H.G. asks from Green Bay, WI on March 12, 2010
I have what is kind of a bad habit and at times don't even realize I am doing it. I pick at my skin, at my back, at my scalp. I know that's a lot of the reason that I still breakout because I always make something worse than it is or has to be. Does anyone have any advice for me to get in the habit of not touching my face or hair and to keep that as a permanent habit?
C.X. answers from Dallas on March 12, 2010
Trim your nails VERY short.
E.I. answers from Duluth on March 14, 2010
put on a special lotion or foundation/makeup. it doesnt always stop me from touching my face right away, but it helps. ;) and do your hair nice or something. :)
S.L. answers from Madison on March 13, 2010
Oh my god H., I do the same thing! Why do we do it? I don't know how long I've been doing it but I HATE it. It gives me acne and sometimes sizeable wounds that take forever to heal. Plus, I have tons of freckles on my face so, combined with acne, I feel so icky! The only advice I've been given is to keep my nails short...which I almost have chewed down to the bone. I'll be checking in with you and this post to see if any other women have some advice for us!
K.T. answers from Minneapolis on March 13, 2010
I've done this for as long as I can remember. I hate it & I have tried everything, cutting my nails shorts, gloves, not looking in a mirror, tucking myself into the sheets really tight at night, only wearing long sleeves [otherwise I pick my upper arms/shoulders]. I tend to do it when I'm just sitting or laying around. Watching TV, right before bed, right before hopping in the shower, at the computer. The rest of the time I'm too busy to pick. But when I do, I avoid going out anywhere and then I keep picking at the scabs. It's really a gross habit. Actually one of my therapists years ago diagnosed me with dermatillomania. I guess there are techniques of therapy that will help people get over it, but I haven't found a therapist that knows enough about it yet. I really don't know what can help you, and haven't found a cure in my case either, but I just wanted you to know you're not alone! If you don't pick when you're busy, try to keep busy. I like the suggestion of different things to fiddle with. I find that when I was in school and now in college, I scribble all of the time during class, or fold the edge of my paper over again and again so you could try something like that too
S.D. answers from Minneapolis on March 12, 2010
I don't really have any advice, but wanted to let you know my daughter does the same thing. She is 8 yrs old and does have both anxiety and OCD and this is just part of what she does. Like you said, she doesn't even realize she is doing it. She touches and picks at one side of her mouth, the skin around it, and gets red sores. Then she picks at the sores, making them worse. It is like a fidgety habit. We chose one word - cancel - to say when we see her do it. If anyone in the family sees her picking, we just say "cancel" and she puts her hand down. I have tried offering her different things to bring to school to fidget with, like a bracelet with smooth stones on it, a "worry" rock to rub, a stress ball, a koosh ball, etc, but she is too worried those items will get lost, so she won't bring them to school. But something like that may work for you, especially the bracelet idea. Find a bracelet that has smooth (or rough, whatever texture you like) stones on it and try rubbing or just touching them anytime you catch yourself picking. Hopefully you can transfer that need for touching onto something else. I think that is what it is, a need for touch. Do other things that you can to give yourself more sense of touch and pressure through out the day and you may not have that craving for picking at yourself. Good luck, I understand what it is like.
A.T. answers from Omaha on March 19, 2010
H., I do the same thing with my scalp, arms and scabs. If I get a manicure that seems to stop me for a little. Don't want to ruin the manicure by bending and chipping the polish. Only a temporary solution unfortunately. I tried fake nails for a little while and that really helped, but it can get expensive. With fake nails you can scratch, but not pick.
I used to pick at my split ends as well. Cutting my hair a little shorter and more frequently has helped with that.
L.V. answers from Sioux Falls on March 15, 2010
this disorder is called Dermatillomania and you can google it and read about it online.
D.M. answers from Denver on March 12, 2010
Habits are tough to break. Maybe you could find something else you can "fidget" with to keep your hands busy - i.e. stress ball, some small hand held puzzle. Good luck.