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BigPore

Take the No Picking Challenge with Me

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I've never been a member of Acne.org (have always just used it for research purposes), but when I saw this thread, I HAD to sign up so I could post about my experience with skin-picking. Most importantly, I want to share how I finally stopped for good-- not just in terms of gaining the willpower to not pick, but actually stopped the URGE from being there in the first place. If you've got a serious case of Dermatillomania and have tried everything to no avail, I strongly suggest you try what I did.

A little background info:

I struggled with Dermatillamania (also known as Compulsive Skin Picking or CSP) for more than three years, from age 19-22, and it was HELL. A little about Compulsive Skin Picking: It's an OCD-spectrum disorder (and I've had various mild OCD symptoms my entire life), it's most common in women, and begins in late teens/twenties, generally. It's basically the same thing as Trichotillomania (sp.?) (that disorder where people can't stop pulling out their hair strand by strand), just a different manifestation. It's different from "normal" skin picking because it is an uncontrollable compulsion that overtakes one's life (but CSPer's almost always start out as "normal" skin pickers). At my worst, I'd spend hours and hours each day picking at / examining my skin, and my skin was always a mess of raw open wounds (and ironically, I don't have bad skin-- if I hadn't gone looking for things to extract, my skin would have appeared flawless most of the time). I tried everything-- threw away all my tweezers/blackhead extractors/etc., covered all the mirrors in the house with saran wrap, got fake nails (for a less-precise grip), was in cognitive-behavioral therapy, was on Wellbutrin, Effexor, and Paxil at different times....and nothing worked. Some things helped to decrease the overall damage (like, not having access to tweezers), but I still could not stop picking. It was horrible. It took me so long to do my make-up (and then it looked so obvious because I had to use so much) that at my lowest points, I just gave up and avoided face-to-face contact with people. I really thought I would have to live with this condition forever.

How I Stopped Picking:

I am SO happy (and even 8 months later, incredulous!) to report that I actually found a solution. In November 2007 I read about treating CSP with high doses of inositol, which is a perfectly safe, natural sugar produced in large amounts in every cell of the body, and concentrated in the brain. It's vital for cell membrane health, nerve impulses, etc., and is even vital for the very basis of the serotonin neurotransmission system, if you know anything about that. (I have a biopsych degree and probably know waaaay too much about it!). But anyway, most people produce more than enough inositol naturally, so there's no FDA Recommended Daily Value of it, no testing for levels of it, or anything like that. But the theory is that people with disorders like derma- and tricho- tillomania, are often people with very low levels of inositol.

I know how far-fetched this probably sounds -- I mean I'm the type of person who never even bothered to take vitamins, suspecting that most of them are probably just gimmicks anyway. But I was so desperate to stop picking that I was willing to try anything, and to my utter amazement, I felt a difference after just TWO days of taking inositol. I know that it wasn't the placebo effect because after trying so many things, I really doubted that it would work (and effects typically aren't even noticed until after a week or so). But yeah, after a few days of taking just a small amount of inositol, I'd say my picking dropped off 50%, at least. I'd still go to pick out of habit, but then it wouldn't "pull me in" nearly as much, and I'd be satisfied and stop so much sooner. By the time I worked up to the full 3x daily dosage (which is probably more than I even need, but I take it anyway just to be safe), I'd stopped picking altogether. I swear, it's a miracle. I really thought I'd be struggling to stop picking for the rest of my life, and then lo and behold, such a simple solution all of a sudden removes the urge completely. I just wish I'd given this a try years ago. (I first read mention of it a while ago in the Yahoo Group "Pickaderms," which I've been a member of; someone mentioned having had success with inositol, but I didn't pay much attention because I'd never heard of inositol and it sounded improbable to say the least.)

The only thing is, I've found that if I stop taking the inositol regularly, my picking behaviors come back. At first, if I was even a few hours late taking a dose, my hands would be finding their way back to my face. Now that several months have gone by, I can go a weekend without it before the urge to pick starts coming back. Maybe my body is learning how to hold onto the inositol longer, or make more of it on its own, who knows. But still, it would be a bad situation if I ran out of inositol completely and had to wait a week for more to be shipped from VitaCost or iHerb.com. I know that I'd start picking again in the meantime. That's probably the only downside. And it's weird, because right now, I have no urge to pick whatsoever. I feel like a totally "normal" person in that regard, and it's so freeing and wonderful. Every so often, I do have a spot that genuinely needs to be picked, and in those cases, I can take care of it and that's that. I can't even remember or rationalize the feeling of "needing" to pick….until I forget to take inositol for a few days, that is.

If you're interested, I'd definitely read this paper below:

http://westsuffolkpsych.homestead.com/inositol.html

And also more good info here:

http://www.biopsychiatry.com/inositol.htm

Very importantly, here is the dosage schedule that I followed, eventually working up to 1 tablespoon of inositol powder taken 3x per day (I've been at this level for about 6 months now).

http://www.ocd-free.org/store/2171582/page/1250721

FYI, the brand I use is Jarrow Formulas. I buy the 8 oz. bottle of powder for about $11 from iHerb.com. You just dissolve it in liquid to take it. It gives water a slight taste of sugar water. There's no danger of overdosing on inositol because what the body doesn't use is immediately flushed out of your system.

If you decide to give this a try, good luck, and I really hope it works for you like it did for me!! My heart goes out to everyone with this problem, because I know exactly how it feels to be ruining your looks, wasting away your time, and have no control or power to stop. Like I said, I have never bothered to post a reply or even register on Acne.org before, so the fact that I did just to let people know about inositol, should tell you how serious I am about it and how much it changed my life for the better. I have always been extremely skeptical of the "quick fix" type of solution (and I feel like in terms of promising-sounding products and whatnot, "it's too good to be true" is usually the case), but with compulsive skin picking, at least in my case, the problem really was just an easily-corrected biological imbalance.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to message me. :)

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Wow, thanks so much for that KarreyBerry!!! Very very informative!

And I'm SO glad that the inositol has helped you get back on track with your life :dance: Hopefully your story will help some people on here too.

Oh and Chimene, good on you!!! I know what you mean about finals too, I'm in the middle of my university exams and its driving me insaaaane. :wall:

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Dang it. I keep on having a set back and picking a pimple. I might pick something every other day (5 minutes, tops) , which is much, much better than spending hours in front of the mirror, destroying innocent skin. I don't think I can quit cold turkey. I'm more of a weaner.

I think in a few months, picking will be a habit of the past.

My skin looks so much better though.

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Dang it. I keep on having a set back and picking a pimple. I might pick something every other day (5 minutes, tops) , which is much, much better than spending hours in front of the mirror, destroying innocent skin. I don't think I can quit cold turkey. I'm more of a weaner.

I think in a few months, picking will be a habit of the past.

My skin looks so much better though.

Good for you!!! I hear ya it is very hard to quit. I just make sure and do not spend time in front of the mirror anymore. If I get bored I have to busy myself or I will end up in front of the mirror looking at myself. I have not completely stopped picking but now I have narrowed it down to picking only white heads and even then I try to heat up a rag and steam the bugger out. Good job everyone!!!!

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Hi how are you? I just built a website that wil help us find cure and find the best treatments for Acne, it is a not profit website, come take a look at it and join forces.

Thanks

JP

Lets Fight Acne

Clearedin.com

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When I go out of town or at someone else's house I don't pick but when I'm at home I feel like a meth head with nothing better to do. I have cut my nails to the shortest but I do have long nail beds so there is always something there to use to pick. And when I don't pick my skin looks so much better.

It suxs I wish I could stop.

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I am so glad I found this thread. I am a habitual picker. My downstairs bathroom mirror is the best; where's Mommy? Oh she's sitting in the bathroom sink. :confused: I actually, and this is really sad, fell off the bathroom sink backwards in January and got a concussion. That was, um, embarassing. :redface:

I need to stop. I feel compelled to do it. When I sit at my desk at work, I keep touching my face. I know it looks weird. I am just so used to doing it. I think my face would look a lot better if I could keep my hands off it.

So I am joining the challenge :wall:

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Heya! Just checkin' in to see how everyone is doing. :) So...how are y'all doing?

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I just stumbled on this site yesterday & read this whole thread (I think this is where I read about no picking!) I'm really excited because along with washing my face gently & using B.P. my skin is already getting a little better. That stoppickingonme.com website really sent it home to me and ingrained into me not to pick. A couple years ago I actually found a skin picking self hypnosis cd that really works too, but I just moved & haven't unpacked it yet.

Thanks everyone for all the encouragement and reminders not to pick. Keep up the good work and take care of yourselves!

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this is how i finally began to resist picking:

i took a piece of cardboard and taped it over my mirror a few weeks ago. my skin has been improving ever since.

i think a good rule of thumb is that you should cover or remove any mirror that is less than 2 feet away from your face when you normally stand in front of it. so, if you have a mirror on the other side of a sink, that's ok, but if it's on the wall right next to you and you can lean up to it and see your pores, you have to cover it.

this makes it so much easier to resist picking.

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:evil: I starting the no picking challenge and lasted about a week. Sometimes at night I go to wash my face and I get so freaking mad and upset I just freak out and pick everything. Now I have so many red scars on my face. :( I dont know what to do. SOmedays I go around with white heads, but I just feel so gross and I can feel the pain from my acne without even touching it!! I fucking hate acne and its ruining my life. (just thought I would share.)

I have been on Marvelon again cause I believe that's what helped my acne awhile back. I have been on it over a month now with NO results! Whats going on???

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Heya! Just checkin' in to see how everyone is doing. :) So...how are y'all doing?

My skin is progressively looking better. I still pick, but not as often, and I don't beat myself up when I do. When I catch myself surveying my skin and squeezing, I realize what I am doing and walk away from the mirror. It's difficult stopping myself mid-pop. The temptation to keep going is really strong. I consider it a victory when I remove my hands from my face.

So this is where I am now. Hopefully, in a few more months, I'll be pick-free!

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I'm so on this challenge... but it's so hard!

I'm just so addicted! And rather than being thorougly disgusted by those youtube videos, it brought out the adolescent boy in me. "Oh maaaan, that's sooo sick... I need to watch it again." And I know it's bad, because my body literally starts going into withdrawal. I just crave picking.

Something that helps me is NOT taking photos anymore. I feel pretty good when I look in the mirror, but when I take a photo to see the progress, it looks like NOTHING has happened. I get really discouraged, and then "scan my face" (as someone put it, great expression) and just dig in.

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I'm in!! But like other people said, I'll only pop the really noticeable nasty ones. :shifty: I hope this helps. Ok I picked yesterday, so starting today, I'm pick free since 7/9/08, I'll see how long I can keep that up.

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I...am most definately a picker, which truly does only make everything worse. I'm half indian so I have darker skin and I've got so many dark spots now thanks to my picking habits. I get them regardless of whether I pick or not, but if I pick they get significantly worse.

I need to stop and find another method of stress relieving, so I'm joining you guys.

And if I could cover my mirror, I would so do it, but I share my mirror with a sibling so that is not an option. I can only imagine how much better my skin would be if I was never able to get one on one time with a mirror.

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I am at my wits end... a vicious cycle!! Non-inflamed acne = Popping = scabs = picking = scabs = picking = (repeat this step prolly 20 times) then scars as well as 3-5 new ones in the area from my filthy fingers!!! UGH!!!!!!!

It is definitely a compulsive habit and I don't know how to quit!! All the mirror tricks don't work cuz they are ALL over the walls in our private bathroom at work.... HORRIBLE!! I am getting ready to start a thread because I have these new pop-able bumps and they WILL be the death of me!!

CONGRATS to all of you having success!! I truly envy you and hope that one day I am alongside ya!!

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I've been taking this pledge as well, but I just got a scabber =(

No worries, my no picking, touching, etc is working!

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I'm in! I swear on the acne bible I'll try so hard not to pick! I have OCD about this, use to really mess myself up. I have tried everything to keep my hands from my face. I cut my nails till they bleed, always have something in my hands to keep them busy, or I sit on them till they hurt or are numb. I covered all my mirrors or write msgs on them , like don't do it. I put up pictures of people with messed up faces on my room to remind me I don't want to be like that, I've read tons of self help books, stay in dim lighting to avoid seeing my face to clearly and keep in my room when it's real bad.

- Hope I last more than a day :)

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im starting NOW. Ill check back in a week

only problem is that not picking looks worse IMO. huge bumps just look gross.. while little scabs i can deal with.

w.e im in anyways

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Im in. I have been picking my face the last few days and it looks horrible today. Even though I did get rid of a few white heads(it took a while before they would pop out) my skin looks worse. Ahhhh. It is soooo hard. Now my face is bumpy, inflammed, red, scabbed. Ugh. I dont even want to go out looking like this. If only it was next week already....

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Hi,

I hope its not too late to join your challenge. I have the same problem than you, I usually don't get anything on my skin. But every now and then I get something that its invisible for others but that I can see. Then I pick at it, and I make it worse. Thank god for mineral makeup because otherwise I wouldn't survive while it all heals. Its like a cycle for me, I haven't been able to not pick for more than 2 days in a row. Usually I only pick in one spot and I put makeup on it and it heals and then I'm ok for the weekend. Monday comes and I pick at something else again. Whenever I'm stress out I pick more than one spot.

I need this challenge, I didn't know there were so many people that were going through the same thing than me.

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