Help with lip picking..

Fran101

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#1
First off I know this is kind of gross so try not to judge lol

I've done this thing for as long as I can remember where I pick the skin off my lips. I will do this beyond the point where they bleed...I will wake up with blood on my fingers and realized I did it.
It's usually when I'm nervous/anxious but it happens a lot when I am just distracted (in class, watching tv etc...) I really don't realize I'm doing it half the time.

my therapist says it's some off brand OCD, Dermatillomania. He has seen me since I was a child and I've improved greatly anxiety wise but this seems to be a coping behavior I just can't seem to break.
I don't want to go the meds route. I'm on enough meds epilepsy wise at it is.

But does anyone have an idea on what may help with breaking this bad habit?
healing lip balm recommendations? (Anything with alcohol with dry them out and make the process worse..)

My lips LOOK fine but I worry if I keep doing this they will just be wrecked.
 

Ozfozz

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#2
I did a project on dermatillomania a few years back when they first accepted it into the DSM 5.

Have you tried gloves while you sleep? That could help reduce the night-picking.

For the picking during the day, I've read that CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can help make you more aware of it when it happens, and assist with finding better ways to cope with the stressors.
 

skittledoo

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#3
I have dermatillomania and have struggled with it since I was a kid though didn't know what it was until about 4 or 5 years ago so if you want to talk I would be glad to talk to you more about my experience with it. I pick my lips as well, but most of my picking is on my chin and throat. I pick everywhere, but those seem to be my main "go to" zones. My dermatillomania is partly why I decided I wanted a service dog since I'm not always consciously aware I'm doing it and I can't stop. It can be so debilitating when you spend countless hours picking. I easily spend at least 2 hours a day doing so. :(
 

DJEtzel

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#4
I was also going to recommend the service dog route, since Merlin is already (halfway+?) there? I have heard of other people using service dogs to interrupt them when they start picking and don't even realize they're doing it. It doesn't seem like it would be too hard to train, worth giving a shot maybe?

I don't recall what you decided/are doing with him as a SD, but even if he only helps at home, or just sometimes in public, I imagine it would be a great start and helpful?
 

skittledoo

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#5
I was also going to recommend the service dog route, since Merlin is already (halfway+?) there? I have heard of other people using service dogs to interrupt them when they start picking and don't even realize they're doing it. It doesn't seem like it would be too hard to train, worth giving a shot maybe?

I don't recall what you decided/are doing with him as a SD, but even if he only helps at home, or just sometimes in public, I imagine it would be a great start and helpful?
exactly this. you can train an interruption and redirection task that's super easy to teach. Itztli is going to be learning this to help me with my picking on top of his tasks to assist my anxiety/panic attacks.
 

Red.Apricot

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#6
It won't work for sleeping, but giving my hands a task to do while watching TV helps a lot; I can't pick at my skin if I'm drawing/making cards/painting/brushing the dog/whatever crafty thing I pick to do.
 
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#7
First (((Hugs)))

I have no help with the actual stopping to pick part.

For the actual healing of your lips though, I would recommend a good herbal healing balm. Calendula, comfrey, and other skin nourishing herbs would be good here. Avoid peppermint if you can (lots of lip balms include it).
 

Laurelin

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#8
I pick at my chin and scalp. Definitely if you can be more aware of your hands. Easier said than done. I know. I know I typically pick at myself while commuting so being able to be even partially aware will often make me realize when I start it. It is pretty well involuntary.

And having people around you who will tell you when you're picking helps too. My sister will often point it out in the car.
 

*blackrose

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#9
Having someone/something make you aware of what you're doing seems to help my husband. He picks at his nails to the quik. He does it more when he's bored/upset/anxious about something. I hate the way it sounds and the way it makes his hands look, so I interrupt him when I'm around and he does it. That has really helped. He's able to be more conscious of it, now, and while every so often a nail gets picked off it isn't every finger, every day like it used to be.
 

frostfell

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#10
First off I know this is kind of gross so try not to judge lol

I've done this thing for as long as I can remember where I pick the skin off my lips. I will do this beyond the point where they bleed...I will wake up with blood on my fingers and realized I did it.
It's usually when I'm nervous/anxious but it happens a lot when I am just distracted (in class, watching tv etc...) I really don't realize I'm doing it half the time.

my therapist says it's some off brand OCD, Dermatillomania. He has seen me since I was a child and I've improved greatly anxiety wise but this seems to be a coping behavior I just can't seem to break.
I don't want to go the meds route. I'm on enough meds epilepsy wise at it is.

But does anyone have an idea on what may help with breaking this bad habit?
healing lip balm recommendations? (Anything with alcohol with dry them out and make the process worse..)

My lips LOOK fine but I worry if I keep doing this they will just be wrecked.
hahahaha oh wow. i thought i was the only person who did this, nobody iv ever seen or mentioned it to had ever heard of it! i found that burts bees chap stick works well for me to not have anything TO pick (if i can stop myself from creating a fresh rip in healed skin), and then putting something unpleasant under my fingernails of my left hand (the picking hand) stops me from starting it if i forget. if i dont have anything, earwax works. yeah, gross, but so is cut up lips. im to the point now, years later, when i only start doing it under massive levels of stress
 

JazzyTheSibe

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#11
((((Hugs))))

I have Dermatillomania,& Trichotillomania. I've had it since I was around 12, I think it could of been due to one of the medication I use to take. I have a huge scar on my wrist,& I can't stop picking at. I use to really pick out my eyebrows to the point where their were none, but that has gotten better. At times, I'll just involuntary do it. Talking to people, when I'm under stress, in the car,& other places. I'll be more then willing to talk about it, just shoot me a pm if your interested.

My sister will tell me if I'm picking, so that's helpful.So will others if they notice. So, you could possibly tell those who are close to you,& those who you trust, about this,& have them tell you when your doing it. Keeping my hands busy also seems to help. Using a stress play, or even small amount of play dough could be helpful.

I also agree with training Merlin to alert you, when you start to pick.
 

RD

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#13
I don't know how to make you stop. I have a similar behavior except I use my teeth to chew holes in the sides of my cheeks. Unless I'm super stressed out/bored, I don't realize I'm doing it or I do it in my sleep. I'm a lip picker if there is any skin on my lips that isn't perfectly smooth, so I've found that exfoliation on a regular basis makes it harder to pick at them.

I grease the absolute **** out of my lips to get them healing if I've been picking at em. I exfoliate them with a soft bristle toothbrush and coconut oil, rinse, dry and then slather aquaphor on them before bed.

Coconut oil is freaking awesome for topical healing in and around the mouth. When I chew holes in my cheeks that would normally take a good week to heal up, I rinse with listerine and then swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth for about 15 mins, and when I rinse that out of my mouth I can feel it healing already. It's a gross sensation, having a mouthful of oil, but it's been super beneficial to me.
 

Fran101

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#14
Thanks so much guys, I actually NEVER thought of having Merlin help. I've been so lucky (/...lazy..) with him in that his alerting came naturally so I never had to really DO anything :rofl1: but this is such a great idea

right now what's working is a combination of

1) Get expensive manicure in an impossible to keep up color which I do not own (right now it's essie ballerina pink. Will look HORRIBLE if it chips from picking)
I'm in London which puts an UPPER on the expensive category, the pounds-dollar thing will never not horrify me. I paid $74 or a mani/pedi. THE HORROR.
2) Slather vaseline/coconut oil/anything on lips constantly... the vaseline + rose oil stuff appears to be the best right now
3) Lipstick. Not gloss, not balm, STICK. I've been going with Nars red cruella and I don't bring it to work so while I can apply balms on TOP, any picking will result in me getting it all over my hands, smudging it all over my mouth and looking awful the rest of the day.

I am on 4 days pick free!!!

...it's kind sad that "it's bad for me"/"it hurts"/"It's gross" isn't enough to stop me but I'll be damned if I'm messing up a $70 manicure lol
 

Dizzy

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#16
I have nothing productive to add, but my sister pulls her eyelashes out. To the point she has none, except in the corners. There's no trigger, she doesn't do it when she's stressed. She just does it.

She still does it, so I have no tips!! Sorry! She just wears falsies....
 
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#17
Sorry no advice as I struggle with the same thing and really haven't found a solution that sticks.

I don't know how to make you stop. I have a similar behavior except I use my teeth to chew holes in the sides of my cheeks. Unless I'm super stressed out/bored, I don't realize I'm doing it or I do it in my sleep. I'm a lip picker if there is any skin on my lips that isn't perfectly smooth, so I've found that exfoliation on a regular basis makes it harder to pick at them.
.
This! Exactly this! I am not so much a lip picker. But I do chew my lips and mouth raw. Especially the inside of my cheeks. It's definitely an anxiety thing for me. When I am stressed out I tend to find myself chewing the inside (and sometimes outside) of my mouth bloody....I am not sure how to get myself to stop though because most of the mutilation goes on on the inside of my mouth.
 

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