If Your Skin Takes the Brunt of Your Anxiety, Here is One Thing to Learn
by Susie Kuse
Sarah is a picker. I’m a picker too, so I understand her compulsion - obsession? - with picking. In fact, 4% of the population picks at their skin. And 75% of those are women.
It’s a nasty little habit that we like to hide. But it’s pervasive, and constantly on your mind. Anxiety levels are through the roof today, so I’d like to share some tips that can help soothe your picked skin, and maybe help you pick a little less.
A Lifelong Obsession
I started picking and biting my cuticles and the skin around my nails at a young age. I started piano lessons at 3 years old, so there was a lot of attention being paid to my fingertips.
My mom couldn’t stand my biting. Every time my finger went to my mouth, she'd say “Don’t bite!” (as if I could stop it!). She’d coat my fingertips with iodine and use a bitter solution on them so they would taste bad.
Nothing stopped me though. My cuticles and fingers were constantly ripped to shreds. I just couldn’t help it. My fingers took the brunt of my anxiety.
But when I moved south to Atlanta, well, there are nail salons on every block! And it’s a lot of fun to get your nails done with your new girlfriends.
The pink-and-whites didn’t immediately stop my biting, but it got a lot better. The longer I kept a French manicure on my hands the less likely I was to bite. And my cuticles started to look really nice!
Now with Covid-19 and Stay At Home orders in place, I’m not able to get my manicure. Whoever thought nail salons are non-essential businesses?
What to Do?
My nails are chipped and broken, and yes, I’ve been biting and picking like crazy. I do have a few more tricks up my sleeve though as co-founder of Indie Beauty Market.
The main thing is to keep your picking areas as smooth and imperfection-free as possible.
Because we know, the tiniest little thing can start a round of picking or biting that can be almost impossible to stop. It could be a touch of dryness around the nail, a grown out cuticle, or an inflamed follicle anywhere - or sometimes even your imagination!
Here are 3 things I do to keep my picking and biting under control. With pretty good success. They’re not too bad and they’re healing quickly.
- I keep a treatment oil or balm with me at all times. I usually have PickFix, by Carter + Jane, which was developed for exactly this purpose. They’re pickers too - at least Sarah is! Another that I like is Rescue Balm from Beauty in the Raw. They both fit in my pocket, and I can just apply them whenever I need to. All day long. They absorb really fast and don’t leave my fingertips greasy. So I can still type! Just beware of setting it down somewhere and forgetting where you put it. You need this with you at all times. You never know when it will be time to use it!
- I use a body oil or butter twice a day, all over. I usually only pick my cuticles and fingers. But if I have any other imperfections in my skin, they stand a really good chance of attracting my picking attention. And then you’ve got a mess in a hurry. Three of my favorites are The Everything Oil for Body from Carter + Jane, ReBirth Body Butter from Beauty in the Raw, and any scent of Wine Country Botanical’s Hand and Body Lotion.
- I exfoliate once or twice a week. Face, body, everything. And I keep a little bowl and scoop with a sugar scrub in it next to all my sinks. So when I’m done washing my hands, I can use the sugar scrub to exfoliate and moisturize them right away. My current favorite? Wine Country Botanicals Shea Butter Sugar Scrub in any of their beautiful scents. It’s pink - always a plus! - and made with two types of sugar, pink clay, grape skins and grape seeds for detoxification in addition to exfoliation. Shea butter, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil and beeswax help to moisturize, nourish and protect your skin too. And it comes in three scents named after the famous wine growing regions of California. Sonoma. Napa. And Santa Barbara.
These three things are super easy to do! You can find my product recommendations in our store - just click the links - or look in your pantry for some coconut oil and sugar.
The important thing is, a tiny little bit of daily self-care will produce huge rewards for you. You’ll have smoother, softer, more comfortable skin, and feel less inclined to pick as your skin heals. Try it!
Susie Kuse is Passionate About Great Skin and Co-Founder of Indie Beauty Market. She has been in the spa and beauty industry since 2002. She loves to help people understand that a little daily self-care goes a long way toward great skin, health, beauty and happiness. And it’s important to keep your products safe, effective, natural, sustainable and ethical.