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Skin Picking..can't Stop...

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So I've been struggling with acne for about 14 years.. Mild very persistent acne that evolved into cystic acne this past year. I have tried numerous times to mess with those painful and stubborn over sized pimples.. I've been picking my skin to try and make the pimple disappear and make it heal faster.. But I have managed to make matters worse.. It's a habit that is hard to break.. I stopped biting my nails (and that was hard to do). But picking my skin at the sight of a new pimple is making me break out even more.. I just started using the acne.org regimen and it's been 5 days since I started and I have noticed some new break outs and I'm very anxious and tempted to pick away.. I have had painful scabs and scars and I aggregate the pimple even more so.. I need some advice in trying to stop this habit. I want to be able to continue the regimen without wanting or actually picking my skin.. I want to make this my new years resolution, but we all know those tend to fail..

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The first thing I would say is that if you make that resolution and in the back of your mind you are thinking that it will fail, then it's a safe bet that it will indeed fail. What you need to do is just take it one day at a time as an ongoing thing. The good news is that it doesn't take too long to see changes. Perfect example: have a look at CocnutCaramel's thread on the first page of this section. I'm sure she won't mind me saying that she's made great progress in just over a month and the results are very positive.

My acne started at 13 and I'm now 26. Right from the start, I picked everything like crazy and pretty much used to rip my face apart. I dread to think how much time I've spent in front of the mirror over those 13 years, essentially self-harming. What started out as average teenage pimples turned into acne and it worsened because I kept picking and helping it spread. Equally, it carried on and remained into adulthood because my actions were causing it to do so, regardless of whatever regiments or treatments I was using. Every single treatment ends up fighting a losing battle if we do nothing but pick and don't let our skin heal itself.

The best thing to do is to avoid mirrors when you feel the need to check your skin. Go and do something else to take your mind off it instead. When you do need to use mirrors, don't get so close. Stand at least arms-length away and look at your face overall rather than focusing in closely on any problem areas. Equally as important is to recognise that no good comes from picking. It's perfectly understandable to dislike the sight of pustules and to think that they might look better if you pop them but, even if it does remove the grossness, it damages the skin and makes it look and feel worse. Plus it spreads bacteria under the skin which produces more acne. That's why you may find you get more problems close to where you've popped, because that's where the bacteria has spread to.

Personally, aside from popping whatever formed, I also always used to pick at things that were healing and made them last twice as long. I'd pick or pop whatever I could see and if nothing was immediately obvious, I'd go looking and actually start creating problems. It was like some kind of addiction which only has negative results. It also seemed like it was giving me some false sense of control, as though I believed that even if I couldn't make things look better, I could dictate whether or not they looked worse, and that was like some sort of release. That's why I equate it to self harm.

I'll show you a couple of pictures to illustrate the difference not picking - or at least, picking as little as possible - has made to me over the last month. Granted, I have made a few diet and supplement changes which have helped me immensely this month, but I still believe without a doubt that my skin would be bad if I carried on picking, no matter what my regimen, diet etc., were like because the skin doesn't get to heal itself.

I took this picture on December 1st, after a week of picking anything and everything like crazy. I made my face very sore and it was painful all the time, especially my nose and my chin. So much so, it hurt to smile.


Here's another picture which was taken yesterday. No tricks, no editing, same camera, same location as the first picture.


Totally, 100% clear for the first time in thirteen years because I've stopped picking, allowed my skin to heal and allowed my regimen and so on to do their thing without me creating goodness knows how much damage on a daily basis. It's only taken about 35 days to get to this point. Sounds like a lot when you have to take it one day at a time, and I guess it is when you're trying to break a habit and change your behaviours, but it's totally worth it. You've nothing to lose so give it a go. The good news is that once things start improving, there's less to pick and the less there is to pick, the easier and easier it gets. The hardest is beginning t break that cycle, but it can be done.

You're not on your own as many people here have struggled and continue to struggle with picking, so be sure to check in if you find you're struggling because everyone here will support and encourage you. I still class myself as someone who struggles because I don't want to talk in the past tense and jinx it. Not only that, moments of stress and insecurity have always been a massive trigger for me to go to the mirror and take it out on my skin and I don't suppose I can go through life without getting stressed or feeling insecure sometimes. so the key thing there will be to learn how to cope better in those moments of stress, anxiety and insecurity so that I don't let them get to me and don't head for the mirror.

Good luck! smile.png

Edited by PaulH85

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