The Derma Project (Ch11)
Serious potential TW!
Let BFRB Awareness Week begin. Speak out!
Neck pimples. Occasionally I will get a few (like 2-4 max) pimples right under my chin & on my neck. I suppose they could very well be caused by when I do that thing where you support your head with your hand, spreading your oils and everything there. But they are sooo tempting and I have a couple right now. If I leave them alone I find that they disappear pretty fast, but due to my experience with them I happen to know that I can generally get something “out” of them. Isn’t it strange how we can basically predict the result we will get from picking a certain spot just by looking at it, feeling it, and knowing where it is on your body? Particularly with acne—there are so many different types, it seems, and of course so many different levels of “readiness” or depth within the skin. And even when it’s one of those spots you KNOW will not yield anything, it’s easy to end up picking it if you’re scouring for more and more opportunities, craving that relief.
This is where that A/B/C spot concept can come in handy.
Basically it’s like this:
An “A” is something that almost “anyone” would pick. This could be a piece of dry skin hanging off your arm, a pus-filled whitehead on your chin that pops at your mere touch, or a scab that’s barely hanging on which you easily detach.
A “B” is a “bump”, pimple, scab, etc. that only a skin picker would pick. This is something that would either become an “A” over time or go away on its own if left alone. But, a skin picker will frequently start picking at it and make it significantly worse. It may then bleed, ooze, scab, and possibly become infected. This in turn will cause two additional problems – it will cause the picker significant distress, and it will give him or her something new to pick at later. In my experience, I have found that clients with Skin Picking Disorder classify at least 50% of their picking as “B’s”.
“C” stands for “Create”, meaning the individual with Dermatillomania is not picking at anything objectively “real”, but in the process of picking at his / her skin, the person “creates” something such as a blemish, scratch or scab. A “C” is something that only someone with Dermatillomania would pick. There is often nothing apparent on the individual’s skin, but the picker starts picking or scratching, and in the process creates a wound.
If you stick to A’s, you’re going to be in better shape. I generally would refrain from making excuses like, “this one is just begging to be picked.” But the truth is that most people will do a quick pick at something that is about to come off or about to pop or anything like that. Expecting flawlessness from ourselves is unrealistic, in our behavior, and on the surface of our skin. This is where C spots relate to me: when I am looking super close at my skin, expecting and desiring an airbrushed surface with one even skin tone and no pores or spots of any kind. In the process of trying to get rid of something that really isn’t there, I create something. You need to let your skin be skin.
If we are mindful when using this technique, we can refrain from causing real damage to our skin. The trick is to not let any “A spot” send you into a wild picking spree due to the satisfaction you get from it. If it’s something like a zit at the very surface, or if you really enjoy getting a flake that is almost off of your skin, chances are you will get satisfaction from it. Chances are, you’ll be feeling for B’s or creating C’s before you even know what you’re doing. So try this out, but be very aware of your thoughts!
I’d say about 75% of the spots I pick are B spots. About 20% are C’s, and the remaining 5% is for the rare A spot. A spots are not going to appear frequently. It’s the only time when you can pick something and then walk away with a victory (as long as you don’t touch anything else). Some people might decide that going as cold turkey as possible is the best thing for them because A spots can be quite triggering. However, I think it is definitely possible to train oneself to touch only A’s, because leaving them there might cause yourself lots of distress. It would bother most everyone to leave an A spot. You should be very selective in your judging. A’s should be things that are about to fall off or pop anyway, things that won’t cause any pain and DEFINITELY no blood. If you are popping an A spot pimple, make sure you do it correctly. This article says to use gloves but it’s okay to just wrap your fingers with some tissue.
My neck pimples are B spots. A dab of my e.l.f. zit zapper and putting them out of my thoughts is the best move I can make.
Does anyone else find themselves fantasizing about picking stuff off?? I don’t know… It seems so strange but sometimes when I daydream, I imagine I have a huge scab on my knee and I get to rip it off and then I come back to reality and realize how messed up it is that I’m actually daydreaming about this….
I for one have definitely caught myself daydreaming about popping the perfect zit. It’s usually when I’m trying to go to sleep or something. I used to do the same exact thing when I did figure skating. I was starting to enjoy the feeling of skating so much that I would catch myself doing strokes, feeling the ice in my head when I was about to go to sleep.
Weird how hooked we are, isn’t it?
I have some interesting things to share, but first, would you guess who was there? April from Dr. Phil’s “Distorted Beauty” episode. Crazy, right? I can’t tell you much because she is not supposed to discuss the show. But I can tell you that for those of us who were skeptical about the focus on April’s supposed BDD and the lack of focus on her dermatillomania (which seemed to be the real issue)…we were not wrong. It sickens me how television shows warp situations just to appeal to the audience with a gripping, dramatic, superficial plot line. Christina, founder of TLC was telling us about the shows who had come to them. The Oprah Show even expressed interest but it never worked out, most recently because they were asking for a very vulnerable person. They were told that was inappropriate, because as Christina pointed out, if someone does not have the support and security with their picking or pulling, they could very well go home after the show and kill themselves. This is so true and I wish the general public knew that these BFRBs are destroying our lives and even putting them at risk. My mom was the one who saw April and spoke with her. I was, at the time, talking with other kids, adolescents, and young adults. There were some amazing people there and I will protect them with my heart and soul. I am sick of these incidents like the Dr. Phil episode, John Cloud’s Time article, and the idiotic show, “My Strange Addiction.” I feel that I must take further action in some way.
More on all this later.
Videos from the fall showcase are up! (or some of them) This is “Dermatillomania.”
wow, this had me in tears.
Absolutely! You may take whatever steps you would like to protect your identity when submitting, and I am fully able to simply avoid crediting your work OR to put “anonymous” instead of a name.