Dermatillomania Watch

Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
I suffer from dermatillomania or compulsive skin picking disorder - when I am stressed, upset, bored, distracted or any other time really - and have already done significant damage to the skin on my face. Have to wear a lot of make up each day. I have made repeated attempts to try and break the habit but without success. Does anyone else have this problems and do you have any tips to minimise damage/ help to break the habit entirely? Thanks
reply
Kindred
  • TSR Support Team
  • Peer Support Volunteers
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report 1 year ago
#2
(Original post by Anonymous)
I suffer from dermatillomania or compulsive skin picking disorder - when I am stressed, upset, bored, distracted or any other time really - and have already done significant damage to the skin on my face. Have to wear a lot of make up each day. I have made repeated attempts to try and break the habit but without success. Does anyone else have this problems and do you have any tips to minimise damage/ help to break the habit entirely? Thanks
The best success I've had is improving my general mental state. I have a bit of something that is at least similar to dermatilomania and it became a lot worse when I was depressed (I also developed OCD at that time).
I didn't really focus on trying to help the OCD or skin picking cos frankly the depression was a bigger issue for me. I was surprised to find though that they both improved as my depression did and they are now at pretty manageable levels (do flare up when stressed still).

So, if there is anything going on that's making you stressed, any other MH conditions you think may exist etc I suggest you work on those.
I won't go into how to do that cos there's so much to talk about and it depends somewhat on what issues you may or may not have. In general though, good things for mental health are fresh air, good hydration, exercise and meditation/ relaxation techniques. So maybe try swimming or yoga.

As for a direct approach to the issue i've tried a few things with varying success...

I've found that improving the condition of my skin has helped. For me I picked at spots or lumps so managing to reduce my acne a bit has given me less to pick at.
For that I've used a solution my GP suggested and tea tree oil. Both have helped, but the tea tree hurts less so I use that now.

I've told my bf about it and he stops me when he notices it. It's quite easy for me to not realise I'm doing it and then suddenly my face is bleeding, so it helps for him to notice and tell me (even if sometimes it annoys me).

At one point I was really going for a particular place, especially at night cos it was when my depression was worse. I tried sticking a plaster over it and it helped quite a bit. In fact I managed to stop myself from going for other places a bit by picking at the edge of the plaster instead.

I've had some success with picking at other stuff (like blue tac). It's not the best (maybe cos I never really got into it), but it does something.

You may also want to try therapy. CBT is a good therapy for OCD- like behaviours. This isn't something I've tried for my skin picking specifically, but therapy has helped me a lot with my mental health and is a big contributor to my current stability.
You can talk to your GP about getting therapy or look into private methods.

Know why. It's difficult to work on not doing something if you don't know why you're doing it. This can be a very specific reason or a more vague one. What matters is that you have more direction. So for instance I know that mine came from being depressed and taking out stress and frustration.


I hope at least some of that helped. You may also find it helpful to look into (maybe read some past posts) OCD. I know dermatilomania and OCD are not the same thing, but there is a lot of overlap in where they come from and how to improve them.
1
reply
Anonymous #1
#3
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#3
Thank you very much indeed - it means a lot to me that there is someone willing to provide a lot of useful information.
Some sort of relaxation technique could be handy - I worry about anything and everything and that stress tends to manifest itself as digging chunks out of my face!!
Improving the condition of my skin is what I HOPE could make a big difference - but that would involve finally managing to break the cycle - the more I pick, the more spots I get, so the more I pick and so on... and the make up probably doesn't help! My goal is to be able to comfortably go out without wearing makeup, but would involve a lot of hard work haha.
That's a good idea telling someone about it - I ought to try it!
*takes note of the tea tree oil*
And why? I don't really know - I used to self harm and sometimes there is certainly an element of that in it - but only makes me more upset.
I'll have to stick with it & keep trying.
Thank you for your help
(Original post by Kindred)
The best success I've had is improving my general mental state. I have a bit of something that is at least similar to dermatilomania and it became a lot worse when I was depressed (I also developed OCD at that time).
I didn't really focus on trying to help the OCD or skin picking cos frankly the depression was a bigger issue for me. I was surprised to find though that they both improved as my depression did and they are now at pretty manageable levels (do flare up when stressed still).

So, if there is anything going on that's making you stressed, any other MH conditions you think may exist etc I suggest you work on those.
I won't go into how to do that cos there's so much to talk about and it depends somewhat on what issues you may or may not have. In general though, good things for mental health are fresh air, good hydration, exercise and meditation/ relaxation techniques. So maybe try swimming or yoga.

As for a direct approach to the issue i've tried a few things with varying success...

I've found that improving the condition of my skin has helped. For me I picked at spots or lumps so managing to reduce my acne a bit has given me less to pick at.
For that I've used a solution my GP suggested and tea tree oil. Both have helped, but the tea tree hurts less so I use that now.

I've told my bf about it and he stops me when he notices it. It's quite easy for me to not realise I'm doing it and then suddenly my face is bleeding, so it helps for him to notice and tell me (even if sometimes it annoys me).

At one point I was really going for a particular place, especially at night cos it was when my depression was worse. I tried sticking a plaster over it and it helped quite a bit. In fact I managed to stop myself from going for other places a bit by picking at the edge of the plaster instead.

I've had some success with picking at other stuff (like blue tac). It's not the best (maybe cos I never really got into it), but it does something.

You may also want to try therapy. CBT is a good therapy for OCD- like behaviours. This isn't something I've tried for my skin picking specifically, but therapy has helped me a lot with my mental health and is a big contributor to my current stability.
You can talk to your GP about getting therapy or look into private methods.

Know why. It's difficult to work on not doing something if you don't know why you're doing it. This can be a very specific reason or a more vague one. What matters is that you have more direction. So for instance I know that mine came from being depressed and taking out stress and frustration.


I hope at least some of that helped. You may also find it helpful to look into (maybe read some past posts) OCD. I know dermatilomania and OCD are not the same thing, but there is a lot of overlap in where they come from and how to improve them.
reply
Kindred
  • TSR Support Team
  • Peer Support Volunteers
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#4
Report 1 year ago
#4
(Original post by Anonymous)
Thank you very much indeed - it means a lot to me that there is someone willing to provide a lot of useful information.
Some sort of relaxation technique could be handy - I worry about anything and everything and that stress tends to manifest itself as digging chunks out of my face!!
Improving the condition of my skin is what I HOPE could make a big difference - but that would involve finally managing to break the cycle - the more I pick, the more spots I get, so the more I pick and so on... and the make up probably doesn't help! My goal is to be able to comfortably go out without wearing makeup, but would involve a lot of hard work haha.
That's a good idea telling someone about it - I ought to try it!
*takes note of the tea tree oil*
And why? I don't really know - I used to self harm and sometimes there is certainly an element of that in it - but only makes me more upset.
I'll have to stick with it & keep trying.
Thank you for your help
Well you've made a pretty big step in the "why" department there- stress. Next step might be to work out why you are stressed any maybe tackle that a bit.

I know just what you mean about skin condition! It's really hard to improve your skin when you're digging holes in it every day. At one point I had a little breakthrough (don't even remember why) and my skin improved a bit. After that I realised I wasn't picking as much so I decided to make sure to focus on skin condition in the hopes they would both improve together. I worked at least somewhat, but could never have made as much progress if I hadn't worked on the stress too.

You may also want to look into different types of make up (I believe some are "kinder" to skin than others) and applying moisturiser first or whatever. I'm not an expert on make up so find some actual decent advice on that.
And it might help to occasionally go out with less or no make up on so you aren't constantly hiding. Maybe if you go anywhere you know you won't see people you know or when it's dark.
I found that once I stopped wearing a mask so much I was more able to appreciate my own face.

Anyway you've go some stuff to work with there. And remember, you are not alone. I and many others can sympathise with your situation.
0
reply
Anonymous #1
#5
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#5
(Original post by Kindred)
Well you've made a pretty big step in the "why" department there- stress. Next step might be to work out why you are stressed any maybe tackle that a bit.

I know just what you mean about skin condition! It's really hard to improve your skin when you're digging holes in it every day. At one point I had a little breakthrough (don't even remember why) and my skin improved a bit. After that I realised I wasn't picking as much so I decided to make sure to focus on skin condition in the hopes they would both improve together. I worked at least somewhat, but could never have made as much progress if I hadn't worked on the stress too.

You may also want to look into different types of make up (I believe some are "kinder" to skin than others) and applying moisturiser first or whatever. I'm not an expert on make up so find some actual decent advice on that.
And it might help to occasionally go out with less or no make up on so you aren't constantly hiding. Maybe if you go anywhere you know you won't see people you know or when it's dark.
I found that once I stopped wearing a mask so much I was more able to appreciate my own face.

Anyway you've go some stuff to work with there. And remember, you are not alone. I and many others can sympathise with your situation.
Thanks again!! Skin condition is definitely my main goal, because if I can improve that then hopefully the rest will come a bit easier haha. I'm always never quite sure whether to use something fairly stringent to get rid of the spots or a gentle, restoring moisturiser to try and reduce the damage.
You're right about the make up - eventually ought to be able to do that!!
Reassuring to know someone else has been in the same position - it's one of those things that no one really talks about so those struggling have to sit and feel ashamed about it.
reply
Kindred
  • TSR Support Team
  • Peer Support Volunteers
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#6
Report 1 year ago
#6
(Original post by Anonymous)
Thanks again!! Skin condition is definitely my main goal, because if I can improve that then hopefully the rest will come a bit easier haha. I'm always never quite sure whether to use something fairly stringent to get rid of the spots or a gentle, restoring moisturiser to try and reduce the damage.
You're right about the make up - eventually ought to be able to do that!!
Reassuring to know someone else has been in the same position - it's one of those things that no one really talks about so those struggling have to sit and feel ashamed about it.
I know. I've improved quite a bit, but it's still comforting to hear that somebody else is struggling with similar issues. I've always been alone in it. I knew other people had it, but never actually knew anybody who did or anything.
Kinda sad cos you get happy that other people are suffering.

Anyway, good luck, you're awesome, you're going to rock it!
0
reply
Anonymous #2
#7
Report 1 week ago
#7
Hey, I have/had the exact same issue for years - probably since I was 13. It got the worst in my gcse year when I was stressed and I would be up close to the mirror for hours on end, then I would put makeup on to hide it but because that would also look awful i would pick at it again. It’s a ****ing awful thing and I really feel your pain. However, I have found one thing that has helped me. Yes, tackle your stress a bit to help reduce the urge , but I found that didn’t entirely work for me as it wasn’t just stress that would trigger it, it was many other emotions too. So I decided if I could tackle it mentally I would do it physically.

I read up ways to stop yourself from doing it but I found they were all useless like squeeze a ball or wear gloves..I was desperate to find a solution because my a level exams are coming up and I don’t want the same situation that happened before my GCSE’s to reoccur.

Last year in October I turned 18, so I specially got nails done. They were acrylics, so quite long and not my real nails. I soon discovered that I couldn’t just sit whilst reading a book or watching the tv and pick my skin because my nails would get in the way. Ever since, I keep getting my acrylics and it’s helped me so much! However, earlier this year, when the urge was quite bad, I turned to tweezers and keep using them so I am trying to overcome that now.

I think you’re really brave sharing your struggle so I wanted to share mine with you so you know you’re not alone, so thank you and I hope it gets better for you
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Where do you need more help?

Which Uni should I go to? (89)
16.6%
How successful will I become if I take my planned subjects? (55)
10.26%
How happy will I be if I take this career? (96)
17.91%
How do I achieve my dream Uni placement? (81)
15.11%
What should I study to achieve my dream career? (54)
10.07%
How can I be the best version of myself? (161)
30.04%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed