If you are someone who suffers from Dermatillomania (excoriation or skin picking disorder), there is a good chance that, at some point, someone has suggested a “quick fix” to you. These tips may come to you as phrases such as “just stop picking” or “go watch a movie as a distraction,” which may work for some. However, many Dermatillomania sufferers also experience anxiety, in addition to and because of the picking, so most quick fix suggestions unfortunately won’t do the trick. Also keep in mind, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution to things in life, since we are all different, but there are some things that we can suggest to alleviate the sensation of wanting to pick your skin, nails, or anywhere else on your body.
Go For a Walk
Whether it is indoors on a treadmill, or outside in the fresh air, walking will get your blood pumping and happy endorphins flowing.When your brain becomes hyper-focused on picking, it is extremely hard to do anything but pick, however, getting up and moving around can be helpful to redirect focus to something healthy and helpful.
During your walk, throw in your headphones and listen to your favorite playlist, or download an audiobook to get your mind off of picking. If you have not yet dabbled in audiobooks, but love to read and listen to stories, we suggest trying it out for yourself with a free trial from Audible.You may just find that listening to books helps you and the anxiety that comes with Dermatillomania (as well as other anxiety disorders! That’s why we love it!)
Additionally, if you are someone who tends to picks cuticles, nails, fingers, or hands, we highly suggest taking small, one or two pound hand weights with you on your walks. Another option would be to carry your phone in one hand and a water bottle in the other. This will assure your hands are busy, and you won’t be able to pick skin while walking.
Grab a Sensory Stone
Step away from any mirrors that may entice skin picking (especially face picking), and head to a comfy spot in your home with your Original Pick ‘N Peel Stone. Focusing on picking the nooks and crannies of sensory stones have been proven to alleviate the sensation of wanting to pick skin. Not only do Pick ‘N Peel Stones allow you to pick, but it gives a sense of completion after everything is picked clean.
While picking, listen to music, turn on your favorite, go-to movie in the background, or call a friend and chat about your day! (We know, we know…”Ew, no one likes phone calls these days.”)
Learn Something New
What better way to redirect focus when skin picking urges strike than to learn something new? According to the Office of Continuing Education, new connections and neurons are formed each time we learn or are taught something new. While learning new things, “plasticity of the brain” allows old, already-existing neural pathways to become stronger or weaker in the meantime.
Not sure where to start? Have you ever wanted to learn a new language? Spotify, for instance, has great language tools within its library that slowly teach you dialect. This could be as simple as learning to bake a cake or change the oil in your car. These days, you can learn so many things on YouTube and other how-to websites. The possibilities are endless when it comes to learning in the age of the internet, so pick something – no pun intended 😉 -and enjoy the ride!
There are countless tasks you can try when Dermatillomania strikes. We suggest starting with one and seeing how it works for you. Everyone is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Whether it is walking, sensory stone picking, or learning, we are always looking for new ways to redirect focus and pick skin a little less.