Since dermatillomania is relatively new in the public eye (since the OJ trial...just..look it up). I may as well explain some things. Before I do, to those reading this should answer a question: are you a bit of a hypochondriac? If you are, and you have acne...my guess is you pick at it, dont assume you have dermatillomania right away. People have a tendancy to roll their eyes at self diagnosed OCD disorders (I have yet to tell anyone in my life.) Soooo...heres some of my very limited knowlege of this little OCD-esque disorder.
Scroll down if you want some of my tips. There arent many but they helped me out.
Dermatillomania (also known as compulsive skin picking or CSP) is an impulse control disorder and form of self-injury characterized by the repeated urge to pick at one's own skin, often to the extent that damage is caused. Dermatillomania can be a compulsion of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
(google search strikes again)
It almost says it all right there. Im pretty sure I have it...(jury is still kind of out on it though). I have picked and prodded at my skin obsessively before I even had acne (no its not the cause..I wish it were that simple.) So here's a bit of a personal view. Im doing this because all the websites I have seen on the subject are for books you should buy...or web definitions.
As I have said in a previous post, Im always conscious of how I look due to my acne...because of this im always conscious of what imperfections are on my skin the second they appear. It doesnt matter if they are invisible to anyone else (because most of the time they are) because I know they are there. It really is a compulsion to be rid of it. Ironically 85% of this picking makes these imperfections worse, yet myself and people like me continue.
There are websites dedicated to picking and squeezing pimples for the enjoyment of seeing it. Im not really like that, I stumbled upon the website and to be honest was kind of grossed out (if its your thing by all means, continue). BUT when I get rid of a pimple, and I know I got rid of it..I feel pretty victorious and theres a relief from knowing Its out of my skin and that it will heal faster because I did it. Its kind of like an addiction to that peace of mind, unfortunately not all battles are won this way...I currently have huge scars on my face due to my acne kind of winning this whole war.
After the relief goes away (and that is....almost immediately) theres guilt, then a f___ it attitude to do it again since my skin is already wrecked. Im not saying I know what its like to be a heroine addict...but I do seem to be chasing a high that may or may not be 1/54656891354468767th of the drug.
ANYWAYS...while I was living with my boyfriend I tried my best not to pick, because frankly I look like hell for hours (with or without makeup) after I walk out of a picking session. So being my sneaky self, Id pick before I go to sleep...ninja. Now that I am home and have no need to feel or actually be attractive at any time of the day, its a free for all. But while I was moved out, there was a month where I didnt touch my face (um..much). That was how I didnt have any scars for two weeks when I didnt have any new breakouts and bam- perfect skin. Then my acne came back but I still didnt pick for a while..then I eventually caved. Tomorrow I plan on ending my picking again, and in all honesty Ill probably 'relapse' again but it will have to stick eventually, right? So here is what I did to help stop my picking urges during that month:
Disclaimer: Some of these things are a personal preference to me, but Ill try and list off some other options for a general public.
1: Mirrors are the allies of the enemy...so..the enemy! I personally just avoided looking in the mirror for the most part unless I had to get ready to go somewhere, and I never pick right before I have to leave my house so yay?
2: Unfortunately looking in the mirror for the imperfections is just part of the compulsion, its not reaaalllly vanity but try thinking of it that way. Think about how many times you looked in the mirror instead of looking for imperfections you see in it. Basically guilt yourself out of the vain act of continual mirror use. If you bought a small compact mirror specifically to make the impulses easier to follow (like me : / ) Get it far away from you. Throw it out a window, anything. Well...dont break it if youre worried about the seven year thing. Ive broken enough mirrors for a lifetime of bad luck, maybe thats why I have acne....ugh
3. Keep your hands busy...Its part of why im typing this. Im an artist so drawing does a pretty good job of that. What else can you do hmmm....eating certainly does the trick but thats probably the worst substitute I can mention. Play an instrument, fiddle with something that clicks and pops (thats not a compact mirror)..im so bad at coming up with these..sorry.
4. Keep your hands clean from touching all that random stuff that keeps your hands busy ..and unconsciously touching your face. Ive read one touches their face anywhere from 250 to 3000 times a day (guess where I fall in there?)
5. MOST IMPORTANT for me. Every time I had an urge to look in a mirror or touch or pick my face, I drank water. I had a huge water bottle beside me all the time and like I said, Id drink at every urge. Not only was I not picking, I knew I was helping my skin with all the water. I drank a lot of water that month..
6. Stop looking up acne solutions...Itll make you think about the poor state of your skin and want to 'fix' it. Anything youre trying will take months to take effect anyway, what you look up that day wont do any good.
7. NOT a good idea...but dermatillomania, I find, is more than skin picking..it involves hair removal too...Its like a perfectionist on steroids (should have mentioned that earlier). If had a weird eyelash that was crooked, eyebow hair...thing-gone. And it doesnt just concern the face, but the body as well. I still continued to pick at parts of my body because there was virtually no damage done, so I took the attention off my problem areas..that is such a bad idea though...why did I even type it...
I wasnt exactly "cured" for that month. But it avoiding my face made me feel so much better. I looked so much better too..Ill probably have better recommendations the more I try at this. Again, sorry for the long post. Whoever is reading this..youre a trooper and im impressed.
Disclaimer: Im not even sure if this website is for blogs like this. Being personal I mean...meh.
Well...since I cancelled my birthday plans and wrote that last/first post its been one of those days where nary a f____ was given.
I have a problem with picking my skin, its close to being-or is- full blown dermatillomania. Basically what that means is I am OCD with imperfections on my skin, and picking them off makes me feel like I am getting rid or helping speed up the healing process of these imperfections. In all honesty I believe that picking will help 15% of my acne and the rest makes it so much worse that the 15% doesnt even matter...by the end of it im at -80% healing (if that makes sense to you). Why then if I know this do I continue to pick? No idea, wish I did. Ive picked at my skin and then felt guilty and stupid for doing so for years, even before I had acne. Though for the last two months I have improved greatly..tonight has been terrible. I pick worst when I know I dont have to go anywhere..so you can imagine how much worse my face while I write this, than when I had to go to the doctors office earlier today.
I also am off the wagon for eating healthy. Being back at my parents house makes things difficult. My family has the worst eating habits Ive ever seen. We all have good metabolisms in general...so they seem to have no problem with gross amounts of pasta and chocolate bars and icecream stocking the fridge and cupboards. I on the other hand, wanted to and have succeeded in eating healthy when I moved out (mainly because of my skin and my terrible health). I usually buy my healthy food and ironically its the first to vanish. I ask them why they buy all this terrible food if they eat mine first. Theres no real method to their madness. They see they eat.
So ive been out of my food for weeks and cant seem to muster up the will to go shopping when food is in the house already. I have come to the conclusion that eating healthy has done nothing for my skin. I know when I have milk products my cystic acne gets a little worse, but as I see it...my eating habits improved and my skin got worse (Im convincing myself temporarily that they are not connected). So im going to have a night where I eat whatever I want. Of course now that I have I feel guilty as hell and Im waiting to see how much worse my skin will be in a couple days. Oh well, where do I have to go right?
Im going to hit up the fridge and find something that wasnt there five minutes ago.
Im pretty hopeless right now. I just came from the doctors..waiting room.. (Im from Canada btw). I went because my mother is convinced that what is happening to my face is more than acne, that its a rash that she mistook for acne when she was 14. She was given some sort of steroid cream and overnight she was cured...yay mom.
Im turning 20 very soon and Ive had acne for three years. I remember it beginning the minute I stepped out of high school. A more accurate description would be the week before prom (I dont even know what to say to that either). I find it incredibly cruel that my acne started when I became an adult. I was starting to come into my own and be a social and relatively fun person...something roughly like how I was with my close friends..only around anyone, and that was something I enjoyed. Now I have acne that continually deteriorated over these last three years. Im currently a shut in. I came home for a summer vacation and I find myself locked in my old bedroom-in my parents house. My boyfriend is on the other side of the country (whom I love but..to be honest im glad hes so far away so he doesnt see or touch me) and I havent seen any of my old friends in three weeks despite their attempted plans with me, and plans I want (almost) nothing more than to attend... number one wish would be perfect skin..ha. surprise.
There is so much going on in my head I suppose Ill try to get it all out right now...if anyone ends up reading this, ill try to make it as organized as possible.
I started wearing makeup to hide my skin problems, Im a bit of an artist so covering mild acne was easy. I tried making it look as natural as possible, I was so good people kept telling me how flawless and beautiful my (somewhat pale) skin was..it was kind of like a knife in the heart every time I heard it. I wonder how terrible my smile and "thank you" was? I loved wearing makeup, but it became a necessary mask for me to leave the house. Now i resent wearing the stuff, its suffocating and it burns. My skin is too bad now to even bother spending time covering it up with makeup...it wears off anyway.
When I left the house I would always be conscious of which part of my face was the worst, and I would keep that side or part either covered with hair or away from whomever I was with. Id do this by sitting, standing or walking so that the relatively good side of my face was always the side theyd see-unless we were speaking head on, then I was screwed and had to deal. I would be conscious of the lighting and how it would reveal the pigment underneath the makeup, or how the shadows would show raised bumps. I would be conscious if it was raining, or drizzling out because that turned the one foundation good for my skin, pure white. I live on an island and one favorite past time is swimming, I havent swam at a beach in three years. I never thought id allow a guy near me but at the time my skin wasnt so bad. I did however make sure we saw eachother mostly in the evening or at night, and I still cant kiss him without being aware of how my makeup is wearing off or how his stubble will make me break out worse. I guess my point is, im always aware. I know it makes me pathetic and vain but I am always aware.
My skin started improving this last year. I have roughly a week or two where there are no new break outs and my scars try to heal. There was even one point this summer where my skin didnt even have scars. I had two weeks of clear, perfect skin. I spontaneously hung out with friends, spent the night...even sunbathed. No makeup. No worries. I dreamed of being that way for years. I thought maybe Id continue to get normal small breakouts due to hormonal changes like everyone else. Nope. My skin got worse. My skin isnt following that old schedule. It has been constantly moderate-severe for a month. Unlike the acne ive delt with for years, this starts out as small skin coloured bumps on my forehead, then it gets red (its soo itchy I cant stand it) and it turns into pustules. Its spreading from my forehead to the rest of my face. Thats along with the normal cystic acne I get on my cheeks and jawline.
So, that doctor trip. Well..there isnt a derm. within an 8 hour radius of where I live. I would drive those eight hours however I need to get a regular MDs say-so before I can even make an appointment. Any appointment has at least a waiting period of six months, but the norm is a year. I guess Ill just wait. Having my skin dictate my mood is wrong, and impossible to change (thats how it feels anyway). But it rules all my activities or lack there of, so it goes hand in hand with my mood...and it has a direct link to how I feel about myself. Anyway. I went to the doctors waiting room today...I cried before going, my mom barely contained an eye roll (for the record, she has seen me cry over a math test in grade six, a math test in grade eleven and the third time i sprained the same ankle. Shes heard me cry over the phone about my skin twice, and seen it...I dont know..maybe five times? at first she felt terrible and did so much to try and help me out..now...she just thinks im being stupid and selfish). I wore big sunglasses that did nothing to hide my skin but it hid my puffy red eyes. I got in and outpatients was more than packed, there is a waiting room and then a room outside the waiting room. I was in that outer room. For those who dont know how outpatients works or are unsure of the size of the waiting room: I was looking at a wait between 5-8 hours. No. Way. I walked out. Ill admit that a good portion of my decision was based on the fact that If i had a script to fill afterwards Id have to go to any pharmacy in town, all of which contain people I know from highschool. All of which would be shocked to see the state of my skin now. Another part of that decision was due to the fact that if my constant internet searching has come up with no real results, I doubt a doctor who doesnt care will do better. I dont want some antibiotic that my body will become immune to in three months which is what he is most likely to give me...ugh anyway...
I dont know if ill keep this blog going, I just know that the two people I talk to about this are probably tired of hearing it and they dont understand anyway. I just need some part of my mind written down. I just cancelled all my birthday plans..Im trying to ignore that the day is even coming up. If anything Im worse off in every way than I was a year ago, I dont want to celebrate that.
...Maybe Ill try to the doctors office again tomorrow...