How I Stopped Skin Picking with Press-On Nails

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How I Stopped Skin Picking with Press-On Nails featured image
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When it comes to skincare, one thing has always held me back: picking.

From a young age, skin picking is something I’ve struggled to control. I can’t really tell you where it started, but by the time I was a teenager, I was fixated. When I obsessed over my skin, I picked at any hint of a bump or blackhead and stubbornly made any acne I had much much worse.

I fell into a pattern of clear skin and self-control, marred by a breakout, picking, slow healing, and finally clear skin again. Despite how much it hurt or how awful it looked, I couldn’t stop. Sometimes I even did it in my sleep when I was particularly anxious.

But as I aged out of high school, I started noticing that instead of healing fully, I was starting to scar. I already knew I had a scarring condition—I keiloided when I had my ears pierced and on my chest after contracting chicken pox—but I didn’t realize how much worse it would get over time.

By the time I was twenty, every single mark, blemish, cut, or scrape had the potential to become a permanent fixture on my body. Every time my cat gets too rough, a new forever memory could be made. I’m not embarrassed by the scars I do have, but I also didn’t want to disappear beneath scar tissue.

I had to solve the picking, and I was quickly running out of time and excuses.

I wore press-on nails for the first time completely on a whim. They were pale and had little red hearts on them, cost $1.50 on SHEIN and lasted about a week with KISS nail glue. When one popped off too soon, I’d file off excess dry glue from the underside and stick it right back on.

I had to relearn how to type and pick up most things. I had to be delicate with my hands and intentional with how I did things. It made me feel more elegant instantly, just by how I was forced to carry myself.

But most importantly: I couldn’t pick my skin.

I realized this in two different ways. One is that these nails themselves were not strong. They were a thin, weak plastic not meant to do anything look pretty. That means they did not have any grip. They couldn’t pull or pick at skin or scabs because they were just not strong enough.

Two is that wanting to preserve the integrity of the manicure prevents me from trying to mess with my face. If you’re determined to pop a pimple or get the blackheads around your nose with just the pressure of the fake nails, you can do it maybe once. After that, the glue will just fail, and the nails will likely pop off. That they look beautiful and improve my confidence is a much enjoyed bonus.

Of course, there are some down sides, and most of them have to do with limiting how I use my hands. You can’t be as careless as you normally might be, and adjusting to typing can still be an issue. You need to take extra care to clean under them as well. But compared to the benefit, those are inconsequential to me.

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