The Week that Made Me Question My Skin Picking Recovery

March 6, 2023 Laura A. Barton

Have you ever had a moment that makes you question every bit of recovery you’ve achieved to that point? I have—recently, I questioned my skin picking recovery. 

Excoriation (skin picking) disorder recovery is something I’ve worked hard on, most importantly ditching long-standing and deep-seated shame. I can exist with my scars and even bandages on my body, but, as I said, that was recently put to the test.

I Can Still Feel Self-Conscious in Skin Picking Recovery

Did you notice above how I mentioned scars and bandages on my body? I didn’t mention my face. Despite all the healing I’ve done to accept excoriation disorder and erase the shame I've felt, I’ve been (again) confronted with the fact that picking my face still makes me incredibly self-conscious. 

But I’m not supposed to feel that way in skin picking recovery, right?

I don’t know whether it was an acne breakout or what, but I picked at a whole bunch of spots on my face. You might think it’s nothing some good makeup can’t handle. The challenge is I don’t wear makeup. 

All the same, I, for the first time in 32 years of being alive, caved after a few days of anxiety and spent a silly amount of money on products I only have a fraction of a concept of how to use to cover the damage I’d done.

I had two options: hide away from the world until I healed or continue about my life with work meetings and hobbies with these marks, poorly covered or otherwise, on my face. The former option, as appealing as it was, wasn’t something I could actually do.

My face-picking was the worst in high school. Teenage acne was rampant, and my disorder was not kind to me. It was a period of my life when people commented constantly, offered unsolicited advice, stared, and were even unkind. I hated every moment, and this recent bout of having a go at my face brought me right back to that discomfort. (And that’s just the emotional pain. I won’t even get into the physical pain I brought on myself.)

Reminders for When You’re Questioning Your Skin Picking Recovery

Part of me thinks it’s silly because there have been plenty of times someone has asked about the state of my skin in recent years, and I’ll tell them I have a skin picking disorder, but, somehow, the thought of saying I’d picked at my face felt like I’d be admitting to a dark, dark secret that no one should know.

I agonized about what people might say to me or behind my back. I nearly broke down in tears over feeling incredibly ugly, frustrated, and like I was embarrassing my partner. It made me question whether my skin picking recovery to that point was legitimate.

This experience taught me that skin picking recovery sometimes means really crap days that bring me right back to the seat of my discomfort and shame and firmly plant me there as if I never left. But it doesn’t erase any of my other recovery experiences. It’s just something I still have to overcome.

Moving forward, I’m making an effort to continue to be gentle with myself and remind myself that my value is not tied to my skin or other people’s perceptions of me. I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to acknowledge when things suck and that I have to continue to work through them.

Here are some other gentle reminders (for all of us): Recovery isn’t linear. Recovery isn’t simple. Recovery takes work, but I can do it, and so can you.

APA Reference
Barton, L. (2023, March 6). The Week that Made Me Question My Skin Picking Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 15 from

Author: Laura A. Barton

Laura A. Barton is a fiction and non-fiction writer from Ontario, Canada. Follow her writing journey and book love on Instagram, and Goodreads.

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