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Pimple popping..
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Pimple popping..

Hi - I am new to the forum.

I decided to join because I think I need support.  I seek therapy for anxiety issues - and one of them is ocd.  I have just recently been diagnosed with it, but I believe I have had it for many years without realizing what it was.  When people think OCD - they think of sorting through carpet fringes, compulsively showering/washing hands, etc.

I have a lot of pure O symptoms -where I have internal obsessions.  I think things, and focus on something for so long where I start becoming unsure whether or not it's true.

I also have SOME compulsions.  Here is ONE of them...

I pop pimples.  Not to the point where it's normal (even though it's not highly suggested to do so - dermatologically speaking) if I see a pimple, I NEEEEEEEDDDDDD to pop it.  My arms are COVERED with tiny pimples.. and needless to say - I have a field day.

Well this is effecting my life.  It's effecting it to the point where I will spend time in my work bathroom popping some pimples.  If there is a mirror, I pop pimples, if I need to take a mini break at work while at my desk, I look at my arms and find the tiniest pimple.. and pop it.

My arms look like hell right now.  Usually during the winter time, it's much better because of long sleeve shirts. Out of sight, out of mind - except I still pop my face.  I also see pimples on my boyfriends face/back/anywhere and I'll have a SEVERE urge to pop it.


I have other compulsions, but this is a major one - and I REALLY REALLY want to stop.  The problem is, not even the suggestions my therapist are recommending are enough for me to actually do it.  I feel like I need to be hypnotized or something.  I need help. Is there anyone out here who knows what I'm going through?? Or any suggestions?! I'm dying here!

thanks,
Dani
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15 Comments Post a Comment
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601538_tn?1335196618
We are alike in a sense.  I have this condition called Keratosis Pilaris (def:  a common skin condition characterized by small, pointed bumps, especially on the back and sides of the upper arms sometimes cause by dry skin or ingrown hairs).  This is not easily treated and there is no cure.  Trust me, I've tried EVERYTHING.  The only thing that helps is the sun and not picking.  Mine is really bad on the upper arms and I tend to pick at it.  I don't know if I have OCD or not, I've never been to a doctor or been diagnosed, but after much research on the net, I think this could be part of it (anxiety about things in my life).  I tend to pick unconsiously.  As soon as I realize what I'm doing, I stop.  But by then it's usually too late and my arms look horrible.  I used to wear sleeveless shirts all the time in the summer, now I very rarely do because my arms look so bad.  It's very embarrassing, but I also know it's my fault for picking.  I'm trying to deal with this habit on my own, without meds or any other kind of treatment.  But I've tried it before too, to no avail.  This time I'm taking it day by day.  So, far I haven't picked since 11pm Friday night, so it has been over 24 hours.  woohoo!!!!      
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there,

I know you posted this a few months ago, but I'm sort of in the same boat as you.  I do believe it is part of OCD.  I too have OCD in the form of obsessive thoughts and then I get to the point where I question what is right for me or what action I should take.  I started picking my pimples when I was a young teen and around that time is when my eyesight started to go bad.  I became nearsighted.  I have gone a few days without picking and when I am around people I don't, but I often do when I am alone at night.  I wondered if looking so close up in the mirror when I pick is making my eyesight worse since I am probably straining my eyes.  No one in my family that i know of is nearsighted so I wonder where it came from.  I would love to get lasik surgery, but am worried that if I don't stop my picking then I will only strain my eyes more and it will negate the surgery outcome.  Seeing that there are others out there with similar issues does help in that I realize I'm not alone.  I think maybe one thing that will help with the picking is to be around people more often.  That I find distracts my mind plus it's embarrasing if they see the red splotches on my skin that form as a result of iritation.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM AND I STOPPED. HERE IS WHAT I DID. SOME WORKED AT DIFFERENT TIMES. I CONSTANTLY AM ADDING AND CHANGING THE LIST IF I RELAPSE.

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?

21. EAT HEALTHY AND DON’T DRINK OR DO TOO MANY DRUGS. YOU MAY NOT SEE IMMEDIATE RESULTS, BUT WHEN YOU ARE HEALTHY YOUR SKIN AND MIND ARE HEALTHY TOO, WHICH ARE THE TWO CAUSES OF YOUR PROBLEM.
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2108089_tn?1334025777
I have the same problem, and its really embarrassing /: i want to stop but i cant it eats me alive, and it drives me nuts to do it. i also have a problem with biting my nails, and they tend to hurt or bleed a lot right after. im causing myself pain, and i dont like it. Should i get a therapist for both of these actions? I also think i need to visit a hospital for this problem i have, does anyone know what its called? i get very irritated when someone chews really loud, either gum, a lollipop, food, or if they just smack their lips. i clench my fists, i plug my ears as much as they can. my knuckles turn out bloody red, and they hurt. so does my ear. please tell me what i can do to stop this?:(
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Avatar_m_tn
THANK YOU.  You saved my life.  After putting into practice some of your suggestions, I got well.  I needed you to know this.  And although I've never met you or seen your face - I know you are beautiful on the inside where it counts.

I urge other people with our problem to follow java's advice.  She is wise.
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Avatar_m_tn
omg... your post is great. cant say it has helped me yet cause i just read it but i feel like it is going to help and you are hilarious! I've never been around so many people and caught them taking glances at my arms... wake up call. at first i had a moment of insecurity but I feel what your saying in your post about flaunting your flaws... no joke this happened today when some chick kept peeking at my arms... oh she's looking at my arms, im so gross... really? are you gross? omg you are so gross your right! ha ha okay ya im not.. so what lady! look at my arms some more... yep when im stressed out i guess i pick at my arms.. guess what else.. i hate attention on me so you being distracted by my arms might make you not notice im a freak inside right now. keep looking lady... ima just smile and own it.
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Avatar_f_tn
i have the same exact issue as you. i pick at the slightest bump on my face, the small bumps on my arms and anything that looks or feels like a small zit. its even gotten to the point where my husband and i fight a lot because he gets zits on his face and "they'll go away on their own" well they bug me so much i just dont care if he gets mad at me. they are as good as gone...so im with you and need help as well
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Avatar_f_tn
Being near sided has nothing to do with it, and it wont fix the obsession. I was also near sided and wore glasses until i got lasik 6 years ago, and I am still obsessed with poping pimples. I can be in a room filled with people staring at me and I will still obsess over bumps. Its so terrible that everyone knows, even people who dont see me on a day to day basis. I've being doing this since about 5th grade and I am now 26. Even when my face is clear, I start to feel for pimples on my back. If I cant reach the ones on my back, I make my husband pop them, and he usually tells me that there is nothing there, which causes an arguement because I think he's lying. So I make him pretend that bumps are there and squeeze my skin til i feel like they are all gone. I've even had near accidents from trying to pop pimples while driving.  My Husband, Family and friends all call me crazy. I just want to know if Im ever going grow out of this!
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Avatar_m_tn
i am so happy i found this. I am 15 and my arms look like the moon covered in scabs. i have one scab well more like crater on one of my arms,that is the size of the tip of my finger. and i still pick at it.its summer and my arms look so bad i need help too
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same problem. Last night, I was really anxious and stressed and I stayed in the bathroom picking till 4 am until my mom woke up and told me to go to bed. I was so embarrassed. I'm not sure if I have OCD or anything, but I know my younger sister does and she picks her face, too...  
I have little bumps on my arms that I always pick at, but I barely have any acne on my face. Yet, somehow I manage to find the tiniest of bumps, I start picking, can't stop, and I end up turning my clear-skinned face into a blotchy mess almost every night.  Sometimes I'll even pick at the ingrown hairs on my legs.  It's just awful and I want to stop so badly.  I am so glad I found this post...I feel much less alone.  Java- I'm going to try your tips ASAP. I've done some of them in the past and they've helped for up to weeks at a time.  
In the past, I've also found that covering the bathroom mirror with little compliments to yourself on post it notes and little "don't pick-you're beautiful!" messages can help as well as being around people, making checklists, and wearing long sleeve pajamas. If anyone else here picks at their legs, I recommend putting on knee-high socks whenever you have the urge to pick. Also, for those who pick their face and arms, try to keep your nails short or maybe put on gloves or something when you have the urge to pick anything. Makes it a little more difficult.
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480448_tn?1403547723
This thread is pretty old.

I have to say...I've always been a big pimple popper.  If there's something there, no matter how small, I'll pick it.  I don't have OCD.

Now, of course you may and your picking may be far far worse, as evidenced by you doing it for hours on end.  I think it may be a good idea to be evaluated by a mental health professional.

Do you have any other signs that would point to OCD?  Obsessive type thinking?  Any other compulsions?
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5744341_tn?1374244179
Omg I love to pop pimples too I have never been diagnosed with OCD but I love to pop pimples I always have It makes my boyfriend really mad cause I will tackle him down and make him let me pop his pimples lol EVERYONE makes fun of me for it lol! If I see a stranger and they have a big pimple on them I cant stop thinking about popping it haha!! I thought I was the only one. My boyfriend jokes with me saying he will put me on my starnge addiction. If I have a pimple on me it is popped as soon as I see it lol they DO NOT last Long!!
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Avatar_f_tn
WOW... I know this post was started years ago but I'm so glad to read I'm not the only one that finds themself doing this... My husband yells at me quite often for this... I just have a habit of looking at my upper arms and picking at anything that LOOKS like a pimple. It gets worse if I don't feel right. Like at the moment I feel very anxious, stomach upset, and really feel kinda down... So what did I just do. I picked. I have scars all over my arms. I'm not too bad on my face just because I don't have a habit of looking in the mirror. But I have picked my arms WHILE driving :(. The urge just hits me so BAD especially when I find a bump I KNOW will pop. It's almost like it amuses me. I definitely want to try some of Javapugs advice and hope it helps me... I would like normal looking arms again :( .

I have been contemplating going to a professional about it. I've had other anxiety signs and symptoms. I've just been too stubborn to do it and my husband keeps saying I don't need it. That I just need to stop :P
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Avatar_f_tn
This JavaPug person really knows their stuff.

For years I have struggled with these impulses, and even though I have tried to stop time and time again, I never thought to look up any kind of information or support online until now. Some form of OCD is present in all of my immediate family, and with my mom, my sister, and I, obsessive pimple/blackhead/whitehead popping has been a major component of the disorder. I started as a young teen primarily mangling pores on my arms and shoulders. I was always self-conscious and tried to avoid sleeveless shirts. In my late teens this is still the main problem area for me. However pimples, ingrown hairs, or bumps of any kind on any part of my body (including my face) HAVE to be taken care of as soon as I notice their appearance.

However there is hope.

Having an accountability partner goes a long way. For me, it's my boyfriend. He never makes me feel gross or ugly or weird, but always keeps track of my progress and encourages me to do better.

Also, I've recently moved out of my parent's house and noticed that was a big help. A change in your environment, routine, and the types of stress/influences you encounter on a daily basis have a huge impact on the manifestation of OCD symptoms, including this one. Every time I start looking too closely at my face or my arms, I tell myself: I don't need to do this. This bit of dirt and oil in my pores is perfectly natural, and it won't consume me if I don't take it out. Every now and then I do attend to a few pimples that need it, but this type of self-control takes time and I once I start, I still find myself in the bathroom for half an hour or more every now and then.

For the most part though my skin has seen a vast improvement. It feels amazing to be rinsing my face off in the shower and notice how smooth and healthy it feels. Most of my acne problem was caused by my spreading the little that was already there. And wearing sleeveless shirts knowing I look attractive--normal--is such a triumphant feeling. I used to look at girls with bare arms and backs and think...do some people really have skin that nice?? And now, I'm on the track to becoming one of them. My boyfriend is so proud of me, and says my skin is even clearer than his, which is saying a lot.

We're all human. We make promises to ourselves and break them repeatedly, and that's part of having OCD. But it's okay. It's extremely frustrating, but accepting the reality is the first step to overcoming the weakness. Being mad at yourself doesn't help. I've also been concerned over the years about my eyesight worsening, knowing this must be a contributing factor. It's not worth it. You know you can do better. It takes time, patience, and support, but progress is within reach and 100% worth it. :)
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Avatar_f_tn
I am so happy i found this, i dont feel alone anymore! I have an extremely bad addiction to popping any pimples i can find or feel on my body to the point where i actually search for them. Even when i see bad pimples on other people I have a strong urge to pop it. I am not a skinny person so my thighs rub together thus causing pimples in that area. It is really bad. My skin is blotched and dented and is covered with pimples and i am only 16. Every time i go to the bathroom i pick and i telll myself to stop but i just keep picking. Although my legs are the worst area I also pick my back, shoulders, underarms, face, and head. I did not know this could be a symptom of a compulsive disorder so this really enlightened me. I feel like i cannot tell my parents about it because they will not understand how i am struggling. I am not just being a "troulbled teen" because i have tried to talk to my parents about things like this before and they just get mad or make me feel stupid for having the problem. You guys really helped me a lot and i will contine to do my reasearch on the subject and try to take your advice to my best abilities. Thank you guys so much!
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