In bikram yoga lately, I’ve noticed some of my instructors sometimes tell us during our savasana to try to resist the temptation to itch or rub away sweat in order to stay in the meditation and at one with your breath. The more I think about that, the more I wonder how that might work if applied…

Questionhi i have derma and does itchiness sometimes trigger u to keep on going ? like first itll start out as an itch and then youll keep on picking and scratching ? thats how it is with my scalp (everything on the rest of my body has healed) and i was wondering if i should just ignore the itchiness so it dont keep on picking. idk once i see one scab or flake its so tempting to keep on going and ive managed to get the picking things down to like a couple of seconds but i want to completely stop Answer

It’s hard to ignore the itchiness though. For pickers that’s a huge trigger. So having a plan of action on how to ignore it or at least distract yourself would help. Sometimes people are triggered by seeing a scab or pimple, other times we get triggered by feeling an irregularity in the skin. So that means you have to avoid doing those things, like looking at a mirror or scanning your body. 

So that’s the general idea of how to reduce your picking. You have to stop yourself. And then stop yourself at an earlier point. Then continue until you’re able to stop yourself without picking at all. You have to let the urges pass. 

Thanks for writing, and good luck in your recovery!

Anonymous Asked
QuestionIt's always so interesting seeing when picking started/peaked for everybody. For me, I started at such a young age I don't remember ever NOT picking. For me it peaked in my first and second year of college. I actually started taking medication for it, and it's helped a lot! But it's still not completely under control. :( Answer

Yeah I like to hear those inception stories too. Its interesting. Medications are great, so that’s good. I’m guessing it was an anti-depressant? That’s what usually helps people with BFRBs. Thanks for writing!

QuestionA follow up after the anon who asked if it was genetic. My mother told me she used to pull her hair out as a kid but eventually stopped while also picking her face as well. I used to get the white bumps on my arms as a kid but it's improved with scrubbing with a loofa and putting on lotion after a shower. I still pick occasionally but once in a while I just go all out. It's a struggle but I feel myself slowing down compared to when was a teen. I started when I was 11 and I'm 22 now. Answer

Yes, genetics for sure. Well I wonder how she managed to stop. Was the picking or pulling not too bad for her? It seems like you’ve cut down your picking too. Maybe there’s some age/maturation factor going on here. 

Thanks for writing, and take care!

Anonymous Asked
QuestionI think I was also triggered by my mom just like the other anon said. When I was young, she would pick on my blackheads on my nose telling me they didn't look very good, and that's how I found out they existed. Otherwise I wouldn't have noticed. Sadly, my pores have increased in size due to my skin picking, so my blackheads look even bigger than before. It's a choice between red, irritated skin or huge disgusting blackheads every day. Answer

Perhaps your mom has some body focused repetitive disorder, or was also susceptible to this. Like the other anon, it appears that you were introduced to the idea of picking, but you may have been pre-disposed anyway via genetics.

I’m sorry about your blackheads. I used to get them a lot, but not so much anymore and I hated them. But you can use some cleansers on your face to clean up your pores and get rid of the blackheads through washing. Using a mildly scratchy hand towel is good too. Everyone says not to pick your acne, but everyone does it anyway. But for pickers i think it’s even more important to not pick. 

Anyway, thanks for writing in with your picking inception. Take care!

Anonymous Asked
QuestionIt seems the teen years are the peaking point for skin pickers? It may still be present afterwards but it seems to be the worst during high school for some people. Answer

I think it begins even earlier. Like pre-teen. So perhaps it peaks in the teen years in terms of everything coming together: your emotions, hormones, acne, school, parents, and relationship/friendship woes. There’s a lot going on during the teen years. A lot of anxiety. 

But just to be clear, acne and other skin problems are just what may trigger people to start their picking.  It seems we are triggered by something, so it can be anything, but for lots of people it’s acne. Thanks for writing in.

Found on Reddit


This week I finally had to admit to myself that whether I like it or not, I ‘suffer’ from Dermatillomania. It is not as severe as when I was 15-17, but it’s still present.

For more than a year now, my hormones have been making me break out more than usual. Currently I’m used to it and it’s not…

Anonymous Asked
QuestionDo you think derma can be triggered by someone or maybe genetic? When I was in middle school, I had those white bumps on my arms(can't remember the name lol) but my mom used to pop them...(embarrassing and gross I know) they never bothered me, middle school is about the time my picking got really bad, even though i showed some signs of it before (picking at bug bites) the bumps never bothered me until my mother pointed them out. my mom had a compulsive disorder, but not skin picking. Answer

Hi there. Yes, researchers believe that there is a genetic link to skin picking and hair pulling, but haven’t been able to pinpoint anything in the DNA yet. There are studies going on now, so it may take a bit to better understand these links. 

Let go with the assumption that there is a genetic link. So perhaps some people are pre-diposed to this, so it may not take much before it’s triggered. What is the inception? I always thought it was important for me to know how I started this. Like, maybe I could have done something about it. But there’s not much you can do now. 

I hear stories about picking inception. It’s great that people can remember—I cannot. But in the long run, I don’t think it’s important to know what made you start. Because the key is that you have to unlearn years of this behavior as well as flawed thinking. 

Maybe people aren’t triggered by anything external. Or maybe some people that are pre-disposed never start picking or pulling. I wonder if that’s possible. Maybe it just never catches on. Or other habits (or coping mechanisms) are more powerful. 

Anyway, thanks for writing and telling us about your experiences. Is the skin condition called keratosis pilaris, (KP)? I hear about that being a trigger. Okay, thanks and take care!