Why Your Face-Picking Could Be a Deeper Psychological Issue


Are You a Picker?

Are you a picker? Do you have something on their skin that is not typically there, so you try to pick or pop it off? Mosquito bites, scabs, or pimples?

Why do you do it? The short answer: Anxiety.

If you ask around or do a quick Google search, you’ll discover how vast this issue is. Pimple-popping videos, showcasing pus oozing out of infected megazits, have been going viral on the Internet for the past year. Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) has over a million fans on her YouTube page. There is a mass fixation around this sensitive topic.

I think it’s pretty strange, on the other hand, it’s satisfying as a doctor to drain a big pimple because you know you’re helping the person. If you’re getting vicarious satisfaction watching a big pimple pop, by all means… if it keeps you from popping your own.”

The Correlation Between Picking and Anxiety

Picking is a result of anxiety, and it can be a chronic, cyclical issue. “During times of anxiety and stress, you start picking more. And when the stress goes away or gets better, you stop. When the stress flares again — it could be months or weeks later — you do it again.”

The pattern causes people to feel dejected, and it can damage self-esteem. Afterward, people feel so bad, like, ‘I can’t believe I did this to myself. I made my skin worse. It was healing. Now, I have anxiety plus this.'”

There are a slew of anxiety disorders linked to skin picking, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. “It can also go along with depression or psychosis.

How to Stop Picking

If you live alone, put sticky notes in the bathroom — on the mirror or on the walls — with phrases like “Don’t pick!” and “Keep my hands off my face!” It can jolt you out of your picking. You can also set a timer when you go to the restroom to remind yourself to get out quickly.

Also, throw out your magnifying mirror. “No one’s skin looks great in a magnifying mirror. You see all kinds of things that aren’t visible to the naked eye. A lot of pickers who have a real problem go after things you can only see with a magnifying mirror. That’s so unhealthy and so bad for you.

What to Do If You’ve Picked

So you went after a few blackheads, and now your face is a crime scene. If you’re already bleeding, make sure your hands are clean. Use tissues to pat the area dry, and then apply some sort of antibiotic, topical, hydrogen peroxide, clean your skin a bit. Don’t use rubbing alcohol, it stings like crazy.” Pick up some Neosporin at your local pharmacy, and put it on the spot.

If you absolutely have to get the pus out of a zit, try this method. First, make sure your skin is soft by taking a shower, washing your face, or putting a warm compress on it. Then take two Q-tips and apply even, gentle pressure on either side of the pimple. You cannot hurt yourself with the Q-tip. If you apply too much pressure, you will break the Q-tips. If they break, just stop. But do not start with cotton swabs and then move onto your fingers. Putting tissues over your nails isn’t a solution either. Your fingernail is strong and hard.

While breaking this habit is not easy (trust me, I know), think about what it is doing to your skin in the long term. Investing in laser treatments and expensive brightening serums to remedy scars is costly and time-consuming. And if you think you have a deeper issue, contact your doctor or a mental-health professional for help.

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