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Compulsive skin picking

(22 Posts)
OnTheEdgeToday Mon 16-Nov-15 10:26:10

Im not too bad for this (i avoid mirrors), only sometimes my anxiety spikes and its kind of like a rebelling against myself. I seek out a mirror. I then look for faults and pick. Sometimes there isnt anything there, its a freckle or something.

I have done it two days ago. I picked what seems to have been nothing. Prodded and poked with one of them blackhead pin things and wound up creating something.

I think its not infected and i have a big round red mark on my face that cannot be hidden and is causing more anxiety than i had before i started.
Argh angryblush

Does anyone else deal with this?

OnTheEdgeToday Mon 16-Nov-15 10:26:38

Now infected**

Candlefairy101 Mon 16-Nov-15 13:16:21

I have done this for years!

Mine depression has got so bad that I've picked my skin raw including my legs which is a new one for me.

It's almost like self harm I suppose, I don't cut myself put I will pick and pick until I bleed and even then it doesn't bother me.

I have noticed the more stressed or depressed I am the more I seek out a mirror that near a window so I get a better view, it's almost like a compulsion!

I've never told anyone before as I have been hiding my legs but it's good to know I'm by alone x

OnTheEdgeToday Mon 16-Nov-15 14:22:05

No you arent alone. I have itched my legs red raw and any lump or bump i pick pick pick. I can leave them if not so stressed or anxious.

It is a compulsion and you can seek therapy for it. Its a vicious circle as you pick to ease your current stress or anxiety, which works during the picking stage - the aftermath brings about more negative feelings such as guilt, shame, anxiety and further depressive mood etc. Then you wind up doing it again!!

I sometimes get into the mindset that if i just pick it a little more or differently it will look a bit less of a mess than it did after the previous picking. It never, ever does. It is so frustrating and hard to break!

hefzi Mon 16-Nov-15 23:19:46

I do exactly the same thing - I think buying my blackhead spike has only encouraged me... If I'm anxious, I also bite the skin round my finger nails (down both sides) until they bleed - and do the same with my lips: and I have a friend who bites his hand. I don't have a solution on how to stop - but if you have one, shout! I guess it's just another form of SH - I would never cut myself, because that's what "crazy" people do, but somehow, biting myself until I bleed doesn't count confused

(Full disclosure: I am as mad as a box of frogs, so am not quite sure why I am worried about what "crazy" people do, as I am a far bigger loony than a "crazy" person...)

OnTheEdgeToday Tue 17-Nov-15 16:35:36

I do the kip picking too. In fact, that is probably my biggest one! I do it a hell of a lot tbh. I also bite the insides of my mouth until its very sore - this is mostly when im in public or company and struggle to find a way to ease my anxiety.

I think the blackhead pin thing was the worst thing i could ever buy!

Unfortunately i dont have a solution either. Its a case of being aware of it happening, as it is happening and consciously making the effort to stop. However, when in that midnset at that moment in time...i am far from thinking rationally, it seems lol

OnTheEdgeToday Tue 17-Nov-15 16:35:53

Lip picking not kip picking

Candlefairy101 Tue 17-Nov-15 17:23:02

I'm 25 and I've been getting spots since I was 8, so I've picked for a long time and can't remember a time when I didn't.

My husband has never had a spot and all I want to do is rub dirt in his face just so I have something else to pick!

Wolfiefan Tue 17-Nov-15 18:02:49

I hew my fingers when I'm anxious. Eczema and compulsive skin picking is a bad combination.
I keep my hands busy. Knitting or puzzles or mn!

Wolfiefan Tue 17-Nov-15 18:03:07


PhilPhilConnors Tue 17-Nov-15 18:05:46

I skin pick too.
Sometimes I can replace skin picking with PVA glue - paint it on, peel it off, but it doesn't always have the same effect.
Mindless games on the ipad can help to distract.

Foreverconfused Tue 17-Nov-15 18:20:33

I'm the same !! Have been since I got my first pimple at 11 , and was worse around my college years. I don't know whether it was because I was depressed OR I was depressed because my skin was a state from where I picked so much. I have scars under my navel where I used to pluck the hairs. At one point I remember getting so frustrated that I sliced my skin there with a blade so I'd have slightly more to worry about than a few hairs. I started again once it was healed !! Same for eyebrows as well ,constantly digging hairs out leaving my face a state along with the non existent spots that were inflamed because of my picking.
As I said , was worse when I was at college but slowly improved when I got with my boyfriend at 19 as I would have been mortified if he'd found out. I think it also helped that he let me squeeze the spots on his back so distracted me from my own skin. 8 years on my skin's better but I still pick like mad. I'm with the same boyfriend and he knows about it so will say something if he catches me but once I'm in the zone nothing can stop me. What I've learnt is its usually brought on by anxiety. And then if I start the one then I think fuck it I'll do every other spot on me that I can find ,or pluck every hair that needs plucking. I shave my navel there as I haven't the balls to go near with tweezers again as I've been "clean " for a good 6 years and don't want to start the obsession again. With me it's the perfectionist in me wanting to have flawless skin so in my mind me picking will help that. But it doesn't obviously. And then once I've started one I think that's my perfection gone I just as well do it all at once.

Hope you find a solution for yourself. I'm still trying to find one for myself.

Angelto5 Tue 17-Nov-15 18:39:55

I'm the same-from a very young age I have bit my nails till they bled (even as a toddler siting on my dm lap trying to pick her nails)

As I got older I managed to stop long enough to grow them but then I would pick my spots mainly on my face! It's like a vicious cycle-I either have nice nails & can't pick or face slowly clears up but I'm constantly chewing my nails like a rabid zombie!!!

Unfortunately my ds(17) is an avid nail biter too but my defence is I don't drink ,smoke or do drugs so it's my only vice so that's ok!

Always feel like such a bad & ugly person because I have no will power & have scars & open spots all over my face sad

Candlefairy101 Wed 18-Nov-15 08:32:44

I've actually managed to stop biting my nails but not for the reason you may thinks, it's so I can't pick better. confused

OnTheEdgeToday Wed 18-Nov-15 13:49:05

It is definately a vicious cycle!
Do any of you have other compulsive things?

Have any of you who do skin pick been diagnosed with ocd?

The person who pulls hairs out...there is actually a name for that. Trichotillomania

SoWhite Wed 18-Nov-15 13:53:56

OP, its got a real name. It's Dermatillomania.

I have trichotillomania, and am currently being treated. It is working - please so seek help if your urges become problematic.

FreckledLeopard Wed 18-Nov-15 13:59:36

I pick and bite the skin around my nails and on the soles of my feet until they bleed (and I hobble as a result of the pain underfoot).

One of my fingers is currently infected and has a plaster around it. Three have bloody residue on them (raw skin). I've been doing this for decades and the more stressed I am, the worse it becomes.

It's so normal to me, I don't really notice I'm doing it, but I have had people comment before.

I guess it's a form of self-harm, though I don't really see it as such. Would be nice to stop, but not sure how.

OnTheEdgeToday Wed 18-Nov-15 14:03:12

Thank you so white. I didnt realise it had a name.
Im glad you are getting treatment for trichotillomania. I have thought about seeking help for my skin picking, but to be honest i am quite embarrassed about it. Sometimes when im really down about it all, i do think i might as well get help as i feel just as embarrassed walking around with wounds on my face or scars/scabs etc.

The big one i have now. I thought it didnt look too bad yesterday (still bad but better than previous day), i decided to 'try and make it better' and now its a fricken mess again. Worse than it was two days ago sad at least it takes the attention away from the others blush
I dont even realise i am picking sometimes fighting the urge right now

SoWhite Wed 18-Nov-15 14:11:01

Please do go and talk to your GP OnTheEdge. I felt the same - was going bald, and I had a scabby, weeping and bruised minge because I was pulling so much at my pubes.

I needed the extra medical help to break the cycle. Like you, I couldn't make it better on my own. Now its like the chains are off - I'm not perfect, but I'm vastly improved and much happier.

Please don't be embarrassed. It is frightfully common and your GP will have seen it all before.

eddielizzard Wed 18-Nov-15 14:19:42

omfg this is me! except i never thought of it as self harm. it certainly is a compulsion i can't control. i've got it down to a fine art by picking my scalp instead of my face so no-one knows <delusional>. i scratch my back too so i end up with spots on my back. sorry - gross.

i always put it down to being a fidgeter but maybe it's ocd?

i can get it under control by doing hobbies with my hands but i always come back to it. always have.

i feel like it can't possibly be important enough to take to the gp. or can it?

Candlefairy101 Wed 18-Nov-15 15:11:47

Yes I have other mental heLh conditions like bipolar, depression, anxiety and ocd.

At the moment I am having a low so they are treating my depression but it's difficult because I'm 6 months pregnant so can't mess around with tablets plus my hormones are all over the show x

SoWhite Wed 18-Nov-15 16:35:47

i feel like it can't possibly be important enough to take to the gp. or can it?

It can if you feel it is related to other mental health problems, or you can't help but badly damage yourself.

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