So embarassing…but skin picking, anyone?

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So embarassing…but skin picking, anyone? 2010-04-02T16:36:29+00:00

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey Is It Just Me? So embarassing…but skin picking, anyone?

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  • #88328
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    allovertheplace
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    Post count: 28

    Background:

    Some experts say that people with ADHD hyperfocus (in more positive terms) or perseverate and have difficulty transitioning to another activity. We perseverate on an activity that provides us with some sort of gratification past the point when we “should” have transitioned to something else.

    My situation:

    I have always ‘extracted’ (okay, squeezed) every pimple I have. During times of hormonal wackiness, this doesn’t make me look pretty. And even when I can hear in my head “I should stop this…right now…okay one more” I have tremendous difficulty with inhibiting that impulse. I would do this for hours when my life was really in the crapper (which made it oh-so-much-better, let me tell you).

    Does anyone else have experience with this? I know it has been sometimes classified as an impulse control disorder similar to hair pulling (trichotillomania) or nail biting. I am better with it now for the most part, but I’ve wondered if it was part of this whole ADD package deal.

    Tell me if you can relate to this….

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    #93398
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    Patte Rosebank
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    Post count: 1517

    I’ve always bitten my nails, except when I’m forking out a small fortune on getting & maintaining acrylic ones. For this reason, Girl Guides was always rather unpleasant for me, because the Inspection at the top of each meeting involved checking to see if you were in full uniform with hair neatly done—and if your nails were clean and unbitten. Every week, I’d get told, “Stop biting your nails”. This was tremendously helpful, particularly with my self-esteem issues. The fact that the Guide Leader was so concerned about my nail-biting, but did nothing to stop the other girls from bullying me at meetings, especially after their bullying in school had caused me to be transferred out of that school, meant that my stay in Girl Guides was a short one.

    As for your question…

    Compared to other compulsive behaviours like hair-pulling or cutting, popping zits is fairly benign. But it will lead to infection and scarring. Besides which, it really slows down the healing process. If you must pop, thoroughly wash your hands first, then use a sterilized pin and a sterilized warm washcloth. When you’re done, swab the area with alcohol to further sterilize it. Ideally, you shouldn’t pop at all, but it’s tough to remember that when you’re compelled to pop.

    Have you thought of substitution?

    Get yourself a roll of bubble wrap. When you feel the urge to pop zits, cut off a piece of bubble wrap, and pop away until you’ve popped every bubble on the piece. Even “normal” people feel the urge to pop bubble wrap, and get tremendous satisfaction from doing it. Maybe it’ll work for you.

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    #93399
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    veronica
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    Post count: 121

    i’m a nail biter… oooh! bubble pop!…. and am currently trying…. found some bubble pop here at work!…. to stop biting my nails.

    hee hee

    aotp… i totally bite my nails, pop pimples, pick at my kids, and my hubby. i just thought it may be a trait from a past life or something. hahahaha. don’t fret. i know people without add/adhd that do these habits, too.

    i don’t if that was useful info, but i shared anyway. :D

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    #93400
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    Ivriniel
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    Post count: 173

    I can relate to the zit popping thing. I also get these things on my arms that are like zits, but aren’t, and if I am stuck in a situation that doesn’t provide enough stimulation, I will invariably end up searching my arms for something to pop.

    As far as bubble wrap goes, there’s always the think geek electronic bubble wrap keychain:

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/japanfan/982f/

    :D

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    #93401
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    I can relate to this, but far more so the hair pulling thing. Hair twirling, feeling through the strands then picking on a kinky one and its out! I have a fuzz of half grown hairs around my head that gives me that mad lady look…

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    #93402
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    allovertheplace
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    Post count: 28

    :o)

    Thanks for sharing; it’s nice to know you can relate a bit or more. I’ve tried many strategies and some work better than others. the best thing was actually an ADD strategy- a list for my morning/getting ready routine. That seems to be where I am most at risk for detours and so having a list of what to do next (seriously, with q tips, toothbrushing etc.) seems to direct me and leave less time for ambivalence/idle hands. Having a toddler who has little patience for these things also seems to help move me along ;o)

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    #93403
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    Know the feeling “allovertheplace”. I have been picking at my face for years, I can’ stop. I do it constantly. Even when there is nothing to pick or pop. I have calcium deposits under the skin from moisturizing, or so I am told. I actually dig those out. And yes they do leave scars. In some ways I believe this is a self-esteem issue, and isn’t that where ADHD comes in?

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    #93404
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    allovertheplace
    Member
    Post count: 28

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Doesn’t it suck? I also just changed my makeup temporarily (long ADD story involved there) and I think it is making me break out even more. Argh.

    Have you found anything that helps you?

    One thing I found that helps is I did go see a special make up artist who helps to camouflage people’s birthmarks and stuff (she also does regular makeup application). That was so valuable because it taught me some great tips for covering up some significant damage. And that is so useful in getting out of the house when I just wanted to stay in until it healed which takes like a week or two. And let’s not even talk about the temptation to pick an almost-healed zit.

    I know what you mean with those things (I think they might be called milia or something) from moisturizing; I think they might also just be one of those lovely things some people like us are more prone to have (lucky us!)

    I’m certain the skin picking doesn’t help the self esteem. I think for me it is partly caused by some neurological wiring and for me, the presence of pimples, no matter how small. When I took accutane many years ago, my skin was P E R F E C T! I hardly had anything to pick. Oh the joy. As soon as I stopped the meds, it came right back.

    For me I think it might be linked with the ADD. It is just one of those immed gratification activities that I will do 1. out of habit at the bathroom mirror and 2. standing there trying to figure out what else I am supposed to do (and this happens often I believe due to ADD overwhelm/difficulty prioritizing and sequencing tasks in my day). So then the skin picking became a way to avoid and escape. Just like internet, TV, shopping and almost anything else. However, with TV and internet, it is just shame and wasted time. With skin picking, it is shame and physical evidence, which begets more shame, and people saying “why don’t you just stop?” I love that- just like why don’t I just get to work and do my job and stay focused. Or just make a list. Oh, silly me. I didn’t realize it was that easy! ;op

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    #93405
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    Guilty as charged. Yet another unexplained behavior that has plagued me for years.

    But it did lead me to the discovery about rubbing alcohol, sterilization, etc. There is a myriad of uses. I keep two bottles handy at home now, plus one at work. Hint: A spray nozzle from an old Windex bottle fits the threads on most rubbing alcohol bottles.

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    #93406
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    Patte Rosebank
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    Post count: 1517

    Ah, rubbing alcohol…

    Here’s a trick I learned from a wardrobe mistress, when I worked on a show with very fancy costumes that could only be dry-cleaned once a week:

    If you want to prolong the time between taking suits and things to the cleaners, keep a spray-bottle of 99% alcohol (either rubbing alcohol from the drug store, or the cheapest vodka you can find) handy, and spray the inside of your clothes with the alcohol before you hang them up each night. The alcohol will kill any bacteria and will freshen the garments as it evaporates. It’s much cheaper than Febreze, and it leaves no scent whatsoever.

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    #93407
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    allovertheplace
    Member
    Post count: 28

    I love the tips and bits of info that come up on these threads! Who ever thought that a thread about skin picking would come up with a tip about keeping things fresh between trips to the dry cleaner? My kind of peeps.

    :o)

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    #93408
    Rick Green - Founder of TotallyADD
    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
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    Post count: 473

    People with ADHD do have much higher rates of tics, twitches and so on. The most common is the short Ahem clearing of the throat. Sniffing is another. Blinking is big. Hair twirling too. I suspect it’s part of the Hyperactivity from childhood that becomes internalized in the adult. I have one kid who twirls hair, and another how bounces his leg, up and down, very fast, when he’s excited in a conversation.

    But some of the stuff you’re sharing here may indicate a comorbidity of OCD, which is also quite common with ADHD. (OCD is the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.)

    Maybe ask Dr. J about it in the Ask An Expert forum.

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    #93409
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    My problem goes a step further. After popping a pimple I keep picking at the scab. My legs & arms are all scared up from this. What also complicates things is I am diabetic & cuts take longer to heal. So there are always scabs that wind up getting picked. I use that as a excuse when people notice the scars.

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    #93410
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    Picking at my hangnails is a biggie for me. I think that it is one of the coping strategies that I created so that I don’t disturb others. Much quieter and less attention getting to pick at my hangnails than tap things or squirm in my seat or jiggle my legs. But the downside is that my fingertips always look like hamburger. I also tend to pick at scabs, pimples etc.My partner is also ADHD and he joins me in the hamburger fingers club :-)

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    #93411
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    I’ve done the hangnail thing since I was about six. I only knew three or four other kids who also did it, but now that I think about it they were all ADD too. One was extremely hyperactive–the kid who got up and wandered around the room. UNAFRAID!

    I was always afraid to do that kind of thing, but damn I wanted to!

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