I can relate. I'm obsessive about the way my skin looks so you're not alone.
You already know you need to stop picking at your face. I gave myself some pretty terrible scars and marks and while they are going away, I can't put myself through that again. You're right, it's relieving at that moment, but we all know it makes things worse in the long run. I hate to give you tips on face picking because it's better to just stop altogether, but if you're going to do it and you don't already know these tips, then do it this way.
Steam your face well, keep your nails short and wrap your fingers in kleenex. If something doesn't come out gently on the first try, then abort! And NEVER touch cystic acne for any reason.
But really, try not to do it at all.
I'm 33 and have never dealt with bad acne. My main problem is oily skin, but I recently had a nasty breakout (still trying to find the cause) but I realized that my current routine had to be altered in some way. It took some experimenting and elimination but I found something that works for me, thankfully. It was hard to grasp the idea that my routine that I had done for 15 years suddenly stopped working. Or maybe it didn't, I'm not even sure yet. Once I'm done with this antibiotic gel from the doc, I'll try it again and hopefully be able to determine whether or not it was any topical things or if this was just my time to deal with adult acne. I kind of think it was brought on by too much stress and not enough sleep.
I think identifying your skin type is key, but beyond that, knowing how your skin reacts to similar products is important.
Second thing is determining the cause. This is a horrible process but it has to be done. If you've always had acne and you generally use the same products, then something is broken. Time to fix it. Talk to Doctors, keep reading and writing on here, google the shit out of everything and make good calls for yourself. Even though it's been a bumpy road for me these last 6 months, lurking around on these boards put me on a path to healthier skin and my original reason for coming here (oily skin) is now resolved.
Main things are: eat well, sleep well, lay off too much makeup, try to distract yourself with something else so you won't face pick and remember, we are our own worst critics and what we see 6 inches away from our mirror isn't necessarily what someone standing 3 feet from you sees.
Maybe tell us what your current routine is and what kind of make up, if any, that you're using. Tell us your exact skin type and what products you think you need to stay away from. We are all here to help.
There are so many great posters, but Aye Aye, Like Moonlight, Anaabil are very knowledgeable. Read up on their posts and see if something sparks an idea in your head. I can't remember the rest off the top of my head but there are about a dozen that I keep up with and they don't even know how they've helped me. My science guys are Omnivium, Jofo, and Cbiot13. These guys are sharp. Def read their posts.
Sometimes I wish there could be an Acne.org mixer so I could meet and hug the people that saved my skin.
I work with children as well and when they make me smile, I forget, just for a little while, what my skin looks like. Nice feeling.
Smile. You can do this.