If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I am a BIG advocate to leaving your skin alone.
That means chilling with the crazy amount of chemical cleansers, toners, and creams. Quitting with the the over-washing, and insane amounts of pore-clogging makeup, primers, and powders.
And instead switching to gentle natural skin care.
But it also means stopping skin picking, popping, and squeezing. The damage it does is not worth it. It prevents healing of active acne, and it invites more acne to show up in and around the area that was picked at.
However… that’s a tall order if this a habit for you that doesn’t want to unravel easily! It can often feel like an actual monster that follows you.
In this blog post, I’m sharing the personal real life advice from Love Vitamin readers (actually, Naturally Clear Skin Academy members) on what helped them the most to kick this difficult habit.
Check it out:
How to Stop Skin Picking from Those Who Have Beat the Habit:
Picking was a huge problem for me and I’ve curbed it almost completely with the following things. My skin still isn’t 100% but it made a huge improvement and I don’t pick nearly as much anymore. I tried to organize my brain dump a little bit, hope this is clear!
1. Take Note of When You Pick
Where are you? What are you doing? How are you feeling? What kinds of things are you thinking about? What’s the first thing you do before you start picking?
I run my hand over my skin and feel for bumps.
Just acknowledging that made it easier for me to catch myself doing that and shift it before it got out of control.
I realized my worst time was when I was watching TV, especially if I was watching something intense or I was stressed/anxious about something.
See if you can figure out your triggers. Then try to be really present and aware and vigilant in those situations, and come up with some creative preventative measures.
I found ways to keep my hands busy while watching TV. If you always pick in the bathroom mirror, put some sticky notes up. I even adjusted the lighting in my bathroom so it wasn’t as bright.
2. Related to Triggers, I Recommend Looking into Anxiety/OCD type Resources
Certainly not the case for everyone, but that was definitely a factor for me. I noticed my skin got better at times in my life when I was happier, which I always thought was because of the chemical/hormonal effects of not being stressed.
But I now realize a big part of it was that I also didn’t pick as much (or at all) when I was happy.
Addressing my anxiety, obsessions/compulsions, stress, and building compassion for myself was a huge piece of the puzzle.
3. Think About the Damage!
Another thing that helped me was learning and thinking about how bad picking is. It’s basically pushing bacteria and dirt into your pores, which of course makes acne so much worse.
I tried to be really conscious of that and it started to gross me out thinking about all the dirt and germs on my hands going into the skin on my face.
Now, as soon as I catch myself touching my skin I go wash my face (with just a soft washcloth/sponge/facial brush and water or a super gentle cleanser).
I also consciously tried to replace my picking habit with good skincare habits instead. so I’ll wash my face and put on some oil or a mask or rosewater or do something else good for my skin.
Don’t overdo it with washing your face though. Of course as that will irritate it too, and I really try to wash my face as little as possible now. But for me during my rock bottom days it was better to occasionally wash my face an extra time or two than to pick it.
4. Keep Your Hands Busy
I LOVE fidget toys. I have them all over my house and always have one in my hands when I’m watching TV.
There’s all different kinds (Tangles, thinking putty, stress balls, spaghetti balls, kinetic sand, etc.) and they’re magical. Mobile games are great too, and they can also help with anxiety!
On really bad days I just straight up put on a pair of mittens. I also moisturize my hands a lot to keep them busy and do something good for them at the same time. And I bought moisturizing gloves so I can wear those while I watch TV too.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
And maybe most importantly, be gentle and kind to yourself when you have setbacks.
I still fall off the wagon every once in a while. There’s no use beating yourself up about it. Wash your face, shake it off, and keep moving forward.
Once I started noticing these things were helping me pick less and seeing my skin getting better, it got easier and easier. You can do it!
I know how you feel when you say you don’t want to talk to your husband (or other loved ones) about the skin picking … I would pick so bad that I hardly wanted to make eye contact with him after. Or I tried to wait until he went to bed at night to pick. I felt embarrassed and ashamed.
But I eventually opened up to him and talked to him about it, how it made me feel and that it was an obsession etc.
It turns out that he actually played a huge role in helping me to stop. He was very understanding about it and it made me feel better knowing he understood it was an issue for me.
So we set a plan to help…in my case I would pick at night in the mirror before taking a shower. So every night he basically walked me to the bathroom. Then he waited until I got in the shower to be sure I avoided my weak time of picking.
For some reason once I took a shower my urge to pick wasn’t as strong. Maybe because I was already clean and ready for bed? However…it really helped. He became my person to keep me accountable!
Using distractions like going out or exercising or enjoyable activities so that you aren’t constantly focused on your skin. And then not keeping a lot of mirrors around! <3 As you work on your self love and keep yourself distracted it becomes less of a habit to pick.
Hi guys, I used to post a lot on here about my skin picking and I just wanted to share some of the things that have finally helped me stop!
First thing I did was get professional help. It was really hard for me to seek help and tell a complete stranger that I self mutilate myself by tearing into my skin. But I’m so glad that I did. I got cognitive behavioural therapy for 3.5 months and it’s changed my life. So, if you are a picking sufferer like I was, please go get help before it gets worse.
The second thing I did was I started drinking this stuff called inositol powder. It’s some form of a B vitamin that helps with mood balance, anxiousness, and depression that can trigger things like skin picking. I now can’t live with out it and drink it dissolved in water 3x a day. Just be careful to slowing increase your dose- I think there are some side effects to consuming too much too early.
I also found these chewable GABA tablets at Whole Foods that helped with acute nervousness and stress. Any time I feel like I’m really close to having a picking episode I chew on a couple of them and it helps calm you down.
I also started taking complex B vitamins and an additional form of B6. It took about 4-6 weeks before I really started to notice a huge difference with all these new supplements.
Although I can’t guarantee that these things work for everyone, it’s what worked for me. I hope that by sharing some of my experience I can help others out there stop skin picking 🙂
Have you conquered or cut way down on your skin picking? Share what worked for you in the comments below!
wow, great write up, very well research and engaging! I’m going to fallow the post.Thanks for this post!
I pick my face really bad when I am stressed which is alot right now. I have alot going on in my life. I scrub and scrub with a wash cloth or witch hazel I just did last night I sit in the sink and picked for 2 hours. Today my face is so red, sores, and I cant hardly move it. I am so depressed today I do so good I will go for weeks and not pick and my skin will look great and a new pimple will come up and I will pop it and then it leads to popping more. I pick black heads and everything, I have hypersensitive skin so even if I just wipe it will burn my face. I have no idea what to use on my face for which i’m a mechanic so my face is very dirty by the end of the day and I dont wear make up. The only thing that seems to clear my face and doesnt make it hurt is the caveman regimen but im not sure it is good with all the dirtyness on my face. i wish I could have clear skin and stop picking it makes me want to crawl in a blanket and hide.
Sending love Megan, this is not an easy problem!! x