How To Stop Picking Your Skin, Once and For All

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It doesn’t matter who you are, we’ve all done it. Whether it’s a blemish or a scab, it’s a very human experience to want to remove a bump on your skin. However, if you have a few too many acne scars as a result, it’s time to start changing this habit once and for all.

As a former “picker,” I can say that it’s not an easy journey. Most times you don’t even notice you’re doing it or somehow you know you shouldn’t but you do it anyway! Below are all the steps you need to rewire your brain to over come the compulsion to pick.

  1. Think about Why and When you pick. Ask yourself what your trigger is, why is it a trigger, and think of another way to deal with it. Most of the time picking is rooted in stress or anxiety because the act of picking actual soothes the brain. After I learned this it became a kind of blessing. I would catch myself going to pick and then think “Huh, I wonder whats making me anxious?” After a few weeks of mindfulness when picking, I realized decision making and failure stressed me out the most. From there, I was able to deal with these stressors with productive exercises instead of picking.

  2. Realize that porcelain skin is kind of a myth and you need to embrace the skin you have. I get asked a lot how I have such smooth skin. To answer, I take their finger and run it over my cheek and jawline so they can feel the small bumps that you might not necessarily see but can feel. Media wants us to believe our skin should be like the models and stars we see, poreless and smooth. However you should know that most photos are retouched, even your favorite influencers. In addition to retouching, chances are there was a whole makeup team there as well. All this propaganda makes you feel like a freak for having pores or any texture to your skin at all, but don’t be fooled it’s normal. If you have a blemish or a small bump, thats your skin trying to breathe and detox- don’t stress about it, let it do its thing. Love your skin for what it is, not what you think it should be.

  3. Physical help. Steps 1 and 2 take a while to adopt. Until you get the hang of it, put on gloves as both a reminder and deterrent. Cutting small tape squares and applying them on blemishes also helps. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to think about when pick the most. For example, if you are prone to pick at work (and it’s not convenient to wear gloves), try to but your nails really short instead. 

  4. Adopt a zero tolerance policy to touching your face. It’s easy to justify when you should pick your face. You might tell yourself, “well this pimple is ready so I can squeeze it.” Or “I’m just removing dead skin.” Make a pact with yourself that the only time thats acceptable to touch your face is when your washing or exfoliating - that’s it. Remember, picking is a slippery slope and it’s easy to fall back into the habit.

Michelle Wu