I’ve started a video series on tips and strategies to stop picking each of the parts of the body. You can find the playlist for the entire series here.
The first video here is for you if you pick your face. I’ve also included a lightly edited transcript below the video in case you prefer to read. The text below also contains links to recommended products.
This is the first video in a new video series about products and strategies to stop picking all your different body parts. So we’re starting with the face today because that is the most picked at place for the most people. And then we’ll move on to probably the fingers next, but I take requests. So please put any suggestions for what other body parts you want me to cover in the comments below.
We think we have a skin picking problem, but it is much more helpful to think about it as a problem of focusing too much on our skin, of looking at our skin and of touching our skin.
And the way to not pick is to reduce the amount that we look at it, reduce the amount that we touch it. And that will also reduce the amount that we think about it. And we will be on the upward spiral to where we want to be. So it’s really helpful actually to think about skin picking as an addiction. Okay, it’s a behavioral addiction rather than a substance addiction, but it’s very helpful for us to think of it as analogous to a substance addiction. If you hope to get off a substance that you’re addicted to, whether it be drugs or alcohol or whatever, first of all, you have to get that substance away from you. So get out of your house, don’t go to the places where it’s readily available. That is very important at first. So it’s very similar, although we can’t truly get away from our skin. We can, and need to, get away from looking at or touching our skin right now.
It’s too much of an automatic behavior, an automatic habit. Down the line, we’ll be able to do those things. Now we cannot. So with these products and strategies today, we’ll focus on how we stop looking at or touching our skin. Most people do pick in the mirror. So we’re going to focus on that first, picking by sight, and then we’re going to move to picking by touch. For picking by sight, the mirror is a big problem. So, either you want to take the mirror out or you want to cover it. I’ll give you another strategy a little later, if you can’t do those things, but those are the best options.
Now, we don’t want our mirror to look ugly, right? That’s no fun. So luckily there is something called window privacy film, which just sticks by static cling. You’re able to take it off when you need to, but it looks nice and feels permanent in a way. I don’t know anyone who has ripped it off.
That’s not in your habit. Your habit is just to lean into a mirror. Window privacy film is available at Home Depot. It’s on Amazon in all kinds of pretty colors and pretty patterns. One of my clients sent me a picture after she covered her mirrors and it looks so pretty. So this is probably better than what I did back in the day, which was, you know, put on some paper. I mean, I used relatively pretty paper. I put it down on my bathroom mirror and then I literally just took tissue paper because it expands into a big surface. And I covered my mirrored closet doors with tissue paper. And this isn’t the whole thing, the whole solution. But you do have to do this probably for quite a while.
I had my mirrors covered for about a year and a half. And then even after I moved to a new place, after a while, I didn’t cover the bathroom mirror entirely. But at one point again, I just put a little picture from a magazine, at least just right in front, because I had been leaning in habitually. And that at least reminded me that I don’t want to do that because that had become a habit. And sometimes I would end up picking and I didn’t want to do that. So, I had to cover back up for a little while after that. I don’t remember how long I had that, but you know, it’s usually more time than you would like, or that you want it to be. And certainly a good rule of thumb to uncover the mirrors is pretty much that you’re just not picking.
There are so many questions that are coming to my mind that you’re probably having about covering the mirrors from like, I can’t cover the mirror. What do I do for one reason or other, or if I do cover the mirror, how do I put on my makeup and all this other stuff? Um, so I’m thinking I’m going to make another video for those things, but I can answer the question as to what do you do for makeup? The answer is you do have another mirror that you haven’t made a habit of picking up because the mirror that’s just such a danger to you is the one that you’re habitually leaning into every time or almost every time or every day that you get to it. And so what you can do is have a second mirror, like a handheld that you put in a drawer, or you even lock in a lock box and only have it open like once a day, because we use the mirror a lot more than we need to.
First of all, put your makeup on sloppy before you even take that mirror out of the drawer and then put it straight back in when you’re done with it, when you’ve touched up and done everything you need to do. A lot of people think they need a mirror in the evening. Like how are you going to wash your face without a mirror? Actually… it’s possible. And most people do not need the mirror in the evening. So that will really cut down on a lot of picking. And the idea is progress rather than perfection. We want to continually be reducing the picking and not expect it to go to zero overnight every day. You know, because that expectation often, if we’re disappointed, we’ve just let go of the whole thing. We’re like, ah, that didn’t work.
I realize some people don’t want to cover the mirror or cannot cover the mirror, depending if you have roommates or whoever you’re sharing the bathroom with. So another thing, you know, we cover the mirror because what we don’t see, we won’t pick at. And luckily what we don’t see well, we also won’t pick at. So here’s another strategy: using a smart bulb to set both the color and possibly the dimness of your lighting. The prices of them have gone dramatically down. So this is quite reasonable now. And what you can do is you can set it, for example, to a nice pink light. Pink lighting makes any flaws practically invisible. So you won’t be able to see imperfections and then you won’t see blemishes and you won’t be picking at them.
So that’s about sight. A lot of people pick based on touch. Some people do both. Some people will kind of feel around while they’re doing other things. And then the feel of a bump or something will drive them to the mirror to check it out and then they end up picking there, but other people touch their faces and just pick right there just by touch. And so here are some strategies for that. One of my clients told me about this. I had no idea these things existed, but it works really great for her. This is a silicone face mask that’s meant to hold on any of those sheet masks that apply drippy stuff with, but she doesn’t even use those. Most of the time, she will literally just wear this when she’s studying. And it works really well for her. So I’ll demonstrate. It’s reasonably comfortable. I don’t know this this little bit here for me right now is not feeling comfy, but, um, I think, yeah, that’s better.
It feels weird when I smile, but if I’m just like steady face, like she is, I can see how she could wear this for hours. Then anytime you touch, it’s like, you’re not getting that feedback. You’re not getting the feel of what you like there, what’s interesting to you. And so it de-enforces. I don’t think that’s a word, but it does, the opposite of reinforcing, which is what it’s doing. Every time you, you touch your skin, you’re activating your brain in picking mode and keeping that part alive. So the more that you can do something else and tell your brain, it’s actually not interesting. If my hand goes up and touches here, that will work over time. Most of you know about those little acne dot covers, right? The hydrocolloid little circular bandages that you can put on pimples or wounds to help them heal.
And the idea with picking is really that you put them on before that happens to them. So as soon as you notice you have bumps, you can put those on again. And any time you go touch, it’s not interesting. You’re not going to do anything. And so it’s really going to protect it and prevent you from picking at it. Now, one of my clients told me about this product. So this acne cover patch, that is a hydrocolloid bandage as well. What’s nice is it has things that work against acne like Teatree as well, and also it has calendula, which is very calming for the skin. But the nice thing about this is this, it’s an extra large patch. It’s about this size. And so you can cut it to any size that you need. If you have like a whole area that’s broken out, you can use a bigger piece or you can cut it into very small pieces.
Now, lastly, I want to talk about a couple other pick by touch products that you can use again, whether you will sit there and pick it when you feel it, or whether you feel it and we’ll go pick it later in the mirror. So either way I recommend that you cover your fingers. So, a lot of times people wear gloves. There are some that work quite well. One of my clients is very happy with one that we’ll include, but a lot of times the problem with gloves besides being too hot, although the gloves that we’re talking about here are more, the cotton thin cotton gloves are usually white. You can get them at any pharmacy. People mostly, mostly use them to moisturize their hands, put moisturizer on, and then put these gloves on overnight, but you don’t have to have them at night.
You can wear them any time, however, they can still be warm. And of course, we like to have our phones work with them, with touch screens and track pads for when we’re working. So here are a couple other suggestions that work well, here are two different options and we’ll compare and contrast. So the first one, these are silicone little finger things. And back in the day, like people for picking used to recommend those finger cots, those horrible latex, little finger condom, things that, and I just can’t stand the smell of latex plus they are super tight. These are made of silicone instead. So a pro of these is that they’re not super easy to get off. That will depend on the size of your finger. I’m not sure I’ve got this on the right one there, you know, in this pack, it comes with a lot of sizes, but that’s the idea they’re much more comfortable than the latex, but sometimes people still complain of their fingers getting sweaty. So another option is these gamer fingers. They’re called gaming finger sleeves. So these guys are a lot more comfortable because they’re made of fabric, but you can still use your screens.
I think it fits snugly, it works on your screen, but sometimes people do complain about them stretching out over time. But I think, you know, it’s the kind of thing, like all fabric stretches. And then when you wash it again, it kind of tightens up. Keep these on in your habitual spots. Like when, you know, a lot of times picking by touch happens when we’re sedentary, but where our brains are active. So either at work, when we’re on the computer or reading or watching television, all of those kinds of situations are really common pick by touch times.
All right. What was your favorite strategy? What step can you take right now to reduce your face picking? Please share in the comments below.