One of the most common reasons for facial scars or irritated skin is skin picking or scratching. Occasional skin picking or scratching a healing wound or acne lesion is common in all of us. Some people may scratch when itchy spots develop on their skin, such as a rash caused by an allergy or poison ivy. It's a normal response to irritation.
People say it feels good to pick at bumps on their skin, especially if the bumps are filled with fluid. In addition, some people pick at their skin to focus on the task at hand. They may pick at the skin while reading, driving, working, and beyond.
When excessive picking occurs and causes scars or infections, takes up too much time, or causes feelings of anxiety or OCD, it's important to seek professional help.
However, if you are looking for ways to manage it yourself, here are a few simple tips.
Keep Your Hands Occupied
As a strategy to avoid picking, it is advised to keep your hands busy with something else. It could be texting, reading a book, playing an app on your mobile device, or doing your daily work. Try to focus on doing something that you enjoy and want to do, to not feel the urge to pick.
Talk Back to the Voices in Your Head
This can be a challenging thing to do, but it is very effective in helping to fight the urge to pick. When you notice the voices of imperfection in your head, you have to evaluate them. Remind yourself that the voice is not real, and you should not do what it's telling you. Tell yourself that the skin imperfections are not that bad and that you don't need to pick them and that you will find them beautiful.
Use of Aversive Techniques
Many people find that using aversive techniques, such as a squirt bottle of water or alcohol, a cold compress or an ice pack, or even a rubber band on the wrist, helps break the habit of skin picking. A wristband is also an inexpensive and non-invasive method to remind people to stop picking at their faces and other areas.
Talk to Someone You Trust
It's very common for people who pick at their skin to keep the behavior secret. This is because they are embarrassed that they are doing something not socially acceptable. Make it a point to talk to someone you can trust about your feelings. This can be a family member, a friend, or a therapist. Some people find that talking to someone is helpful. Simply talking to someone can help to eliminate the feelings you are experiencing.
Get Professional Help
If you are concerned about picking and feel like it's taking over your life, you should seek a professional for help. A professional therapist can help you with the negative emotions you are experiencing and recommend more effective treatments to help you stop picking. Depending on the severity of your skin picking, you may require medication.
The Bottom Line
You can't stop picking at your skin overnight. You need to give yourself time to change your behavior. Don't beat yourself up if you pick a little bit. It may take a little bit of time, but you will see changes in yourself if you work at it. Before you know it, you will be able to leave your skin alone! It's very normal to pick at your skin at times, but if you feel like you can't stop picking, it's best to talk to someone about it. It's important to remember that you are not alone, and it's not your fault. You can get the help that you need to stop this behavior.
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