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Skin picking

(25 Posts)
chickenwing Fri 28-Oct-16 00:57:57

I need help sad

I can't stop picking and it's really getting me down, my face is a mess! It's not just my face, it's my scalp and back too.

DP doesn't understand how hard it is not to do it, he's trying the tough love thing by saying this like he won't marry me with my face like this. I know he's only trying to get me to stop but it doesn't work, if it was that easy I just wouldn't do it!

It's a proper addiction, stopping drinking was easier than this!

Mrsmorton Fri 28-Oct-16 01:04:52

Have you been to the Dr? I did this as a student and went to the GP who was amazing and that set me on the path to getting better.

Now I do it when I'm stressed but nowhere near As bad.

It's a form of OCD as you prob know.

chickenwing Fri 28-Oct-16 01:07:52

I'm in the process of being discharged from maternity psychiatrist to cmht psychiatrist. My appointment not for a few weeks yet. It's been mentioned but not addressed properly yet

ThatGingerOne Fri 28-Oct-16 02:09:55

Dermatillomania possibly? Hope you can get some help OP flowers

chickenwing Fri 28-Oct-16 02:24:00

More than likely! I was hoping not to be the only one with this problem, seems I might be though.......hmm

Hidingtonothing Fri 28-Oct-16 03:29:33

I pick my scalp, it is completely compulsive and I can't stop either, even when I know I'm doing serious damage. No advice OP but bags of sympathy. I know I do it when I'm stressed or anxious but haven't analysed it any further than that, I do suffer with low level depression and anxiety but no other OCD symptoms. I'm not sure your DP's 'tough love' approach is likely to be helpful, surely that will just make you more stressed/anxious? Hope you can get it addressed at your next appointment, in the meantime at least you know you're not the only one flowers

happyinthesunshine Fri 28-Oct-16 03:38:27

Could you get false nails? The acrylic type. It's difficult to pick as the sensation at your finger tips changes. The other thing I found works but drives me mad is to clip my finger nails so short they almost hurt. It's difficult to pick and scratch with no nails. Once you can break the cycle it gets a bit easier but can start up again at any time. Wishing you well.

Tootsiepops Fri 28-Oct-16 03:54:35

I second acrylic nails. I pick my face (and scalp) too, currently have nails on and have given up because I can't get at any bits of ragged skin to pull. It has been both immensely frustrating and a relief. It's only a short term fix though.

I'd recommend using Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream once per week on your face to help it heal.

ShouldHaveListenedInBiology Fri 28-Oct-16 04:08:46

You're not alone. I have done this for years. It's definitely linked to stress and anxiety for me, and it's very hard to stop as I get into a sort of trance and do it without noticing. It's got a lot better over the last few years as I've had treatment to tackle my anxiety and feel much better generally, so that's how I know it's linked. I still do it a bit though, it almost feels like a comfort thing which sounds perverse as sometimes it's quite painful.

Have you considered hypnotherapy? I have heard it can be helpful although haven't tried it myself. Ditto cutting nails very short and also keeping the area well moisturised and clean. I used to wear an elastic band on my wrist and snap it whenever I noticed the urge to pick.

Agree that the tough love approach probably isn't helpful but I think people don't know what to do/say in the face of it.

Definitely talk to GP as a first step though.

GreedyMo Fri 28-Oct-16 12:16:54

I had this problem for about 10 years. I ruined my skin.

I eventually stopped when I was put on Prozac for anxiety and depression. It apparently helps with OCD too. Maybe speak to your doc.

Practical things you can do - get acrylic nails. Have them filled every two weeks. This helped me loads. Also remove all magnifying/close-up mirrors from the house.

When you are looking in a mirror make sure you always stand about 2ft away - even when doing your makeup etc. I put my main makeup mirror on the wall over a chest of drawers so I couldn't get too close.

GreedyMo Fri 28-Oct-16 12:20:50

Have a look at this support website

Cakescakescakes Fri 28-Oct-16 12:26:55

My little son does this (he has ASD). I'd love to know how to help him. His poor face is bleeding constantly.

bigsnugglebunny Fri 28-Oct-16 12:38:09

I didn't realise that this was a thing other people do, I have been doing this - I am covered in scabs on my stomach, thighs, tops of my arms, chest. It looks terrible but like you OP, I can't seem to stop picking.

Mrsmorton Fri 28-Oct-16 14:32:26

Oh yes, I don't have mirrors now... seems to help a bit.

chickenwing Fri 28-Oct-16 20:28:09

I'm already on 200mg of sertraline, think I'm due a meds change as my mood is getting lower everyday just now.

It's a vicscious circle, pick for the release then feel utterly defeated at fingers and face covered in blood!

I like the sound of hypnotherapy actually, think I'll look into that

YourHandInMyHand Fri 28-Oct-16 20:42:04

I do this too. You are not alone. Far from it! I think it isn't talked about, people don't get it and the picker then feels even worse.

Social media sites have support groups for dermatillomania.

I've never been to gp about mine but I do suffer with on an off anxiety and depression. When I think about it yes, when I have been on ads I don't pick as much.

Mummamayhem Fri 28-Oct-16 20:49:12

Scalp picker here, when it's bad I can get myself into a bit of a trance doing it. Bloody painful and gross. Sertraline completely stopped it for me but I didn't take that for very long, so now reliant on willpower. Maybe 'allow' yourself to pick but not your face. Also do footner! Foot peeling thing, that's addictive stuff and might distract you to let your face heal over.

cauliflowercheese14 Sat 29-Oct-16 10:55:02

You are very much not alone. I used to pick my face and lips but now I pick the skin round my fingernails, it's a response to stress and anxiety, it usually stops when I'm on holiday. It's horrible though and I have to carry plasters in my hand bag as I frequently have a bleeding fingertip. I can't get on with acrylic nails but I do find keeping my nails short helps and sometimes using varnish when I have time as I'm less likely to 'ruin' them.

PopFizz Sat 29-Oct-16 10:59:00

I am so glad I found this thread. I am a skin picker, scalp mostly but moved onto face. I don't even do it with a mirror, which makes it worse. Its linked to my aspergers and most definitely worse at stressful and anxious times. I teach, so am always paranoid about what the teen students say about me :-(

cauliflowercheese14 Sat 29-Oct-16 11:01:33

This site is useful:

whinetasting Sat 29-Oct-16 11:07:17

False nails- acrylic or gel.
Stopped my obsessive picking at the skin on my hands.

dataandspot Sat 29-Oct-16 11:08:31

My child with asd does this. I had no idea about ocd. Can someone tell me more?

PopFizz Sat 29-Oct-16 11:10:44

I can't wear false nails of any kind :-( my sensory with my ASD makes me claw them off again.

cauliflowercheese14 Sat 29-Oct-16 17:49:48

Someone suggested a hair bobble round the wrist that you pluck at instead when you get the urge. Haven't tried it myself but as I've just caught myself picking my finger unconsciously I might try it now this minute.

chickenwing Sun 30-Oct-16 01:04:16

I couldn't bear the feeling of having false nails either and I do tend to keep my nails short anyway as I have 2 small babies but it doesn't stop the picking 😔

Mines is so bad at the minute that my hands are at my face as soon as I start to wake up, it's like I can't get up until I've checked every scab
To the poster who asked for more information, unfortunately I don't have any at the minute other than it is nearly impossible to stop! Still learning about it and hoping for some light at the end of the scabby tunnel

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