1. You spend an eternity in the bathroom. People wonder why it takes you such a long time to shower or do your makeup or style your hair — and it’s because you have trouble every time you step in front of a mirror. It’s hard for you to control your skin picking when you can see your ‘imperfections’ reflected back at you. It’s hard to resist the urge to pick, and once you start, it’s almost impossible for you to stop. You could spend hours in the bathroom without realizing how much time has passed.
2. You fidget with your hands constantly. In order to stop yourself from picking, you have to do something with your hands. That’s why you play with fidget toys or click on pens or stretch rubber bands. You need to keep yourself occupied at all times or your hands are going to start picking again.
3. You avoid certain places and activities. Maybe you refuse to get manicures with your friends because your cuticles have been ripped to shreds. Maybe you wait way too long to get your roots touched up at the hair salon because your scalp is covered in cuts. Maybe you always have an excuse for skipping the beach because wearing a bathing suit would show off your scars. When you suffer from a skin picking disorder, there’s at least one problem area that you don’t want the world to see, so you do everything you can to hide it.
4. You dress like it’s winter in summer. People will assume you’re cold when you walk around wearing gloves and hats — but really, you’re covering up to prevent yourself from picking. You’re hoping putting a barrier between your fingertips and the rest of your skin will help.
5. You wear long, acrylic nails. This is another common way people try to prevent their picking. However, long, fake nails can be inconvenient when you’re trying to put in your contacts or type on a computer or cook dinner. When you complain about how inconvenient your nails are, people will look at you funny. They’ll wonder why you won’t just keep your nails short — and you’ll come up with some kind of excuse for them.
6. You tell little white lies. Some people understand your anxiety. They understand your depression. But you’re worried they won’t be able to understand your skin picking, they’ll be disgusted by your skin picking, or they’ll underestimate how much stress your skin picking puts you through. That’s why you usually keep your disorder to yourself. You don’t share it with many people, even when you’re close.
7. You refuse to leave the house. Some days, you won’t want to leave the house because you’re embarrassed about what you look like. You’re embarrassed about what your disorder has done to you. Even though you want to stop picking your skin, you aren’t able to control your urges. You aren’t able to put a stop to the habit that’s been causing you so much pain — and it sucks.