13 Skin Care Tips for Skin Picking Disorder

Skin Picking Disorder, also called Excoriation Disorder or Dermatillomania, is not a problem of the skin as much as it impacts the skin. It is not uncommon for those struggling with skin picking to pick at general medical type skin conditions, such as acne, allergic reactions, rosacea, or eczema. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with the skin, but the abuse the skin suffers from picking leaves it vulnerable to secondary problems such as infection, wounds, or scars.

If there is a medical element that triggers your skin picking, getting that condition managed can make your recovery from skin picking disorder much more achievable. Even if that is not the only thing you pick at. Recovery is hard enough without something itching or irritated! This may be with the support of a dermatologist or a well suited hygiene routine. To be clear, I am not a dermatologist or an esthetician. However, as a psychotherapist I treat skin picking disorder daily, which frequently involves discussion of skin care.

We each have our own specific skin needs that change over our lifetime. What was best for someone at 18 may not be a beneficial product at 30 or 60 years old. If it has been a while since you have evaluated your skin care routine, it may be time with a curious approach to revisit this topic. These suggestions below will not cure skin picking disorder. Hopefully these tips reduce some triggers, aid in healing, and help you reach your goals.


13 Skin Care Tips that tend to be helpful:

  1. Wash makeup brushes at least monthly- more frequently when wounds are open. Liquid dish soap can do the job quickly and easily.
  2. Use a clean face cloth and towel each time you wash. 
  3. Learn proper first aid for your skin and picking related damage.
  4. Use fresh pillow cases when possible so old oils and rubbed off hair products don’t irritate your face.
  5. When conditioner is setting in your hair in the shower, tie your hair up with a large clip so it does not get too much on your back or shoulders.
  6. Let a dermatologist address underlying medical conditions.
  7. If a wound from picking develops signs of serious skin infection such as crusting, pus, tenderness, unusual warmth, and/or fever, then please go see your primary doctor or dermatologist.
  8. Use products consistently for at least 6 weeks. Unless you have an allergic reaction to it or other cautions from your doctor.
  9. Try something different- if for the last 10 years you have been trying various brands of similar products- try a new approach.
  10. Harsher products are not always better. If a product is too irritating, drying, or itchy, it could trigger more picking.
  11. Gentler products are not always better. Some skin conditions do call for chemical/medical intervention to see progress.
  12. Natural products are not always better. There are plenty of all natural and completely organic ingredients out there that we may be very allergic to or our skin may simply disagree with.
  13. Avoid the use of tools, like tweezers or needles, to pick if at all possible. If you cannot avoid this yet, a solution of 1 part bleach (Clorox) to 10 parts clean water can be used to soak instruments. It will not clean them as well as an autoclave or sterilizer, but may help some.

To learn more about skin picking disorder treatment click here.

Priscilla Elliott is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner in south Austin. She owns and provides psychotherapy at Courage Counseling, PLLC. While specializing in helping clients who are struggling with trauma, trichotillomania, and/or skin picking disorder; she also supports many in life transitions, anxiety, and depression. Call now for help: 512-673-3987