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Successful Strategies to stop Picking?

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I have always been a skin picker. Unfortunately when I went to college my skin went out of control and I resorted to picking it.... I know horrible. Picking my skin has left me with scaring and I was wondering if anyone has strategies to stop skin picking? I notice that that I pick when I am stressed or something is bothering me. I need to stop because its so embarrassing and I feel like It will help my skin if I stop. 

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Everyone says "Don't pick!!" (Yeah ...we know). But it can be HARD not to. It's like telling an alcoholic to put down their drink.

Simply trying to force myself not to pick never worked. Willpower is a finite resource and after a really stressful day or a bad breakout it was nearly impossible to force myself not to pick at my skin. It had become a coping mechanism for me back when I had bad acne.

Once I realized that certain situations led to picking at my skin, it became MUCH easier to stop. For instance it would usually happen at the end of the day if I happened to look in the mirror under harsh lighting. Sometimes I would find myself picking in front of the mirror without remembering how I got there ...

After figuring out why I would pick (need for control/stress relief), I'd just used simple redirection like the following -

Tip 1: Cover Up. Simply covering up my hands was really effective (as well as trimming my fingernails!). If there is a certain part of the day you usually pick (for me it was late at night in front of the computer or mirror) try wearing gloves or covering your hands in some other manner during this time of day.

Tip 2: Start a project. If you notice yourself picking, use that as a cue to keep your hands busy with a project instead. I usually try to do something soothing that I enjoy (drawing, painting, cooking, or playing an instrument are all work well).

Tip 3: Mask it. A final tip would be to apply a face mask (if you're at home of course) when you're attempted to pick. Not wanting to mess up the mask usually redirects me. It's also nice because it can benefit your skin :)

I also recommend you check out Stop Picking On Me, if you haven't been there already. It's a website dedicated entirely to helping with this and it's awesome.

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I have previously successfully gone through skin picking challenges (25 days and 80 days) on the Skin Pick site but it didn't help in the long run because it didn't solve the psychological problems behind my skin picking :(. So I won't advise challenges - but rather finding the roots of the issue. 

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Hey 2525,

I just started a new thread with a bunch of tips that have been helping me to stop picking over the past 6 months. Hopefully you'll find some of them helpful!

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Hey there! I am some one who recently got diagnosed with anxiety-induced OCD (lol my life is fun). ANYWAYS the BEST thing for my skin picking addiction is the following:

1.) STOP LOOKING IN THE MIRROR. Force yourself to limit it to two times a day, or less, and force your body to wash your face, moisturize, etc. then LEAVE THE MIRROR when its your time to cleanse. You will be amazed at how much faster your face will seem to heal when you only check it once every day. 
** PRO TIP: only allow yourself to look at your face from a reasonable distance (3+ feet). STOP SHOVING YOUR FACE IN THE MIRROR TO ANALYZE EVERY PORE OR BLEMISH. 

2.) Have some one hold you accountable. At 21 years old, that person is my mom (yeah....I'm a little behind in life lol). She would never judge me, scold me or force me to do anything, but when she sees me looking too close in the mirror, she says "stop" or "what are you doing?". I have even started showering at the gym when I can, cause I wouldn't want to pick my face in front of people, so I wash, moisturize, and then put my lil make up on and go on about my damn life (easier said then done, but a good general goal to have everyday). 

3.) FORGIVE YOURSELF for: getting a pimple, not being perfect, and even for picking at your skin. No one is going to be able to quit immediatly, but I have always said IMPROVEMENT > PERFECTION. 


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Wearing thin gloves when you are bored or stressed helps to prevent picking or scanning your skin with your fingers to find blemishes. 

If you pick in front of the mirror, like I do, it helps to set timers to make sure that you get out of the bathroom ASAP. I also put a strip of masking tape on the floor several feet away from the mirror that I have to stand behind. Bringing happy music into the bathroom when you have to brush your teeth or something is really helpful too.

This last one might be a bit strange, but it's helpful to narrate, aloud or in your head, what you're doing in the bathroom to keep you focused. For example, "Ok, now I'm brushing my teeth" or "I'm taking out my contacts and then I'm going to leave the bathroom." It helps me anyway. 

Good luck!

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I recently found out about an online anonymous skin picking group. [removed] they have skype meetings, phone meetings, and treat obsessive skin picking like an addiction. I haven't been able to give it the time it deserves to participate, but I will once my class ends. There are many people on there that are abstinent!


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