This article is the second article in a series on touching, popping and squeezing your skin. If you haven’t read the first article, click here!
Last time, we talked about why you should never, ever pop that pimple… Ever.
But well, we do – whether we do it occasionally, or compulsively. Know that when you actually submit to the temptation:
- On the body level, you’re likely to infect and clog your pores, and create lasting scars (yipee);
- On the emotional level, you’re fighting against your body (which is just sending you a message that something needs to be adjusted, whether it be diet, lifestyle, sleep, self-love, stress levels, etc).
Fine. But how to stop?
I certainly know that when I see a whitehead, I don’t want it sitting on my face for days and days.
But I don’t want to face the consequences of popping either…
So, check out my 5 favorite ways to kick this difficult habit!
Tip #1 – Make Yourself Accountable
Obviously, that requires talking about your acne and skin picking issues to somebody you trust.
It’s scary, at first…
But it’s SUCH a relief to be able to share your struggles, your emotions, and your needs to somebody who loves you for who you truly are (you’re a gem, dear).
When you tell someone, or even better, when you tell a lot of people that you want to quit skin picking, you make yourself accountable.
You’re way more likely to do what you promised to do.
Tip #2 – Cover the Dang Mirrors
Truth be told, you’re a more efficient popper when you’re in front of a mirror.
And if you pop one pimple, you’ll pop all the other ones.
Because it is so. hard. to. stop.
So get rid of the temptation.
Cover every mirror in your house with a cloth or a sheet.
Or put an A4 sheet of paper at face height, filled with inspirational quotes, positive affirmations, or pictures of you ENJOYING LIFE with friends.
Tip #3 – Figure Out Your Triggers
Observe yourself for a couple of days, and see when during the day you’re more likely to pop.
Is it at night, after you’ve washed your face?
Is it the first thing you do in the morning?
Is it everytime you see a mirror?
Where are you? What are you doing? How are you feeling? What are your thoughts?
Take a note of your triggers and popping habits, and come up with a creative measure to avoid picking.
If it’s after your shower, make sure that the light is dimmed, or that the mirror is foggy (or already covered), so that you’re not tempted to look at every imperfection in your face, and pop, pop, pop that scar, that pimple, that blackhead… Ahhhhhhh!
A woman actually followed that advice, and realized that her worst popping time was in the evening. She told her partner, and asked him to come check on her every night, right after her shower, until she was able to quit skin picking.
Tip #4 – Think About The Damage
One thing that helped me was to learn about the damage I’m doing to my skin when I pick. When you pick, you push bacteria and dirt into your sensitive pores, which makes acne so much worse. You’re actually inviting more pimples into the already-damaged, area, and chances are that there’ll be a scar (woohoo).
A fantastic (and free!) source of knowledge is Stop Picking On Me, which helped me to heal my nervous skin picking, and make peace with myself.
After reading SPOM, I learned about all different layers of the skin that I’m attacking, and all the work my body will have to do to heal.
I also became more conscious about the dirt on my hands and fingernails going into the skin on my face.
Some pickers start to wash their hands, cut their nails, or put on surgical gloves before picking.
Adding steps to the skin picking process helps to slow it down, think about what it is you’re about to do… And stop.
Tip #5 – Look At The Emotions Behind The Compulsion
This is the most important item on my list 🙂
Why is it that you feel a need to touch, pick, squeeze? What need are you trying to meet?
When I popped, it was usually because I couldn’t stand whiteheads.
I knew on some level that I wasn’t doing any favor to my skin (which was made obvious by all the scars I had on my cheeks and forehead), but I couldn’t help it.
I even made a conscious decision in college that I would pop every whitehead that dared appear on my face, and deal with the scarring later.
Hahaha. The stories that we tell ourselves.
I also thought, on a weird, contradictory level, that I was getting rid of the pus, and doing so, I was helping the pimple to go away sooner.
Now that I think about it, I realise that I was trying to stay in control of my body.
I felt like I was trying to get the last word in this argument I had with myself.
Céline’s body – “Hey Céline, what’s up? You might want to reduce your cake intake!”
Body – “Fine. If you want to do it this way…”
Body produces a pimple.*
* Céline pops that pimple.*
Body – “What the ffff…?”
*Body works twice as hard to repair the infection, and brings more blood to the area… *
*Céline starts freaking out about her upcoming date, because she now has a MASSIVE red spot on her cheek.*
* Body produces another pimple, and another, and another.*
* Céline pops, pops, pops.*
It’s a never-ending story, a bloody vicious cycle.
Obviously, I dealt with the symptom (the manifestation of a physical imbalance on my skin), not the cause (I should modify my diet).
And I made things even worse, as an innocent, (almost) invisible whitehead suddenly became a massive red, painful, uneven spot that I couldn’t cover with make-up.
Multiply this by ten, and you get low self-esteem and massive anxiety.
So, what is the need that you’re trying to meet when you pop, squeeze, pick, stare at your face?
Do you feel like you can’t accept yourself with acne, and you’re trying to make your acne disappear?
Do you feel like you don’t belong with your group of friends, or your family, who all happen to have gorgeous, flawless skin?
Do you feel like there’s no way anyone is going to fall in love with you?
Is your sense of beauty affected by what you can see in the mirror?
Ignorance is bliss! Not knowing what you’re doing to your skin, and why you’re doing it is a form of ignorance.
You’re better than this.
Get to know your habits and negative tendencies, and take small steps towards a better, healthier relationship with yourself.
You’re less likely to pick when you’re happy and relaxed.
Address your anxiety, your stress, and build compassion for yourself.
Most of all, be kind, gentle, and patient with yourself.
Don’t be yourself up about the past. Keep moving forward.
Hey – why not leave one pimple alone (really alone), and see if it makes a difference?
Raise the white flag, and make a truce with yourself.
Do you have a popping habit? What helps you to stop?
Much love to you,