Helpful tricks to stop picking at your acne
Recently, a user asked, “How do I stop picking at my skin?” It’s a great question. If you have acne, you may be tempted to pop zits, pick at scabs, and otherwise pick and poke at the skin on your face. Many people struggle with picking impulsively, and may not even notice they’re doing it. Unfortunately, they’re damaging their skin in the process.
While we’ll save the in-depth warnings about popping zits for another post, we did want to get into what you can do about it. After all, popping and picking can spread infection and cause longer term hyperpigmentation and scarring, so it’s definitely something you want to work to get under control. The good news is, there are plenty of things you can try to help reduce how much you pick starting right now! Not everything will work for everyone, but if you put some effort into it, you’re sure to make a change over time.
Learning to lessen and resist the urge to pop, pluck, scratch, and pick is very possible – and your skin will thank you for it. So, let’s get to it.
5 ways to help you stop picking your skin
Pay attention to when and why you pick
The very first thing you should do if you want to reduce your picking is start paying attention to when you pick and start looking for possible emotional, physical, or environmental triggers. Often, our picking is related to anxiety, boredom, or other uncomfortable feelings. Some people start picking when in a stressful school or work situation. For others, it’s while watching TV or when their hair hits their face in a certain way. If you can take note of what starts the picking, you can start removing triggers or giving yourself alternate activities. Plus, just noticing that you’re doing it can help you consciously make a choice to stop.
Hinder your ability to pick
Another trick to reduce picking is to make it harder for your fingers to pick at all. Experts recommend keeping your nails short, for starters. If you need to step up the intensity, you can try wearing gloves, and switching to long sleeves or pants where possible if the areas you tend to pick at aren’t on your face.
Give your hands other activities
This is a big one. Even just touching your face can spread acne bacteria, and picking and popping are worse. Plus, many of us pick not because our face needs picking but because our hands need to fidget. So pretend it’s April 2020 and touching your face is deeply taboo. When you get the urge to pick, try these options:
- Dig out that old fidget spinner (we know you have one somewhere)
- Make a fist for 1 minute
- Squeeze or pick at a stress ball
- Use your nails to drum
Knowing when you’re more likely to pick comes in handy here because you can make sure you have something on hand for when the desire strikes.
Use patches to create a barrier (while shrinking the zit)
One of the things that’s worked really well for some of our customers? Hydrocolloid patches. Hydrocolloid patches suck up oil and shrink zits – but they also create a little barrier that makes it impossible to pick the zit. So, when you get the urge to pick a zit, these offer a double whammy of helping to treat the zit and stop the pick. Wash the affected area, then stick a patch on for several hours (we recommend at least 8 hours, but for daytime pickers, as long as you need is better than nothing!). You’ll be healing your skin instead of aggravating it. What’s better than that?
Work on healing the skin
Lastly, while “don’t have acne” may not seem like much of a tip for stopping picking, the less you pick the easier it’ll be to heal your face and reduce the opportunity for picking. Picking is a vicious cycle that creates more zits. Simply stopping picking will help your skin start to recover, but you can also take other steps to help start reducing your acne, if you haven’t already done so. For example:
- Rebalance your skin and gut microbiomes with probiotics
- Level up your acne-fighting skincare routine
- Start working on strengthening your skin barrier with a probiotic moisturizer
Reducing the number of zits means reducing the openings for the temptation to pick, so it’s worth talking to a dermatologist or exploring treatments options you haven’t tried yet to start your journey to clear, happy, healthy skin.
Use these tricks to help stop picking your pimples
There you have it. Try these tips out for 3 weeks to get started and see how far you can get. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit – start forming new good habits today and you can beat the picking habit.