• Follow us

Health

How This Chronic Skin-Picker Created a Sane, Affordable Skin Care Routine

I needed to be out the door 15 minutes ago for a friend’s bachelorette party — or was it 30 minutes ago? Instead, I sat cross-legged on the floor before a closet mirror, picking and squeezing and scratching my face — thinking that if I could just “get this gunk out,” I’d be able to quell my anxiety and leave the apartment. I wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but when I finally surveyed the damage, my face was bloody, swollen, and hot to the touch. In a trance-like state, I’d been digging at my skin for an hour and half.

Now came the shame: coming up with an excuse to bail on the party. Cycling through product after product to minimize the damage rendered. Worrying about scarring. Skipping even more social and work events until I deemed my face “presentable” again.

And after all that, it wouldn’t be long until I’d be in front of the mirror again, trying to extract spots visible and invisible until I was again bloody, swollen, ashamed.

Everyone picks once in awhile, and that’s totally normal — popping the occasional zit, tweezing an ingrown hair, prodding at a scab. But according to the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (B.F.R.B.s), 2-5 percent of the population “picks their skin to the extent that it causes noticeable tissue damage and marked distress or impairment in daily functioning.” The clinical term is excoriation disorder, but it’s also called skin picking disorder or dermatillomania, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (D.S.M.-5) classifies it as related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.). 75 percent of those affected by skin picking disorder are female (hi).

“Some people have underlying social anxiety and pick as a way to relieve stress or distract themselves before a social event,” said Dr. Ryan Howes, a psychologist who practices in Pasadena, Calif. said. “Others may have deep-seated problems with body image, and the picking is an attempt to make perfect the visual imperfections. Some experience clinical levels of O.C.D. or generalized anxiety and it’s an outlet for anxious thoughts. And for some, on an unconscious level, picking may be a way to avoid intimacy.”

I’ve been picking my skin since I was 11 and I didn’t seek help until I was 24 — about six years ago. I still get the urge when I’m especially stressed, but now I have plenty of tools at my disposal to halt the cycle before it starts. Even if you aren’t a clinical-level picker like me, some of these strategies can be incorporated into your own routine. (Remember that skin is unique and what works for me might not work for you. Always talk to your doctor first!)

First, know when and who to ask for help

The first member of your care team should be a mental health professional. “If you’re feeling ashamed, if you’re less likely to leave the house because of it, or if you’re starting to wonder if it’s a problem, it wouldn’t hurt to speak to a psychotherapist,” Dr. Howes said. The TLC Foundation has an excellent database of providers who treat B.F.R.B.s, as well as information on support groups and other services. The go-to treatment for B.F.R.B.s is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (C.B.T.), said Dr. James Bender Jr., director and co-founder of the Reeds Center in New York City. C.B.T., he said, “teaches a person skills to break the habit and better control the urges to pick the skin.”

Another crucial member of your team is a dermatologist, who can treat underlying conditions that exacerbate picking. These days, insurance covers most dermatologic visits (minus any cosmetic treatments), and you can find a doctor in your network through apps like Zocdoc. With insurance, I usually pay no more than $20 when I visit my dermatologist. “I try to figure out what [the patient’s] life is like and what it feels like to them in circumstances that lead to picking,” Dr. Libby Rhee, a dermatologist who practices in New York, tries to figure out what her patient’s life is like, and what circumstances lead to picking. “I address the inflammation on the skin with either topical or oral medication, and make sure our goals are aligned — for them to not have anything on their skin that they want to pick,” she said.

If it’s in your budget, a licensed skin care specialist called an aesthetician can also help by clearing the skin — simply put, the fewer things there are to pick at, the less picking there will be. “Aestheticians can act like a type of skin counselor,” celebrity aesthetician and skin care expert Renee Rouleau said, “teaching clients how to better understand the repercussions of picking and why it can be damaging to the skin.”

It’s also vital to connect with other people with skin picking disorder, said Jennifer Raikes, executive director of the TLC Foundation. “It can be a huge relief — really life-changing — to be able to get to know other people who share this struggle,” she said. The TLC Foundation holds an annual conference for B.F.R.B.s for people of all ages living with skin picking.

Stick to a minimal routine

Keeping my routine minimal is critical. It keeps me from cycling through product after product, spending mass amounts of cash on lotions and treatments and masks that likely won’t help at all. I quite literally bought into the idea that good skin care had to be expensive, but my daily routine is cheaper than ever and my skin is healthier than ever (so suck on that capitalism!) Talk to a dermatologist about your skin type and the ingredients that will be most beneficial for you. Be open with them about your budget and ask about drugstore alternatives and in-office samples. (Oh, also: always patch test any new product before slathering it all over your face.)

Ms. Rouleau recommends a routine with just four steps, all of which can be customized to your specific skin needs and budget:

An alcohol-free cleanser to remove dirt and makeup (a.k.a. the stuff that leads to breakouts, which can urge you to pick).

A hydrating toner that balances the skin’s pH and supports your skin’s barrier, or its outermost layer.

A treatment serum, which is thinner than moisturizer and offers ingredients for specific skin issues (like the hyperpigmentation left over after you pick, for example).

A moisturizer, which hydrates and again, protects the skin’s barrier. Ms. Rouleau recommended a moisturizer that doubles as sunscreen.

Notice that harsh spot treatments are left out. “Patients often use drying or irritating spot treatments out of desperation,” Dr. Rhee said. “This further complicates the problem by leading to skin that’s more susceptible to irritation and physical inflammation, which perpetuates the cycle.”

You might benefit from a prescription, too, depending on what your health care provider suggests. I take a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (S.S.R.I.) to manage my underlying O.C.D. and anxiety, as well as a pill called spironolactone to decrease my hormonal acne breakouts.

Choosing the Best Moisturizer for Your SkinOct. 16, 2017Are You Overwashing Your Face?Oct. 9, 2018Avoid information overload

The internet is full of recommendations for casual and chronic pickers alike — so much so that it gets overwhelming (and expensive) quickly. Instead of scrolling forum after forum and filling up your online shopping cart with products that won’t help, “the short answer is: see your dermatologist,” Dr. Rhee said.

“It breaks my heart because I know every patient wants to stop picking, but scouring the beauty aisles will not provide the answer.”

Build a personal emergency tool kit

Ms. Rouleau, a former skin picker herself, offers clients out-of-the-box solutions like a “no picking contract” taped to a mirror, or an accountability partner you can contact in a moment of weakness. “Call or text a friend to help prevent you from picking at that skin of yours. Being accountable to someone else will help those horrible habits when you’re not feeling your best self,” she said.

“One way to think about anxiety is that it’s ‘extra energy’ to help you deal with real or imagined stressors,” Dr. Howes said. “Exercise, deep breathing, or yoga can be powerful tools.” Something like a stress ball, a fidget spinner, or a pimple-popping toy (I have one and it’s disgustingly satisfying) can redirect your fingers from your face. You can even try wearing gloves or snapping a rubber band on your wrist every time you go to touch your face.

My absolute favorite item to stop me from picking is a hydrocolloid patch. I’ve been known to shamelessly wear 10 of these clear circles at a time, covering each spot I’m tempted to pick. If you’ve already picked a spot, these magical little stickers aid in healing, too. “Post-picking, you want to keep your skin in a moist environment for optimal healing,” Nava Greenfield, M.D., a dermatologist who practices in Brooklyn, said. “Aquaphor is great until the skin has healed and then Bio-Oil or a silicone gel as a scar prevention.”

Remember, it’s not your fault

Brains are mysterious and make us do all sorts of weird — and sometimes unhelpful — things, like picking, to deal with stress and anxiety. “Habits reside within neural networks that don’t listen to reasoning and can be very resistant to change,” Dr. Bender said.

So as easy as it is to beat yourself up about picking your skin, remember that, first, it’s O.K. if you can’t stop on your own, and second, there is good help available. “There’s no reason to blame yourself for having this,” Dr. Howes said. “Just like you need antibiotics to fight an infection, medical or mental health treatment for skin picking is exactly what will help. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Tessa Miller is a health and science journalist who’s contributed to Lifehacker, The Daily Beast, Vice, Self, The Cut, and The New York Times. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow her on Twitter @tessajeanmiller.

How Skin-Care Companies Are Tackling Issues Faced by Women of ColorDec. 26, 2018What Is an Essence and Why Is It More Important Than Moisturizer? Aug. 13, 2018Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

ABC News: Health

Senate GOP leader would raise age for buying New! 2019-05-20 17:13:27The Senate's top Republican is introducing legislation to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21

Ex-nurse accused of raping patient appeals HIV testing New! 2019-05-20 16:47:27A former nurse charged with sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman who later gave birth at a Phoenix long-term care facility has appealed an order

Trial begins in challenge to 4 abortion laws New! 2019-05-20 16:34:45A trial has begun in a lawsuit seeking to overturn restrictions on abortion providers in Virginia

Nationwide liver transplant policy caught up in court New! 2019-05-20 16:34:41An attorney says a nonprofit that manages the U.S. organ transplant system is rolling back a new nationwide policy over how to allocate scarce livers

Judge: Parents of dead West Point cadet can New! 2019-05-20 16:07:16A judge has cleared the way for the parents of a 21-year-old West Point cadet fatally injured in a skiing accident to use his frozen sperm to produce

US backs calls for Taiwan to get role New! 2019-05-20 15:49:40The United States is backing calls for Taiwan to be granted observer status at the U.N. health agency's biggest annual gathering, the U.S. health sec

Students accused of putting bodily fluids in teachers' New! 2019-05-20 15:24:12Authorities are investigating accusations that students at an Ohio middle school put bodily fluids into food that was then served to teachers

Supreme Court sends dispute over Fosamax back to New! 2019-05-20 15:12:57The Supreme Court is sending a dispute between drugmaker Merck and patients who used its bone-strengthening drug Fosamax back to a lower court

Trump DOJ wants role in lawsuit over pay New! 2019-05-20 14:50:42A federal lawsuit in North Carolina accusing neighboring research universities of conspiring to depress wages for medical professionals is nearing a s

US judge to consider blocking new Mississippi abortion New! 2019-05-20 14:23:29A federal judge is scheduled to hear a women's clinic's request to block a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can

Gov: Abortion ban shows Alabama values 'sanctity of New! 2019-05-20 14:20:29Alabama's governor says the state's new abortion ban she recently signed into law reflects how much state residents value the "sanctity of life,"

Sextuplets born in Poland; mother and newborns doing New! 2019-05-20 14:16:42A 29-year-old woman has given birth to six babies in Poland in what is believed to be the country's first-ever case of sextuplets

NYT > Health

Why Tuesday’s City Primary Could Mean the End New! 2019-05-20 15:24:24The tax isn’t on the ballot, but the beverage industry has spent more than $600,000 to back City Council and mayoral candidates who want to stri

Why High-Class People Get Away With Incompetence New! 2019-05-20 15:15:05People who came from higher social classes were more likely to have an inflated sense of their skills, a new study found. This overconfidence was inte

Phys Ed: To Move Is to Thrive. It’s New! 2019-05-20 14:22:23A need and desire to be in motion may have been bred into our DNA before we even became humans.

A.I. Took a Test to Detect Lung Cancer. New! 2019-05-20 11:29:13Artificial intelligence may help doctors make more accurate readings of CT scans used to screen for lung cancer.

Personal Health: Millions Take Gabapentin for Pain. But New! 2019-05-20 10:45:52“There is very little data to justify how these drugs are being used and why they should be in the top 10 in sales,” a researcher said.

Turmeric Takes a Star Turn in Cocktails New! 2019-05-20 10:32:49The spice widely praised as a curative superfood is showing up in a different kind of medication.

French Patient in Right-to-Die Dispute Is Taken Off New! 2019-05-20 07:32:20Vincent Lambert was left in a vegetative state after a 2008 car accident. His family has been split over whether to let doctors stop artificially feed

The Checkup: Is ‘Digital Addiction’ a Real Threat 2019-05-20 05:00:03Think of screens as something to handle in moderation, like food, rather than something without any healthy place in our lives, like heroin, experts

The New Health Care: Is Our Health Care 2019-05-20 05:00:02Putting a price on longevity or well-being is tricky, but not impossible.

Deadly Germs, Lost Cures: Citrus Farmers Facing Deadly 2019-05-19 20:29:15In its decision to approve two drugs for orange and grapefruit trees, the E.P.A. largely ignored objections from the C.D.C. and the F.D.A., which fear

What Does It Really Mean to Be 6 2019-05-19 11:07:13So-called ‘heartbeat’ legislation restricting abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy has started a conversation about when most wom

Maternity Leave for Sponsored Runners 2019-05-18 08:00:01A video about female runners losing their pay and health insurance if they are pregnant sends ripples through the running world.

Scientific American: Health

Measles Outbreaks Follow a Predictable Path—Provided People Get 2019-05-09 15:00:00In the past, measles outbreaks have been brought under control with vaccines, but the dynamic may be shifting -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

The World Health Organization Needs to Put Human 2019-05-09 12:30:00We can “nudge” our way toward a healthier planet -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

We Need to Make Organ Transplantation Easier 2019-05-09 12:00:00To start with, says a successful donor, let’s make insurers cover the anti-rejection meds recipients will need for the rest of their lives -- Re

Can Fiber Cancel Out Calories? 2019-05-09 11:30:00Nutrition Diva explains how eating more fiber can (and can’t) help you manage your weight and which foods to choose -- Read more on ScientificAm

Pausing Fertility: What Will Happen When the Eggs 2019-05-09 09:00:00Technical advances are driving a boom in egg freezing, which promises to let women put off pregnancy indefinitely. But will the science live up to the

Humility Is the First Step toward a Healthier 2019-05-09 07:00:00It sometimes feels like science can do anything—but our health, like the cosmos, is shaped by forces that can dwarf even our most brilliant adva

It's Time to End the War on Women's 2019-05-08 17:15:00Republican efforts to dismantle U.S. health care unfairly target one gender -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Rural Areas Drive Increases in Global Obesity 2019-05-08 15:00:00A large-scale study shows that weight gain in rural areas is the main factor currently driving the obesity epidemic -- Read more on ScientificAmerican

Infections and Drugs to Treat Them Tied to 2019-05-08 06:45:00A new study adds to growing evidence that immune system dysfunction and altered gut microbes may contribute to the development of eating disorders --

We've Made Astonishing Progress in Treating Stroke 2019-05-07 14:00:00During Stroke Awareness Month, it's important to note how far we've come, but also how much we still need to learn -- Read more on ScientificAmerica

Can "the Pill" Improve Relationship Satisfaction? 2019-05-07 09:00:00Taking birth-control pills might have broad, unintended and even surprising side effects -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

The Affordable Care Act and Economic Opportunity 2019-05-06 14:00:00Medicaid expansion makes it less likely that the children of poor mothers will grow up to be poor adults -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

MedicineNet Daily News

Many Elite Athletes Ashamed to Seek Help for 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: Many Elite Athletes Ashamed to Seek Help for Mental IllnessCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019

Are Diets High in Processed Foods a Recipe 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: Are Diets High in Processed Foods a Recipe for Obesity?Category: Health NewsCreated: 5/16/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019 12:0

Red Cross Needs Type O Blood to Ease 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: Red Cross Needs Type O Blood to Ease ShortageCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/16/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AM

Former President Jimmy Carter Leaves Hospital After Surgery 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: Former President Jimmy Carter Leaves Hospital After Surgery for Broken HipCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/16/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Rev

Less Pain, More Car Crashes: Legalized Marijuana a 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: Less Pain, More Car Crashes: Legalized Marijuana a Mixed BagCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/16/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019

What to Do When Your Child Throws a 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: What to Do When Your Child Throws a FitCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AM

Could Hypnotherapy Be Alternative to Opioids for Pain? 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: Could Hypnotherapy Be Alternative to Opioids for Pain?Category: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019 12:00

LED Blue Light Poses Eye, Sleep Risks: Report 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: LED Blue Light Poses Eye, Sleep Risks: ReportCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AM

Bedbugs Date Back to T. Rex's Time 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: Bedbugs Date Back to T. Rex's TimeCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/16/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AM

AHA News: Study Finds Higher Risk of Stroke-Linked 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: AHA News: Study Finds Higher Risk of Stroke-Linked Plaque in Men, Possible Test for WomenCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/16/2019 12:00:00 AMLas

Pool Chemicals Harm Thousands Every Summer 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: Pool Chemicals Harm Thousands Every SummerCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/16/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AM

Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Backyard Poultry: CDC 2019-05-18 03:00:00Title: Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Backyard Poultry: CDCCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/16/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/17/2019 12:00:0

FOX News

Midwife discovers that she delivered her assistant 19 New! 2019-05-20 13:00:39A midwife in training made a shocking discovery after helping deliver her first baby: her instructor had delivered her 19 years earlier.

'Game of Thrones' counseling available for those mourning New! 2019-05-20 12:07:53For many “Game of Thrones” super fans, last night’s series finale felt more like losing a loved one than the end of a television sho

Vienna Beef recalls more than 2,000 pounds of New! 2019-05-20 08:51:07The “skinless beef frankfurters” were shipped to Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, according to a USDA product recall notice.

Dallas teen beats stage 4 cancer to graduate 2019-05-19 19:40:57Joshua Suarez beat stage four testicular cancer, and now is ready to graduate high school in Texas.

6 everyday products that could cause you to 2019-05-19 06:00:56But poppy seeds aren’t the only ingredient that could show up on a toxicology screen.

Chef temporarily lost hearing after eating spicy meal: 2019-05-19 05:00:25If eating one of the hottest chili peppers sounds daunting, imagine crushing one hundred of them into a spaghetti dish and calling it a meal.

Processed foods may be addictive, 'landmark' study claims 2019-05-18 15:56:02Anyone who’s ever pulled open a bag of potato chips knows how hard it can be to set it aside unfinished.

Sleep paralysis: Causes, symptoms and treatment 2019-05-18 05:00:37People may wake in the middle of the night and find themselves unable to move or utter a sound.

Teen diagnosed with early menopause says she won't 2019-05-17 15:32:12A teenager going through early menopause at age 15 is finding support with a group of girls who were diagnosed with similar conditions.

Mom contracts sepsis from medical swab left inside 2019-05-17 15:28:05Paige Balding, 20, was diagnosed with sepsis after she gave birth to her son Hunter Jae July last year.

Texas woman taken off life support against family's 2019-05-17 12:55:59A Texas woman was taken off life-support Monday, against her family's wishes, after the hospital invoked a law allowing them to deny further car

Exclusive: U.S. drug czar to travel to China 2019-05-17 11:19:00U.S. drug czar James Carroll says he will be traveling to China by year's end to inspect their efforts to crack down on fentanyl manufacturers and pr


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.