Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Community
3.77k Members
Avatar universal

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?
100 Responses
182493 tn?1348056515
So sorry for the last posters response. I wish I knew what to say to lead you in the direction of the help that you need.  Most of us on this forum are drug addicts primarily pain medicine addicts.  I know what you are doing is very serious and that you need help.  However I think this falls under a obsessive compulsive disorder and not addiction per say.  I would check the mental health forum.
Avatar universal
Thank you very much, I have never been to this site before, nevermind this forum, I hit the button that said addiction. I apologize if anyone was offended.
182493 tn?1348056515
No offense taken... I am so sorry that we are not the people to help you.. I wish you the best at figuring out this obsession..
Avatar universal
Yes, I was very serious. I understand now that I was in the wrong place but nevertheless, ur comment was rude. My addiction or compulsion (whatever label) is no less important than yours... Just different!
211417 tn?1189759422
Your problem is very real, and I hear it in your writing.  We are having problems with certain people on here being  awful to one another, when there is no reason what so ever.  Please understand, that it is not you, it is THEM!  You are very strong for coming on here, and I think you are a great person  for admitting to all of us(whether or not we are the right forum or not) that you need help, Good for you!

-And shame on you others, its really getting pitiful now! Who are you to say whether or not YOU are in more agony than someone else?  I do believe that SOME of you need anger management NOT an addiction forum either!
Avatar universal
If you are addicted and need help than you are addicted and need help! We are not pill snobs! If someone has any addiction that is what this forum should be for. No matter what it is.
Avatar universal
Thank you so very much for your kind words. I have been thinking about this forum all night and how to get my posting out of this room. You both have made me feel better. Thank you, I dont have the same addiction as many of you if any but if you ever need someone to just listen without ever judging, I am here. ***@****
Avatar universal
Oh my god, Tammy, I have this same problem. It's awful.  It started out with me just enjoying popping zits and squeezing pores.  But now I use my tweezers on any spot on my body where I can pull or pick something out of my skin, whether it's dirt in pores, pus, or body hairs.  I know it's so embarrassing to talk about and I'm glad I'm not alone on this.  I even don't care if anyone sees me doing it.  I live in a sorority house where girls, who are getting ready and looking beautiful, walk by me all time and I'm picking away at my face.  It's become a joke in my group of friends, but since I've been home from school it's gotten even worse - it's a huge obsession.  I even dream about it!  How lame is that!  I feel like a fool!  My face is covered in nicks and I'm afraid to go out in public.  I have to get up several times during work to go to the br to pick at my face.  I even have a mirror at my desk to do it.  I can't stop.  I'm sorry this is so long, it's just, well, it started out as a way for me to stop binging/purging--this was a different addiction, not so bad for me I thought.  But now I have cuts all over my body from my tweezers and I just want to pick the scabs and let it bleed or pus.  I don't know what to do.   You're not alone.
Avatar universal
Wow some of you people are so mean, I was just sitting here watching intervention....... every person has there own problem... and a picking addiction is just as bad for someone as an eating or drug or what ever it may be........ I am almost 25 and started picking my face when I 9... I to Get a mag. mirror sometimes a pin, always tweezers and a lamp and sit on the side of the couch and pick, I even go to the extent of plucking and picking my bikini line... to the point that there are white patch scars and the hairs grow back ingown, which hurt but also involve more picking and gooo. My face is full of scars..... I feel so shitty most of the time... I do consider myself pretty on most days the days where the make-up covers well or I havn't picked.... I usually have better days in the summer... burn it so it peel or looks better, I
don't know what to do or how to stop..... When I am around people I swear they are looking at my scars or my caked on make-up.......... gosh I could go on forever..... MY one wish... I could get my facial scars taken away polished off and have a second change........And for you people that say picking is not a real problem **** OFF---------to each there own
Avatar universal
I too have a "picking problem"  and a drug addiction problem, I've been an alcoholic, hooked on pain medicine, klonapin, ativan, ambien... you name it.  I would definately say that picking scars, scabs, or whatever is an OCD disorder.  I started picking when I was a little girl, I think it was calming for me in a house full of chaos, everyone finds their own coping mechanism.  If you have one addiction that you quit, for me, I've always moved on to the next.  
I'm so ADDICTED to picking that if I know I have a scab or something to be picked and I try not to touch it I feel like a nervous wreck, it's the same feeling I get when I need a cigarette ( I did quit those) or a pill.  Addiction is addiction whether it's picking, binging, shooting up, or tipping the bottle back.  As a 24 year old girl that's been through all of these things.  It is all mentally and physically draining.  Anyway, just wanted to say that I can relate and anytime anyone needs to talk.  I'm here.

Avatar universal
i have heard of your problem before...i used to have a problem simillar to it when i was little i used to pick at my eyelashes..its called trichotelenimia (i know i spelled that wrong. its caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain, it is not your fault!
Avatar universal
I also have a addiction to picking scabs, popping zits and pimples. I don't know what to do. I'm a guy so I can't cover up my face with make up because I have found out from experience that any girl can tell right away. I have had this problem since I was in 8th grade. Once i pick my face once, i cant leave the mirror until my face is damaged everywhere where i thought pus would come out. I always try to set myself goals on not picking my face. Some how I can never go longer than 3 days without going on a picking rampage. The sad thing is that i will be doing so good for about 2 days on not popping a pimple, then my face will start to clear up. But for some reason my addiction is sooo strong that right when everything is getting better, i collapse and i go on a popping and picking rampage. Can someone please respond to this with a solution. I have tried everything that i can think of.
232561 tn?1206388350
ok- this topic IS kinda gross, but I think it's safe to say we all pick or 'groom' ourselves. To what extent, and I mean from 'grooming' to all out self mutilation ----- it's about compulsion.

I can kinda see why you would call or consider that a form of addiction.

I feel bad you got the reaction you did here - my theory, if I may: I think the initial response(s) to your post here were natural albiet a bit of a 'knee-jerk' reaction- My experiences here are that everyone seems to have good intentions and we are really trying to help each other out.

I don't think anyone meant to minimize your issue - but your post does seem a little bit off topic- some people posting in these addition forums are experiencing acute withdraws which include 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 (I might not actually be exaggerating here either:)  ) looking for support or understanding about what is happening to them....not trying to make you feel bad, just trying to help you perhaps understand why you got the reactions you did  .........my 2 cents.  :)

Having said all that, go see your general practitioner and if he thinks you have an issue he will prolly refer you to some counciling so they can diagnose/treat your compulsion if that is what you have.

nuff said9

Avatar universal
its amazing reading all of your comments. you really think you are the only person in the world with this.and there is no real name you can put on it. i can totally relate with some aspect of ye all and for that i really thank ye.
Avatar universal
I have this exact problem, and to those who have either minimized it or said it doesnt lead to withdrawl, anxiety or depression, etc you could not be more wrong. It always hightens all of these problems.  I am glad to know others have this problem though. I hope we can all find a way over it. Good Luck
Avatar universal
Wow i've never even heard of this problem, except when tweekers do it cause of the meth. It's an odd and kinda gross thing, but definitely something that needs help. It's obviously an OCD related problem and can cause all kinds of other problems along the way like infections. Good luck to you all.
Avatar universal
I kiknda do the same thing at night before bed. Sometimes I spend hours in there,doing the same
things you do,but is being a man worse,doing this sort of compulsive behavior almost every night?
I do have ingrown hairs that I have to get out though.LOL. I'm being totally serious also.No joke.
Avatar universal
Pinching Your Zits:

According to a medical report, teenage boys have a higher degree of problems with acne and can become addicted to squeezing pimples and blackheads. The problem with this is while squeezing about half of the pimple is pushed out and the other half ends up deeper in the pore only to surface later, as a larger blemish. On the flip side of this issue, women in their 40s have a larger percentage of adult acne than the men.

If you must pop your pimples, take a wash cloth and rinse in warm water. Not scalding hot or you will burn yourself. But first, make sure that the white center is almost ready to burst on its own. Make sure your hands are very clean and thoroughly washed. Holding the warm cloth on the pimple for several minutes to further draw the white center to the surface and make the skin softer, Squeeze with equal pressure around the pimple into a sterile gauze.

When your squeezing procedure is finished, dab a good amount of hydrogen peroxide (I prefer just rubbing a piece of lemon... it will sting a little but helps the drying process) on the open pore and use an ointment containing a healing agent such as 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide (or preferably real aloe vera) as a topical solution.

Using Benzoyl Peroxide:

Benzoyl Peroxide is one of the top five recommended treatments for mild acne, including whiteheads and blackheads. Acne affects most teenagers to some extent, but acne does not discriminate against age, sex or race. While not a life threatening condition, acne can be upsetting and disfiguring. When severe, acne can lead to permanent scarring. Even less severe cases can lead to scarring. While acne is not curable, it is 100% treatable with Benzoyl Peroxide or is it?

There are many other treatments that are available. More specifically, treatments that do work other than with chemicals. Such as home remedies or natural acne cures that do work. Unfortunately, most of todays society has been oblivious to natural home remedies that have been around for many, many years. Holistically, treatments have been long lost due to the fact it is no longer passed down from generation to generation. Today's society depends and demands their medical miracles via chemicals designed by man.

To say the least, that is not the way nature intended it to be. Because as so many people have found, if the masses were to learn that cures are and have been around for centuries using natural remedies. What would the giant pharmaceuticals do for money?

Did you know that 90% of the people that suffer from acne could reduce or cure their acne problem by using a simple lemon or other natural products.

Avatar universal
I love popping pimples on other people (i rarely get them myself and even then theyre not the good kind) so whenever my bf gets one he knows im on it. One time, he had one way down low if you get my meaning that would probably freak most chicks out but not me. I had to have it. Ok sick to some people I understand....haha...but Im serious...
Sad thats its become an addiction for you though...Ive never heard of that one before.
Avatar universal
I feel for you. I have the exact same problem and I am also looking for answers. That is how I found this as well. I am only 19 years old and luckily I don't have acne on my face, but I do have it on my arms and legs. And I will sit for hours on end picking at even the tiny little ones that shouldn't be messed with. At the end of my little "session" my neck is hurting, and my arms and legs are burning. I don't know why I do it, but it sometimes helps when I am stressed out or I use it as a nervous habit, like biting my nails. And no, I am not a "tweaker". I have NEVER done drugs in my life, but that's the impression that I am giving people and I had to stop. Here's a tip for you that I did that really worked. I cut my nails so far down that I was unable to pick anymore. I mean, I was still able to get a few in there, but it was a LOT harder, so I stopped. I mean, my hands don't look as attractive without nails as they would with them, but when you think about what's more important, I would rather have no fingernails, then have scabs all over my arms and legs that will most likely scar. And I live in Las Vegas, so I would love to let my arms and legs clear up so I can start wearing shorts and tank tops again. Just thought I'd let you know that you are not the only one with this problem and thought I'd share what worked for me. Good luck, and I hope it works out for you!
224927 tn?1189759426
people find this forum, they post their addictions...so be it. if it offends you, grossing you out, or even if they problems don't seem as strong as our opiate addictions then just don't respond. I know for a fact that the only person that knows the severity of their own addiction is the whom that suffers it. I'd even assume that someone with a picking problem would think that a pill problem is much more socially acceptable and easier to quit.

I have had a problem like that. I enjoyed popping every zit I had. It peaked when I had white heads in high school. My parents thought I was diong meth because my skin was so scarred. I was a stoner...and for some reason smoking grass put me right in front of the mirror to pop those black heads. The reason I stopped is because I noticed it was destroying my skin. To let the pore heal itself resulted in less negative attraction. The way I stopped was to look at myself straight in the mirror, see zits...then walk away. I guess my problem didn't manifest to the extreme of yours but I no longer have a desire.
Avatar universal
I am 53 years old, came from a family with two married parents, have younger siblings, and have never had a “bad” life.  I am married and have children and grandchildren of my own.
I have always known there was something wrong with me, but even now, don’t know what it is.
Since I was very young I picked at scabs.  When my children were young I would peel the skin completely off the bottom of my feet, leaving them bloody, very painful, and even making myself where I could not walk without being in terrible pain.  This did not stop me from doing it.  I did that for at least 8 years, but, then, for some reason, I just stopped, and did not think of doing it.
I have also always, since early childhood picked at the skin around my fingernails, making them hurt and bleed.  I sometimes chew my fingernails, but not always.
For almost two years now I make scabs on my face with pointy tweezers, then pull the scabs off.  My face has scabs almost as big as a quarter on my chin area.  I know people wonder what is wrong with me but thankfully few ever mention it.
I think of myself as a relatively happy person for the most part, but am very compulsive about some things.  At times I don’t get dressed or leave my house for days on end.  I hardly ever answer the phone any more.  Does anyone have any ideas about what might be my problem(s)?  I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas.
Avatar universal
I have the exact same problem. Every night I sit in front on a mirror and pinch my pores until my entire face is very red and no more puss comes out. I feel extremely angry at myself after I do it and wish that I hadn't done it. I've wanted a solution for so long on how to stop. I've tried so many times but I always do it again. Please Please help me, I have scares on my face and red blotchy patches.
Avatar universal
Okay, so since you are a drug addict you have the corner market on addiction??  I have become addicted to zit popping and there is nothing funny about it.  It is a serious addiction.  Any behavior that leads to you hurting yourself and others and destroying relationships is an addiction and obviously I am not the only one suffereing.  I need help.  Druggies can go to rehab.  What resources are there out there to help people addicted to acne?  None.  So get over it.  We have an addiction problem and we are here to stay.  If you are so offended, take your drug problem to one of the million other drug addict forums.  I am relieved to have found out that many people have the same problem and I would like to work together to help us help each other!
Have an Answer?
Top Personality Disorder Answerers
1699033 tn?1514116733
Somewhere in, MD
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.