thought I was the only freak!

I am a leg picker. I generally get eaten alive every Sydney summer and I think this is where it has all started originally. Even as a kid, I was a groomer. My father had terrible knees and so I would help him pick out the ingrown hairs from his arthritic knees from decades of laying carpet for a living.
I think I learned this grooming behaviour from my mother who was a very nurturing and maternal. She loved picking and squeezing my brothers back pimples when they were early teens and just the thought of popping a back zit right now, makes me happy. Haha Blackheads, pimples, ingrown hairs, sebum, scabs...I pick at it all.

Anyway, now I have been picking for years, majority is on my legs, but I do have scars on my thighs, hips, butt, belly, arms and breasts. I have extremely pale skin and poor circulation in my legs don't help the extra slow healing process...if any.
I even started running my fingers through my hair while watching tv or a movie and unknowingly start picking at my scalp.

I do pick at the skin and cuticles around my finger nails and also my feet. I am forever shaving off built up skin (I suffer from psoriasis on my feet) and exfoliating and filing the dead skin with one of those almost sand paper on a paddle looking things. Foot files?

I suffer from Keratosis Pilaris on the back of my arms and also my lower arms. (It's the appearance of rough bumps on the skin. It most often appears on the back and outer sides of the upper arms, though the lower arms can also be affected) I tend to pick at these a lot.

Not surprising I have a genetic predisposition of mental health probs. I suffer Chronic Anxiety and two types of Depression. I know I am a perfectionist/control freak and so having a terrible nervous system & numerous skin conditions, just goes along with the territory.

When I am BAD, I will pick at (all of) the same scores a few times a day. Generally once a day was the norm for a few years. At the moment I am making a conscious effort to NOT pick at all and I am using Bio Oil (http://www.bio-oil.com/en/) which aids in skin repair and scars. I just use it as a sort of moisturiser all over every few days and it's actually helping the sores heal quicker and hopefully the scars will bugger off in 3 months or so too!!

Thanks to everyone else for sharing too. I feel so relieved at this moment.
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I'm so relieved, that I'm not alone. I'm 15 and It's a big problem for me, I have scars on my face, shoulders, chest, arms and legs. I'm so ashamed of it, i always wear shirts that cover everything, and i wear a bunch of make up to hide my skin. But I just can't stop. Especially when i have had a hard day, i go to the mirror and press every zit i can find and pick my skin. I have tried to stop it, but i couldn't. The longest i haven't picked my skin is a week, but then something happens, and i start to do it again. For me it's a way to relieve stress, i guess.
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I have anxiety.I pick my face and bite my nails until they're sore! My self esteem has gone down the drain as I continue to do this. Thanks for advice. It has showed me I am not the only one.
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And to think I was the only one. I never realized that this was an actual problem until today I got so fed up with looking at my blotchy face after I picked.

It started when I was around 14, I'm 21 now... I remember just picking the hairs on my upper arms one day, and I would just kind of go into a trance because the hairs would come out so easily. A few days later small bumps would form, and I'd pick at them like they were pimpled. I eventually would pick obsessively so much that my arms were so scabbed/scarred up. One day I was sitting in class, and being a nosy kid, this girl's just like "What's up with your arms, why are you wearing makeup on them?" In front of so many people, I was so completely embarrassed. The picking on my arms eventually slowed down when I was about 16, and that's around the time I became bulimic.

I hated every second of throwing up, but never had the will power to just starve. Eventually I'd watch into the bathroom and sit on my sink and pick at my face in the mirror. I think in a way I did that because I wanted to avoid purging.

There was a year that everything just kind of stopped. I  was at a very happy place in my life, very busy and I just didn't get the urge to pick or purge for that matter. Like I said, only about a year that lasted. I am now 21, and have recently got married to my high school sweetheart and moved across the country because he is in the air force. Not only has the bulimia started again, but the picking is ten times as worse. I had flawless skin on my legs, but now I find myself even picking there. I will disappear into the bathroom for hours and hes just like uhh where were you? I've mentioned it to him before, but it's a very embarrassing habit. I don't think he thinks its that serious. There's been times I've had to cancel plans because not even makeup could cover the mess I made on my face. I now also find myself picking at my head which is so weird. It causes scabs which I will pick over and over and over again.

I'm just so sick of it. If it helps at all, I've been diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, Panic Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. I take Zoloft, and the psychiatrist prescribed me Zyprexa. But I think she was stupid for prescribing that to a Bulimic because it can cause severe weight gain. I've tried everything, covering my mirror, putting lotion on instead. I even painted my fingernails five times in one day because the urge kept coming back. It's literally driving me up the wall. :(
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I think you could benefit from psychological therapy.  This is a habit and all habits can be broken.  A psychologist specializing in behavior modification would be right up your alley.  You are so young, you need to get a handle on both the bulemia and the picking so that when you want to have a family you will be in great health and able to do so.  Bulemia rots the teeth and gums, can cause esophagus problems, stomach problems.  Get on the phone and make an appointment.  
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Gosh I so thought I was alone in this. I can't even tell you how many years I've been picking its been that long. I constantly picked @ my face,  back, legs & my arms are the worse. Basically I feel the same way all of you do & I thought it was only me cause I never seen or heard of anyone with the same problem. Its almost like smoking you gotta wean yourself from picking I'm still in the process of trying to stop.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have some ways to prevent and make u stop picking. I am also a picker for about 11 months and i know how frustrating and embarrassing it is to pick. I am 13 and so happy to find out that i am not the only one. I usually pick every time i go in the bathroom. I can spend hours in there just picking my back, face, breasts, and shoulders. Afterwards i feel awful and tell myself "Ok, this is the last time.", but i always end up doing it again and again. I have recently stopped because of these simple steps.

      1) DO NOT LOOK IN THE MIRROR!! (If you start to look at all the imperfections on your body, you get the sudden urge to pick, and when u start, u cant stop until your face and body is completely red.)

      2) IMAGINE SOMEONE IS WATCHING YOU!!(If you imagine someone like your friend, mom, crush, etc watching you, you start to feel really embarrassed and stop immediately.)

       3)DO SOMETHING ELSE!!!(The rubber band and squeezing your fists do work, but for me, this may be weird, but singing and dancing works too. O and don't sing too loud cause then your family will hear you and u will be really embarrassed haha.

I hope any of these things helped anyone who has been searching for a cure to stop. I can only advise you to keep a positive look on your body, but the rest is up to you to overcome picking. It may not work the first time, but reading other peoples situations really will motivate u to stop, for good. No offense to anyone, but reading some of these stories about people picking for 20 years really made me want to stop so i don't end up like one of them. GOOD LUCK AND DON'T GIVE IN TO PICKING!
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THANK GOD IM NOT ALONE!!! IVE ALWAYS BEEN A SLIGHT PICKER..(JUST FACE) BUT OVER THE PAST YEAR I HAVE BEEN AT EVERYTHING!!! MY BOYFRIEND IS ALWAYS YELLING AT ME TO STOP PICKING.. BUT HE DOESNT UNDERSTAND THAT I CANT!! ITS IMPULSIVE THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO TO CONTROL IT. IM SURE THERE IS BUT I CANT SEEM TO FIGURE IT OUT YET. I SPEND 3 HOURS EVERYDAY IN THE SHOWER WITH A MIRROR & A TWEEZER. I PICK AROUND THE DEAD SOFT SKIN, AND LATER ON REGRET IT BC MY FACE IS COMPLETLY RED AND DISGUSTING. I CANT LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT POUNDING TONS OF MAKEUP ON TOP OF IT. ITS NOT EVEN LIKE MY SKIN IS BAD, I DO IT TO MYSELF. I AM OBSESSED W TWEEZERS I HAVE THEM IN  MY POCKET OR CLOSE BY AT ALL TIMES. AND NOW I HAVE TAKEN ON MY SCALP, ARMS (ONLY IF SOMETHING APPEARS) AND ANYWHERE I CAN FIND AN INGROWN HAIR. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS REALLY GROSS.. BUT I WILL PULL OUT LIKE 100 HAIRS DOWN THERE.. EVERYDAYY W/ A TWEEZER. I GET AN INGROWN HERE OR THERE.. BUT I NOW HAVE MADE EVERY HAIR INGROWN. NOT ONLY IS IT EMBARASSING, AND I LOOK LIKE ****, I AM DEPRESSED, I DONT LEAVE THE HOUSE, AND IT WASTES MORE  THAN HALF OF MY DAY, BUT MY BOYFRIEND IS REALLY HAD IT W MY PICKING AND MY ATTITUDE WEN I RESPOND ABOUT IT, AND THE AMOUNT OF TIME I SPEND IN THE BATHROOM. I CANT GO IN THERE TO BLOW MY NOSE WITHOUT SPENDING ATLEAST 45MINS-AN HR. AHHHH!!! IM GLAD I AM NOT ALONE, BUT I WANT TO STOP. PLEASE HELP!!!!

i feel so relieved that there are others like me. i use tweezers and pull out hairs from my legs. i get bumps from it and i can pop them like pimples. that's my favorite thing to do, but i also pop zits on my face, arms, and chest. and more recently i discovered that i can pull out little hairs from my butt (ya, its kinda weird) and thats also something that i do alot. i've been picking since i dont even know how long. it started as just popping pimples and at bumps on my arms. my arms got so scabbed up that i never wore short sleeve shirts. in my sophomore year of high school i tried using my tweezers to pull out hairs on my legs because i thought it would be like waxing them, only one hair at a time. but i started getting ingrown hairs, which i would pop. sometimes i cant pop them, so with my tweezers (which are really sharp) i dig down until i can get to the hair and pull it out. i gave my tweezers to my boyfriend today (lukester1250) in the hopes that maybe that would at least help me keep from pulling out hairs. i really have no idea how to get over this. i've tried but i can only go for a few days before doing it again. if im not doing one thing, i'm doing another. i dont like all the scars that i've put on myself and all the blemishes, which sometimes hurt. is there anything i can do to make this stop?
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Here is a link to what I wrote in the beginning of December about skin and scalp picking.  Please check it out.

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder-OCD-/skin-scalp-picking-disorder/show/1641481

My best...JGF
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Avatar_f_tn
Im 12 years old and i have a MAJOR problem with picking skin and scratching and i keep getting rashes and scars more around my face legs and arms!! i cant help it and doctors nvr help i feel like something is pinching my skin and wont stop pinching till i do something to it... I need help im only in grade 7 and i already have problems showing my skin around people, even my family!! the more i scratch and pick the more dry my skin gets and the more it makes it itchier... Help me please!
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Hi there.  Obviously your parents know about this because you have been to the doctors.  But I think that you probably went to a general doctor and not a psychologist.  The best thing for you to do is to have your parents make an appointment with a child psychologist.  This is something that you need to get a handle on now rather than let it go on for years and years.  There is help and I'm guessing you just haven't been to the right person for it.  Also, it may benefit your parents to become educated about this particular OCD compulsion.  The OCD needs to be treated so that you can be on your way to a better life.  Ask your parents for help, they will support you and get you to where you need to be.  When you hear "just stop doing it" remind people that you would if you could and therefore you need help to be able to stop.  My best.  
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I thought I was the only one.. Its heartening to know I am not alone.. this is a wonderful support group.. I suffer from mild acne and pick at the scabs on my face and so it never heals completely.. I make resolutions every new year, every birthday and so on that I am going to STOP but that only works for a few days.. the minute I let down my guard, sometimes even without being aware of it, the picking starts again.. I'm sure it looks terrible to an observer.. but I just can't stop. Its an addiction, an obession.. even though I know its harming me and making my poor skin hurt and look bad, I can't stop my fingers from scratching at scabs..
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I am 53 years old and I pick at my face, arms and stomach. I have been doing this since I was 11 or 12 yrs old. My face and arms are so scarred up I don't even care anymore. Just knowing that I am not the only one that has this problem helps a little.
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I am not a picker.  My child is.  My daughter has been an aggressive picker for two years, and she is 9 ½- years-old.  (For the purpose of this post, I will call her Annie.)  Annie didn’t start off as a picker.  She had extreme fears.  From a parent’s perspective, knowing what is normal and when we’ve gone beyond the boundaries of normal can be difficult to determine.

When she was seven, we reached that point and entered therapy.
Therapy is a rewarding but difficult path.  The challenge is to find the therapist who works for you.  Unfortunately, too many people quit after the first try.  When I searched for my own therapist years ago, it took me six therapists to find the right fit.  You have to know what you are looking for, and to determine that, you have to know what you don’t want.  For Annie, we started with a child therapist, Lisa, in the same group as the therapist I was seeing.  We went to Lisa for about three months when we determined that she should be evaluated by a psychiatrist (you should get recommendations here too or shop around).  She is now on her third therapist and is quite happy with her.

Post-eval, Annie was diagnosed with anxiety (not a surprise, as I have a similar diagnosis) and placed on medication.  Relief was immediate.  Then the picking started.  Her fears were masking her OCD.  And, another phase of our life began.

Annie is a BEAUTIFUL girl—scabs and all.  She’s goofy and unique; she sings as she walks down the hallway; and she loves to draw.  At the moment, she’s not embarrassed by her scars and sores and scabs.  We try to cover them with band aids mostly to prevent the spread of MRSA.  But that doesn’t mean she’s not affected.  Because of her personality, she’s always been a target of bullies, and, although she will deny that other’s notice, children in her school will call her “scabby girl” or “band aid girl.”  Lately she’s been more and more depressed—and that’s what she is hiding.

We have tried to teach Annie that what she has is a medical condition, one for which she is seeking treatment.  If others have a problem with it, it is their problem, not hers.  Some people’s challenges are obvious to the eye, and most educated people will have empathy and try to understand.  But when it comes to those hidden within the mind, people are judgmental.  Annie has had to thicken her skin.  She’s working on her condition.  She’s fighting back—fighting her illness and public opinion.  She has started to share her condition with others.   We don’t want her to keep things hidden in shame; she has nothing to be ashamed of.  Hiding things are dangerous.

People who pick have a reason to pick, and it is usually buried deep in their past.  Willpower alone might not be enough.  Seek therapy.  Talk to a psychiatrist—it doesn’t mean you have to take medicine, nor does it mean you’re crazy.  I am on many medications at the moment (our household is a very stressful one to live in—Annie has another diagnosis as well, and I have severe anxiety/panic disorder and depression), but I don’t consider myself crazy. Get educated.  There are a number of resources out there. And, there are a number of new drugs.  Luvox is specialized for OCD.  Paxil is a close substitute.  Most have side effects.  Bu,t there is no miracle drug.  Nothing is going to make it go away on its own, just like no anti-depressant is going to make me happy.  I have to make me happy.  But my meds sure do help.   Don’t suffer in silence.  

Nothing will work on its own.  Medicine won’t do it.  Therapy.  Willpower.  But put together with time—that’s what my family is hoping for Annie.

If you are a child, talk to your parents, your counselors at school.  Talk to someone.  If cost is a factor, there might be free therapy groups in your area.  If you want help, you should be able to get it.  But, you have to ask.
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Well said...thanks for sharing the story of your beautiful daughter.  I did a separate write up on here regarding picking but I don't think people paid any attention to it.  Everyone usually says the same thing "I thought I was the only one."  I asked that people start a thread with success stories.  I hope somebody does that one day.  I think it will be a great help to others.  This thread is so old and long that I don't think people want to take the time to really read what other people have written.  
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Hello...I am a Dad with a 8 year-old daughter that is addicted to picking.  She is a beautiful little girl and I am beginning to see the impact it is having on her physically and mentally.  I believe we will try the rubber band idea to see if it helps.  We have seen dermatologist and they seem to help the healing process...only to be needed again the next time something pops up and is picked.  There has to be more to this problem...?  I know I need to do something and do it now...before long-term damage is done...

Someone please give me some ideas...kids should not have to deal with things like this....

Dad...

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Hi Ed.  What she really needs is to see a child psychologist if that is possible and one that deals with OCD if you can find one.  I think it is more common nowadays.  You are right....getting it early is the best way.  You could probably sit in on some sessions so that you both can learn how to help her stop so you can be her reinforcement so to speak.  Her fall-back on person when she needs to talk about it.  What you don't want to do is tell her "just stop doing it" because it is so hard without the proper tools in place such as cognitive behavioral therapy or behavior modification techniques.  She most likely has some anxiety that needs to be deaelt with as well.  Good luck.  

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   Everything you've said, I have experienced as well. I understand your fixation with tweezers, leg and butt picking, etc. I have managed to subdue my impulses, except for on a few occasions.
   Since our fixations seem to be very similar, my methods of quitting may help you.

1. Cover/ get rid of mirrors. This alone won't cure you or solve your problems; it will only serve as a constant reminder and possible help drive your incentive.  

2. Stop carrying tweezers with you. Its a hard step to take but is crucial in transitioning back into a life without picking.

3. Do something to prevent yourself from spending unnecessary time in the bathroom (including shower time and any other time you could use to pick). You could: not bring tweezers and a mirror into the shower + set an alarm telling you when to get out. Bring your boyfriend with you, or talk really loudly (yell) to yourself as a constant reminder when alone.

4. Start decreasing the surface area where you allow yourself to pick. For instance, gradually put aside picking your face and anywhere else that is visible. Hopefully this will help to increase you confidence and provide yourself with continuous encouragement. What you're aiming for is to break the cycle. In order to not relapse, you're going to have to REALLY want to stop. A word of advise: even though it isn't visible, I suggest you try to stop picking/plucking your butt. Out of all my scars, the ones on my butt have healed the worst. Not only that, I think scars on your breasts, butt and face will be viewed as the most unattractive. You will likely regret then the most.

5. When you are alone, wear thick, white moisturizing cream on your blemishes. This may not be your style, but it helped me to stop scratching at my cuts. When I left them alone and moisturized, they could then heel better. Keep in mind, using cream to cover your skin could become your new obsession (to reduce this possibility, switch creams every so often). This brings up a good point; an easier way to quite is to develop a new fixation. Albeit, you would only be substituting one addiction for another.

6. Pay heed to the advise of others on the chat. I have tried many of the methods that are suggested. From experience, i have learned no method is superior to another, it is a matter of what you will benefit from and can find relief in.

7. Mind you, this struggle, healing process and mental reprogramming took place over the course of 1.5 years. You won't be cured overnight. However, with this in mind, don't cut yourself any slack. Be diligent, committed and motivated.

  -- I am 14. I have struggled with CSP since the age of 9. The progress I have made was made alone, so I can contest to it being possible to provide the support for yourself in order to quite. It is important to primarily account for the psychological struggle, invoked by CSP. If you truly want to stop, do not stop hating it. If you give in to excepting it, you will have nothing more to hold on to.


*Best of luck and wishes.  
  

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I am soo happy i found this! i honestly thought i was alone with this "habit" i started pulling out my eyelashes when i was about 7. my eyelids were completely bare at some points and i was so embaressed. i finally stopped that habit when i entered middle school but once i stopped that habit it was less than a year before i found the next habit of squeezing bumps on my upper arms. ive been doing this for years now.(im currently 15) and i always have to hide the scars that cover my arm. i use only my finger nails and have tried countless times to stop. ive tried keeping my nails cut really short or using long, fake nails to make it more difficult for myself. ive tried putting lotion all over my arms to make them to slipperly to pick when im alone, but none of things have worked i always find my self back picking. i hate that im too embareesed to wear short sleeve shirts. i leave the rest of my skin alone, i have no acne and i would say i have really good skin untill you look at my arms from my elbows up to my shoulders. i really wish i could stop and seeing this and that this is a real thing gives me hope but i still cant stop! helpp!
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I love the sun, but it hurts me.  I pick my arms in sunlight. I have been known to pick my face but my arms have received the worst of my csp.  I also have to search for light and airy long sleeved blouses for the summer.  It's so frikin painful, inside and out.  I can't seem to stop.  I am 51 yrs old.  I just recently found others like me, and I am grateful to find I am not alone.  I was surprised to find how little awareness there is around this problem.  It baffles me on a daily basis.  Thank you all for shaing and letting me share too.
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God I do this too. My face chest legs and back are disgusting from scars and open wounds. I find I do it most often when I am on painkillers. Specifically OxyContin and Obama. It's like I get in this mindset where every imperfection has to go. So I'll spend hrs in front of a mirror tearing my skin off. I bleed a lot and it leaves horrible open wounds. I have to wear concealer just to cover it up. I feel really stupid wearing makeup as a guy. I can't take my shirt off in public and forget sexual intimacy. I think the reason I do it so much when I'm on the painkillers is I don't have the pain response from my body to tell me to stop. It's good to know there are other people out there with this problem.
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I get the sense from a lot of people that you are relieved to see that others also have the same problem but it really is treatable if you seek out professional help.  The best place to start is a psychologist.  You may feel like the "damage is done" but better late than never.  Take care.  
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Along with scalp picking does anyne have a spongy scalp
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She may have high anxiety as this is where my stemmed from when I was a child around her age. I was also a perfectionist Virgo with many things in my life and it was mainly driven by a generalised anxiety.
Just a thought.

Good luck!
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I can relate to this SO much,im 16 and suffering with this ever since i was lil,it started when i was like about 6 or 7 i think.I have exzemah(idk how to spell it),but i have really nice skin that can heal really well but i have a terrible habbit of destroying my skin on purpose almost everyday.my face,arms and legs  still has old/new scars,some look alil faded because I've been using some skin treatments,but people at my school thinks it's because of bad acne,but it's not,believe it or not but I've never had acne,I've gone to my pediatrician a while ago and he has took a look at my skin and said its just a possible skin irritation due to my exzemah,or could just be the pollen,because i also have bad allergies,and i use to play outside and when pollen was on my skin i would itch,but the strange thing was when i didn't even have an itch i would still pick my skin for no reason,and my parents tried alot of things to pull me away from picking my skin,such as gloves,socks,cutting my fingernails,even tried yelling at me to stop picking my skin ,because i guess they figured yelling would make me stop picking my skin but it didn't.I myself have tried things that i thought would work but didn't.,ipick& scratch my skin alot .I still damage my skin alot when im tempted to pick my skin.I have scars on my legs arms and face and they're embarrassing :{ my father tells me to stop picking my skin but i can't.I've been gettin frustrated with this so i have been doing research to see if there is any reason for me picking my skin,and try and find ways to make it stop.i don't like to where short sleeves because of this because i don't want anyone to see my skin and to question it,my mother use to put skin medicine on the spots I've picked at and covered it with bandaids and i had alot of bandaids on my arms and legs and this was elementary school so kids would ask "whats that","ew" and say mean things and pick on me because of it,and it ruined my self-esteem,and when people asked "what happened?" I would tell em that i got inna car accident,just to avoid being looked at as an outcast because some people took it better if i told them a lie rather than the truth.When i kept getting picked on i told my mother that i no longer wanted to wear bandaids,because people made fun of me,she bought me longsleeved clothing,.I cant stop,i see a scab or anything like that im tempted to reopen the wound and regret it later.I sometimes make fresh wounds on clear areas of my skin.I looked at other research on this and it says this can be caused by anxiety,stess,bordom,etc. And is self mutilation and i believe thats what it could be because im going through so much right now and doing this is what i do to find release.I think that my older brother and my twin sister has this disorder as well,but i have it the worst.Me and my twin have been put on skin medications to try and help our skin clear up,but my mother hasn't been keeping up on getting our prescriptions anymore, Anyways the next time i visit the pediatrician im going to let him know about this issue to make it stop.
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Hi. I am so relieved that there is more than one of me. I started noticing my habit when i was 13 and I probably been picking since i was 11 years old. I dont like to talk about it to my mom because when i tell her she makes me feel like there is something wrong with me, like I'm some Emo child who picks themself because Im depressed all the time. I get sad like everyone else, but when I pick i do  it without really noticing I'm doing it. Mainly when I'm on the toilet. Never in public. Then I'd realize that I'd be sitting on the toilet for 45 minutes picking my legs. It doesnt hurt but i get a shiver when i feel I've taken a scab away from my skin. If its a bump or a scabb on my skin it will get picked. Im 16 now and skin matters. My skin is scared bad and i cant wear shorts, skirts, dresses, or anything pretty. Crying right now just thinking about it. I want help but who do i tell? Im not crazy, i have habits like everyone else. My habit it just more bizzare cause people think "who would want to damage there skin?" Nobody wants to do it. Its that moment when you look at your skin andgo.. What happened?
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I've never had acne in my entire life. I have to lie to people and tell them i have a bad skin condition where i get bumpy dark skin..
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What you want to do is seek out the help of a psychologist.  Tell you mom to take a look at the following web site

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatillomania

This is a real disorder with a real name and it can be treated with the proper help.  Have a sit down with your mom, look at the site, and then make plans to see a child psychologist.  Make sure they have experience with Dermatillomania and the ways it can be treated.  
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I just got done sitting infront of my mirror by the window so i have day light to pick my face...there is only one spot on my face that i pick and it has been there for months and months, because i just cant leave it alone..it scabs up in the morning and when i need to get ready and put make up on i have to pick the scab off so i can put my foundation over it cause it looks worse with the scab on, then when i get home, i end up going upstairs and picking the scab off of it and going after these white things, and im pretty sure they are my pores, my satisfaction is that i pull out these pores and see how big each one is and then i put them on my little mirror...i know that sounds extremely bizzar...but that is what i do and i think i have a major infection because it feels like i have an abscess around the area, i dont think its just scar tissue...i found neosporin with a pain relief in it, and it really helps, but im trying my hardest to let it heal, but everytime something gets me upset or triggers me, i go after my face, even though something might not even be wrong, i still find myself infront of the mirror...i need some advice, i try to keep my hands busy with something else but i know that i have it on my face...and once im done i will leave it alone for the rest of the night, it usually wont be touched till morning, and all i do is take the scab off...i dont go after the pores, cuz i cant be late in the mornings for where i go...but i have had this problem for years, and i cant make it go away...it really ***** and i hate people staring at me or asking me what happened to my face...
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This describes me exactly! I really thought I was the only one out there. I feel weird and everyone I run across tries to associate it with drugs! It's awful! I've always picked but now at 26 it is really really  worse with association to the same problems. I realize there is more to learn out there and it's not just me. One thing that does help though is finding something to keep my hands busy and to stay out of the bathroom of course. Try scrapbooks, writing, or cleaning, these seem to help me and keep things off my mind :)
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Yep. My problem exactly. I honestly thought I was the only one too.

Basically, picking any little bumps I see, etc. I get red sores everywhere I picked but just tell myself that ill look better in the morning. Then I wake up, and it's not completely healed and im afraid to go out in public and be seen

I picked my arms the worst. They get very red, and they are bumpy. I don't know how to cure it, or how to relievve the redness, except that when I rub the skin, the redness goes away for a while, I'm guess that the picking had ruptured tiny veins that allow blood flow, so the blood just gathers up wherever I once picked at them.

I'm so mad at myself, and im scared to go short sleeved now. Im trying many creams on my arms and nothing seems to be working.

If anyone knows of a good cream or natural remedy for my problem, please comment on this chat.

Thankyou, and god bless all of you who are going through this problem

P.S. I have stopped picking completely because of my arm problem. It finally got to my head. Honestly, I want to pick every second of the day when I'm at home. Especially when I'm in the bathroo in front of the mirror, seeing any kind of blemish. I'm on the road to recovery, I just hope to god that I haven't permanently made my arms red and bumpy foreverrrrr :(
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Avatar_m_tn
Yep. My problem exactly. I honestly thought I was the only one too.

Basically, picking any little bumps I see, etc. I get red sores everywhere I picked but just tell myself that ill look better in the morning. Then I wake up, and it's not completely healed and im afraid to go out in public and be seen

I picked my arms the worst. They get very red, and they are bumpy. I don't know how to cure it, or how to relievve the redness, except that when I rub the skin, the redness goes away for a while, I'm guess that the picking had ruptured tiny veins that allow blood flow, so the blood just gathers up wherever I once picked at them.

I'm so mad at myself, and im scared to go short sleeved now. Im trying many creams on my arms and nothing seems to be working.

If anyone knows of a good cream or natural remedy for my problem, please comment on this chat.

Thankyou, and god bless all of you who are going through this problem

P.S. I have stopped picking completely because of my arm problem. It finally got to my head. Honestly, I want to pick every second of the day when I'm at home. Especially when I'm in the bathroo in front of the mirror, seeing any kind of blemish. I'm on the road to recovery, I just hope to god that I haven't permanently made my arms red and bumpy foreverrrrr :(
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So glad to know I'm not the only one. I thought I was. I'm 29 and have been picking for many years. Started with my face, then my legs, then chest and so on. I look for every pour that may have something in it! I even pick at the stubbles on my legs. I found the hair closer to my ankles pop out of the pour in a way that intieses me. I can't stop once I start and spend countless hours doing so. Low cut shirts show the top of my breast were I've made many dark spots. I can't weare shorts or skirts because of the dark scars and new red marks. I have 4 boys and I'm very busy but my anxiety kills my self image. I have a beautiful body and I should show it off but I am embarrassed. I have tried so many things to occupie my hand but nothing worked. If I don't pick something I see on my body I go into a panic attack. My kids are now noticing this behavior. I used to hide it but can't any more. I'm ashamed, embarrassed, and lost. Not to mention sweating myself to deth because I have to wear pants all the time. I'd love to be the other moms in their cute cool outfits sitting at the soccer and baseball games, or to go swimming. Thank you for sharing. I don't feel so alone any more!
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Hi there.  Have you ever sought treatment for this disorder?  It has a specific name, dermatillomania, and it really is a habit and as with any habit it can be broken.  Also, that anxiety you feel when you don't pick, there are many ways to combat that as well including cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication.  It is never too late to seek help.  This is nothing to be embarassed about.  Many people have this disorder as you now know.  My own OCD problems are habits as well, it is just that you can't visually see what I do to myself.  Please seek treatment because it really is not too late and you are so worth it.

Take care.  
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iv been picking my arms and face for years (15) and sometimes i look like i have really bad chicken pox iv picked soo bad. couple of tips, dont expose your skin to hot/warm water after picking (it makes it look worse) lag your skin in cream (if its greasy you wont be able to pick, i use nappy creams with antiseptic formulars to help the skin heal quicker and epierm emollient) i have also found that having fake nails helps because i literaly can not pick then. for your face, use a mild exfoliating face wash twice a day with an antibacterial moisteriser in the morning and a skin healing (anti ageing (aging)) cream at night. keep your skin covered in tight clothing that you cannot role up until your skin has healed and try not to look in the mirror. hope this helps? im getting married in 3 weeks so im trying really hard atm as i want to be able to expose my arms and feel good about my self and this all seems to be working X
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Avatar_m_tn
I also have the same problem of picking/plucking/ anywhere... mostly my scalp, nose, pubic area and arms.
A few years ago I had an ingrown pubic hair that hurt so badly and had my boyfriend pluck it out. He's done it for me for years.
But this time my labia swelled and hardend so badly that I ended up in the hospital for 1 week on Vancomycin IV and then I had to have it incised because the Vanco wasn't really making any difference.
My pcp said to use hot compresses and this should help the inflamed hair eventually come out on its own.
Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.
The common thread I find with all of us is: Depression, Anxiety and Bipolar.
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After a really ****** week at work, I did what I always do: went into my room, took off my shirt and picked the hell out of my arms, back and chest. Then I went online and started typing "picking bumps" into Google. What a surprise/relief to see all the results come up. I had thought it was just my dad & I who suffered from this. He's the one who got me started on this as a kid, asking me to pop pimples on his back. Then as an elementary schooler, I noticed these weird bumps, and started picking to get rid of them. Then it became a pleasure thing. I remember at one point having this raging deep infection on my upper arm, and just picking at the scab so the pus would come out.

I pick most when I'm tired/ angry/ stressed out. My mom tried to help me, but did not understand at all. She dragged me to this social worker in high school. Long story short, I'm still doing it. In retrospect, I was not ready/ willing to stop.

Today I realized that I am really angry at both my parents: my dad for starting me on this and my mom for saying **** when I was young, like "they're all staring at your arms," and "If you keep this up, no boy is going to want to go out with you." Thanks a lot! I've never shown my breasts to anyone (I'm 23 now). I wonder what they'd say, "Oh ****, did you get mauled or something?" Haven't worn sleeveless in years. I can look at old school photographs, and be like, ah yes, there's that scar, I remember the scab, and the little hole that it left when I had squeezed all the pus out. People say I'm pretty, and I just think, if you only knew what was going on under all this clothing you'd be saying something different.

Maybe I'll go back to a therapist or something. It was good to find this community, and see that others suffer through the same thing. I wonder if there are conventions where I could meet other pickers. It would be amazing to see others who look like me.
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Wow I mean, reading all these comments make me feel a lot better knowing that I'm not the only one out there with a picking problem. I am 14 years old and I started picking my arms when I was about 6 years old. It used to be so fun to pick my arms because I had nothing else better to do. I still pick my arms, legs, face, and ect. I've always just wanted a clear body almost all my life, so I can be seen in public without people noticing my arms and legs. I have to wear longsleves in the summer and jeans, so I get the feeling people notice somethings wrong with me. Im going into high school soon and I keep on telling myself I'm not going to pick! But some how, I always end up after taking a shower with red bumps on my arms, legs and face. I get depressed because of it, and I envy girls who can wear shortsleves and cute cloths, when Im stuck with winter shirts. My mom isnt really a help with things, she HELPS me pick my body. She's really the one that got me started with all of this. I would be wearing short sleves, if people didnt ask me about the scars and scabs. :/ I've tried so hard now not to pick and just when my arms start to clear up again, I screw them up. I know how I can help myself from picking but it seems to never work. Also, the thought of having scars on my arms after Im though with picking, (and my legs and body) hurts. Doctors dont understand, nor does anyone in my family... they know I only wear longsleves and never shorts or shortsleves, but they dont know what Im hiding. The only people who know about my picking problem is my mom, my sister, and a friend of mine that well, isnt my best friend. I wish I could tell my two best friends and not have to hide after that but I cant, I always have to have some excuse when I go swimming and wear boy cloths or when I wear a jacket on a hot sunny day. It makes me depressed and all Ive ever really wanted for myself was to get better and not have this stupid picking problem. Thank you all for sharing your stories so it could give me the chance to maybe start new... godbless everyone.
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Hi Bri....do you pick in public or do you have that measure of control?  
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i dont do drugs either its when im nervous or thinking, i am recovering little by little i will pick at face body, where there are ravor bumps from shaving i pick
do i need medication?
S
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Im soo glad im not the only one !!!! Just want to find more info.
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I have scars on my legs from picking at scabs and now they look like dark spots all over my arms and legs what do I do?
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Guys, I am so happy to have found this community. Thank you so much for sharing your stories. I think I have been picking my face compulsively ever since I was maybe 15, and I am 28 now. Strangely enough, it is only now, today, that I have decided to google this issue as a disorder and check if anyone else has this type of matter going on. It is just so crazy to me now as I am writing this to you that throughout all that time (13 years!) I was somehow convinced that I am alone with this issue, that what I do is disgusting, and to shameful to share or even look up. There was so much shame linked to that. I find it quite surprising myself that even though I have also been compulsively eating (binge eating disorder) ever since I was a teenager, this disorder has been so much easier for me to admit to others. I mean, there are friends, not many, but there are a few, to whom I have opened up about the fact that I have been eating compulsively, whereas there is no one whom I would tell about picking my face like this EVER. I mean, my parents and brother knew, because I did leave with them at the time when it all started, but they themselves where completely in the dark about how serious it was and just criticized me harshly for doing what I had been doing. (Needless to say, that was of not much help, I felt even worse and even more like a weird stranger). But other than them, no one ever knew, I would share this with no one ever. How crazy is that, right?

There was somehow, right until this moment so much conviction in me that this is just *way* too disgusting to share, and something so weird (because just like some of you mention, I am also not quite sure *why* I do it), something that I am likely the only person on the planet busy with.. that I just would not share this with anyone ever before.

My compulsion comes and goes, there are times when I don't do this at all, and others when the urge takes me over (like just right before I have found this forum).. But I remember even once when I was living with my boyfriend at the time, and of course my face would be just all red, even violet, and devastated after a super long visit in the bathroom and even then, even when it must have been straight obvious what I have been doing, I had never shared or talked to him about that. Even I would share my bed with him, but I would still be too ashamed to talk about what I had just done.. Hmm, I guess what I am saying, is *thank you* so much for posting here, you may not know what a relief it is for me to now, after all this time find out that there are people just  like me out there, who struggle and often fail, and that I am somehow not alone with this. I guess, if not with tackling the OCD itself, seeing your posts helps me at least  deal with the shame aspect of it. And that's big to me already.

As far as the picking is concerned, what I find strangely interesting about it is that - similarly to compulsive eating - you are both the one who does the damage and the one who is the victim. At least that's how it is in my case. That's kind of peculiar, would you agree? I mean, the fact that we must have some sort of 'split mind' in that moment of urge, where there are 'two' of us, two 'Is', to 'me', the one who punishes and one who is being punished.. I'm entirely sure how to express that, but that's just largely how it feels in my case.

Just like in many of your stories, I see that the urge to pick comes from some sort of subconscious place, the level of the mind when it is really something you absolutely *have to* do, some sort of survival or coping mechanism. If I was to compare this matter to compulsive eating (which is not active in my case at the moment) then I'd say that the urge usually comes when there are many thoughts, anxieties about other things going on in my head. In a way that's probably what's so seductive about picking, compulsive eating or any other addiction for that matter; is that it gives you 'time out' from your problems, that it is a moment that you are totally out there, hypnotized, as many of you guys here put it, that in those hours, minutes etc. nothing else matters, none of our (or at least mine) problems seem to exist.. That's a powerful temptation to resist. Only it does not solve the things that were bothering us in the first place and also the shame and guilt about the action itself, once what was there to be done, is done, seem just unbearable.

If I were to point one thing that I learned from your brave and honest posts guys is that picking seems to be just a cover up for something else that's going on inside us, inside our minds, and that's just a way we (or at least myself) express those bothering thoughts and emotions for lack of a better way to deal with those.

But here's an idea. Maybe instead of harsh, we can all just be gentle with ourselves.. I know, this may sound naive especially since this is such a serious issue for all of us posting here, but hear me out, please. One of the things that really seems to have helped me let go of my compulsive eating thing is.. I ALLOWED IT. I MEAN IT. I JUST COMPLETELY ALLOWED IT. Of course first for years I had been trying to stop, but then at some point I think I just accepted it as a part of me, part of who I am, I just stopped thinking that it would be bad to have an attack and good not to have one. I just GAVE MYSELF A TOTAL PERMISSION TO DO IT. I imagine this may just sound like giving up and not asking for help, but to me in fact it was quite the opposite. I had been doing therapy at the time (not for this issue in particular, but generally about my stress level, relationship with my mother etc.), I have been for quite some time practicing meditation, I exercise frequently and do also a lot of small fun creative things, which I notice have been helpful also. And so I just said to myself: 'Look, there are things you control and things you don't control. How about you do all the things that help you and that you are able to control, keep meditating, exercising, dancing etc. And if the thing you cannot control - compulsive eating - happens, then it happens. End of story. Your job is to do the things you can do. And not to stop doing things you have no control over'. And with that approach, somehow, with time, the compulsion just LEFT ME. I somehow thought maybe you guys would find this angle useful in some way.

I think really a big part of our problem/case etc (or at least my personal case) may be that we're so ashamed of what we do, ashamed that others would find out, ashamed that we cannot control ourselves, convinced that we do something we shouldn't be doing. But what if we skip all that. What if we allow ourselves completely to do what we do, and just focus our energy on all the other activities that do get us better, like exercise, meditation, therapy, or even coming out about it to friends. In a way it is crazy that we expect ourselves to be able to stop it, if we ourselves don't have control over it in the first place, isn't it? If we did have the power to stop it, if we had this kind of control, then we wouldn't have started it in the first place, right? I mean, we just put additional pressure on ourselves by 'trying to stop'. I think what I'll try to do now, just like previously with eating, is just to *allow* it to be instead.

This turned out to be a super long post, but I just felt compelled to share some of my thoughts with you guys. Who knows, maybe they resonate and help. For me it was really wonderful to read your stories today, so consoling, just lovely. So big thanks for that.

Lots of love and good luck loving yourselves with the beautiful pimples, anxieties, obsessions and disorders that we have; just as we are,

hanka_sss
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I have so much pimple marks and scabs on my face and it's really ugly.. It embarrassed me when the lights are too bright and I can't go under sunlight because i'm afraid someone would notice how horrible my face is.. Reading your stories helps me a lot.. and it changes how i look at myself now.. thanks a lot guys!! :)
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Wow. I am absolutely amazed reading thru these stories!  I swear you have been following me and beat me here to tell my story! I have known forever that I have had OCD.. i also have bipolar & severe anxiety (to put it mildly). My mental health dr told me thats what caused me to start drugs 20yrs ago (before I was diagnosed and she said I was self medicating) but thats when I first started the picking.  Im off the drugs now.. been 10 yrs. But he picking obsession stayed.  Dr says it is part of the OCD. Longest ime in front of the mirror?  4 hrs.  My arms are totally scared completely.  I am forever trying to find anything to pop on my back. Im constantly running my fingers over my face seeing id I missed anything from the last check 2 min before.  My and poor ears suffer the most. I hate summer. Can't wear short sleeves when it looks like uve tied up with cheeze on your arms in a mouse cage. My family dnt believe I am still clean. I only have the severe relapse on picking when I get really stressed so I can look fine for months then boom. Im a hot mess whwn they see me at a family gathering and the questions begin.  I think people at work are used to it. I catch them staring sometimes but if they dnt ask I jusy ignore them. Only my closet friends know the truth. Cause really I am obsessed with finding zits or blackheads (or what I think could become one soon or someday) but also am always on the hunt for any corse hair that may be growing on my arms, neck, chin. Anywhere. If I find one.. its gonna be a bad if it wont come out easy and it rare they do. Because I will dig till I get it out creating horrible sores.  I am an extreame case. Im a nervous wreck. And I just thought he picking was another part of my one of a kind gifts that keep my doctor in practice.  Im really glad I came accross this page!! I may not know any of you but I no I am not alone.. thanks to all of you for sharing! !!!!!!!
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I keep picking my arms and chest and it looks like they are getting infected
what should I put on them, they are red and sore.  I remember i did this
before on my face and caused a bacteria infection and the dr told me to quit picking at it I could get Mersa. I can't seem to stop...
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Wow im not alone !!!! Im 32 years old and have this horrendous obsession with picking and mainly my legs bear the brunt. It started like many of you when I was 13 I got very badly bullied at school and the self loathing kinda started from there.  The bouts have sometimes been wore than others but I can say its the only realise I find that eases my anxiety.  I just pray to god I could stop this OCD as its ruining my life.  I have had a few bad years and i've suffered depression and anxiety and the picking its at its worst.  I spend hours picking squeezing at generally nothing but the sores and scabs I create are horrific and for the last 2 years ive been unable to wear dress or skirt or more shamefully take my 3 year old daughter swimming ever.....!!!! Im so ashamed and need help.....What can I do?????
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