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addicted to picking
Ever since I was young (around ten years old) I use to sit infront of a magnified mirror and pick my pimples, blackheads, hairs or just plain anything I could out of my face. I became borderline obsessed with this, not being able to wait till the next day to get back in the mirror. I am now 30 years old and still have the same compulsive disorder but now I've moved on to people in my family. Mainly anyone that will let me "pick" them. I feel so much satisfaction from a pimple the blows up or a blackhead that I can successfully pull out of each pore. In each "session" I bring with me tweezers, a pin and a lamp so I can see even better. I turn into a totally different, even aggressive person if they move, or make me wait because I am hurting them. Even when I hurt myself I can't stop. What's wrong with me?
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I just listened to that song...good song...but the video on YouTube was kinda wierd..
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i have tried hypnotherapy and have had the skin from my forehead removed with lazer treatment to help remove the scars i have made, all sorts of medication and counselling but nothing as yet has helped me to stop picking my skin
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175734 tn?1225138040
I have been doing better...Picking the skin on the end of my fingers makes it real hard to play bass guitar....So i use that as a reason not to..

I hope you are doing better...
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Have you ever heard of trichotillomania? It is a very common but unspoken ailment that many, many people suffer from and when I mean suffer, I mean suffer. It sounds like you have some symptoms of this, in addition to the pimple  and black head popping. Sometimes we just can't stop for perfection, even if that's the reason why you pick and pick and pick.
I'd try to figure out what was the onset of this.....what were you doing, what was going on in your life, how old were you, etc., when this behavior started? Often times, you can find the pinpoint and the trigger factor and this can help you avoid doing this. Seek help from a qualified professional who deals with your type of disorder.
Don't be afraid or shy about seeking help. Many people are dealing with what you are going through.  Good luck & I wish you well.
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582846 tn?1218644196
i have the same problem i started picking when i started useng drugs and i was young. i started picking my bros face or back and then it went to picking my own face and then i started picking my feet i have hard spots on my feet and ill take toenail clippers and clip the spots and the ill take tweezers and just start picking with them.but i hope everything gets better for everyone.
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i have the same addiction, it really ***** and it leaves you red and puffy.........and miserable. See a therapist, it will really help you. IT IS A DANGEROUS ADDICTION, and anybody who says it's not as serious as drugs or alcohol are a.s.s.h.o.l.e.s because it is a form of self harm that leads to scaring not only physically, but mentally also.
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Yes, I am a picker also.  Have been for 30 years or so, I am now 42.  I just recently took my 12 y/o to the dermatologist and she was prescribed Clindimycin/Benzolperxoide gel and Tazarac.  I started using it myself and for the first time in 30 years, my face was free of zits.  I had my first zit in a month 2 days ago and having "popped" it is healing quite well.  For the first time I actually feel as though my face looks good.  It is such an awesome feeling, however I still love pus and blackheads.  My daughter has acne much worse then I ever did and it takes all my willpower not to pop hers.  The treatment is not as effective for her yet.  We will be continuing with the Dermatologist until we find something that works for her.  They are talking BCP to help with the hormonal part of it and possibley acutane in the near future.  She has had huge "cysts" in her ear that drain for days, she has huge cysts on her face that drain 3 or 4 times full of pus/blood.  Thank god she is not a picker like me, but when I see them out of control on her face, I now ask her to take care of it and I LEAVE it alone.  I do not want her face scarred like mine.  I found www.popthatzit.com that helps me when I am feeling a huge need to pick, I go there and get my fill by watching all the others pop their zits, abcesses. boil or whatever they post, and it helps me, I guess I get my fix.  I am so glad to find I am not alone and I see light at te end of the tunnel as my face clears and does hers.

Best of luck to all of you!
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First of all, any success stories out there?  I'm in the same boat, whenever I get in front of a mirror, I always pop the visible zits and then search all over my face for the invisible ones.  I can spend an hour in front of the mirror.  It's been going on for a while, maybe since 14, and I'm 25 now.  I don't go to the point of bleeding, but there are definitely a few pockmarks and enlarged pores...a few new ones get added on every couple months.  I definitely gotta stop soon.  
How about success stories?  Any self-help recommendations?  I don't really have the money for therapy, and definitely don't want to get on meds....
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So many of the things you mentioned I have. I have trich. in addition to my picking. I've never had serious bald patches, but the part in my hair is unnaturally wide because I pull out hairs there.

I'm also extremely obsessed with my pubic hair. I make myself stop for a while, but then I get stressed out. I kind of go into a trance like many of the people described here, and I can sit for almost a half hour just picking and pulling with tweezers and a pin. I love when I get ingrown hairs because of the pressure it releases when you pop them. Out comes the curled hair and the puss. I love it. That's why I have so many scabs there, because I try all the little spots to see if there's an ingrown hair. I shave my pubic hair so that it's harder to pull but I do it anyways.

I also squeeze the pores around my nipples. Any other people who have that? I saw that Miss E did it, but no one else mentioned it.

And of course I pick at my face all the time. My girlfriend tells me that it'll only make my acne worse, but she doesn't understand - I don't do it to make the zits go away. Sometimes I find myself wishing that I had bad acne so I could pop the zits. I tell myself that I obviously don't want that, but soemtimes... all I want is that release of pressure you get when you pop a zit. And that temporary calm during the trances.

I'm only 17, and this is been going on since I started growing pubic hair - around 8th and 9th grade. That's when my depression started. (I'm bipolar and on medication. My depression is under control, and I don't get the mood swings like I used to but this is still going on. Even more so when I'm stressed. I try to stop, but I fall into the trances and I just forget.

This post is so long! I'm so sorry. I just am so desperate and happy to find other people like me. Not that I would wish this on anyone, but it's nice to know you're not alone. I always try to pop other people's zits, and they rarely let me. The ones who do, just not realize how serious this is. Wow. I just needed to get that off my chest.
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I to am a picker, I find that when I am "high" that is when I really pick the most.
I pick  my fee until they are bleeding.  I too do it so bad that I can not even walk on them.  My husband and kids get so mad at me.
I want to tell you something that should scare us all into getting some help with this.

Lots of people pick their cuticles (sp?).  You can get STREP in your cuticle, you can also lose your fingers or hands if you get STREP and you do not know that is what it is.  Germs get into those tiny cuts you make by picking.  

Get help from a head doctor.  Sometimes taking meds for a very short time and talking to someone can cure you from picking.
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you can go see the doctor for a diagnoses and help
some people do not realize that there are other addicitons out there
did you know that there are over 500 different 12 step groups out there
to help those with their needs outside of substance abuse
my husband and step daughter have a condition called trickletilmania
its the obssion to pull your hair out
at one point when my step daughter was little, she had pulled out all of her eye brows, eye lashes, and huge pathces of the hair on her head
she tried medicine and therapy
people were picking on her
she was in so much pain from this addictionn
who are we to say that other peoples addiction are not as troublesome as ours
thats not what being in recovery is about
if you are truley working a 12 step program, remember we need to carry the message of hope to those who are still suffering
not add to their pain
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i absolutely have the same problem ...i basically write little notes on my hand to remind myself not to do that act..... i also hv a rubber band on my hand wen i feel the urge to pick something, i pull the rubber band to inflict pain in order to control the urge and assocoate the habit with pain..both techniques work u should try them
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Dear Tammy, I have this disorder sometimes, it is minor for me, but not for you, you are in pain, I see that. But I am an addict and so you might be as well, so you posted here.

Good for you on that. I saw such cruelty in the negative responses I was literally shocked by them. Yes it sounds likely to obessive behavior and you can get more help at that forum, as well stay here if it is helping you. We love ya. The cruel responses probably tell you something about those people. That is why they react so strong. Something like that.
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I am a picker myself, i have scarring because of it. Its almost like self harm, but often i am unaware i am picking away at myself. My main issue is body hairs and when i find short newly growing through eyebrow hairs i have to get out of bed and pluck them before i sleep. I have tried to not do it, but thinking about not doing it, makes it worse. I never thought i have OCD. But i will look into it.Theres also a quite severe compulsive disorder called body dismorphic disorder, Obsessions on abnormalites (that either arent there, or are hardly noticeable to other people) especially on the face lead people to stay in and hide sometimes. When they cant succefully hide them, it can effect both men and women. If not treated can lead to problems. One guy had his legs amputated because he didn't like them. I hope you have, or will seek help for your problem, as i will.
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Wow!! I didn't realize what a problem this is.  I have always popped and groomed like a normal person, but only for a few months now I have been picking my scabs from a tiny pimple, picking my skin on my toes> because of my ingrown toenails, and also if I wear mascara I am forever pulling it off which my eyelashes come out as well.  What is wrong with me, I feel like I'm falling apart. not only those things but not being able to sleep for more than 2 hours a night to the abcsess on my gums from a bad tooth..
The sad thing is I don't have medical insurance and no I can't get medicaid either, so I know the answer on here is usually "go see a doctor", but unfortunatly I can't. guess I'm always looking on how I can self medicate or self diagnose..
thanks for letting me vent.
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401095 tn?1351395370
this is an old post..but this is a good place to vent...i would imagine what u guys are explaining may be some type of OCD but not sure...and i am not sure how that is treated either...good luck and maybe find out more on the net
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I was cruising through here to find help with my boyfriends pot addiction when I stumbled upon this misplaced post. I myself suffer from the exact same thing. I would like to talk to you more if you have some time.
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897400 tn?1303332748
OCD is an anxiety disorder. If you do not have insurance try looking under State or County listings for a Community Mental Health organization. Most will take clients  who are unable to pay. Sometimes you can get a RX filled at the same place for little or no cost. Try to get help for your compulsion. It's a symptom.

I have always had a tendency to pick at myself too, and it is a painful problem. It is not that much different than addiction to a drug. Using it as a coping mechanism brings on other problems and adds to the stress you are already feeling.

Hope this is helpful.
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I am the same way i get excited when i see a white head on my face or on my shoulders i pop zits and pick at black head untill im bleeding and my face is bright red from scratching and picking, its gottent to the point where ive moved on to random people standing in front of me at basketball games have a white head on their back, i popped it. andif i cant fine something to pick at i watch videos on youtube about people popping zits because its relveing. my best friend has been trying t stop me from picking because she knows in going to get scars and she doesnt want me to hurt myself but as soon as she leaves the room i got right back to it =\
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Like many others I found this thread by googling it. I am relieved to see that I am not alone. I will destroy my arms before going to bed. I too get in a trance and my neck hurts and my arms burn but I can't stop. While I am doing it I get such a sense of satisfaction. I hate having to wear long sleeve shirts in extremely hot weather. Sometimes I can't go out to the bar because I can't show my arms or I must become a make up artist spending way more time doing up my arms than a normal girl would her face. It can prevent intimacy with my boyfriend since I want to hide my arms. I even use the excuse that I had an allergic reaction. I am so ashamed I don't want anyone to know I pick. I have not been able to stop yet and I was looking for answers. The only advice I can give is that to reduce scaring and speed up healing put Polysporin on right away.  This is more of a band-aid than a cure. I wish the skills I have gained hidding this issue could have been gained in something more positve. THE ONLY THING I HAVE FOUND TO HELP IS HAVING A REASON NOT TO PICK BEFORE BED. When my boyfriend sleeps over I can't sit on my bed and pick since I don't want him to know I have this problem. But then sometimes I will do it as soon as he leaves. I also can't do it if I am out of time and have something important I need sleep for. For example if I stay up real late doing homework and have an exam the next day. Basically try to find stuff that is more important than your addiction. My boyfriend is the only thing that will gaurantee I can't do it right then and there, 99% of the time I will stay up way too late doing this. I also make little goals, like I am going out on Friday and want to show my arms, I can't pick after Tuesday to ensure my arms are healed and the scabs are off. This helps me not to pick every night but then I will pick in cycles. I look froward for the weekend to be over so I can pick Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. I havn't found a cure which is why I am here. These are just ways to slow down or hide what you are doing. The only hope I can give is that if I go a larger length of time with out doing it my urges arn't as strong, but they are still there.
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662972 tn?1270169901
Wow to al of you that pick I hope your able to find a way to stop and heal your faces, arms, etc... I never realized this was such a problem till I read all this post,. My sister is 22 and she picks her face, neck, etc all the time, She will stand in front of mirror for yrs with tweezers picking away and she has also scared her face, She is zits pretty bad and that is what started her picking but seems gotten a lot worse in last yr. I am scared she is going to make awful scares to her face an if you say something to her she says I am just making myself beautiful but all she is doing is hurtinh herself.
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I am glad I found this site because I had an addiction to popping and squeezing starting when I was 13. My acne was at its worst, and I discovered a way to zone out and seemingly release tension by seeing pus shoot out. At first it was by accident that I detonated a huge whitehead along my hairline. I got a sense of excitement and satisfaction when it happened. I then tried to nail one purposefully. That was it and I was hooked on the feeling of power it gave me. It soon ate up a lot of my free time. I began to feel bad about spending 25 minutes in the bathroom doing this when I could be outside playing baseball. I never told anyone, but I guess it would have been obvious to an adult who took a good look at me. I became self conscious not only of the acne, but of the redness and fingernail imprints all over my face and neck. On a good note though, I had actually discovered all different types of blemishes my body could produce, what areas harbored what types, and the consistancy of the dirty material they contained. As a result, I learned how to care for my skin better; clean bad spots more intently, knowing they were susceptible to becoming pimply. I also attacked my chest, back and arms. I sometimes chewed up a single zit to the point of it becoming a hole in my skin! My forearms have five or six white circular scars each from ingrown hairs that I simply would not leave alone. Eventually, I popped a lot less pimples less often, but I would mutilate single pimples to a more severe degree. I consider this the final stage of my addiction. Doing this had led to the worst scarring of my skin...  
The urges to pop and decimate blemishes have waned away compared to when I was 13. One major factor in the waning is having a beautiful fiancee. How could I tear myself up when I have a sexy woman desiring me? She likes my face and wants to kiss it. What would she think of me tearing it up?! So, it seems that biology had curtailed an undesireable and formerly comforting addiction - a woman's attention had erased the all too common fantasy world of a teenager. Another major factor was that I was in the Army and for a long period of time, during my Basic and AIT, I did NOT have any opportunity to stand there at the mirror squeeze away. Besides, I went into the Army to break free from any type of zoning out and fantasy.  But that's just my experience. I hope this helps someone out before they do any irreparable damage to their bodies and their spirits.  
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I, too stumbled acoss these comments after googling "addiction to squeezing pimples". I started destroying my face at age 14 and just turned 40. I have had a long time to figure out that it is an addictive process just like any intake of a substance including food, not just narcotics or alcohol, or any behaviour such as bulimia.  I was diagnosed with OCD in 2003 but a difficult adulthood has followed a traumatic childhood and I do not have the resources to get help with any of my problems, let alone sitting in front of a mirror for up to six hours methodically going over my face, shoulders, arms, abdomen, thighs until my back seizes up, forcing me to stop. I tried charting it to see how many hours I could go without doing it.  I use a calendar and write down the time I stopped and when I start up again I write that time down and then write down the number of hours.  Four years ago I got up to 10 days! Sad thing is I only controlled myself for that long because I promised myself that at the end of the ten days I could have a good 'pick session' if I couldn't take the constant jittery, antsy feeling that I was going to explode because the urge to do it was so overwhelming.  Just knowing there are obviously many others struggling with the guilt and the embarassment of having to show their messed up faces after going on a binge is another tool I can use to hopefully eventually stop doing this after 26 years. When, not if, I finally stop I will reward myself with laser resurfacing, etc.
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I can 100% relate to this post. I actually came across it by googling "popping pimples addiction." I am now 23 years old and pop the smallest, most harmless pimples just to make my skin bleed and get a bigger zit afterwards. And I don't do it for pleasure, I feel terrible and angry at myself after I do it. A year ago, after I popped pimples from ingrown hairs on my legs, I ended up with a massive infection and scars all over my legs that took almost a year to heal. I made myself stop popping pimples on my legs by wearing pants all the time, including bed. When I didn't wear pants before bed, I would sit and pop and pop until almost 3am even though I had other things to do. I think that when I am in process of popping, I tend to forget about other issues in my life. I don't know what to do anymore. I consider myself very attractive and smart, I have no idea how this "addiction" can take over me. I make myself promise every time I pop pimples that I will never do it again and will reward myself for not doing it. It doesn't work for me. I might have to go to the dermatologist and maybe the doc can suggest some help. I do not have severe acne or anything, I create my acne--I pop even my blackheads on my nose just to squeeze the extra oil or what not. I really would like some help, this is not how I want to remember my 20s. Thank you for posting this, it helps to know i'm not alone.
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1200909 tn?1306818681
Wow! I too am a picker addict! I find myself picking more now that I am not using Roxy's! I never thought this was a real "problem". I won't go into details of my picking. It is nice to know that I am not alone!
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Tammy- I found this through google but found it helpful and relieving others have this problem as well. I think this is a HUGE problem because it caused me depression, i missed out on a lot of activities in high school because I was so embarrassed about my face and that others would be able to tell I pick at my face. You are not alone and there is a cure. But you are the cure. It's very hard but after a lot of praying I have the strength to wash my face and then leave the room. For me I covered up my mirror so I would have no temptation to pick. Then I would go into my room and read or draw to keep my mind and hands busy with something other than my face. If you don't pick your scabs they will go away in a few days but if you pick them they will last a very long time and leave red spots that take a few months to go away. Another thing that works is dab some benzoyl peroxide on the scab and then put neosporin on it. The scab should turn white. Do this every night and it will fall off on its own in a few days. I know how much this can hurt people I have spent endless nights crying about my problem that nobody else seemed to have and suffered a great deal of embarrassment and unhappiness. I hope I helped at least one person just remember it all begins with YOU so don't pick! Keep your mind busy with things that you enjoy and remember you are not alone. I will pray for all of you who suffer what I did and I hope you learn to not pick and gain the control to be able to leave your face alone and occupy your time with other activities that make you happy. Good luck everyone!
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I combat this time to time...seems worse when I'm tired or depressed or anxious.  Do you always do it the same of time of day (night/morning)?; when you're stressed?  Figure out if theres an underlying time when you would do it and analyze when/why you do it...understand it.

I said to myself, okay you can ONLY pop white heads(i do this washing my hands before hand), and after that you may pick at 3 other pores/scabs/dry skin patches on the face and then you must wash your face and leave the mirror.  Maybe try giving yourself a certain amount of times you can f*ck with pores on your body?  I tend to allow myself to do this in the mornings or before I get ready for the day and again before I go to bed.  Give yourself a certain # of pores to harass and then work your # down...it's really hard but perhaps if you found something else for your fingers to be doing....bubble wrap perhaps?  Also, like another person said keep your nails short...less likely to be able to get good hold of your skin for abuse sessions.

Also, if you're sitting around, make sure there are no mirrors in range of you....I realized if I sat at my desk and had a mirror near me, I'd subconsciously go for it and start messing w/ my face.

Perhaps take up knitting or something that involves keeping your hands active and you can still sit around and watch tv....it's very difficult to combat this....if it's so bad you can't stop and it's a compulsion/addiction to really do this...you might have obsessive compulsive disorder and in that case I suggest you get to a doctor to get meds to help you.
best of luck
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I'm a 34 year old man that has had a trich problem since puberty.  Ever since I started getting hair on my face and in my pubic region, I have picked it.  I don't shave my face as much as I pick the hairs.

Combined with my eczema issues, it's contributed to me feeling pretty god damn miserable for most of my life.  My happiness is directly tied to the state of my skin.  Good skin days = happy.  Bad skin days = stay at home and don't talk to anyone.

One of the happier times that I can remember is when I lasered all my hair off my face.  No hair to pick = clear complexion.  Unfortunately, laser hair removal is never permanent and it grew back and I went back to picking.

I'm not sure what I can do right now.  My face has never had proper hair growth so when a hair comes in, its thick and black and lots of times, ingrown because of the minute scarring from years and years of picking.  That creates both a pain spot as well as a black spot on my face.  Both of which I mentally have to take care of.  After 20 years of picking my hair, will it ever become "normal"?
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I have also had this picking addiction since i was 12 and now im 25!! I go 4 or 5 days without picking at the most. I look for any thing to squeeze, go into a trance and dont even notice an hour had gone by in the mirror! I usually tell myself that ill only do it for 10 or 20 min, but once i start i cant stop.  The next day i feel so upset and embaressed bc all my pores are noticable and my face has red spots everywhere. ITs true that keeping busy at night time is a good way to stay away from the mirror! After years of doing this, I have found some products that help minimize the pores and red marks after picking (so the next day your skin looks better).Sometimes ppl even say my skin looks good (they would never know how bad it looked the night before after picking). I use a face cloth with hot water,apply it many times, which makes the bumps go down, then neutrogena pore definer (shrinks all pores), and also jergens natural glow -self tanner (for some reason also takes away red marks if u put on before bed after squeezing, and is never blotchy the next day). I found that  these 3 things make the red marks and big pore less visble the next day, and also make the bumps go down, It may be different on everyones skin type, but this really does work well!  I also use covergirl ultimate finish liquid powder makeup when i have break outs and it works so well! I have an anxiety problem and picking helps calm me down, and its also become a habit. Obviously its best for everyone to find a solution to stop picking from the start, however these products have helped me feel so much confident the next day until I actually do stop!
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Listen. Everyone. I have been addicted to popping and picking at white heads and blackheads for 5 years now. I know what its like. I understand the urge seems to always be there. I know what its like to not be in the comfort of your home and to be embarrassed of your face thinking everyone is seeing the scabs and scars and redness. Truth be told, they're most likely NOT looking...but that doesn't bring us much comfort at all. I usually pick at night....before bed, when i go in the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. And thats usually where all hell breaks loose. When i pick, it satisfies me SO much to see the pus come out of the pore. Its like im purging the grossness OUT OF MY FACE! It feels SO good! And finding blackheads that will come out as well...it is just so satisfying to know that all of that gunk is out of your face. But then, I step back...and take a look at what i just did. I feel like crying--i feel like going back in time and NOT TOUCHING my face! Why did I just do that! And its not like i just popped a few pimples and left. I probably stay in front of the mirror for 20-30 minutes analyzing every inch of my face making sure nothing else can be squeezed out! I hate how i feel after i go on this popping rampage. Its the worst feeling.
OK...NOW LISTEN UP. I have found ONE THING I have done that HELPS ME not pick. And for everyone out there reading this....for everyone who has this addiction like i do...do this for me and TRY WHAT I AM ABOUT TO TELL YOU.

when you go into the bathroom to brush your teeth, wash your face, go pee really quick and you know that there is a mirror there and you might have the urge...........SHUT THE LIGHT OFF.
If i have to get ready for bed, i put another light on in another room so i can see where im going and i SHUT THE BATHROOM LIGHT OFF. that way i can see where im going in the dark because of the other light BUT I CANNOT SEE ANY PORES OR ANY PIMPLES because the bathroom light IS OFF. i still get the urge to turn the light on but i dont and when i walk out of that bathroom and go on with my day or go to bed I FEEL SO HAPPY THAT MY SKIN IS NOT A BUMPY RED BLOTCHY MESS!!!!! PLEASE, i beg all of you to TRY this. try hard to resist the urge and the feeling you will have when you look in the mirror and dont see a disaster will be worth it.

SHUT THAT LIGHT OFF!!! :)

Best of luck!
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I am so glad I am not alone in this. I've been doing this since I started getting pimples at around 12 years old, and I am now 21. My obsession was a lot worse when I was in high school. Looking back I think I used to pick in response to stress. My dad used to drink quite a lot and he would pick fights with my mum that would result in hours of them screaming at each other, so to 'cope' I would sit myself in front of the mirror and pick and pick and pick until I was bloody and and swollen and bruised. I would end up with scabs all over my face. Once I bruised my face so badly people at school thought someone had hit me.

I have nice skin when I don't pick, and I feel so much better about myself. Sometimes I have no urge to pick at all. Other times I will sit in front of the mirror for hours looking for every last blackhead or bump that might be able to be squeezed. It is so satisfying at the time. Then after a while I step back and look at my face all red and swollen and feel so ashamed and really regret doing it. I get defensive and aggressive if someone interrupts my 'sessions' or if someone sees my face all red after I've just been picking. Sometimes it gets to the point where I have to wait a while before going out in public because my skin is so red and swollen. And I wear tonnes of makeup to try and hide any evidence of my picking. But I still feel really conscious that people can tell.

After I started uni I just kind of stopped for a while. I couldn't figure out why at the time, but looking back it kind of coincided with my dad quitting drinking because he had become quite ill, so maybe that was it. I still have the odd picking episode (usually when I have exams or some sort of stressful event in my life) but I feel like I have more control over the situation now though. I have a lot more self confidence than I did back in high school and I feel more comfortable with who I am and what I want from life, and I think this has really helped me gain control of the situation. Also, just coming to terms with the fact that it was a problem really helped me get through it. That was a big step.

You have all made a great first step by coming on here and exposing your problem and I think that really helps on the road to finding a solution. I also know it really helps knowing there are other people out there who are suffering as much or even more than you are with similar problems. I know that feeling like you are alone in something makes you feel awful, like there is something wrong with you, but just know that you are not alone, there are many other people out there who can relate to you. I think it really helps to confide in someone you know and trust who can help you along the way and who you can talk to when you feel the urge to pick. Good luck to all of you out there with this problem, and all you others with other addictions and problems that you are struggling with. No one deserves to go through anything like that. Be brave and have hope that you will get better.



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Christian~ This is an old post.  You really shouldn't put your name and # here...try to get it deleted...it's not a safe thing.
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I too have suffered from this picking problem for most of my life.  Starting at about 10 (after my parents divorced).  It has caused me tremendous embarrasement over the years - from the awful scarring on my face to the reactions of my friends and family to my picking habit.  I once got back together with a boyfriend for one reason... he had a recurring absess on his neck that he let me pick whenever I wanted.  The amount of pus that came out gave me total satisfaction.  So, this went on for my whole life.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with adult ADD.  I see a physciatrist every few months and I take a drug called Straterra.  After reading these responses, I've realized that I have slowly reduced my picking to only occassionaly - rather then daily.  I'm to the point now that picking my husband actually grosses me out a little - unheard of before!  I too am guilty of picking baby acne and bribing my teenager to pop her zits.

Maybe the answer to my problem is the Straterra.  Not sure but I thought this might help someone else.
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Hi,
I'm 24 years old and only strated picking at 17, before then people used to tell me i had perfect skin. I'm not sure what changed but by now, I pick so much that some days i don't even want to leave the house b/c i know make-up won't cover the scars. I've tried going to dermatologists for years, to no avail.
Has anyone had any success in stopping picking?
Any tips for the rest of us?
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I pick. A lot.

I remember being young in the car with my mom, and watching her absent mindedly pick at the skin on the side of her thumb. My next memories are with picking my nose and biting my fingernails, as well as my cuticles. I stopped biting my nails and the nose picking as I aged (I'm 21 now), but I still ruin my thumbs by picking. Weirdly, my thumbs are where the most damage is (scabbed, open cuts, etc).

I also pick a lot at my legs and even my breasts. Anywhere hair grows, whether fine or coarse (the coarse is which I have been sadly blessed with - leads to a lot of ingrowns, and more picking...) I am capable of picking it, and have picked it. I'm picking my thumb right now, even. My lips don't escape me either. Anytime I feel an edge, I immediately go for it. While I read I pick especially (my hands needing to be occupied). The cherry on top is that I get cold sores, and one of the fastest ways for one to come out is to cause physical damage to the lip. I get way too many cold sores because of this. Makes it tough when I'm anxious to visit my husband (long distance) and I know I've been picking and I'm horrified I'll trigger a cold sore when I go to see him. It's happened, and not being able to kiss when you first see each other is one of the worst pains associated with this problem. Not to mention any pimples that come up on my butt. Nothing sexier than a scabby ***.

I sit in my room or on the toilet and just inspect my legs. I totally focus on them. An intense, wide-eyed, white knuckle focus. It freaks me out when I eventually have to FORCE myself out of it. I think "What the hell was that? How did that even happen?". Although I don't get massive sores or infections, I'm still very self-conscious about how it makes my legs look. I've slowly gotten better over time (as I used to be much worse) but only because I got into a serious relationship, and am now married. Unfortunately for him, he has very "treasure" filled, wide pores on his face, and gets the odd pimple on there or his shoulders. When I wake up beside him in the morning, we start chatting and all I can look at are the blackheads in his face, or the subtle white "clouds" under his skin. I nickname the different types of popable things. That's how bad it is with him. It drives him insane when I try to pick him. I get frustrated, and just want him to let me do it. It's rewarding to think that I'm emptying or cleaning his face. Seeing things poop, ooze, or come out in any way gives me a rush. It's my understanding that this is an OCD condition associated with my body becoming addicted to the endorphin rush.

I feel excited, my heart races, and I feel rewarded after popping, whether on myself or on my husband. I feel like a piece of ****, honestly. I hurt him, and I act like he's just being whiny and tell him "I do this everyday, and it doesn't hurt me" - but I know that's B.S. It does hurt me when I pop and pick, but I can ignore it because the rush overtakes it. Plus, I don't think he wants to be reminded that his face attracts me because I like to pop things on it, and that he has so much to pop in the first place. He's a very good looking guy, and after I'm done with him he's blotchy with tender skin, and I feel awful. We fought about it one night, and since I've really reined myself in with him. I can will myself into leaving his face alone (for the most part :\) and I'll ask him if he wants my "assistance" if he gets something he can't reach on his back.

As for myself, when I start picking or feeling the urge to do it, I put pants on. For me it happens the most after a shower, on the toilet, in shorts - anytime I can see my legs. So I just cover them, and stop touching them. It's a tough process to untrain the mind... really tough, but I know that I can conquer it slowly.

This is the first place I've really confessed to having a problem. I work every day at overcoming myself. It's slow going, but I'm seeing changes. I hope the best for everyone else here who has posted their stories and problems. If you have problems at picking at your face for pimples, black heads etc, test out some new facial cleansers (for Canadians - Spectro Jel is amazing) and see what makes the best improvement. Clean & Clear makes a medicated facial moisturizer that I absolutely love with 0.5% Salicylic acid - I also use it on my shoulders, chest and behind after showering (and exfoliating those 3 areas with Clean & Clear's "Continuous Control Acne Cleanser - 5% benzoyl peroxide). Those two skin products when used in a good showering/exfoliating regime have made huge improvements for my skin thus giving me less to pick.
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If you try a worry stone, it might work.

If you get one and put it on a necklace. It helps with nervous energy.
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Im like that too. my arms and legs.  it ***** really bad tho cuz sometimes i get the pimples or bumps in a row on my arms and when i get done day after day they scar and look just like tracks. it ***** cause i dont do any drugs especially illegal. only drugs I take are prescribed from a true doc. I wish there was a way for all with the picking and popping issues to figure out a way or ways to stop the impulse to pick or pop. For me sometimes I keep going until I actually get something to come out or pop in the area Im working on. Just wish scars were easy to get rid of. It ***** when pl think something of you thats not true. I guess it doesnt matter as long as you know the truth urself and that ud never do wrong especially on purpose. Good luck to all fellow picker and poppers!
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Hello All....

I have had this problem... since early childhood.. I wish it were the only one.  I have consulted with countless therapists, psychiatrists as well as done a lot of research.  Here's the bad news:  this is a totally mystifying disorder to the professionals.  There is currently no particular treatment for it.  It is called dermatillomania and there are several websites devoted just to pickers.  This is mostly about face picking and scabs.  Trichotillomania refers specifically to the need to pick hairs only.   There are components of both related to OCD and anxiety disorders...  

NOW... the GOOD NEWS...  you can stop... BUT you're going to have to do it by committing to making some behavioral changes... until the Psych community comes up with some epiphany... you are going to have to FORCE yourself to be your own guardian on this.

There are many people dealing with this... and it's unfortunate it is so baffling...

If you do not gain control of scab picking... you could wind up with some physical issues you have not bargained for.  Besides the scarring... the risk of infection... is GREAT...  I have been forced to go to an ER 3 times for staph (very nasty) with this.  Additionally... the constant disruption to your cells that occur by picking can cause a skin cancer to develop and yes... much to my surprise.. it can spread.   I did such a tremendous amount of damage to my scalp... (sure it was slow over a long period of time... very on the downlow)... that I have just endured 3 major surgeries in the past 10 months for infiltrative skin cancer.  Two surgeries just to remove the cancer... which had infiltrated my skull causing some of that to be removed... and then a major reconstruction procedure to try and fill in the damage to my scalp.

My head is permanently disfigured... and the outside of my thigh permanently scarred due to the skin removed (from top of thigh to knee) in order to do a skin graft to the portion of my head where the scalp was removed.

There may be more surgeries to come... and I will never look like the "other kids" again... and I wasn't too bad to look at ;)

I tell all of you this... yes to scare you... but mostly to make you aware of the possible consequences to any activity that you lose the ability to control.   You have to rely on yourself to be your own enforcer here.   You can stop.   You must stop.  It will not be easy... but... my story might be the alternative... and what I have endured in the past 16 months both psychologically an physically from this is....  really more than anyone should have to deal with.

a) if you have a mirror that is not attached to a wall.... PUT IT AWAY

b) commit to only using WALL MIRRORS for a quick wardrobe check, etc. and walk away.

c) find something you can do with your hands as a "go to" when you feel the urge.  Whether it be solitaire, knitting, making model toys... rubbing a stone... it doesn't matter... just something you can have with you for immediate distraction.

d) if you are fighting mentally with your self an feel like you are going to "slip" back into the behavior... remind yourself how dangerous this activity can be.  Yes... SCARE yourself.   Then when you have dodged the urge.. remind yourself that you are proud of staying committed to these behavioral changes and staying as healthy as possible.

I wish all of you who struggle with a powerful foe... much strength... much support.. and hopefully... some reality.  GOOD LUCK.  And by the way... yes I still struggle with the urges... and sometimes I sit on my hands... but then I look in the mirror.. and feel the shame of what I have done...  and I wished I had had more knowledge years ago as to the seriousness of what going with my impulses could lead to...   now you have the info.  PLEASE let my story be your cautionary tale to new behavior...
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I just finished reading this thread. Isn't it ironic that at first comments were so negative and yet come to find out soo many people have this issue so many that I didn't even finish reading them all.  I also get into a pimmple poppling frenzie occationally. The kids have learned to stay clear from me when the have a breakout or I will yank them close. My oldest daughter even does it to her boyfriend.  We don't do it all the time or as severe as others but we do it nevertheless. Go figure!!! :-)
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Thank you for sharing your story! It sounds to me that you are becoming more isolated due to this issue. When I was in middle school I would find myself wanting to get rid of the pimples on my face, I would pick and pick to try and fix the problem but it would only get worse. I wouldn't go to school for a week until the scabs healed. I become isolated from my friends, and felt immense shame and guilt. If it is beginning to interfere with your every day life, I would try and make an appointment with a dermatologist. They will be able to treat the current condition of your skin, and hopefully give you some insight as to why this is happening, and provide treatment! We are not alone in this and I hope this was of some help to you!
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I didn't realize until I read this thread that I actually do have an addiction. I am going to print out your post and keep it, ScarredStraight. I am so glad I found this thread. I thought I was all alone and that I was just lacking self-control, or weak, or just really weird.

I identify so much with this entire thread. The "calm" of the trance, the nipple picking, picking at other people's zits. I even pick at my poor dog's eyes, and I always feel so guilty afterwards.

Thank you everyone for sharing. We can do it! Just one moment at a time. If you can get past this one moment, that is the key.
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firstly ScarreStraight, I am so sorry you have had to go through so much. Your ordeal sounds painful and harrowing but I must thank you.... you have confirmed my worst fears...that my picking can cause skin cancer. Confirming that is a good thing... It MUST be the thing that stops me. Nothing else so far has.

OK this must be the day I make the change. I am sitting here right now all bruised and blotchy with just mood lighting on waiting for my partner to come home...I darent put the main overhead light on, he will see the results of 45 mins in front of the magnifying mirror.

Loved the 'trance' and even now whilst I am sat here hating myself, I can still feel the amazing sense of serenity I had whilst sat in front of that mirror.

Well tomorrow it goes in the bin!!!

I have suffered from depression for 17 years and take prozac daily...for the most part I am ok, good days and bad, much like most people... but this is something I cannot seem to stop. But I must.

I have managed to seize control of my depression over the years so now I must tackle this 'guilty pleasure'.

Thank you all for sharing your experiences... I wish you all luck. Keep strong and try to fight the urge.
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I also have a picking habit,and love to squeeze Zits,but Im also an alcholic,heroin,crack head in recovery,but I cant stop picking!so as far as Im concerened,its even harder to quit picking
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OMG! This is exactly what's been happening to me for... I don't know, ages now, even if I'm "under control" as I call on my '"week no squeeze" days, I also, check every time in front of a mirror, so close that I'm almost glued to it, so I can see even the smallest little lump on my skin, to then decide it's got come off, out of my face pleeeease! So sick...Either during the night I keep doing this little scratching thru my face e body searching for any lumps that deserve my crazy attention.....It's gotten to  a way where I have developed my proper tools kit, needles, tweezers , beside my long sharp mf nails whom tear my skin apart...sometimes I feel embarassed to leave my apartment, to face people even my own family, and I don't know why I do that.....sometimes is more like a mini surgery, really freaky and the skin breaks 1 inch broad, it's awful! But the thing is ,It does heals faster than if I would just leave it there untouched ,in  3 complete Sherek Disgusting looks days , scabs out and heals, and that's always my excuse...the problem is I can't live like this, they are never even pimples (I'm 23!!) they are anything, any little lump , a blackhead or whatever that people couldn't even notice, but for me is like having a monster glued to my face, that unless I take it out it will make my mind prisoner, it's a freaking torture.....'cause I'll always find something and will wake up the next day like someone just burned you with a cigarette .....I feel like **** for it
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I have the same problem... I've been OBSESSED with squeezing my spots ever since I was 12 and i'm now 20 ... if i'm working and i feel any small raised bit of om skin i HAVE to go the the bathroom to squeeze it and I get soo edgy and can't concentrate on anything else until i can squeeze it.

I'm sort of glad I'm not alone, because I've thought I was until now. But I don't know how to solve it... i've been to a dermatologist and a hypnotherapist... but nothings working ...  

its so hard because non of my friends understand... they just think i'm weird about spots and dont really get it.... its so hard... and my GP, Dermatologist and even my hypotherapist just looked at me wierdly when i said what was happening ...
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Hi, this is like 6 years later and I don't even know if you'll ever get this. But please listen. Getting over the addiction of zit picking can be just as hard as other addictions--you know why? because it takes you all of .3 miliseconds to mess up and you have to start over. All you have to do is scratch your skin ONCE and your done. No going out to the street dealer, not even like a binge eater--having to go to a pantry or shelf or closet, all you have to do is touch yourself!!

And the last time I checked you take YOURSELF EVERYWHERE.

Thus you have insane cravings, get nervous and clammy, pace, rack your brain constantly, and inwardly (and outwardly sometimes) scream because of how badly you want it! This can also be combine with low energy due to you not releasing your crazy amounts endorphins/dopamine because you haven't spent 1-6+ hours in the washroom this morning/ last night squeezing (literally) out your daily dose of happiness.

This can also result in withdrawal symptoms such as:

-loss of sleep
-awful nightmares (often about zits)
-unpredictable mood swings
-depression (because you want it so bad....and your literally inches from it!)
-anxiety attacks
-high stress levels (very high tension when you're in withdrawal from the 'substance' that you carry around everywhere on you!)
    
           So I would just like to say to you that zit picking is a VERY revelant
topic (especially if the person has been doing it for years/ decades).

As you said,

" Some are experiencing.. mental and physical issues including diarrhea, anxiety, depression, vomiting and the list goes on....some are hugging toilet bowls with their laptops next to them on the floor"

Now zit picking withdrawal may not give you diarrhea, vomiting or make you hug a toilet but it CERTAINLY is a mental and physical issue (you need it mentally and you've trained yourself physically like any other ADDICTION!)
and can cause anxiety and depression and a host of other symptoms.

We may not end up hugging toilets but we sure as hec are typing as hard and fast as we can and then grabbing and hanging onto our clothing (or chair of bench or accessory) for dear life lest our fingers touch our face/ arms/ legs/ neck/ back/ side and we start the cycle of mania over again.

This is an addiction (Define as: The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.)

This is a THING--zits/ scabs, a SUBSTANCE--puss/ blood/ water/ scabs and an ACTIVITY--getting rid of them. Now if you do this every day for hours on end for years in a row we have an addiction.

And now any addition gone on long enough (taking hours up as a daily activity) can cause serious withdrawal symptoms. And even lead to suicide.

So don't ever underestimate the power of a simple action, because once it has overcome your life you will not want it to continue.

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So true! It's like being a 'drug addict' makes them the 'real' addicts and NOBODY else (who's not pill popper/ needle shooter/ snorter etc.) can actually have a 'real' addiction besides them. (so much for addictions letting you see the world outside the box -.- )


I know how you feel, and your addiction is just as legitimate as anyone else's. And if you do get this message (since it's 6 years later) could you reply and tell me whether or not you've gotten over it?

Thanks :)

This is what I wrote to another guy who said that zit picking doesn't count as an addiction:


Hi, this is like 6 years later and I don't even know if you'll ever get this. But please listen. Getting over the addiction of zit picking can be just as hard as other addictions--you know why? because it takes you all of .3 miliseconds to mess up and you have to start over. All you have to do is scratch your skin ONCE and your done. No going out to the street dealer, not even like a binge eater--having to go to a pantry or shelf or closet, all you have to do is touch yourself!!

And the last time I checked you take YOURSELF EVERYWHERE.

Thus you have insane cravings, get nervous and clammy, pace, rack your brain constantly, and inwardly (and outwardly sometimes) scream because of how badly you want it! This can also be combine with low energy due to you not releasing your crazy amounts endorphins/dopamine because you haven't spent 1-6+ hours in the washroom this morning/ last night squeezing (literally) out your daily dose of happiness.

This can also result in withdrawal symptoms such as:

-loss of sleep
-awful nightmares (often about zits)
-unpredictable mood swings
-depression (because you want it so bad....and your literally inches from it!)
-anxiety attacks
-high stress levels (very high tension when you're in withdrawal from the 'substance' that you carry around everywhere on you!)
    
           So I would just like to say to you that zit picking is a VERY revelant
topic (especially if the person has been doing it for years/ decades).

As you said,

" Some are experiencing.. mental and physical issues including diarrhea, anxiety, depression, vomiting and the list goes on....some are hugging toilet bowls with their laptops next to them on the floor"

Now zit picking withdrawal may not give you diarrhea, vomiting or make you hug a toilet but it CERTAINLY is a mental and physical issue (you need it mentally and you've trained yourself physically like any other ADDICTION!)
and can cause anxiety and depression and a host of other symptoms.

We may not end up hugging toilets but we sure as hec are typing as hard and fast as we can and then grabbing and hanging onto our clothing (or chair of bench or accessory) for dear life lest our fingers touch our face/ arms/ legs/ neck/ back/ side and we start the cycle of mania over again.

This is an addiction (Define as: The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.)

This is a THING--zits/ scabs, a SUBSTANCE--puss/ blood/ water/ scabs and an ACTIVITY--getting rid of them. Now if you do this every day for hours on end for years in a row we have an addiction.

And now any addition gone on long enough (taking hours up as a daily activity) can cause serious withdrawal symptoms. And even lead to suicide.

So don't ever underestimate the power of a simple action, because once it has overcome your life you will not want it to continue.


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That is so true.

Seriously I wonder which people make up that crap.
Can ANY addiction NOT have withdrawal symptoms? (a severe enough addiction that is... and zit popping controls your life! so yes it counts 100%!)
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i have this same problem but i find spots that aren't really there. but cos i squeeze so hard i get stuff out if that makes sense. i cant stop it. it all started a year and a half ago when i was pregnant with my daughter it was like my pregnancy craving and now 13 months after i had her im pickings spots all the time probable a tot of 4-5 hours a day. its mainly on my boobs and i use my nails to get stuff out from were the hairs come out...but they look disgusting. with scabs and red bumps all over em. its making me depressed and emotional because my bf doesn't like me doing it and want me to stop he said it doesn't look nice and i know it doesn't which is why i never feel sexy or attractive anymore. i just feel disgusting and i hate seeing how bad it is. but i dunno how to stop it i have tried but it didn't work i don't know what else to do. i don't know if there's anything to stop it...does anyone know??
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It's called dermatillomania and is linked with OCD and many other things

Here is a link to help
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatillomania
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