xturnitup is chillin like a villian
I know I haven’t posted in a long time, but I’ve really just wanted to share some things that have been helping me. I’ve struggled with skin picking since I was 14 (I’m now 20), and I’ve been trying to stop for pretty much 5-6 years. I’ve tried a lot of different things, but I want to let you guys know what are the main things that have helped me cut down and helped my skin get a lot better. Everyone needs to find their own method by trying things and seeing what works for them, but maybe what has helped me will help you.
The 5 main things that have helped me:
->Observing yourself What times of the day do you pick the most? Is there any situations that make you pick more than you usually would? What triggers you? For me the times I pick most are as soon as I get up in the morning and at night. Knowing this information, I’m more aware of what my actions will probably be before I do them, so as soon as I get up in the morning and before I sleep, I always fidget with a fidget toy I have so I will stop the picking before it happens. When you find what situations make you pick, you can either avoid it (which I don’t suggest doing much because some things in life you just cant avoid), or find a different way to cope with it (which for me is always fidgeting with my bracelet). But observing yourself for a couple of days, realizing when your picking takes place, where it takes place etc, and using that information to find alternatives, can really be beneficial.
->Replacing the habit with another habit. When it comes to quitting any type of habit, the best way to do that is to replace it with another, more healthier habit. I know there are a lot of “fidgets toys” that you can buy, from online stores that talk about skin picking and OCD, to places like Walmart that sell stress balls to keep your hands occupied. I’ve tried a lot of different fidget toys, but the best one for me was simple silicone bracelets that I found a the dollar store. I bought about 10 because that can break easily. I find this best because I wear it 24/7, and when I feel the urge to pick, my bracelet is easy access to my hands. I’m not really sure how to add pictures, but the bracelet is squishy due to the rubber balls on it (which is perfect for pickers since you can squeeze that instead of squeezing your zits). Really just go to your closest dollar store and look in that section for bracelets that you feel you could use as your replacement habit. When I feel the urge to pick, I take my bracelet and keep squeezing it on and off with the hand I feel like picking with, until the urge is gone. This is a great way to help stop because when you have that urge, you go into that “picking mode” in order to get rid of that energy. You need some other type of release to get rid of that energy, and that’s what the bracelet is for. It does take time to get used to playing around with that instead of playing with your skin.
->Cutting down slowly instead of stopping cold turkey. If you stop cold turkey, most likely, it will not last and you will go back to picking, probably just as much as you did before. The idea is to slowly cut down, like you would if you were getting off a medication. When picking, your body releases that “feel good” chemical in your brain, which makes you want to pick more in a stressful situation or when your bored etc. So your body needs to get used to getting less and less of that. When I started trying to cut down more than I already have been for the least 4 years, I started out with picking about 15 times a day, but then I would tell myself to pick 10 times. So it would be hard but eventually I started picking 10 times (and the odd time a little above), then I reduced it to 8, 7, 6…. now I’m up to 3. I urge you to track your picking by keeping a chart of it, so you can see your process. Every night before you sleep, write down how many times you’ve picked and where. I like to write on my phone each day when I pick, so that I remember at night how many times I’ve picked and where. This will also keep your mind focus on remembering to cut down.
->Making a list of things that will help you stop picking and read it every morning when you wake up. Things like remembering that if I pick and bleed, it will scar, and that picking is actually damaging my skin, ripping holes into my skin instead of healing it, and that the urge WILL pass… helps me to stop picking. You can fill this list with reasons that you shouldn’t pick today, with anything you feel that if it was in the back of your head, it’ll help you not pick. I wrote a list of about 10 different quotes and reasons that I read everyday, so after awhile of reading them everyday, it sticks in the back of my mind so that when I feel the urge to pick, I remember them.
->Write a to-do list. Cutting down on picking your skin needs to be one of your main priorities since it’s hard to not pick if your not reminding yourself not to on a daily basis. One of the ways I do this is to create a to-do list, you can put all the other things you need to do on it also (making things into a list can help reduce stress also since you no longer need to store all you need to do in your head, but on paper), but at the top of the page I’d always put the things I need to do in order to help me stop picking. So I’d put things like “use fidget bracelet in the morning, use fidget bracelet at night (since I’m ALWAYS tempted to pick as soon and I wake up and before I sleep when I’m thinking about everything), write how many times I’ve picked today, read reasons I shouldn’t pick in the morning, cut down picking – pick 3 times the most” etc. I would mark this list off at night, and write one for the next morning. Rewriting the same list of things to do to help you stop picking on a daily basis, will help this information be in the back of your head so things like fidgeting with something will start becoming more of a habit.
Other Things That Help:
->Seeing A Doctor Getting to the source of the reasons you have acne or whatever else you may pick at can help. Is it an internal or an external thing? Maybe your allergic to something in your diet etc.
->Getting fit, looking better. I’ve been working out more, putting on nail polish, dying my hair.. doing things to make me feel more pretty. Working on my image is helping me want to make my skin look good also.
->Remembering that perfection isn’t going to happen. The goal shouldn’t be perfection, the goal should be improvement. No one looks like an airbrushed model. We all have flaws, accept yours.
->Keep in mind to ignore your skin. As pickers, a lot of us feel that when we pick our skin, feel it, put our hands all over it looking for bumps and imperfections…. that we are actually helping our skin, and “getting dirt” out of it. But of course we can see that the reality of it, is that we aren’t. This is just how we feel at the time, but we can see by the aftermath we are damaging our skin. The best thing to actually do is ignore it. When we ignore our skin, our skin is healing. So if you pick on your back, chest etc. Don’t even look in those places so you wont be tempted to try and “fix” your skin. When you want to touch your face, maybe you need to rest your head on your arm or something… touch it with your fist instead of your fingers so you don’t start feeling around your skin. Get use to touching your face with your fist if you need to, or grab your shirt and feel the texture of that instead.
->Learn as much as you possibly can. I’ve found that learning how scars form, learning how popping pimples can cause more breakouts etc… have been able to help me stop. Learning about the skin and how it works, can not only help you stop but you also learn how to treat your own skin. One of my favourite places to get this information/someone I have learned a lot from is Cassandra Bankson. Search her on youtube and go to her skin care videos. She doesn’t only show you how to take care of your skin for the problems you may be having, but the causes of them, why they are there, how you can prevent them, and what you can do if you already have them.
There are also other youtubers that deal with hyperpigmentation, scaring etc, if you search around you can find processes that they’ve taken in order to heal, and maybe you can get some ideas from them.
Also learning about compulsions. I picked up a book called “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge. There’s a section on compulsions. One of my favourite quotes from it that explains more on how compulsions work, is “Neurons that fire together wire together. By doing something pleasurable in place of a compulsion, patients form a new circuit that is gradually reinforced instead of the compulsion. The second law is that Neurons that fire apart wire apart. By not acting on their compulsions, patients weaken the link between the compulsion and the idea it will ease their anxiety. The delinking is crucial because, as we’ve seen, while acting on the compulsion eases anxiety in the short term, it worsens the OCD in the long term.”
->Skin Products that have helped me. Exfoliating the skin and then placing a type of cream or creams such as aloe vera, vitamin E cream, extra virgin olive oil (I know that sounds weird but it helps with scarring). Other things that have helped are baking soda masks, egg masks, lemon, bio oil, tea tree oil. Those are the things I use on my skin, but since everyone’s skin is different you need to do your own research on what may help you.
If drug store brands aren’t really doing much for you, maybe you need to try other products that focus mainly on things such as acne scarring etc. Some good sites for this are:
However please do your research on these products, some of them can cause really bad damage if not used properly, but can have really amazing results if used properly and on someone who’s skin wont react bad. Remember to do test runs.
I hope this helped someone. I know the journey is hard, it’s kind of an up and down process but in the long run things will get better if we keep trying and putting our effort into it. Good luck everyone.