Home » Expert Q & A » Impulse Control Disorders » Impulse Control Disorders: Jim LaPierre

Skin Picking - Can never control my hands

  • Asks ...

    I think I need some help because I can never control my hands.

    I always had really bad acne. I started getting zits bad in like grade 7 and I’ve been living with pimples for years. Now I’m a senior in high school and actually my acne is really a lot less than it used to be. But the problem is I can’t stop squeezing zits and picking at my face, even spots that don’t even have a zit but kind of feel like they might be something in there, I squeeze and pick at those too.

    My mom was always telling me to stop picking at my face. She said it was just going to make things get infected and worse. I did not but maybe I should have. Now my acne is getting kind of under control but my face looks even more gross than it ever did. Now it’s my squeezing and picking that’s doing the damage. I am not joking when I say that I make myself bleed almost every day from picking.

    I know this, but I can’t seem to stop myself from picking. I’ll be watching TV and I won’t even know what I am doing but when I notice I see that I am picking at some imaginary spot on my face and before exam times and stuff when things get kind of stressed around here, my picking gets way worse.

    I have been reading on the internet and I think that I have skin picking disorder. But I am not sure what exactly I am supposed to do to make it go away. I don’t think I’m going to be seeing a shrink or whatever because money is pretty tight around the house. Is there a drug or something that I can take to make this go away?

  • Jim LaPierre Says ...
    Jim LaPierre

    Kudos to you for having the courage to reach out and ask for help. Dealing only with what's on the surface never seems to work well whether it's literally or figuratively. Popping zits is a release in a sense - you're trying to make something you don't want there go away. You seem to be doing this during times of stress or anxiety and so I would ask you is there anything else you do to let go of tension/stress and get release of negative emotions.

    We don't ever really just stop doing something unhealthy - we replace it. Example - when folks quit smoking they usually start doing something else (chew gum, eat more, use a nicotine patch). If you're going to change this behavior - keep your hand occupied with something else besides your skin, journal your real feelings, and if counseling is an option (depending on health insurance it may be low cost) pursue it.

    Best of luck to you

Related expert answers

Featured Experts