How to Stop Skin Picking: Tips to Stop the Habit

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I know a guy that can’t stop picking his skin, if you’re like him you might want to know how to stop picking skin.

It’s possible that you have a condition known as skin picking disorder if you can’t stop yourself from picking at your skin (SPD).

The impulse to pick at a scab or a bump might be virtually hard for individuals with SPD, although we all do it at some point.

There are at least five million people in the United States who suffer from this illness.

You’ll be diagnosed with SPD when there are several efforts to cease skin picking and the skin picking is either upsetting or interferes with social and/or workplace functioning.

Disorders such as SPD are linked to OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

“Most individuals with the disease do not speak about it, and they seldom seek medical treatment since healthcare practitioners and loved ones often encourage them to simply stop,” she adds.

“Because of shame and humiliation, they are hiding it,” says Dr. Joseph.

How do I know I Have Skin Picking Disorder

Most individuals pick at their skin from time to time you may have a skin picking disorder if you:

  • Can’t stop choosing
  • picked skin might cut, bleed or bruise.
  • Pick moles, freckles, spots, or scars to “perfect” them.
  • pick your skin without realizing it or do so while sleeping
  • When worried or agitated, you pick your skin.
  • Picking your skin using your fingers, nails, teeth, tweezers, pins, or scissors.

Causes of skin picking disorder

Skin picking disorder is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which the individual cannot stop themselves from doing a certain behavior.

It may be set off by:

  • Boredom
  • Anxiety or stress
  • unpleasant feelings such as shame or remorse
  • Acne and eczema are examples of skin problems.
  • additional blemishes that the individual wants to remove.

It is comparable to recurrent hair pulling conditions and is frequently referred to as a body-focused repetitive behavior (trichotillomania).

Tips on How to Stop Picking Skin

  • Put on gloves or try squeezing a softball to keep your hands occupied.
  • Determine when and where you pick at your skin the most and attempt to avoid these triggers.
  • Each time you feel the temptation to pick, strive to resist for a longer period of time.
  • When you feel the temptation to pick at your skin, take care of it by applying moisturizer, for example.
  • Inform others – they may be able to assist you in recognizing when you are picking.
  • To prevent infection, keep your skin clean.

Treatment for skin picking disorder

As you already know, it’s not a question of willpower – attempting to quit is like telling someone they shouldn’t have high blood pressure.

Therapy and medications can treat skin picking disorder.

1. Get therapy

When it comes to antidepressants and OCD drugs, Dr. Joseph believes that most patients won’t benefit from them.

Instead, she advises obtaining assistance from a therapist, but she also stresses the need of finding the appropriate fit between patient and therapist.

According to Dr. Joseph “the therapist be educated on body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), including skin picking.”

If you’re looking for aid, a hypnotherapist may be able to assist you.

Talking therapy

There is a belief that talking therapy may be used to assist people to stop picking at their skin.

Most likely, you’ll get this via a local mental health agency.

A typical kind of talking treatment for skin picking problems is cognitive behavioral therapy, which may involve the practice of habit reversal training.

Training in habit reversal helps you:

The first step is recognizing and being more conscious of your skin-picking habits, substituting a less dangerous behavior for skin picking.

Cognitive behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a kind of psychotherapy that focuses on recognizing and changing harmful attitudes and habits.

In order to treat SPD, a unique kind of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) was created.

It involves more of the stimuli control strategies and habit reversal training, where you’ll be instructed to perform a harmless motor action for 1 minute when triggered.

Clinical studies show CBT to be effective for skin-picking.

This sort of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) differs from other forms of CBT in that it is designed to treat SPD.

2. Medication for Skin Picking Disorder

The FDA is yet to approve SSRI antidepressants and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an antioxidant supplement to treat excoriation disorder, although there is evidence to indicate that they may be useful.

Even NAC, a highly-tolerated, over-the-counter vitamin, should always be used under medical supervision for advice on dosage, length of therapy, and medication interactions, as well as potential adverse effects.

How to Cope With Skin Picking Order

Reduced stress is critical to recovery.

Dr. Joseph recommends using stress management practices on a daily basis, such as:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation.
  • Deep breathing.
  • Visualization.
  • Guided imagery.

You can tackle SPD by combining these relaxing tips with a good diet.

It’s common for people with SPD to get “hypnotic” when picking, according to Dr. Joseph.

A person’s ability to remain anchored in the present moment is essential in order to overcome habitual behavior.

Regular practice of mindfulness-based meditation will help you become more aware of your cravings to pick at your skin.

Take a stroll instead, or do something else when you are bored.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can skin picking be cured?


When it comes to skin picking, research shows that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), especially the Habit Reversal Training (HRT) and Comprehensive Behavioral Model varieties, is the most effective method of treatment.

Is picking skin around nails bad?

Sores and scars may result from picking at the skin, such as picking a scab or the skin around your nails.

Some patients with this illness scrape to erase what they see as a flaw in their skin.

What causes nailbiting?


Anxiety or stress may cause nail-biting. Some individuals appear to benefit from repetitious activities.

Boredom, hunger, or the urge to keep your hands occupied cause nail-biting and hair twisting.

What causes excessive skin picking?

The reasons for picking one’s skin vary from person to person, however, there are several common ones.

Other times, people select because they’re stressed out, bored, or because they’ve been doing this for a long time.

Like other BFRBs, such as hair-pulling and nail picking, skin picking disorder is a repeated or compulsive grooming habit.

Can’t stop picking at my skin?

If you can’t stop picking at your skin, you may have a condition called skin picking disorder. This is very common.

All of us pick at a scab or bump from time to time, but for people with SPD, it can be almost impossible to stop.


Most of us pick at our skin unconsciously, but when you pick at your skin to a point you can’t control it then you are likely to have skin picking disorder.

The first thing to do is talk about it. Don’t hide it.

Keep yourself busy because boredom could make you pick at your skin.

Finally, seek medical attention from a therapist.

If you have questions about this article? Kindly drop it in the comment box below, we will be happy to help you.

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