Skip to Content

How do you fix picked skin?

Picking at your skin is a bad habit that can leave you with scabs, scars, and blemishes. While it may be tempting to pick at a pimple or blackhead, doing so can cause inflammation and aggravate existing skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Fortunately, there are ways to fix picked skin and promote healing. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips and tricks to help you get rid of picked skin.

1. Keep the Affected Area Clean and Moisturized

One of the most important things you can do to fix picked skin is to keep the affected area clean and moisturized. After picking at your skin, it’s important to gently wash the area with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water to remove any dirt, oil, or bacteria. Avoid using hot water, as this can irritate your skin and make the healing process more difficult. Once you’ve cleaned the area, gently pat it dry with a clean towel.

After washing and drying, apply a moisturizer to the affected area. This will help to keep the skin moisturized and prevent it from becoming too dry, which can slow down the healing process. Choose a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores, and that is fragrance-free.

2. Use a Healing Ointment or Cream

In addition to moisturizing, you can also use a healing ointment or cream to fix picked skin. Look for products that contain ingredients like petrolatum, which forms a protective barrier over the skin, or zinc oxide, which has anti-inflammatory properties. These ingredients will help to soothe the skin and promote healing.

One product that is popular among dermatologists is Aquaphor Healing Ointment. This fragrance-free ointment can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including dry skin, chapped lips, and minor cuts and burns.

3. Apply a Cold Compress

If you have picked skin that is red, swollen, or painful, you may benefit from applying a cold compress. This can help to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. To make a cold compress, wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth and apply it to the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time.

4. Avoid Picking at Your Skin

While it may be tempting to pick at your skin, doing so can make the problem worse. Picking at your skin can cause scarring, infections, and even permanent damage. If you have a habit of picking at your skin, try to find other ways to relieve stress or anxiety, such as exercise or meditation.

5. Consult a Dermatologist

If you have picked skin that is not healing or is causing you pain and discomfort, it may be time to consult a dermatologist. A dermatologist can help you to identify the underlying cause of your skin condition and provide you with the proper treatment. They may also be able to recommend skincare products that are safe and effective for your skin type.


In conclusion, picking at your skin can cause a lot of damage. However, there are many things you can do to fix picked skin and promote healing. Keeping your skin clean and moisturized, using a healing ointment or cream, applying a cold compress, avoiding picking at your skin, and consulting a dermatologist are all effective ways to treat picked skin. By following these tips and tricks, you can heal your skin and prevent future damage.


Is skin picking a form of OCD?

Excoriation disorder, also known as chronic skin picking or dermatillomania, is a mental health condition in which an individual has repeated urges to touch, scratch, picking, or dig into their own skin, often resulting in sores and marks. These urges are difficult to control and can lead to significant distress or impairment in daily life.

This disorder is strongly related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and is now classified as a type of OCD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The DSM-5 defines excoriation disorder as “recurrent skin picking resulting in skin lesions” and notes that these behaviors cause the individual significant distress, embarrassment, and social or occupational impairment.

The link between excoriation disorder and OCD lies in the nature of the behavior. The person engages in repetitive and compulsive behaviors that they cannot control, despite causing harm to themselves. The urges to pick or scratch at their skin are driven by obsessive thoughts, and the act of picking provides temporary relief from anxiety or stress. However, this relief is short-lived, and the individual may feel shame or guilt afterward, leading to a continuous cycle of behavior.

Research has shown that there is also a neurobiological basis for excoriation disorder. Studies using neuroimaging techniques have shown that the same areas of the brain that are implicated in OCD, such as the basal ganglia, are also involved in excoriation disorder. Additionally, there have been genetic studies suggesting that this disorder may have a heritable component.

Despite the classification of excoriation disorder as a type of OCD, it is worth noting that not everyone who experiences skin picking has OCD. Some may have other underlying mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. Others may pick at their skin due to boredom, stress, or habit. Therefore, it is important to receive an accurate diagnosis from a mental health professional to determine the most appropriate treatment.

Treatment for excoriation disorder typically involves a combination of medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can help individuals identify triggers that lead to skin picking and learn coping strategies to manage the urges to pick. Alternative therapies, such as mindfulness or habit reversal training, can also be beneficial.

Excoriation disorder, or chronic skin picking, is a form of OCD characterized by compulsive skin picking resulting in skin lesions. While it is related to OCD in terms of the behavior and neurobiology, it is important to note that not everyone who picks their skin has OCD. Accurate diagnosis and treatment by a mental health professional are crucial in managing this disorder.

How do you get rid of red skin from picking?

Picking at your skin can lead to unwanted redness and inflammation. However, there are steps you can take to minimize these effects and promote rapid healing. First and foremost, it’s important to resist the urge to continue picking at any affected areas. This will only exacerbate the problem and can lead to further irritation and possible infection.

One effective way to reduce redness and inflammation is to apply a cold compress. Simply wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth and hold it gently against the affected area for a few minutes at a time. This can help to reduce swelling and discomfort while promoting healing.

In addition, you may want to try using topical treatments that are designed to reduce redness and inflammation. For instance, hydrocortisone cream is a common over-the-counter option that works by reducing swelling and irritation. You can also try using a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep the affected skin hydrated and healthy.

If you are experiencing severe inflammation of the skin—i.e. redness and swelling—you can also layer on a bit of hydrocortisone, which works on the skin to keep things calm. For larger pimples and pustules, dermatologists recommend mixing all three ingredients: benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and hydrocortisone. This can help to eliminate bacteria, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation.

The best way to get rid of redness and inflammation resulting from picking at the skin is to avoid picking altogether. Maintain a consistent skincare routine, avoid irritating products, and try to resist the urge to squeeze or pick at your acne. With time, the redness and inflammation will subside, and you can enjoy healthy, clear skin.

Is skin picking ADHD or anxiety?

Skin picking is a common behavior that can occur in individuals with ADHD or anxiety. However, while both conditions can contribute to skin picking, research suggests that ADHD may be the primary culprit. Many individuals with ADHD experience understimulation because dopamine receptors in ADHD brains often struggle to pick up dopamine signals. This means that they do not get as much pleasure from activities or situations that typically provide dopamine to others. As a result, people with ADHD often find themselves struggling with impulse control, restlessness, and being unable to focus. This makes it difficult to manage anxiety or stress, leading to the need for various self-soothing coping mechanisms, including skin-picking.

Skin picking, also known as excoriation disorder or dermatillomania, is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB), which refers to a group of disorders that involve repetitive self-grooming behaviors like nail biting, hair pulling, skin-picking, and compulsive touching. The behavior is often characterized by picking at the skin, which causes inflammation, wounds, and scars. While anxiety may also contribute to skin picking in some individuals, research has shown that ADHD is more strongly linked to BFRBs, including dermatillomania. Researchers have found that people with ADHD are five times more likely to exhibit skin-picking behavior than those without ADHD.

While both anxiety and ADHD may contribute to skin picking, research suggests that ADHD may be the primary driving factor behind dermatillomania. Since people with ADHD often experience understimulation and struggle with impulse control, they may engage in self-soothing behaviors like skin picking to manage the restlessness and stress that come with the condition. If you or someone you know struggles with skin picking, it is essential to seek professional help from a mental health provider who can help diagnose and treat the underlying condition. With proper care and treatment, it is possible to overcome skin picking and improve overall mental health and quality of life.

What triggers skin picking?

Skin picking, also known as dermatillomania or excoriation disorder, is a condition characterized by repetitive and compulsive picking of the skin. People with this disorder may pick at their skin to the extent that it causes bleeding, scarring, and infections. Skin picking may occur on any part of the body, but it is commonly found on the face, scalp, arms, and legs.

There are several factors that can trigger skin picking in an individual. One of the primary causes of skin picking is stress or anxiety. When people feel stressed or anxious, they may engage in repetitive behaviors, such as skin picking, to relieve tension or anxiety. This behavior can provide a temporary sense of relief, but it can also become a habit that is hard to break.

Negative emotions, such as guilt, shame, and embarrassment, can also trigger skin picking. People may pick at their skin to cope with feelings of shame or guilt related to past events or situations. This can create a vicious cycle, as picking at the skin can cause further damage and increase feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety.

Skin conditions, such as acne or eczema, can also trigger skin picking. People with these conditions may be more prone to picking at their skin to remove blemishes or lesions. This behavior can lead to further skin damage, making the underlying issue worse.

Other blemishes or imperfections that the person wants to get rid of, even if they are not noticeable to other people, can trigger skin picking. This may include picking at scabs, ingrown hairs, or other imperfections on the skin.

Skin picking is a complex disorder that can have a variety of triggers. To effectively treat this condition, it is important to identify the specific factors that trigger skin picking in an individual and address them appropriately. Therapy, medication, and other forms of treatment can be effective in managing skin picking and improving quality of life.

What is the difference between OCD and skin picking disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by intrusive thoughts that create anxiety and repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing that anxiety. These behaviors, or compulsions, are typically not enjoyable and can include things like hand-washing, counting, and checking rituals.

On the other hand, skin picking disorder, also known as excoriation disorder or dermatillomania, is classified as a body-focused repetitive behavior. This disorder is characterized by repetitive picking at the skin that can cause significant damage and distress. People with this disorder may pick at healthy skin, scabs, or pimples, and may use their nails, fingers, or other objects to do so.

While the compulsions in OCD are typically related to reducing anxiety caused by intrusive thoughts, the compulsions in skin picking disorder are aimed at removing perceived imperfections or bumps in the skin. The two disorders also differ in their symptom intensity and duration: OCD symptoms can be intense and can last for hours, while skin picking disorder symptoms can be mild but last for extended periods of time, sometimes for years.

It is important to note that there is some overlap in symptoms between the two disorders. People with OCD may engage in skin picking as a compulsion, while people with skin picking disorder may experience obsessive thoughts about their skin or the act of picking. In fact, skin picking disorder is sometimes classified as a type of OCD in some diagnostic manuals.

In terms of treatment, both disorders can benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT for OCD typically focuses on exposure and response prevention, a type of therapy where the patient is exposed to their intrusive thoughts or triggers and learns to resist the compulsion to perform the associated behavior. For skin picking disorder, CBT may focus on habit reversal training, which helps patients become more aware of their skin picking and develop alternative behaviors for coping with the associated emotions.

While there are similarities between the two disorders, there are also significant differences in their symptomatology and treatment approaches. OCD is typically characterized by intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety, while skin picking disorder is characterized by repetitive picking at the skin aimed at removing perceived imperfections.

Is skin picking a sensory seeking behavior?

Skin picking disorder is a mental health condition in which individuals repeatedly pick at their skin, causing damage such as scarring, bleeding, or infections. The exact cause of this disorder is not fully understood, but it is often linked to sensory processing disorder. Sensory processing disorder is a neurological condition that affects an individual’s ability to process and interpret sensory information. This condition can lead to behaviors such as skin picking as a way to provide the brain with the sensory input it craves.

Sensory seeking behavior refers to the tendency to crave and seek out sensory stimulation. For individuals with sensory processing disorder, this means that they may have a hard time regulating sensory input and may seek it out in ways such as skin picking. Skin picking is often seen as a sensory seeking behavior because it can provide sensations such as pressure, pain, and relief. These sensations can have a calming effect on the individual, which may reinforce the behavior even if it causes harm.

Several studies have supported the idea that skin picking is a type of sensory seeking behavior. One study found that individuals with skin picking disorder had a higher likelihood of also having sensory processing disorder compared to individuals without the disorder. Another study found that individuals with skin picking disorder experienced greater satisfaction from tactile stimulation than individuals without the disorder.

The link between skin picking and sensory seeking behavior can be beneficial when it comes to treatment. One way to help reduce or eliminate skin picking episodes is to consciously replace skin picking with another form of sensory stimulation. This might include activities such as squeezing a stress ball, taking a brisk walk, or taking a cold shower. By engaging in these alternate behaviors, individuals may be able to satisfy their need for sensory input in a less harmful way.

Skin picking disorder is often linked to sensory processing disorder, and the act of skin picking is referred to as a “sensory seeking behavior.” This behavior can be harmful and can lead to significant physical and emotional damage. However, understanding the link between skin picking and sensory seeking can be beneficial when it comes to treatment. Replacing skin picking with other forms of sensory stimulation can help individuals meet their sensory needs in a healthier way and ultimately reduce the occurrence of skin picking.

What medication is used for skin picking compulsion?

Skin picking compulsion, also known as dermatillomania, is a disorder characterized by the urge to repeatedly pick at one’s skin, resulting in skin damage and scarring. This condition can lead to distress and impairment in daily functioning, and treatment is often necessary. While there is no known cure for skin picking, several medications have been used to alleviate its symptoms.

One of the medications that have shown promise in treating skin picking compulsion is N-acetylcysteine (NAC). NAC is an amino acid that has been used to treat a variety of psychiatric disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and addiction. NAC appears to restore extracellular glutamate concentration in the nucleus accumbens, a region of the brain that is involved in reward and reinforcement. This mechanism of action makes NAC a potentially useful treatment option for skin picking, which has been linked to dysfunction in the reward system of the brain.

In a 12-week randomized placebo-controlled trial, NAC was found to significantly reduce skin-picking symptoms in a group of adults with the disorder. Participants who received NAC experienced a greater reduction in the severity of skin picking and a higher rate of treatment response compared to those who received a placebo. Another study found that NAC was well-tolerated and safe for long-term use in individuals with skin picking compulsion.

Other medications that have been used to treat skin picking include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and antipsychotics. SSRIs are commonly prescribed for OCD and have been found to reduce the symptoms of skin picking in some individuals. Antipsychotics such as olanzapine have also shown promise in treating skin picking, although they are generally prescribed less frequently due to the risk of side effects.

N-Acetylcysteine appears to be a promising medication for the treatment of skin picking compulsion. While other treatments may also be effective, NAC has specifically been shown to target the reward dysfunction that characterizes the disorder, making it a potentially valuable addition to existing treatment options. As with any medication, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate course of treatment.