View Full Version : I am an obsessive picker...SOMEone Help Me!

07-04-2002, 10:24 PM
I have a huge problem with picking at my zits..or sometimes nothing! It is the only reason why my face really ever looks bad. My acne is pretty mild..I would say 5-10 blemishes a week, that can heal quickly to wear m face is clear. But for some reason I can not stop picking at them. Sometimes I will pick at a zit and squeeze the S$^% out of it until i got my self a big wound that sticks around for a week or so..and its a cycle I cannot get out of for some reason. I will wake up and I will see a red spot on my face that it not ready to be popped and I will start meesing with it until I get all the puss out. I get into like a zone when Im picking at it...not thinking or caring what it is going to do to my face. Luckily I do not have much for scars..a coulpe or red spots that are fading and are not noticeable..But I need to learn to stop doing this so i can live my life normally. Can someone tell me how to stop this! and that old stop looking at mirror idea isnt going to work..might as well ask me to stop breathing. But please any suggestions would be great. Thank you

07-04-2002, 11:15 PM
I am the EXACT same way. I will pick at something that isn't ready yet either. Sometimes it just looks like there might be something there and I pick at it whether it is ready or not. I have an obsession with this and I have tried so hard to stop. Sometimes I will pick at the same zit ten times in one day. It drives me nuts! I just can't let it go....it is like I just want to see how bad I can get it just to watch it heal. But then I am so mad at myself for what I have done to my face that I just cry! It is just a vicious cycle.

I don't know how to tell you to stop because I am still trying to stop doing this myself. I don't know, maybe try rewarding yourself with something nice if you can go a whole week without touching anything on your face!! :)

07-05-2002, 04:14 AM
Im the same too. Its called phsycogenic excoriation. They say its about to be qualified as a symptom of OCD. Refered also as Compulsive Skin Picking. I hate this **** buts its definetly out of control for me

07-05-2002, 07:22 AM
I do this too sometimes when I have some closed ones that are not responding to any treatment and have been their too long.I also do it to relieve the itch because sometimes when you get the stuff out of them they itch less and seem to heal faster.When I find myself getting over compulsive what I will do is cut my nails really short.Works every time.

07-05-2002, 08:14 AM
hey guys !! i used to be a compulsive picker too.... i never understood when someone would try to help me and tell me ... "JUST DON'T PICK".... let them go and they will heal.... i didn't listen.... and i have a few scars from it..... luckily not too too bad... just a couple... but, still ... if i HAD listened.. i wouldn't have any...... so, now, i've gotten the acne completely under control.... i rarely get a zit.... but, if i do... i leave it be.... it heals itself.... and no scar.... i know it's hard when you're dealing with looking at all these pimples on your face... but, really.... when u pick .. u inflame it even more and make it worse... next time you want to pick... just tell yourself not to... and DON'T.... that may cut down at least 1/2 of what you pick...

Nancy S+13
07-05-2002, 01:35 PM
Zangiff, are you male or female? One thing that helps me is to wear makeup everyday. It's wierd, but once the makeup goes on I feel like I don't want to touch my face 'cause I'll mess up my makeup. Also, I find I pick the worst when my hands are free so staying on the computer doing message boards and stuff keeps me from picking. Try keeping your hands busy with other stuff. Oh, one other thing is I tend to pick more when I use Retin A. It makes my skin all dry and flakey and that triggers me to pick.

07-05-2002, 09:29 PM
Uh oh...that's not cool...'though I know what it's like...I go through periods where I get obsessive about my skin and will pick...but for me I know it's mental...in that it really isn't that bad but I can make it much worse. Although this sounds really really weird, my kitty comes into the bathroom when I am about to "pick" at my skin and she trys desperately to get my attention before I do anything...I dunno if she senses anything or if she is just ALWAYS trying desperately to get my attention...the latter reason is most likely the most probable....she does follow me around the house a lot! ;) Anyway, she has helped me a lot in distracting myself from the mirror before I do any damage!!! Anway, I try to keep the bathroom lights dim so that you can't see every pore on your face, that way you won't pick at things you can't see to well...and also I find if I cover any zit up right away with a treatment, I won't pick because I know it's treating the zit and I don't want to ruin that process. I have also heard wearing white gloves in the bathroom while you wash your face or something helps...but so far my other methods are really helping! Oh, and remind yourself that "picking isn't helping" or "this will hurt" or "this will make it worse"...tell yourself these things before you start...sometimes just saying these things aloud will take you out of that negative "mode" or impulse.
Don't obsess!!!!!!!! Stop it!!!!!!!!!! Don't pick!!!!!

Da Manny
07-05-2002, 09:37 PM
You mean I'm not supposed to pop them?? When is it safe to pick?

07-08-2002, 07:18 PM
thanks for the replies guys...I am starting to take some control..I am on day 5 of no picking and so far my face is clear..one thing I noticed is it helps a lot to take warm showers at the end of the day..this well usually get rid of any whiteheads. By the way someone asked me if I was male or female..and I am a male so makeup isn;t an option for me...I am just gonna have to learn to live with it..I will keep yall up to date and tell ya if I find loopholes to stop skin obsession. Later

08-20-2002, 05:03 PM
A few days ago I got a pimple on my face which was weird cause I never get acne..well I started to pick at it like crazy, I was in like a trance and couldnt stop. When I looked at my face I was horrified. My face was covered in scabs, red marks, zits, bruises and blood. I even now have a patch of skin that is missing that turned into impntago(a virous in ur skin). I am so angry and depressed. I will not leave my house. If there is anyone who has gone through this or knows ways to cover it up...PLEASE HELP!!!

08-20-2002, 11:48 PM
There's our answer, I NEVER attack the ones you can see, but sometimes I'll accidentaly scratch the ones on my back. Unfortunately I intentionally go after the ones on my scalp (can't see them) but of course that's part of the reason for my hair loss =/

You know it definately is like being in some sort of trance. It sorta happens subconciously and then when you do realize it, it's either too late or you finish the job. I definately think it's caused by some form of underlying stress and aggrivation because that's usually when it seems to happen.

So you can really get a skin virus huh? OK everybody think that! Think that if you don't stop picking, you will get a virus and it will make you look completely horrible and disgusting. It definately is possible and that's the mind frame I am using now, because while DHT may be problem, I'm the biggest enemy for my own hair problems.

Also, I agree that if the pimple or, in my case scab, wasn't there we wouldn't do it, but it will never HEAL if we keep doing it. I've always stopped once vainity came into play I couldn't wear my hair a certain way, thus my hair eventually grew back. So I believe that by remaining as ignorant as possible it might help. If you don't look at your skin too much (miracles happen faster that way) and if we don't touch our skin more than neccessary, it will heal (a few days or weeks). All we have to do is let it heal...

[This message has been edited by SweetJade1 (edited 08-21-2002).]

08-21-2002, 08:02 AM
Sweet Jade, you mentioned that all we have to do is leave them alone and let them heal itself.What do you suggest doing for those (I guess they are called closed comedones ?) zits that never come to a head and stay will just sit there for years ! I tried just letting them heal on their own and they never went away!How many years does it take?I have some zits that will never go away .I can remove them and they will only be gone temporarily then come back.

08-21-2002, 12:21 PM
you have to change your image about yourself being a "picker". You have to practice believing and acting like a non-picker, so everytime you get ready to pick or find yourself thinking about picking say outloud "no-I will not pick, I am not a picker" or "that is unlike me" Before you start to pick promise yourself that you will stop and think for one minute about the outcome of your picking- think about the scars and irritated skin that you will be creating make a decision based on your thoughts -that way you dont just start picking without making a choice to pick.
If you constantly pick and continue to focus on the fact that you cant stop it will only solidify the image you have of yourself being someone who picks and cant control it.

You have a bad habit and the only way to replace it is to not identify with it and to replace it with another action. Try this for a month and you will be amazed.

Worked for me-just dont stop saying "no" when the thought comes to you, you can fall back easily into the habit.

08-21-2002, 04:23 PM
Oh my gosh, zangiff reading your post was like reading something I could've written about myself. As horrible a habit as it is, it's always somehow reassuring to know I'm not the only person out there that does this!!! It definitely is like being in a trance... I've spent hours in the bathroom examining/ruining my face and it feels like minutes, and then I can't believe what I just did. Also like you said, I find things to pick at if they're not already apparent, things NO one else would notice, and I ruin my chances for clear skin. If I could just STOP my skin would really really not be that bad. I think the picking causes more acne sometimes as well. Today was really appropriate timing for me to read this post too, I've been doing SO well this summer and most of my face is almost completely healed, but I've had these two spots, one under each eye, that I just never seem to be able to leave alone. I can seem to leave one alone long enough for it to heal but never both... and today I seem to have screwed them BOTH up again and now I have matching bright red spots. I was so mad at myself I wanted to cry, I move back to school on Friday and I wanted to look CLEAR for once. *sigh* I wish we were allowed to get emails from other ppl so we could write other ppl with this problem at times we really need support. Btw, my only piece of advice would be to cut your nails as short as you can, this helps for a little bit and and least makes you more aware of what you're doing when you try to pick and notice your lack of nails...

08-21-2002, 08:56 PM
Personally I would rather have the zit under my skin a few months than to irritate it causeing it to either get bigger or scar...that's my vainity point. Maybe you aren't using effective skin care products. What are you currently using to get rid of your acne? I'd say that an AHA and a BHA would be all you need if you just have blackheads/whiteheads, right? Maybe even a scrub that contains silcon beads, but no ground up nut shells.

Let me know what you are using and how happy you are with them and maybe I can suggest something else. All I can say though is that, after seeing the results from accidentally peeling skin before it was ready I no longer touch my face (in that manner). I just use my Paula's Choice BHA, Bye Bye Blemish, etc to zap and exfoilate and they work for me.

08-21-2002, 08:58 PM
Personally I would rather have the zit under my skin a few months than to irritate it causeing it to either get bigger or scar...that's my vainity point. Maybe you aren't using effective skin care products. What are you currently using to get rid of your acne? I'd say that an AHA and a BHA would be all you need if you just have blackheads/whiteheads, right? Maybe even a scrub that contains silcon beads, but no ground up nut shells.

Let me know what you are using and how happy you are with them and maybe I can suggest something else. All I can say though is that, after seeing the results from accidentally peeling skin before it was ready I no longer touch my face (in that manner). I just use my Paula's Choice BHA, Bye Bye Blemish, etc to zap and exfoilate and they work for me.

08-21-2002, 09:02 PM
Sweet Jade...thanks for understanding what I was talking about. And YES you can get a virous in your skin. It is the most disgusting looking thing ever. All you need is to have a open mark or cut and the virous will get in and spread..it like starts eating your skin leaving huge patches of skin missing and scabbing. And the scary thing is it happens all the time to people and is not in any means RARE. I am doing better though and not touching my face. if you want to talk about this..its so much easier knowing someone will listen...thanks again

[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 08-22-2002).]

08-21-2002, 09:38 PM
SweetJade1,Thanks for replying.
Right now I have my zits pretty much under control except for the few that have been around a few years that refuse to go away no matter what I kill them with and I still have some red marks healing from the egg yolk mask mess and some other zits from drinking too much milk.Right now I wash my face with Dr. Bronners Lavender bar soap and love that .I use Caladryl (calamine lotion) to dry my zits up cause Benzoyl peroxide and salicytates or whatever its called irritate my face.For spot treatment I use a Qtip dipped in Aqua Glycolic astringent and sometimes wipe my whole face with it.Oh , and can't forget the trusty ole needle ! http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif

[This message has been edited by dsheldon3 (edited 08-22-2002).]

08-22-2002, 05:18 PM
zangiff: i can totally relate. all i can tell you is that what you are going through isnt your fault, its due to a disorder. i have the same problem. there are 2 disorders it could be resulting from. one being, CSP (compulsive skin picking) and the other being BDD (body dismporphic disorder). here's how to distinguish them: if its to better your appearance (smooth out the skin) then its probably BDD. if its out of habit such as when someone scratched their arms or legs, then its more than likely CSP. either condition is treatable. CSP (a form of OCD) and BDD are both treatable with medication. anyway, thats the info i gathered from the information i've read about.

Sweetjade: i just recently got paula's choice BHA 1%. i still havent used it, though. what time of day do you apply it? also, do you apply it JUST on the areas that you get the plugs? in my case, i dont really get any inflamations anymore. its stictly pluged pores (white/black heads) in the t-zone area. nothing i've tried so far seems to get rid of them. they are SUCH a pain in the asss! if i can i wouldnt want to apply it all over my face since i really am not a fan of peeling. if it was only in the t-zone, though..i wouldnt really care.

take care

Hollywood :angel:

08-22-2002, 06:47 PM
Wow IM suprised this thread is still going. Well for my skin obsession I think I finally have it under control. I had a rocky week in the middle of august were I kinda hit "rock bottom" in the terms of picking at my skin. I messed up my face bad and missed out on a lot of end of summer parties :(/ But for the last two weeks I havnt messed with my face. I now wait till a zit is totally ripe before I pop it. I also got this carley clear and smooth skin treatment wich has helped my skin a lot so far. My face is pretty much clear..a couple of red marks for picking earlier this month and a couple of non-messed with pimples that are not noticeable at all. I guess I just basically got sick of what I was doing to my skin and have just stopped. My hope now is to continue doing it. Well thanks for the advice people.

08-22-2002, 09:32 PM
You know I had the same problem while I was on RetinA. Funny huh. Anyway I don't use any prescription topicals and my skin similarly as good if not better on some days. =)

I would suggest that you trash the Calamine because it can actually cause pore cloggage. Yes it does look similar to Bye Bye Blemish, etc and it does contain 2 of the same ingredients, but it doesn't contain the Salicylic Acid nor the Colloidal Sulfur. However since you can't handle BHA, then you should just find products that will dry up those persistant buggers and do it 2x a day max. Use Queen Helene Mint Julip Mask or use a pure bentonite (or similar) clay mask. Use DDF OR PTR OR similar Sulfur masks (the purer the better) or buy the pure Colloidal sulfur and make your own mask with water, aloe or honey.

The thing is you need to dry them up, but not over irritate them and that should do it. I can't think of any other products, but keep using the Aqua Glycolic or similar AHA astringents to encourage exfoilation and penetration. In fact before you apply your masks make sure put some AHA on them first. =)

I am using the BHA 2% liquid solution and it does exfoliate your skin after a few days. So when that happens I just dab only on my zits (never know what to call these things), even if they are raw, it still doesn't sting me and encourages healing (wouldn't think so, but it does for me). I hardly ever use it all over now, just maybe once every week or 2, and then I dab on at night and/day to help prevent blemishes (scar, dark marks). If I think I've got some cloggage I'll apply more on those specific areas too.

12-04-2002, 10:06 AM
Do you know what for years and years I was a compulsive picker of whatever I could pick....luckily I found a Dr. who referred to it as a "compulsive" disorder....I also was a checker of things like making sure the stove was off 3 or 4 times before bed each night...well I was put on zoloft and the picking stopped within a few weeks...so if you are not able to control your habit....you may want to consider an antidepressant and no I was not depressed just compulsive about weird stuff....good luck and let me know how you all are!!!! Sunshine3

12-04-2002, 10:39 AM
Ok - I have to jump on the band wagon and reply to this post.

I am also a picker...however, just recently - I've stopped plexing over my spots and my skin has totally cleared up.

I wash my face 2x's a day, put my moisturizer on in the morning, retin-a at night, etc...however, the key is, I stand about 6 feet away from my mirror so I can't see the nasty little zits. If I can't see them, I won't pick them and if I don't pick them, I don't stress, if I don't pick, plex and stress, I don't wash my face 80 x's...all of which create more zits.

Thougth I'd share.

Kris31 :)

12-04-2002, 10:49 AM
I have Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling), which is an OCD disorder. (See the Mental Health and OCD/Obsession boards for more information.) People with trich often bite their nails and pick as well. I do all three to varying degrees.

I tried prescription medicines for OCD, but it didn't stop any of the three problems.
I am currently trying an incentive-type of method for controlling these urges.

I became engaged in January of 2002. I stopped biting my nails because my beautiful engagement ring looked horrid on my ragged hands.

My skin flared up a few months ago, so I finally went to the dermatologist. He told me that if I don't stop picking, my skin will scar before my May 2003 wedding. I stopped picking my acne.

I went to get a hair cut last week. My beautician said that if I stop pulling now, my hair might fill in almost totally before the wedding. If I keep pulling at this rate, though, not even a veil will cover it up. So now I am working on the hair pulling and doing better.

I know not everyone has events to use in this manner. Also, this is rather negative reinforcement- I'll admit that. But it's working, and that's what matters right now.

Good luck, all! :)

12-04-2002, 11:21 AM
WOW I cannot believe that someone found this thread....I think I wrote it back in July. Anyways since then I have improved so much////I Do not pick at my skin that much anymore....and my face is much clearer. I still do stupied things some times....but for the most part I have improved big time.

12-05-2002, 07:42 PM
Hey all...just enlivening this thread! I was wondering how everyone is doing on the picking front? I was diagnosed as OCD about 7 years ago, so no news there to me, although i am not on any meds I would say my biggest challenge is sometimes getting caught in front of the mirror and wanting to pick. I would say my problem is pretty minor...it used to be bad, but I still struggle with it. I will peruse my face and feel for any type of bump and if there is one want to mess with it...but I resist! I would say I resist 75% of the time, whereas 25% of the time that "trance" like state takes over and I am there. I think it relieves stress for me personally, and it is just some horrible habit I have developed. I head to the mirror when I am tense, and it takes my mind off things.

So how is everyone else doing with this? :)

12-05-2002, 09:41 PM
Arg, it's funny how this post just got bumped up on the day I obsessively popped everything on my face! lol 'Twas fate, maybe.

Anyways, yeah I popped basically every little thing I could find on my face. Luckily mostly everything was pretty ready, but I popped one or two spots that I shouldn't have (the blemishes) and now I'm left with like the noticeable blood caught up under the skin type thing.

I was doing soo good too for about 2 weeks, and now I got a whole bunch of red marks on my face...Live and learn I suppose.

01-31-2003, 03:58 PM
You all have taken about a decade's worth of self-doubt and bewilderment off my back! I can't thank you enough for your honesty. I identify with everyone. I really truly believed that I was the only one who did this and I had myself convinced that I was the biggest freak of nature. Now it's starting to make sense....OCD, I will have to research that some more, but at least I know I'm not alone.

I too have ruined my face when it was perfectly fine before I walked into the bathroom (and I too have a kitty who sits there and meows and me the whole time - how cute is that?!) Afterwards I felt awful, hiding myself in the house for days and afraid to answer the door. I had created a prison for myself and I was confused beyond belief. I tried to cover all the mirrors in the house. I would cut out pictures of clear faces from magazines and try to stare at them when I felt like messing with my face. I would try to distract myself - anything, and nothing worked.

Thing is, I'm a really attractive woman and have always turned heads. Why then, would I deliberately destroy the ONE good thing mother nature gave me (you haven't seen flat chested until you've seen me!)? Was it some kind of self-loathing? Was I secretly resentful that people only responded to my outward appearance and so felt I had to destroy it? Was I a closet social phobe doing this to keep from going to parties, etc? As you can see, I've been around in circles in my head.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! This has been a life changing discovery for me, this thread. Let's please keep supporting each other - we are the only ones who understand. My best to all in this struggle. You've inspired me to try hard to kick this terrible habit.

01-31-2003, 08:32 PM
i've noticed i pick a lot less when my boyfriend is around. my usual strategy is we go to bed, then i sneak off to the bathroom to 'wash my face' which really means 'pick myself into a 20 minute frenzy.' then i come back to bed, it's dark, my blotchy face hidden. but sometimes the light will be on which is mortifying. so lately i squeeze a lot less just in case iscre the poor kid, and i'm always clearer in the am...interesting.

but if i absolutely have to pick, here's a plan that WORKS: allow yourself a limit. if i see some real nasty zits, i'll say to myself, "self, you get 5 today." then i have to choose the most tempting ones, and once i've done 5, that's it. leave the bathroom. you're done. NO MORE ALLOWED! that way you let yourself squueze the major ones, but you don't go hunting for trivial stuff like i tend to do.

'd be curious if this works for anyone else...

01-31-2003, 08:40 PM
OHH yeah ! This is contagious. I take needles and light them to kill bacteria dip them in alchohol and work to the core and release the pus. Is anybody this freaked!

02-01-2003, 11:17 AM
Oh my gosh willowtree, your entry made me laugh so hard! You totally remind me of myself. I think they should have a pickers anonymous self help group. I do the take the needle to my ready to pop blemish. I found that if I wash my face first, then pop the ready ones and wash again it seems to keep another one from popping up right beside it. The thing is I cant seem to keep them from coming, Ugh!

02-02-2003, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by kali32:
You all have taken about a decade's worth of self-doubt and bewilderment off my back! I can't thank you enough for your honesty. I identify with everyone. I really truly believed that I was the only one who did this and I had myself convinced that I was the biggest freak of nature.

I completely agree with everthing you've said. after suffering from a mild initial outbreak of acne around 7 years ago I have spent my time since then despairing over my habit, which I don't seem to be able to kick no matter how much I want to. my case is pretty much the same as everyone else on this thread and it is such a huge relief to know that I'm not actually the only person on the planet that suffers from this problem. whenever I'm alone I will spend hours (to my surprise) in front of a mirror picking and squeezing my face raw, even where there is nothing there - half aware of what I am doing but not being able to stop no matter how derpressed I will be after I finish or despite the disruption it brings to my life. I haven't met anyone in 'real life' that has a similar problem and I honestly thought I must be the only person stupid enough to suffer from such a self destructive compulsion... it's particularly upsetting because i know if I would just leave my face I would have a completely clear complexion..instead I end up covered in red marks and blotches. I haven't left the house without a face full of make-up a single time in the last 7 years, even though I know how bad this looks in itself I just can't face the world without it. the longest I have managed without picking is a little over a week...I have had periods of improvement even to the point where my skin has nearly been normal but I always relapse and get so angry at myself. at the moment it's not too bad so I guess I will just keep persevering. knowing that others have identical problems and are managing to overcome them certainly helps.

ps. sorry for dragging up an old thread again.

04-05-2003, 12:07 AM
Medication doesn't seem to be very effective in controlling the impulse to pick. I think that the best thing to do is to really be aware of when you are doing it and then try to figure out how to avoid or alter those situations. Like one of the main times I do it is while I am driving. I have one hand on the wheel and one hand constantly-obsessively searching my face for any inconsistencies and scratching them off. So, now I wear gloves when I am driving. I draw and paint or write lists, etc. when I watch tv. Sometimes I wear gloves when I am on the internet too. Idle time is a picker's workshop. I have no idea why I do it, and especially why i can't stop-I'm a smart girl-I know that I am ruining my skin (I skip out on social events a lot because of the state of my face-also I can't wear anything sleaveless or backless or a bathing suit because a year ago I started picking at my shoulders and back in order to try and avoid my face-now I can't stop picking at those areas either) Some weird urge inside of me wants my skin to feel smooth and unblemished-so, I pick and scrape until it feels right to the touch. But all the while I am rubbing my grubby fingers all over my skin spreading oil and dirt and clogging more pores that I will later pick at and not allow the scabs to heal. I can't seem to tolerate scabs or imperfections on my skin-even though I am aware that I am causing and continuing the whole thing. Before face-picking it was extreme nail biting-trying to make them even-until they bled. It doesn't make sense to me that I can't stop-but I really can't. My boyfriend suggested origami-but I don't have the patience-he's more frustrated that me at times. Any suggestions for substitute behaviors that don't involve me bleeding? Oh yeah-I forgot to mention, I have in the last few months moved to my scalp, no one can see the scabs-except for the ones near the hairline-but ooooh coloring my hair is now more painful than ever.

04-05-2003, 02:47 PM
Hi! I have a solution I used and I'll also post a new post about it.

I used to pick all the time too... usually either squeezing out the blackheads or squeezing at pimples. So to get over this, here is what I did:
allowed my self a certain number of spots to pick at per day. I would say, "Okay, you can pick 5 blackheads to pick at today" and then do only those, even though it was hard to stop from doing more. Eventually I would allow myself 2, then 1, and eventually it just wore off. I haven't picked in probably a year!
So it's kind of like with overcoming an addiction, LOL, allow yourself to taper off. Don't say you have to stop picking all in one day. Just gradually cut back. At least give it a try! If successful you'll save a lot of time and your face will feel better!

04-06-2003, 01:43 AM
UM how do peopl keep briging this thread back..so weird, it is closing on a year since I wrote this!! Anyways if it gives anyone hope I really do not have much of a picking problem any more, after last christmas break I just had a revealtion to stop ruing my skin, and I have done pretty well. Every now and then I do something dumb, but for the most part I have improve quite dramatically. Good luck to anyone else with this problem.

04-09-2003, 11:52 PM
This was the best website I've found yet. I have found myself laughing so hard to have found a crew with the same problems--and yes, I have the cat that tries to keep me from picking too, plus I was married for many years and did the night sneak thing. I even started following my husband around trying to pick HIS back and face. This is the ONLY habit I have like this, and I have never been able to stop. I use Benzoyl Peroxide so it, thankfully, lightens all the red spots, but when the skin is ripped off, that is a big problem.

My skin problem is still extremely, and I mean extremely, oily skin which means that I have blackheads all over my face, chest, back, and upper arms. If I do NOT push them out, my face starts looking like it is literally swelling out from all the plugs underneath it. After I pick, the pores close a bit more and my skin is smoother and not swollen. What I need is something to lift these blackheads out and stop all the oil. I am a literal oil machine, which is even a term my dermatologist has used. I have tried everything under the sun, except Burt's Bees. Guess I will run out and get that tomorrow, but my question is what do they have in their line that is best for BLACKHEADS???

Thanks for being there and being honest everyone. I really thought I was the only one, and I've been through the seclusion and depression stuff too.

[This message has been edited by sherlady (edited 04-11-2003).]

05-11-2003, 03:17 PM
My God! I am not the only one. I have realized that it is an obsession and has to stop. However I have other compulsive behaviors too. I also pick at my cuticles around my thumbs. Not just "pick" but I ruin them! I haven't had normal skin around them for years. My boyfriend tries so hard to help me stop. He has developed an sense! I can be on the other side of the couch, in the dark, watching a movie, and he'll say, "stop picking!". I will sometimes try to hide it and he'll smile and grab my hand and say, "Come over here and cuddle with me." Then he will hold my hands gently so I stop. He hasn't caught on to the face picking yet! I always do it "while washing my face before bed" too!!! I think he thinks that I just have a zit problem. I go to great lenghts to hide it from him and everyone else. I even put makeup on after I am finished. I have it down to a science. I pick, pick pick, then wash my face with ani-bacterial soap and hot water. Then I pat-dry my face and rinse with freezing cold water. I pat-dry again and moisturize. Then goes on the makeup! and to bed (in the dark) I crawl. It sounds funny, I know but it sucks, and I have been doing it since early highshcool and am now 24 years old. I actually have the closest thing to perfect skin you could ask for. What stars with just picking "one blemish" (which, by the way I have to put my face about 3 inches from the mirror to try and find a pore that looks like it could maybe be squeezed) can turn into over an hour of destruction at times. I become in a trance and can't get out.

Part of me hopes my boyfriend will catch on to my problem so he can help!

Thanx for letting me know I am not alone.
Amber Lynn S.

05-11-2003, 06:49 PM
I guess what keeps people picking is when you can get away with it and not leave marks. I think it's okay to unload some pores, but not to dive in and ruin your face. Try lowering the lights in your bathroom so you can't see what's on your face, stay busy, and only go in that bathroom to do business, wash, and get out!

[This message has been edited by poreoilyme (edited 05-11-2003).]

05-12-2003, 09:36 AM

Please try doing a google search under Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP) aka dermatillomania. This information literally changed my life. It made me see finally, after about 15 years, that my skin problems do not originate in acne, but in my compulsion to pick any and everything. You sound like you fit this category perfectly (cuticle/face picking). Please search out this information. If you are looking for a solution to your skin problems in acne medications, you won't find it--the problem lies elsewhere. Sorry if I sound too forward, but I feel so strongly that this information needs to be spread!


[This message has been edited by leopolda (edited 05-12-2003).]

05-21-2003, 11:30 AM
i can't beleive I've just found this website and all these people who have the same problem as me- i thought i was the only one.

For the last 10 years i have been addicted to picking, squeezing and generally ruining my face in an ironic effort to make my skin feel smoother and clearer- bonkers isn't it! I too tend to enter a trance -like state whenerver i find myself in front of a mirror (though the mirror is not always essential) and 1/2 hour to 2 hours later i emerge with skin that looks like its had a fight with a cheesegrater and self- esteem so low that i can't bear to see anyone. Tomorrow i always tell myself, tomorrow i'll stop. I've been saying that now though for years and now i have come to realise that i have a serious problem which i can't solve on my own.

to me it is an obsession with having smooth skin- i can't bear to feel lumps or bumps or scabs on my face such that i cant resist the urge to pick them. The resultant scars are of course far worse and i always know that they will be, but that rational is not enough to make me stop. I think i could count the number of pick free days on 1 hand throughout the year- this problem is ruining my life.

I haven't gone out without full make up on for at least 6 years now and the only people who have seen my bare skin in that time are my two ex boyfriends and only then was that when i was having a relatively 'clear day'. In haven't talked to anyone elso about my problem
Socialising is a big problem, i have to know whats happening well in advance so i can set aside time to shower and let my face settle before re-applying a fresh covering of make-up . I hate having to stay overnight at someones house as i cannot remove my makeup at night and i have to lock myself in their bathroom the next morning for at least an hour to re-apply it. My flatmates at uni never could work out what i did in the bathroom for all that time!travelling, camping and all things spontaneous and unpredictable that i would love to be doing at my age (23), are all ltd by this condition.

So how do i stop? i've tried cutting my fingernails, covering up mirrors, wearing make up to bed (picking normally starts before and after i wash my face at night)but nothing has had any impact whatsoever on my habit. My face is now heavily scarred which i'm afraid will never heal.. I think i could learn to cope with the scarring though if only i could stop the picking! I've been to see my gp who has never heard of such a problem and clearly thinks i am crazy. He asked if i had any other obsessive or compulsive tendnacies which i don't but he's referred me to a clinical psychologist anyway. Maybe that will help but i dont see what they could say that would actually help me break this habit- i know what i'm doing is wrong , i know how much damage i'm doing but I can't stop!!! Anyway the waithing list is over a year and what can i do to help myself until then? My gp doesn't think that referal to a dermatologist is appropriate until i can break the picking habit but i'm not convinced- surely it could only help?

I'm at my wits end - summer is approaching and i long to be able to sunbathe on a beach and allow the sun to beat down on my bare face rather than it turn my make-up caked face into a sweaty, clogged mess. I need help now!!

05-21-2003, 02:18 PM
I think my biggest problem is that it works sometimes. Sometimes if i squeeze a zit, it speeds the healing time instantly, like no more bump. but there are those that dont work the same way. its like a gamble, and that entices me to squeeze. If i knew it would make it worse ALL the time, i wouldnt pick. And by the way, i do the same thing where i go "wash my face" at night, and end up wearing makeup at night while sleeping to hide the carnage from my boyfriend in the morning.

09-09-2003, 02:39 PM
Like many of you, I am so glad to know there are others like me! I guess it's been about 10 years now that I've had this habit, it started about the time I was old enough to get blemishes. Before that (and I'd never really associated these things with it before reading this thread), I used to scratch my back (when I was about 6 years old to about 10), then after that, I would pick at my scalp, then the face-picking started.

I have to wear make-up ALWAYS (during the day, not at night). It sucks. And, like most of you, my complexion really isn't that bad when I don't pick.

It has gotten better lately (in the past year or so). Let me tell you what has helped. First, I don't go to bed with my make-up on, I used to. But, when I got married, I just decided, I'm not going to make a habit of going to bed with make-up on. So, my husband saw all of my redness. I tried to make sure the lights were always off when I went to bed at first, and then when the light came through the window, I would keep my head turned away from him. Well, after a while, I stopped picking as much because I was too embarrassed when he did see it. So, if any of you are brave enough to go without make-up in front of someone, maybe your husband, boyfriend, or mom, after a while, that will probably help. Also, they can tell you not to pick, that's the second thing that helped, my husband bugging me not to pick, at first it was simply annoying, but eventually, it has started to help. It calls my attention to it, as well as making me a little embarrassed, so I stop. The third thing that has helped is that I've finally gotten some things that help keep my complexion looking good, so I don't have as many blackheads (which I would always pick, because let's face it, those things take a LONG time to go away on their own), I got some facewash with glycolic acid in it (Serious Skin Care from QVC or HSN, I can't remember which one is good, there are also a couple of cheaper brands). That was the first thing that helped. I got it to a point with that where I could at least go to see the dermatologist. She gave me Cleocin solution, a topical antibiotic, and that has helped. I also got some urea cream that I use occassionally when it's oily, and that helps. She also lectured me on not picking which helped (I guess the more outside sources that call your attention to it, it helps).

I think the main thing that helps is admitting you have a problem to someone else, it solidifies it in your head, and then the person you've told can help you fight the problem. So, step (1) is admit you have a problem :) (Why do I feel like an alcoholic? Oh, side note, my mom did used to be an alcoholic, I guess that's it's own obsessive-compulsive disorder in a way, maybe it's partly hereditary)


09-09-2003, 10:21 PM
I'm an 18-year-old male, and for almost two years now I've been picking at pimples/whiteheads that appear on my skin. But instead of getting these on my face, I get them on across the back of my shoulders, and slightly on the upper part of my chest.

Luckily I don't have to see the horribleness everytime I look in the mirror, since they're not on my face. Lucky me, right? Instead, everytime I change my shirt, or take a shower, I can just look down at my shoulders and see any new pimples (they don't appear that often), and the scabs and skin full of scars...

I must have that compulsive skin picking disorder. I'm usually good about not picking when I go to change my shirt or take a shower... I tend to pick when I'm sitting by myself, being bored... I'm a heavy computer user, and usually I can find things to do to occupy my time and do things... but if I'm reading something, or chatting, or even during a longish pause during a game, I find myself running my hand(s) around my shoulders, looking for scabs and pimples that are feeling bumpy.

The thing with my hideousness on my shoulders is that it's covered up by my shirt, so nobody even knows it's there...unless I take my shirt off. I was talking about it to my friend, and briefly took my shirt off to show him, and he was kind of disgusted. Who wouldn't be? I hate how it looks, but then, nobody can even see it since it's under my shirt...

The longest I've gone without picking these is four days, which was quite an accomplishment for me. It involved putting band-aids over each pickable spot... there were about seven band-aids used each day to do this. This worked... until I started getting my fingers underneath the bandages and picking the scabs.

I've tried wearing a jacket and zipping it up so that the only way I can get my hand under there is to actually unzip the jacket... and that didn't last long.

When I was going out with my ex-girlfriend at the time, I told her about it... and when she finally saw how it was, she said that she "didn't mind" ... in a sort of non-convincing voice (we didn't break up because of it ;))

I tell myself that I want to stop, as I hate how it looks... and there's no good outcome from picking. While it feels good (sort of), I know that I'm damaging my body, making scars appear, making scabs and red marks that look horrible, and I really don't wait to do it! I guess I don't have much willpower on this matter. Perhaps I've got no motivation to stop picking, as nobody ever sees it... If I get a pimple on my face, I might pick at it once, but I'm quite good with not picking at it more than that. Probably because of my visual appearance.

I haven't tried any cleansing solutions other than soap on my back... perhaps I should? Though the picking problem is the main issue, I'd say. I haven't told a doctor or GP or whatever about this... should I? It bothers me, but then it doesn't bother me to the point where I want to spend money to help resolve this problem... I want to be able to do it myself, but this obviously isn't happening...

And I know it's unnatractive, but it's mainly only me who sees it... yet I don't like going swimming, due to the fact that other people will see it... and I don't want girlfriends to see it either, though maybe they could help me get over it...

09-10-2003, 08:19 AM
I have good spells and bad about picking my face. Right now, I'm probably in a bad one. It's like, after you pick one, then you reason to yourself that you might as well pick the rest b/c your face already looks terrible. But the times where I have been able to resist picking, I am always amazed at how much faster the zits heal and how they don't leave marks, etc. It's easy to say, "then just don't pick" but it is so hard sometimes. I need a method to help me. ONe thing that kind of helps me is that when I get out of the shower, I apply lotion to my face, but walk out of the bathroom immediately. I wait at least 15 minutes before going back in and looking. I was finding that my most picking was done immediately after showering b/c the skin is so red and irritated looking. that has helped a little. i just messed up a few days ago and did pick though, so now i'm in a slump!

09-10-2003, 10:59 AM
I did think of one more thing that helped me. This might help people that have a tendency to pick at their back. As well as picking at my face, I'm bad about picking at my arms (I have something called keratosis pilaris on my arms, it's not acne, it's very small plugged up hair follicles, and there's no good treatment for it, lucky me). Anyway, I started carrying some cream with me, it was just this stuff called Super Lysine Plus, that is usually for cold sores. Anyway, it seemed to be helping a little, and definitely wasn't hurting. But, it really helped me to stop picking. Instead of picking, I would put the cream on. It absorbed into the skin, so it didn't look funny, it kept my hands busy, and it made me feel like I was doing something about it. Probably any cream would have accomplished the same main purpose, which is to not pick. I just thought I would mention it.

09-23-2003, 01:45 PM
I used to PICK EVERYTHING. You name it I would pick it. I had to go to therapy for it cause I got so bad. I pick only the OH MY GOD THEY ARE ABOUT TO EXPLODE ones with their own zip code or ones that are comming out on their own oozing out after a shower. Otherwise I don't pick. my next stage is to not pick NADA. However, I am prone to really ansty zits and even if they look like they are ready I always get a scar and plus sometimes they come back so I have a bumpy infected scab. Picking is so bad for ya but hard not to.

08-17-2004, 01:05 PM
just making my rounds and seeing all the testimonials, i understand what you all have gone through, but be patient and hold on.... it will be ok in the end.

08-17-2004, 11:24 PM
hah your name is great ^^^...ahh i love you guys

08-30-2004, 08:36 PM
I use Caladryl (calamine lotion) to dry my zits up cause Benzoyl peroxide and salicytates or whatever its called irritate my face.

dsheldon3 ... Does Caladryl really work for you??? I have the same problem, benzoyle peroxide really tears up my skin. I have some caladryl in the med. cabinet but never thought of it as an acne fighter.

I'm 38 yrs old and still have zits. Not so bad tho... I found a glycerine soap with green tea in it that has worked WONDERS!!! I used to have cystic zits on my chin on the left side due to the monthly hormonal thing...and I'd have the odd zit here and there.

I still have little ones on my cheeks and my T-Zone. Right now I have a clay/mint face mask on. I'm gonna put the caladryl on my face after this dries.

Please let me know how the caladryl has worked for you. This is the first time I have heard of using this for zits :bouncing:


04-23-2005, 01:47 PM
Behavioral Tips for Obsessive Pickers

I read this entire marathon thread that Zangiff started a couple years ago and it really changed my life. I had no idea there was someone, actually MANY people just like me. I feel for all of you and I feel your pain. We deal with it every day. It consumes us. Our relationships, our jobs, our lives. I’ve been to 5 different shrinks over the course of my life. I think by now we all know that we’re never going to just ‘get over it’ or ‘outgrow it’. I’ve accepted the fact that OCD is part of me and all I can do it live with it, accept it and try to minimize it’s detrimental effects. I’ve found instead of trying to over-analyze or figure out WHY I pick or why I started, why not just try and make things more tolerable now. So here’s a list of things—call it cognitive behavioral therapy if you’d like, I don’t care about the official label—that may help you even if for just one day. Because the worst feeling is thinking you are alone in this. That’s how I felt. Alone like no one understood me. No one knew how serious this is. No one knows the self-inflicted torture we go through. I think we all know by now "Oh just stop doing it" is a bit too shallow of a comment to make. Because what we do it not as glamorous or well-known as cigarette or alcohol addictions we don’t get the help we need. Well, here’s some help for all of you who find yourself in that trance in front of the mirror when twenty minutes has slipped by and suddenly you snap out of it and look at your red, bleeding face and become angry. Here’s everything I got that works:

1.) Tactical Methods (this is what I agreed with from everyone else’s comments) Only allow yourself enough time to get ready without picking in the morning to make it out the door in time for work. In the evening, only allow yourself ONE bathroom visit after work to shower, wash up, and apply treatment/lotion. All other bathroom trips that evening must be done with lights out (like if you have to pee ;) Give yourself a couple minutes after you’ve washed your face to settle. I truly believe that after you wash, you can see ‘opportunities’ to pick. If you can do something else for 5 min.s like do toner and treatment/crème or brush your teeth or something, your skin actually does settle and look less pick-enticing.

2.) Be Mindful/What Do You Really NEED? Treat yourself with care. Be kind to yourself. Nurture your emotions. Ask yourself ‘What do I need right now?’ One of my shrinks told me being mindful of yourself and your needs helps. For example, on your way home from work you may want to recognize the fact that you are tired and may be at risk for a pick-fest that evening. Instead of giving into fate, recognize the challenge and decide to put off the urge. Instead, get some rest and see if the urge passes. Dealing with obsessive picking is all about dealing with the NOW.

3.) Recognize Your Triggers. What causes you go into the bathroom and fall into that trance? As a follow-up to being mindful, knowing what your triggers are can help with awareness. Here are some examples (these are my triggers):

1.) Over-tired
2.) Missed a medication* approx. 2-3 days prior
3.) Emotional high
4.) Emotional low
5.) Major life change
6.) Just coming back from vacation
7.) Doing something out of my routine
8.) Empty schedule**
9.) Face is almost clear and ‘perfect’
10.) If it’s been a while since I last picked
11.) During recovery (healing)
12.) Face is already damaged
13.) Already on a pick-trend
14.) If I think I’m going to be ‘good’

4.) Choose FREEDOM. What you are doing when you go into the bathroom is actually enslaving yourself. You are preventing yourself from going to that party. Speaking up for yourself when you get dissed by a friend. Going on an interview to get yourself out of a job you hate. Talking to someone you are interested in meeting. If you are blessed with any sort of feeling or recognition before you slip into your daily trance, ask yourself, ‘What is it that I will be giving up after I pick?’ Confidence at school/work? Happiness during cuddle time with a loved one? The ability to just think clearly without muddled thoughts of the state of your face during your day?

5.) Fake It. Sometimes you have to ‘fake up to it’ to achieve it. Remember how that smart perfect girl in English class always had beautiful skin? Made you pretty angry huh? Well it made me angry and mad that I couldn’t be like her. Now that I’m older I realized I can have beautiful skin if I leave it alone. I actually pretend I’m like her or any of the other people with beautiful skin who I imagine just throw water on their face and wisk off to work every morning. I pretend my face really isn’t that bad by ignoring some emerging zits and deeper ones, etc. I just leave them alone so I have less to cover up the next morning and my life is a little more like a glamour girl.

6.) Exercise. Give yourself a natural endorphin rush every day to keep you feeling happy and capable of dealing with it. Also helps if you are going off any medication (SSRI’s or anti-depressants) because it gives you that chemical release that you need to keep you from slipping into the negative trances. Go for POSITIVE trances like zoning out with your headphones on a cardio machine at the gym or getting lost in a book of whatever is your hobby. Exercise also helps your skin regenerate faster. (The sweat pushes out all the bad toxins.)

7.) Music. Listen to your favorite music for inspiration. Nothing brings you out of a funk quite like it. Keeps you positive and willing to try.

8.) Sleep. Let your skin do its natural recovery overnight. Also if you aren’t tired, you’ll be more likely to control yourself, your emotions, your actions.

9.) Interactive with People. Even though you may want to avoid the world at all costs with a face full of acne and scars, try and have some laughs with other people. It will help you realize there is more to life that what we go through with our skin and help you get out of your own vicious cycles. People who love you are there to help either directly or indirectly. They can’t help you unless you go out and be with them. It will also make you feel proud of yourself and happy and less likely to pick that night. If anything, it’s more time that you aren’t in front of a mirror, so at least that’s good.

10.) Try Proactive. (http://www.proactivesolution.com/) I’ve been addicted to it for the last 3 years. I’m 28 and I don’t have the full-fledged acne that used to cover my face when I was younger but I still certainly have milder adult acne now. Proactive doesn’t work for everyone but it’s a miracle for me. I wish I’d know about it sooner. It honesty takes about 3-4 weeks to kick in. It gets rid of the dead skin cells that clog your pores and create zits. All you really need is the 3-step system. You can scrap all the other stuff. Just get the 3-step system, use it in order (1. Cleanser 2. Toner (buy yourself medium-sized cotton balls) 3. Repair Lotion) and get it delivered to your house every 6 weeks. Believe me the $45 every month or so is so worth it. The only problem is I use so much toner that I end up having to use some L’Oreal backup toner between shipment but still that’s OK.

11.) Get Regular Facials with a Good Professional. These gals are great (http://www.milfordbodytherapy.com/facials_massage_new_haven_county_ct.htm# deep_pore_cleansing) but I realize not all of use have $75 to spend every month. Do it every other month. It may make you break out for a week after due to the great stuff they put on your face to draw impurities to the surface but it’s well worth it. It also makes you more likely to leave the extraction to the professionals.

12.) Meditation. I have yet to truly master or even try this one per se. People say they can control their thoughts through meditation. I’d like to learn more about it.

*Here’s my scoop on medication as related to OCD. I actually do have OCD as related to other things as well (not just picking—but picking is probably my worst symptom) so I take 75 mg of Luvox (an SSRI specifically designed to treat OCD) per day to help. Believe me, I’ve been on so many medications and I think this is the best. When I was in high school they thought I had ADD because I wasn’t making the grades in math and science and I wasn’t a great test taker. I tried Ritalin and it made me nervous and jumpy. I tried Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Norpramin, you name it… I went off the meds after college. I’ve been in the professional world for 5+ years now and recently had a major life change that caused me to resort back to the aid of medication. I was getting myself out of a very abusive relationship with a roommate and moving in with my boyfriend in a new area for the very first time. Throw-in a new ‘real job’ in New York City and BAM! That’s some major life change what made me regress a bit and fall back into my picking habit I used to do so much when I was younger. The Luvox really helped me get a handle on the urges to pick. The only down side was the sexual side-effect—I lost my ability to orgasm. The Luvox pretty much numbs you and takes away the feeling. SO, that’s why I’ve been weaning myself off it (VERY slowly—over months of time…) and ramping up on the behavioral techniques.

** When pickypicky said, "Idle time is a picker’s workshop" I couldn’t stop laughing!!! You really hit it dead-on with that line. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Even reading it again just now I’m seriously LOL. Thank you. ;)

04-23-2005, 05:09 PM

that so describes me and perhapz maybe the best post ive ever read in the history of message boards!!!!....

04-23-2005, 05:15 PM
heres somethin i found..........

A good example of a treatment situation was the case of a man who believed he had numerous spots, or marks on his face. Others could not see them. He did convince a reluctant dermatologist to try different therapies on him, including several laser treatments. This treatment never produced satisfactory resultsthe spots never seemed to go away. He finally sought therapy. His behavioral treatment involved listening to tapes telling him how ugly the marks made him, how because they would never go away, and that he would be deformed for life. Additionally, he was instructed to cease visiting the dermatologist, to stop spending hours stating at his face in the mirror and to not question friends or relatives about his appearance. He felt quite anxious and nervous at the start of treatment, but the above instructions, combined with antidepressant therapy, resulted in recovery over a three-month period.

Generally, by combining this type of treatment with an OCD drug approach suited to the individual, symptoms and anxiety can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated. Please note here that I am speaking from my own clinical experience; much more research needs to be carried out in the use of these treatments for BDD to judge their effectiveness. I can say though, that these are the only two approaches I have ever seen work for this disorder. When other OCD symptoms are present as well, they will also benefit from medication and behavioral therapy, sometimes responding even more so than the BDD symptoms.
Can everyone with BDD benefit from such treatment? Honestly, the answer is no. Some individuals with BDD have such an unshakable belief in their deformity that they either refuse to engage in the treatment at all, or else will do it, but only halfheartedly, as they believe that everyone else is wrong and they are right. What percentage of those with BDD falls into this category is not known. I would advise those with the disorder to give treatment a chance; sometimes those whose beliefs seem very strong can still be successful by first starting with medication which can weaken and reduce the thoughts, and then make them more receptive to the idea of therapy. Family counseling for those close to BDD sufferers can also be of great help. This is a very puzzling problem for those who are a part of a sufferer's everyday life and who are uninformed as to what is happening. With help, family members can learn to be supportive of efforts to seek treatment, and to not pressure, punish, or ridicule as a way of dealing with the sufferer.

The number of therapists who can treat BDD probably remains small at this time, but there are those familiar with OCD who should be able to adapt their methods. Just be sure they are qualified and if you don't immediately find one, keep looking. Persistence is the key to beating OCD and OC related problems.

04-23-2005, 05:17 PM
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by an excessive preoccupation with a real or imagined defect in one's own physical appearance. People with BDD have a distorted or exaggerated view of how they look and are obsessed with actual physical characteristics or perceived flaws, such as a certain facial feature or imperfections of the skin. They often think of themselves as ugly or disfigured. People with the disorder often have problems controlling negative thoughts about their appearance, even when reassured by others that they look fine and that the minor or perceived flaws aren't noticeable or excessive.
Body dysmorphic disorder causes people excessive anxiety and distress, often impairing their social life and performance at school or work. People with BDD may find it difficult to meet new people or make friends because of intense fear that their appearance might be judged in a negative way. In severe cases of BDD, a person may severely limit contact with other people in an attempt to avoid having others see the perceived physical flaw.

The signs and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include:
· Frequently comparing the flaw in appearance with that of others
· Repeatedly checking the appearance of the specific body part in mirrors or other reflective surfaces
· Refusing to have pictures taken
· Wearing excessive clothing, makeup and hats to camouflage the perceived flaw
· Using hands or posture to hide the imagined defect
· Frequently touching the perceived flaw
· Picking at one's skin
· Frequently measuring the imagined or exaggerated defect
· Elaborate grooming rituals
· Excessively researching about the perceived defective body part
· Seeking surgery or other medical treatment despite personal opinions of others and recommendations of doctors that the flaw is minimal or doesn't exist or that treatment is unnecessary
· Seeking reassurance about the perceived defect or trying to convince others that it's abnormal or excessive
· Avoiding social situations in which the perceived flaw might be noticed
· Feeling anxious and self-conscious around others (social phobia) because of the imagined defect
People with severe BDD may drop out of school, quit their jobs or avoid leaving their homes. In the most severe cases, people with BDD may consider or attempt suicide.

all describes me cept for suicide of course...i would never do that

04-23-2005, 05:52 PM
This thread is making me want to pick.

04-23-2005, 08:06 PM
First I want to say how happy I am that I found this thread. I read all the pages, and bookmarked various products mentioned to help me down the road with my excessive picking. I thought I was alone too, my trances can last almost 2 hours sometimes, usually late at night when all I wanted to do was go the bathroom and go to bed. Then I find myself in a trance in front of the mirror, picking and picking until I stand back know full well the my face will be swollen, red and ugly from all the picking I have just done to it. I feel horrible shame from it. I tell myself I won't go out the following day if my face still shows bad signs of my picking frenzy. Other times it happens in the morning on the weekends after I have just cleaned my house and I go to take a shower and find myself once again in front of the evil mirror picking my face into a shameful misery. I really get quite depressed after these sessions of picking. Wondering why am I doing this to myself, why can I not stop, what is triggering me to go and do this. I must admit that when I am in my trance of picking I feel calm and relaxed, once I stop and realize what I have done to my face I feel shame and depression.

I am glad to find other like me. It helps to know I am not alone is this. I will now try to following SillyOCDgirl advice and the rest of you who left your advice as well. Thanks for listening.


04-24-2005, 07:16 AM
First I want to say how happy I am that I found this thread. ... I thought I was alone too, my trances can last almost 2 hours sometimes, usually late at night when all I wanted to do was go the bathroom and go to bed. Then I find myself in a trance in front of the mirror, picking and picking until I stand back know full well the my face will be swollen, red and ugly from all the picking I have just done to it. I feel horrible shame from it. I tell myself I won't go out the following day if my face still shows bad signs of my picking frenzy. Other times it happens in the morning on the weekends after I have just cleaned my house and I go to take a shower and find myself once again in front of the evil mirror picking my face into a shameful misery. I really get quite depressed after these sessions of picking. Wondering why am I doing this to myself, why can I not stop, what is triggering me to go and do this. I must admit that when I am in my trance of picking I feel calm and relaxed, once I stop and realize what I have done to my face I feel shame and depression....
Chelle, someone should record your words for inclusion in a professional psychological/psychiatric journal. You have concisely described what it's like.

I still struggle at 51, though not very much since A) I was put on spironolactone, and B) I was put on OCD medication. The combination seems to work for me. I tried everything else (except acutane) but nothing worked.

I will put some of the terms mentioned in 2002 (!) on this thread into the PsychInfo database and report back with the latest thinking on our subject.

I've always felt a connection to Yoko Ono who was known to have walked around with a paper bag over her head at times because of her "habit."
Until this thread, I never could find any public acknowledgement of this debilitating disorder.

And I don't know about anyone else, but being lectured never helps.

One more thing: I have both OCD and ADD, the latter of which has a lot to do with impulse control. I wonder if anyone else here knows or suspects they have both of these disorders. You can use and Internet search engine to find online questionnaires to give you an idea on whether you might have both.

05-10-2005, 08:08 PM
i have both OCD and ADD. i know this thread is older. but i think its a good one, makes me feel there are people who understand what its like to have this problem and the effect it can have on your life. thanks everyone :wave:

05-11-2005, 07:39 AM
It seems that Zangiff found an effective way to deal his acne. Just keep it going on!
I went through it last year, supposing that an individual has different way to solve his acne problem.

05-24-2005, 06:28 AM
i am like this, if i havent got anything to do, or if i'm just on the computer reading (like this stuff), or i'm watching TV, i touch my face, and my finger touches a zit and i think oh zit lol, and start picking it, and even if a zit hasn't got a head, i still pick at it, until all the stuff comes out of it lol, and it goes all red, and swollen sometimes, and then i sometimes complain if the zits still show through foundation. Its soo tempting! mostly i pick at the zits with a head on it, and when the head has gone, i sometimes don't pick it...yea dsheldon is right, i think if the stuff is out of it, the zit can heal faster, cos it hasn't got stuff in it, thats stopping it from healing up, but i have noticed that when i put make up on, i don't touch my face, or zits that much, but when i haven't got make up on, i pick at them...so i can't really stop you either zaniff, cos i do it myself...

05-27-2005, 02:44 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you for these posts. I've been diagnosed with OCD for 12 years, now, and an undiagnosed, vaguely secretive obsessive-compulsive for at least ten years prior to that, but none of my doctors have ever really broached the subject of my picking. Last year, after trying to wean myself from the Luvox I'd been on for seven years, I had a little, "Oh, no, it's back with a vengeance, and this time it's not going to subside" breakdown and started intensive therapy for the first time. Thankfully, we dealt with many of my most PAINful problems, such as scrupulosity, intrusive thoughts, fears, and the various little rituals I had developed throughout the years, but my therapist didn't seem concerned with my picking. Now, that may well be because I've taken to wearing the equivalent of pancake, stage make-up when necessary to cover the damage done, but because of my doctor's lack of interest, I began to believe that it really wasn't part of my overall disease, and it's just, as my husband has repeatedly referred to it, a very bad habit. Currently, my acne is worse than it's ever been, and I know the damage I do on an almost daily basis is the driving force behind the severity. It makes my husband angry and disappointed and it makes me feel depressed and out of control.

Thank you, sillyOCDgirl and others for letting me know that it IS in fact part of the OCD, and that there IS some hope. Your use of the word "trance" really struck a chord with me. I really do lose sometimes half an hour to 45 minutes in the bathroom just scouring my face for any possible expungable surface. Last night, I even daydreamed of going across my face pore by pore and pressing until I got every little bit of fluid, puss, anything, and everything out. I then proceeded to fantasy about having the top layers of my face removed like a dermal excavation until that secret, disgusting layer was found which held all things infectious and/or zit forming and "cleansing" it once and for all.

At one time, my parents agreed to pay me like a dollar a day for every day I didn't pick, that lasted about two days, and I've made repeated promises to my husband to stop, but I can never seem to get past about three days, and often I do it without conscious forethought, although other times I steal away for a bit just to make time to pick. I even confessed some of my picking subterfuge to my husband last year, so he could help me stop, but I still get a bit angry and defensive when he asks me what I'm doing in there.

I have to admit, after reading my own post, I feel like even more of a freak than before. I'm an adult woman, and as with all things OCD, I know that my actions are illogical, and that I could have quite lovely skin if I could just keep my hands off my face, but I haven't been able to make that happen.

Anyway, thank you for posting. I look forward to reading more, and it's nice to finally know that I'm not alone.

05-27-2005, 02:47 PM
Hi Haptical,
It might be a good idea for you to start accutane so u will have nothing to pick at.

05-28-2005, 10:33 AM
I can identify with everyone here, including the cat's comments, your family telling you not to pick and the guilt feeling after you realize you destroyed your face. We are not alone.

The other thing that works for me is not looking at myself in the mirror. I only do it when I'm applying make up. When I wash my face at night at home, I avoid the mirror.

I don't believe in giving yourself 5 or 10 minutes to pick. At least it has never, ever worked for me. Once I'm picking my face, I don't stop. When I pick my face, I go to another planet (it's not like I think about picking my face, I'm thinking about work, love life, family, world peace, etc and then I get really distracted) So I recommend to stay away from the mirror.

Finally I recommend to do something about the acne. Go and see a dermatologist (I know it's embarrasing) but being shy can cost you a lot of scars. Overthecounter medications that have worked for me so far are salicylic acid, hydroquinone(to clear the acne red marks) and home microdermabrasion crystals. I think it's worth trying different products, even if some of them will make your face worse (benzoyl peroxide was a nightmare for me)

06-13-2005, 11:46 PM
i've tried the distance mirror thing, cognitive behaviour therapy, and all kinds of other stuff; my point is, that doesn't work for everyone; for some, like myself, medication is really my only option.
ps another term for this ocd compulsion is called dermatillomania

06-14-2005, 05:35 AM
i have this problem for many years now. lately i had been getting bad about it due to my skin breaking out more. i have been hiding in my house a while, what i did and is actually helping some, took out the lights in my bathroom mirror, and i always look good in it now LOL. i also removed all other mirrors except for a small hand held one which i cannot use and pick because i have to hold it. I also keep my nails very short. I have been writing in a journal keeping track of my progress, and keeping myself busy. my doctor gave me an antianxiety medicine to take but have not used it yet, i will only do that if it gets severe again but int he meantime these other things are helping me. and lastly i come tp message boards like this so i realize i am not alone in this, and to talk to others about it. I wish you all luck in beating this with me.

11-28-2005, 06:08 PM
In this forum I find so many kindred spirits!
It embarrasses me so much and I always feel guilty afterwards, but when you get in that trance, it's just mesmerising. I have tried to just stop, usually because there is an event or something I want to look nice for, but that usually makes me more nervous and anxious, which means I pick even more.
I don't only do it on my face though. My chest, my back and my legs are also littered with scabs and scars, which sometimes restricts me from wearing certain clothes or going swiming.
I do it quite absent- mindedly aswell, if I'm just sitting watching tv or reading and my hands need something to do, I automatically slide my hand along the back of my neck or in my shirt to set what I can scratch or pick.
thankyou for everyone's support. Just knowing I'm not alone is comforting and will help me try to stop.

11-29-2005, 09:33 AM
I applied to this post about 6 months ago and I can tell you, something that worked for me. I did follow my own advice 4 months later. It took a while, but better later than never.

Right now I'm not picking my face, what worked the most? Not having anything to pick on. So the solution is definetely seeing a dermatologist. I'm on accutane now and it's worked wonders. I'm sure there are other drugs that will still work. (but not overthecounter, they tend to be too drying)

For the people that breakout often, please see a dermatologist. Forget about over the counter drugs if they are not working. Stop blaming yourself for your own acne. It's not your fault, it's not the picking that is causing your acne, it's your hormones. Family and friends don't help sometimes. They tell you what to eat and not to pick, I think they mean well but they're clueless. Forget them. You're the one with the problem and the only people that are going to understand are you and a good dermatologist that cares for you. Please, please see a dermatologist.