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What's the best way to stop picking at your skin?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 11/16/2021 at 12:57am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lauren Abasheva, LMHC

Licensed Professional Counselor

A sex positive, and kink knowledgeable therapist with an open mindset and a clear understanding that we are all different.

Top Rated Answers
March 2nd, 2015 4:53pm
It's all by strong will. Whenever you notice yourself doing it (and try hard, because it's often unconscious) quickly get your hand away. The trick is merely making a habit of catching yourself as much a possible and stopping. Nothing much to it.
March 4th, 2015 9:30pm
Keep your skin moisturized daily. You can take a vitamin E oil bath and massage the oils or moisturizers daily. This helps create natural circulation and natural blood flow through the body.
June 17th, 2015 6:24pm
Do something else with your hands. Sit on them. Keep a penny or other small item in your pocket so that you can get into the habit of fiddling with it when your hands are idle, rather than picking.
December 1st, 2015 4:01pm
Find fun activity that can help distract yourself from it. Find something that might help you soothe your skin.
February 1st, 2016 12:05am
Keeping you hands busy doing something else. Maybe using a stress ball or a hair bobin or a Rubix cube to keep your hands busy...even wear a pair of socks on your hands
April 19th, 2015 4:49am
Just don't think about it. If you ever think about it, do something else to change your mind. Anything...
December 10th, 2015 6:15pm
I haven't found an answer to this, but know you're not alone! I have really terrible cystic acne and the picking is an actual disorder called Excoriation Disorder or SPD. It ranges in severity, I personally pick my skin and lips, and when I was a baby used to peel the paint off my walls. I think getting your skin cleared up is a wonderful way of reducing the picking. I find I do the picking the most when I am alone, anxiety ridden or deep in thought (then I don't even realize I am doing it.) If you ever need someone to talk to, feel free to reply and message me. I know how embarrassing it can be to talk to someone who doesn't understand that you just can't stop.
January 18th, 2016 2:44am
Picking at skin can be linked to an OCD behaviour. Find a distraction to not picking, a reward system works. No picking today, your deserve a hot bubble bath. Thing about your feelings, is stress related to your picking? Do you feel stress or anxiety which leads to picking? I can refer you to some professional health practitioner if you feel, this behaviour is not mentally controllable. Try to keep your hands busy, when the urge comes on, try making a journal of thoughts whetn the urge comes to picking.
March 1st, 2016 5:47pm
Identify the triggers, limit them! also occupying yourself helps a lot. So buying a stress ball will occupy the hands
March 5th, 2016 9:58pm
It can help to find a displacement activity you can carry out with your hands instead of picking - for example if you knit, doodle, complete puzzles or find some other mindless activity you can occupy your hands with without needing to think about it much while doing other things. Also moisturising dry skin or scabs or covering cuts with a plaster can help to reduce the temptation to pick by smoothing out irregularities that may be bothering you and making you tempted to pick at them.
- Expert in Managing Emotions
June 28th, 2016 8:33am
This is a habit just like any other habits that you have. You just have to tell your mind not to do it cause its a bad habit. If you still do it put some lotion or something on your skin that makes it hard to pick on after.
September 19th, 2016 10:13pm
Put lots of lotion on it throughout the day. This makes your skin slippery, so it's a lot harder to pick at your skin.
December 5th, 2016 5:45am
Finding a new habit to do with your fingers is important. Try knitting or cross stitching. Something I do is play with play doh between my fingers when I need to be pushing at something.
February 6th, 2017 12:58am
The best way to stop picking at your skin is to start by noticing when you pick at your skin. When you notice that you are doing this, you can stop yourself or start doing something else. Sitting on your hands can help if you feel like you will have a hard time not picking at your skin.
September 10th, 2018 1:50am
Whenever you feel the urge to pick at it, remind yourself of your goal to stop. Then do something to distract yourself from it, like reading or drawing! Although it might feel annoying to resist the urge of picking at your skin, you will thank yourself later, because every time counts. Slowly your skin will get cleaner and clearer, and you will have a sense of accomplishment. Although it is a small habit to stop, overcoming it will give you confidence that you can do it with anything. You proving to yourself that you are capable to overcome something small is a step to overcoming something big.
May 30th, 2015 3:36pm
Get a rubber band and put it on your wrist. Everytime you pick on your skin snap the rubber band on your wrist to inflict a small amount of pain to snap you out of it. Also try distractions such as chewing gum
October 3rd, 2015 10:54pm
Cut small bits out of the sticky part of a band-aid, and put it on what's bothering you. It has to be just big enough to hide the spot. :) You're welcome.
December 8th, 2015 4:12pm
i don't think there's a best way. You just need to try things and see wich works better for you. what i do is to take some toilet paper and cut it in small pieces, then i put them in my skin and wet them. I wait for them to be more or less dry and then i pick the pieces of paper instead of my skin. Hope this helps!
September 23rd, 2019 12:24am
If it's more a case of absent minded picking, you could start by putting a plaster/sticker on your hand, then move it to something that isn't a body part, then try fiddling with something else e.g hoodie strings, stress toys, folding paper etc. If it's more that you are looking in a mirror and picking at your face for example, maybe try reducing the intensity - go from picking to just touching (even mimicking picking), then try to just focus on the 'worst' areas (ones you find harder to not pick) so you're spending less time, and not picking at everything. It may help to look in the mirror in a darker room, or stand further away from it.
November 16th, 2021 12:57am
Keep something nearby for you to fidget with so your hands stay busy and you are less likely to reach for your skin. You can also make sure any cuts or scratches that leave a scab are covered by a bandage so it's harder to do it absent-mindedly. Often times a need to pick is just a need to fidget in disguise and can be a side effect of anxiety or even ADHD, but can be stopped by preemptive planning. I have a fidget in almost every room of our home and in my car so when I start doing things like biting my fingernails, I can grab one.