One the biggest struggles I have regarding skin-care is not picking at my face. I’ve always had some sort of bad habit, from biting the ends of pens to cracking knuckles, and since quitting biting my nails a few years ago, face-picking has become its replacement. I often do it without noticing, exacerbating my already sensitive skin. It’s not that I don’t know all of the facts - touching your face increases the spread of bacteria from your hands which can lead to clogged pores, and picking at those spots can cause scarring and hyperpigmentation - I just have the hardest time stopping!
That being said, I have learned a few tricks to help lessen my skin picking.
The best way to avoid touching your skin is to occupy your hands. If picking has become a habit you need to learn to replace that habit with a different one. I’ve done this, of course, but I kept switching to bad habits, like nail-biting. Now, when I get the urge to touch my face, I grab my stress ball and start squeezing the living daylights out of it. You need to make sure to find something that is satisfying, but not harmful. Take a walk, hop in the shower, put on a face mask. Anything that will intervene before the behavior begins is more likely to distract you from picking your skin. Sometimes I even call a friend so that my hand and mind are distracted!
Hold yourself accountable
This might seem a bit weird, but sometimes just telling my boyfriend to check in on me helps me to be more aware of my behavior. He knows how upset I get when my skin is red and irritated from picking at it, so he’s happy to shoot me a text in the middle of the day to check in on me. Other ways to stop could include writing some goals for the day in a journal or documenting every time you do pick to get a clearer view on when you pick and how often
Search the web
If you love popping zits but are trying to stop yourself from doing it to yourself, take a trip on the weird side of YouTube and browse some popping videos. My personal favorite is Dr. Sandra Lee, who educates her viewers about dermatological issues while providing some of the best extractions I’ve ever seen. You won’t be alone - Dr. Lee has over 200,000 subscribers, many of whom say they feel calm and relaxed after watching her videos. Plus, if these videos gross you out, it may help hinder you from doing it to yourself!
I still struggle with not picking at my face, but by using the tools above, as well as remembering the effects of picking, I’ve been able to significantly decrease the amount of face-touching I do. My skin is already thanking me for it!