I officially began "The Regimen" on February 1 so today is day 4. I've been following to a T - the only exception is that I put eye cream on immediately after showering to keep my eyes from drying out.
So far so good. And I've realized something - I really am addicted to skin picking. I've tried many treatments before - I even went to see a psychiatrist (expensive and not helpful). What it comes down to is this - the mirror is where I do all of the damage to my face. I am a clean freak so I don't touch my skin without washing my hands first so I definitely don't pick anywhere but in the bathroom. The answer is two-fold: I have to follow the regimen to prevent breakouts AND I have to keep myself from getting within 3 feet of a mirror - any closer and I will find "flaws" to "get rid of" (make infinitely worse than they were to begin with). This is darn near impossible since i have to wear makeup for work but somehow I am doing it. Just as serious alcoholics must abstain completely from drinking - I must abstain from looking too closely at my face. And not just for the next 30 days, but for the rest of my life. I have to break this habit completely, a half-attempt has always resulted in the habit slowly creeping back in until it is back with a vengeance , sometimes worse than it originally was. I definitely have "triggers" but I have learned that I cannot control triggers, only my reaction to them. I am trying to form new habits - better habits - because God knows breaking a habit generally results in the formation of a new one, so I might as well make it a good one.
In the past if I had stopped picking at my face I would pick at my back or bite my cuticles. I am trying to replace this with reading, praying, or typing in this blog. So far it is going great - though I did feel a bump on my neck and scratch at it until it became inflamed. Today the pain and swelling are a reminder of what I would have done to my face had I not resolved to quit. And also a reminder that I must must must make a new habit so that face-picking doesn't morph into back/neck/chest picking or some other form of self-mutilation.
I took a picture on day 1 but I don't think I will be ready to post it until I have another to show some improvement. I am already seeing slight improvement - the breakouts are healing. I have not had any "slip ups" so I haven't caused any new break outs - yay! Of course I have zero improvement in the scars - that will take time. They serve as a constant reminder of my need for self-control. I'm just going to take this one day at a time.