Day 6? or 7? haha i don't know. I popped a zit that *FINALLY* came to a head this morning after like, a week of brewing under the skin on my cheek. I literally barely touched it and out came the plug, so I don't feel sad about "picking" it. Also, I've been doing a pretty intense push-up regimen in order to increase the number of push-ups I can do (going to basic training in February!!)...I wear a necklace that hits my chin when I do push-ups and I think it created a tiny zit. Well, I put some mask on it before bed and it came to a head this morning. Because I had the lights off in the bathroom last night, I didn't OVERLY pick the first one and I didn't pick the other one at all. This morning, I extracted the chin one in a very sanitary manner and it's already gone down and is practically gone (besides a red mark). I know that I said "NO PICKING NO MATTER WHAT" to myself...but...the guilt that I usually get comes from instances where I sit on my sink, picking all my blackheads and clogged pores for an extended period of time. Heh.
Jack, you may want to look into acid peels-- lactic acid, possibly. I've never used one, but I think they can work. Or! You could work on not worrying so much about the marks. From your description, it sounds like they're probably not noticeable to anyone but you. I know it's hard to deal with the effects of picking, though...so if you want to treat your marks, try some of the stuff that you've been suggesting! I have no idea how to tell if something is permanent damage or not. Haha, i pretty much just assume none of it is permanent and get along with that glimmer of hope.
This is actually one of the biggest triggers for my anxiety. Picking makes my face feel so sore and then ugh! putting makeup over that soreness just makes you think about it all day. I totally understand how you feel! Blackheads are the reason I pick, too...because I think to myself "If I don't pick this, how the heck will it come out otherwise!?" I'm glad you've found a product that helps, though. That's really important.
Back to the anxiety thing, though...Anxiety can cause you to pick, and then in turn, of course...picking leads to more anxiety...and then you pick more...AHH! How to end the cycle?! It feels so good to get through a couple days of no picking. You feel accomplished. This leads to less anxiety, less picking, and eventually, before you know it, you're no longer a picker.
The best thing is to figure out WHY and WHERE you pick. For me, I pick because I'm afraid the stuff won't come out on it's own and I want to make myself look better (I realize that blackheads really do come out if you treat them and that I'll look better without a bloody mess on my face!!), and I pick in my bathroom when it's brightly lit. I taped over the bright light and things have been so much better for me.