I started getting pimples when I was about 10 or 11 and have been dealing with breakouts ever since. Don't get me wrong, I didn't have the kind of breakouts that left your skin scarred and misshapen, but I had (and have) the kind of breakouts that are red and hard to hide under makeup. I started picking at my skin when I first started breaking out. I picked when I was stressed. I picked when I was reading. I picked when I was watching TV. After I got my license, I picked when I was in traffic. When I got to college my "kid" breakouts started to settle down (especially when I controlled what I ate), but school stressed me out (which led to breakouts) and I picked. Now when I drive to eastern Washington I pick because the traffic makes me nervous. I pick after work because my face gets oily and itch.
I mostly pick because there is something to pick at, but I also pick because I'm stressed and I get some sort of sick satisfaction out of making my skin red and scabbed. To combat the breakouts I still have (at 22 years old) I drink diluted apple cider vinegar with "the mother." Supposedly the acidity in the vinegar gets into your skin and makes it so the bacteria that causes acne can't fester. I first started drinking apple cider vinegar this past summer and saw a real improvement in my skin at the time.
Then something changed and it didn't work as well. I've tried tons of skin care products from Pro-Active to birth control and nothing seems to clear my skin. I recently came across a product called the Tanda Plus. I've been using it for a few weeks now and have seen some improvement, but not tons because I have leftover damage from all my picking (which happens daily).
Lately I've been thinking about the cycle of my skin. First I break out, then I pick, then I stress because my skin is in bad shape, then I break out, then I pick some more, then I stress. It's really a horrible cycle. I'm coming to realize just how much stress affects the body, especially with my skin. I don't eat candy and I don't drink soda. I switched to soy milk because I read that there is a lot of sugar in cow's milk (which is true, there is much less sugar and much more protein and calcium in soy milk than in cow's milk) which can cause acne. I wash my makeup off every day and use mineral powder makeup.
Really what needs to happen is I need to stop picking. Then my skin could heal and I wouldn't need to stress over it looking red and splotchy all the time. I keep my nails cut short so I don't pick but it doesn't make a difference. I don't only pick because there is something to pick. I pick because it's something I can control and for some reason it makes me feel better to pick. Let's be real, this is a disgusting habit. I've heard my type of picking called chronic grooming and it's making it's way onto the Disorder List right there next to trichotillomania. "Just stop doing it" you might suggest. I've tried friends, I've really tried. It's become such a natural part of my actions that I don't even realize that I'm doing it until the damage is done.
I'm really trying to change this nasty habit, but I realized the other day that it's unlikely I'm the only one suffering from something like this and I don't need to keep it a secret. Only my close family and my boyfriend know how much I pick, but I think it's time I share it with more people. If I tell you and then I see you next week, I will be held accountable for my actions. If I tell you and you ask my how it's going to break this habit, I'll be reminded that I need to think before I touch my skin. If I tell you and you realize you're a chronic picker too, we can support each other. I'm also sharing this because I'm becoming more comfortable with who I am and I don't really feel the need to keep this a secret anymore. I'm a skin picker. I did this to myself and I have to deal with the consequences every day. I look forward to the day I can go swimming and not feel ashamed of the red splotches that appear when my makeup washes off. I look forward to the day I can feel confident without makeup. But I really look forward to the day that I don't have to wear makeup if I don't feel like it, because my skin is not picked.
On a completely unrelated note, I went to take a shower before posting this and came out to this mess with the culprit sitting next to it.
Apparently someone wanted some more food even though her bowl is already full. What a shit.
Goodnight kids! Keep your hands away from your skin if you can!