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9 Tips for Avoiding Confrontation about Skinpicking

Updated on January 25, 2018
Skinpicking profile image

Iris has been skin picking for 15 years and finally figured out how to stop!

Suffering from skinpicking is not easy

It's embarrassing, it feels awful that you can't quit and on top of it all, there's red splotches on your face from picking at it.

So it's only normal to want to hide your bad habit...

BUT... a warning before lying about having"dermatillomania"

Hiding is not healthy.

But there are also good reasons to hide your skin picking:

- Your mom is a helpless gossip so you don’t trust her with the information

- There are a lot of bullies at school, and skin picking is too sensitive for people to find out

- You’re not that close to this person, it’s none of their business.

These are some of the situations where hiding your skin picking might do you more good than harm. If they sound familiar to you, here are some tips and tricks I've accumulated over my years as a skinpicker.

White Lies and Excuses


1.) Bug Bites

This one is pretty straight-forward. It will explain why you have multiple spots and can even offer an excuse when someone catches you picking. “This mosquito bite is itching like crazy!”

Works best when you squeeze your skin a lot when picking because that gives bumpy red inflammation without too much bleeding. But even if you use needles or scratch, you can say you were scratching at a bug bite.

2.) Allergies

This is the excuse that other people made for me! I’d routinely show up red and blotchy, with big nasty swellings spreading across my forehead. The individual spots I’d been picking at disappeared in the mess.

Nobody even suspected skin picking, they just told me to check in with a doctor for my obvious allergies. Your skin picking can also look like allergies when you pluck out hairs, which results in a lot of small red dots.

But whatever your skin picking pattern is, you can explain it away by saying some sort of allergy was making your skin itch or you had a bad reaction to a skincare product.

3.) Acne

This is a half-truth. Skin picking is often triggered by acne and in turn, causes acne because bacteria on your hands infect your pores.

However, acne can still be an excuse for why your skin looks that bad. “Oh, I am getting really bad acne, I’m seeing a doctor for it.” “I’m breaking out horribly, I have no idea why.” (and then smile and say “Yes! I’ll try that!” when they tell you how to fix it)

If you want to get all fancy, skin picking marks can look like cystic acne. So you can throw that word out there and add some thoughts after it like “I’m gonna see a doctor for it actually. Anyway, what are you doing this evening?

Hiding in Plain Sight

4.) Covering up the problematic areas with clothes:

You can try using long sleeves, long pants, high collars… whatever you need.

5.) Covering up with band-aids, hydrocolloids, and make-up.


  • Regular bandaids only work when the skin picking spot is on your body because if you slap a band-aid on your face it will draw even more attention to your problematic spots.
  • Hydrocolloids are great because they will cover up the damage AND promote healing. However, I do recommend you patch-test anything you intend to put on your face as some people have reported irritation from the adhesives in the bandages.
  • Make-up. There are tons of good tutorials online for this. I’m not an expert, so you can check out this tutorial here.

Doomsday Protocol

You can always come out about skinpicking in the future. But if you're not ready to be open about it yet and someone asks you about it...

6.) Turn it on them

“No, do you?”

7.) Put the blame on a skin condition and change the topic

“Oh no, but it looks pretty bad, right? I’m thinking to go to a doctor. But it’s so expensive, does your insurance cover check-ups?”

“Yeah, it’s eczema from an allergy. Are you allergic to anything?”

8.) Act aggressively defensive

I am a total failure when it comes to being aggressive, but some people are masters at it.

Say “What the hell, of course not.” or something like that and give them the stink eye.

9.) Admit fault but dismiss it as “No Big Deal”

“Yeah, I’ve been scratching a bunch. Oh well. Hey, have you seen that video where a guy puts a GoPro on his dog and it gets attacked by wolves?"

(I know you're probably wondering if the dog that got attacked by wolves is OK. In case you didn't watch the video her name is Klara and yes, she's perfectly fine.)

“Uhu, been breaking out from eating junk food. Man, I’m really craving some donuts right now. Do you feel like getting a snack?”

Give them this look. Best stink eye you can do.
Give them this look. Best stink eye you can do.

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

I'd like to end the article with this quote from Ernest Hemingway because I don't want you, you who are reading this, to use this article as an excuse to barricade yourself inside your mind.

At the end of the day, temporary embarrassment is a small price to pay for a chance to get rid of this demon we have,

The end goal is recovering from skin picking. When we're ready.

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