Coping Cards

I Can Learn to Live With Imperfect Skin

Whenever I see very tempting bumps on my skin, I tell myself, “I can learn to live with imperfect skin,” trying to convince myself not to give in to the urge to “fix” them. Because once I start, I can’t stop myself.

The goal is to accept pimples, blemishes, and little bumps. The urge to pick becomes less intense when we accept what’s underneath the skin.

When we have better control of our dermatillomania, our skin has time to heal. The skin becomes healthier and looks better. And in return, we get the motivation not to pick our skin and ruin the progress we’ve made in weeks or even months.

What does perfect skin look like anyway? I think I’m slowly awakening from decades of distorted thoughts about what skin should look like. 

Even though we know that the images of people with seemingly natural, perfect skin that we see in magazines, billboards, and social media are edited, we still strive for that impossible “glass skin.”

But certain bumps, a pimple or two (or 4 or 5), and little bits of redness are perfectly normal. Healthy skin isn’t flawless. “Perfect” skin is more likely to be an outlier. There is nothing to feel bad about!

I keep trying to get the best version of my skin through the right skincare routine and remind myself that nobody really sees my skin up close anyway.

And if they do, they probably don’t care if I have uneven skin or not. Everyone is preoccupied with their insecurities and thoughts.

Find alternatives to keep your nervous system calm and satisfied

Fixing imperfections due to visual triggers is one thing. The satisfying feeling of popping pimples, pulling ingrown hair, or getting the white stuff out of blemishes is a whole different matter. 

Our BFRBs are the wrong coping mechanisms for fear, anxiety, stress, or boredom.

We even get hooked on the sensation we get when we pick our skin, bite our nails and cheeks. These things cause our brains to release dopamine, which makes us feel better – at least for the moment.

We need to find new habits to calm our nervous system and new ways that provide soothing sensations. 

Coping with BFRBs is a personalized experience. It is specific to your needs. So try to mix and match coping techniques and develop your own strategy that works best for you. 

I keep my fingers busy with fidget toys and calm my mind with breathing exercises, sport, and meditation. It’s a constant learning and adaptation process.

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