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How to Deal with a Bad Skin Picking Habit

If picking repetitively at your skin is causing bleeding, sores, or disrupting your life, read on to discover tips and tricks for protecting your skin.
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Do you have a bad habit of picking at your skin? Also called dermatillomania or excoriation disorder, the repeated picking of the skin can lead to bleeding, scars, and sores, as well as significantly disrupt one’s life. But what can you do to ease symptoms and how can you reduce your picking? Read on to find out. 

Understanding Skin Picking Disorder

Most people pick at their skin every once in a while. But skin picking disorder is more than just a mild habit you do from time to time when you’re perhaps nervous. It’s a mental illness that is usually associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ADHD, and depression. Skin picking and anxiety also often go hand in hand. Both children and adults can experience this disorder. It usually develops during a time of stress or following some kind of skin injury, rash, or infection. It also may co-occur with conditions like Trichotillomania (hair pulling) and Onychophagia (nail biting). 

Signs you may have Skin Picking Disorder

  • You can’t stop picking at your skin
  • You have noticeable scars from skin picking 
  • You often pick at your skin without realizing it, such as in your sleep 
  • You pick at your skin when you feel anxious or stressed
  • You experience cuts, bruising, or bleeding from picking 
  • You experience distress or impairments because of your picking
  • You’ve tried to stop the behaviour 

How to Stop Picking at your Skin

If youn find yourself constantly picking at your skin and wish to stop, these suggestions may help:

Wear Gloves 

In addition to keeping your nails short, we recommend wearing  gloves to act as a protective layer over your skin. Remedywear™ Gloves for adults and kids are a great choice because they’re soft, gentle, and soothing. The form-fitting yet stretchy material truly fits like a second skin. The gloves are made with TENCEL and embedded with anti-inflammatory zinc which is a great choice of fabric for those with sensitive skin. Plus, their moisture-wicking properties make them comfortable to wear all day or night long. 

Practice Meditation 

Medication has a calming effect on both the body and mind. This is incredibly beneficial considering that stress or anxiety often lead to skin picking in the first place. 

Take Medication

If necessary, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed. These are antidepressants that help reduce obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors like skin picking. If medication or other forms of stress relief don’t help, visit a doctor or medical professional. 

Try Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that helps people understand the relationship between their thoughts and behavioral patterns. The goal is to reduce repetitive behaviors by changing your thoughts. For example, as you become more self-aware and can identify anxious or negative thoughts, you can learn to avoid picking at your skin.  

Cover with Manuka Honey

A skincare hack to make the area more difficult to pick and thus reduce picking is to cover the area with manuka honey. Manuka honey is also a natural healing agent so it will also help hydrate, soothe, and restore the skin. Plus, its powerful antibacterial properties will keep infection at bay if previous picking caused the skin to crack or bleed. You can find Manuka honey in our Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream

Tips and Tricks for Protecting your Skin

  • Keep tweezers and pins out of sight and out of mind
  • Keep your nails short
  • Keep your hands busy by squeezing a stress ball or playing with a fidget spinner
  • Keep your skin clean to avoid infection