Skip to main content

Poll: Parents and Skin Picking Disorder

#PickingMe CEO Lauren McKeaney, on her My Story page, opened up about her experience with her loved ones and their reaction to her Skin Picking Disorder. She states "Their well-intended but negatively received screams of 'Stop Picking!' only assured me I was behaving badly.' Oftentimes, struggles of Skin Picking Disorder face troubling situations with their parents and loved ones, who in their attempt to 'help' may only make things worse. We took to Instagram to ask the Skin Picking community about their own experiences with loved ones and Skin Picking Disorder, and advice they would give to others. This is what they had to say:

"My mum was always yelling at me to “STOP PICKING.” She’d also always point out when my skin was bad. “Oh you’ve been picking there” etc. Recently I’ve been able to get her to understand that if I’m having a bad skin day I would really rather she didn’t say anything. I think in the past her comments have always come from a place of just wanting to be able to stop because she loves me, not realizing that drawing attention to the skin or telling me to stop doesn’t helps. She’s always buying me skincare products, which is lovely and very caring of her, but it doesn’t address the actual problem of the picking itself. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding there, even though I know she just wants to help as much as she can." -@lilybaileyuk

"I'm a mom with a 9yo who picks at her toes and feet. Dermatillomania is really not well understood or even out there to know about. I also thought she could just stop, but reading about it and other's experience with it made me realize she really can't. Together we came up with a picking kit for her to use at school (were she picks the most). It includes a piece of silly putty to pull and twist and rub, a tiny rubber band to pull, some jerky to suck on (she sucks on the skin she picks off) and plasters if her feet/toes starts bleeding. She says it really helps her. We also had a chat with her teacher to explain Dermatillomania to her plus get her permission and understanding for the kit. I try really hard not to scold her when she picks, but rather gently get her to use her putty. I am trying my best." -@sophiecvdw

"My parents were pretty hard on my picking, especially my dad. I mostly picked my legs when i was young (though I've graduated to arms, legs, and face by now) and my dad hated it so much, he would force me to sit while he poured rubbing alcohol all over my sores to clean them and teach me a lesson. He would show me pictures of people with MRSA and other skin infections to scare me away from picking, but it never worked. At 21 years old now (and having been a picker since i was 5 years old) i am just now beginning to be able to distance myself and control my picking impulses a little. I've still got a long way to go, but please, if you’ve got a kid who picks, be kind to them. Don't yell, don't try and scare it out of them. Be patient, talk to them about it, find out why they’re doing it, and help them from there." -@prxzac_

"Mom tried everything. Saying "stop picking", pointing out when my skin was worse, praising when it was better, and later, when I picked, saying that I ruined it again and if I liked it. She tried painting my scars with medical things, bringing me to dermatologists, beauticians, and so on. Whenever I was ashamed of my skin, she was saying that it's my fault and I shouldn't be surprised. However, she didn't mean to hurt me. No one was able to heal me, no one knew it was an illness. I couldn't stop, I was crying, and my mom knew it was just destroying me. Even if she was complaining, she kept on spending money on any medicine or cosmetics, even though there was no result. She went to psychologist with me and psychiatrist. Second psychologist helped me by finding out what the name of the illness is after a year of appointments. And then, slowly slowly, my skin has started to become better. It's not perfect, tho. But I can tell that my mom is proud of my progress." -@kalterijate

"Whenever my mom catches me picking she grabs my hand away and then comments on how I “WAS so pretty” and that I’m “ruining myself”. Even after psych appts and dr.’s telling her that it’s a disorder, I still feel like she doesn’t understand. My boyfriend (@goofus_aurelius) will hold my hand instead when I pick as a gentle reminder I like this method bc it gives my hand a place/something to do and it’s been helping me a lot!! My mom making me feel bad vs. my bf being supportive & helpful" -@baemie_slunt

For more tips on how to support a loved one with Dermatillomania, click here.