Post # 1
- Wedding: May 2015 - Antique Rose Emporium
My whole life I’ve had a terrible habit, and it’s kind of gross. I pick the skin off my lips. Any time I feel hard/chapped skin I chew it off, which means my lips over 22 years have discoloration from scars, a terrible ugly texture, and are constantly raw.
I do it subconsciously, in my sleep, when I’m bored, when I’m nervous, if I feel any chapped skin I have to bite it off, even if It makes my lip bleed. I have seen home movies when I was 2 or 3 yrs old and I was doing it then, and never stopped.
Anyway, I have *tried* to stop many times, but it never works. Just when they start to heal it drives me crazy and I have to pick again. 🙁 I want my lips to look pretty in my wedding pics, so I really want to stop this habit once and for all. I can’t even wear lipstick because the texture of my lips are so jagged and scarred, the product doesn’t sit on the skin smoothly.
Ive tried Vaseline to deter biting, bitter spray used for pets to not lick at wounds (yes, seriously) even tried classical conditioning for an entire month as a project in my psychology class. (Negative and positive reinforcement, neither worked.)
if you have a bad habut (chewing your nails, smoking, etc) and stopped please tell me how you did it!!!!
Post # 2
Commenting to follow.
OP, I have a terrible habit of like breaking off my hair when I’m stressed or nervous. It’s basically the equivalent of people biting their nails. I don’t even know how it really started, I just started doing it one day several years ago. I don’t rip the hair out of my head, but I break strands off near the ends, which has resulted in my hair having the weirdest layers imaginable. I’m lucky that I have long, thick hair, so can disguise it well, but I look at older pictures of myself and I can very much see the difference. It’s a habit I’ve been trying to break for awhile… so hopefully you and I will both get some good advice on this thread!
Post # 3
I bite my nails. I have quitted for long periods of times,but I do it again when I’m anxious. Do you bite your lips with your teeth? There are mouth guards for people who grind their teeth in their sleep. It will probably keep you from biting too. And maybe you could find clear ones that you can wear outside too? When I wore clear aligners no one noticed.
Post # 4
I bite and pick the skin off my lips too! My FI screams at me for it but I just cant stop and most of the time I dont even know im doing it! Its such a terrible habit. I know exactly what you mean though about the discolouration and scaring. Every time I have a work event or party I panic just before and try my hardest not to touch my lips (usually resulting in me biting the skin off my fingers instead).
Having said all this, I used to bite my nails and I somehow managed to quit that habit when I was 18. I did it by making sure they ALWAYS had like 2 coats of nail varnish on in bright red so that it was noticeable if I bit them. I suppose the equivalent to that for this would be to always wear bright purple lipstick until I kick the habit or something? I think its quite a compulsive thing – biting nails/skin/lips, maybe I’m just always hungry or its something ingrained from childhood.
Post # 5
I quit smoking about a year ago and its stuck… I replaced the habit with something else (in my case chewing gum – that paired with the cold weather made it easy enough to resist) and with biting my nails (spending a lot of time doing custom manicures that I didn’t want to ruin with chewing my nails).
Could you possibly go to the doctor and get some kind of cream to jump start the healing process? Once your lips get to a certain point of healing, it should make it difficult to pick at them and hopefully the amount of time you’d have to conciously not pick wouldn’t be quite as long. Or, what food/flavor do you absolutely hate? I can’t stand coffee, so I’d find something coffee flavored to try and rub all over my lips so I wouldn’t want to bite at them. Maybe the chewing gum thing could work for you… if you’re busy chewing, you won’t be able to pick at your lips with your teeth, you’d just have to control your fingers.
Post # 6
TheGridMonster: I had the same problem!! Especially when I had longer hair that was very damaged. I did it everywhere, even on the subway and it really grossed my husband out! I ended up just chopping my hair off and it seemed to help (also worked harder to keep it on good shape and healthy)
OP, I quit smoking after several years of smoking socially and on work smoke breaks. Just did it cold turkey. It was brutal but now that im pregnant im so happy I did!
Post # 7
I’ve always been a nail and finger, and face picker. Its bad. But when I knew DH was going to propose I had to stop all of it so my hands and face could look good for pics.
I found something else to do with my hands. Crafts and such. When I started to pick I would scratch my back or arm. Distracts my hands.
I’ve quit smoking after 14 years and lost 90lbs. I think the key to quitting habits is distraction. Wrap yourself in wedding planning, do son DIYs to give your hands something to do, after quitting smoking I picked up exercising and eating right. Distractions have been my best friend in quitting all my “bad habits”.
Post # 8
I bite my nails. To prevent it, I try to keep my nails painted all the time and carry a file with me so if I get the urge to bite at them, I file them instead. My bite my lips sometimes, too, but not as badly as my fingers. My FI started spraying me with a waterbottle when he sees me doing it at home lol
Post # 9
2YorkiesMama: for me 2 things work; removal of the actual physical temptation or adding a worse alternative (if possible) and then constant mental reminder of goal.
for example, I used to pick at the skin along the side of my thumbs around the nail. It was gross and looked like something was seriously wrong with my thumbs. Like you, I can see it in pics from my childhood nand it got to the point where my skin was really messed up I that area, but of course the new fresh damage looked the worst. So I started making absolutely sure to always have pricey manicure and appointment set up for the next one. This physically deterred me because I didn’t want to mess up the nails I’d spent $$ on and forced me to think about how embarrassed id be at my next appointment with ripped up fingers. I made that embarrassment worse in my mind than the satisfaction I got from picking. I also started putting pictures of pretty manicures in my planner, on my phone, etc to remind me of the goal.
With your lips, I would try to figure out away to make sure there never is dry chapped skin to rip off in the first place to help remove the temptation – Bite beauty’s agave lip mask is excellent for this. If it’s to the point of scarring I think I’d set up an appointment with a derm or cosmetic surgeon/med spa and see if they have any trtratments to restore the smooth texture there may be some great non surgical options out there. For me investing time and money into improving them would help deter me from messing with them, and involving others w/ appointments would help me stay accountable. I’d also put bridal makeup inspiration pics or just lippie pics I love around where I could see them to help remind me what I’m going for.
there are also some great habit tracking phone apps out there these days. You can set small goals (one day without picking, 3 consecutive days etc and they help.you track and see your progress. Good luck you can do it!
Post # 10
i split my split ends and pick at my hair. i have pretty much broken the habit but when i get real nervous or stressed i start at it again. my fi has threatened to cut it if i pick at it so that helps me stop it. its a bad habit i picked up 7 years ago. it takes time and patience to break the habits.
Post # 11
I used to bite my fingernails down to absolutely nothing, until I was bleeding from them… now it’s just an occasional tick, usually worse when I’m stressed. I find that if I keep them neatly trimmed, and carry nail clippers and a file around with me, I don’t bite them as much. It’s more of an OCD perfectionist thing: I bite when I think they’re not “perfect” (which is ironic, because biting obviously makes them look hideous). So, if I keep the corners smooth and keep them overall short, I bite less.
For lips, I’ll bite at dry flakes when the weather is crappy and my lips are sad. My solution there is to keep chapstick with me at all times (notice a theme?) and apply nearly every hour. It’s almost become a habit in itself, which is better than biting!! I think if you combine constant chapstick applicaiton (doesn’t have the weird look of lipstick on messed-up lips) with putting a stick of chewing gum in your mouth whenever you have the urge to bite, maybe you can slowly wean yourself off your habit?
Post # 12
I quit smoking. Just one day decided I had enough and quit. Haven’t touched another tobacco product since. That’s not very helpful though.
I’d try to really keep your lips hydrated 24/7 so that you don’t have any dry patches to pick. I’d try and find an overnight balm that’s extremely hydrating and then use chapstick during the day. Try to find a chapstick that doesn’t contain alcohol as that can be drying (surprisingly most chapsticks contain alcohol). Sephora carries a Rosebud salve that’s really good.
Post # 13
Smoking. Its been 6ish weeks. I used the patch for 3 weeks and then stopped those too. I smoked for 20 years, since I was 13. I also did something really cheesy; I wrote a list of reasons to quit, and I stuck it on my bathroom mirror. I look at it multiple times a day, and it helps a ton.
That’s all I got, good luck to you!
Post # 14
- Wedding: Disneyland - January 2016
Omg, this is the exact same habit I had that sprang to mind when I read your thread title. My lips were HORRIBLE, constantly bleeding, completely ripped up on a daily basis. I hated it so much but I just couldn’t bring myself to stop.
What helped me eventually though? Fear, Mary Kay lipbalm and a strong resolution. First, I remember on a particular dentist trip the dentist asked if I peeled my lips. When I told her sometimes, she gave me this mini lecture about how the mouth can gain a lot of infection from that, yada yada…but then she mentioned how it’s possible for the skin to actually mutate when it heals and it could be permanent. I have no idea if that’s true or if she was just trying to freak me out, but it certainly did make me begin to think twice every time my hands went to my mouth.
Then, my sister bought me the Mary Kay lip scrub and lip balm. I didn’t think it would work. I had tried SO many other chapsticks and lip balms and none of them did anything for my lips. But this stuff does. I don’t know what it is, and I feel weird constantly telling people how much I love Mary Kay, but goodness, for the first week I would apply the balm like crazy. But it was so smooth and silky it actually made my lips feel good instead of sticky or slimy. This is where the resolution came in. I told myself I needed to use the scrub (which helps take off of the dry, hardened skin) at LEAST a week straight. It’s all mental and that’s all there is too it. But it worked. Because after just a week, my lips were so much smoother that even if I had tried to pick at them there wouldn’t have been anything to pick in the first place.
I wish you the best of luck. You might have to try it a couple times, but I know you can do it. I went through the exact same thing (and I’ve been picking since junior high, so a pretty long time as well), and I’m not exactly the most strong willed person in the world haha.
Post # 15
- Wedding: Disneyland - January 2016
Oh, I also wanted to add that if this is an option for you, that getting acrylic nails might also help you a lot. I find that when I have acrylics on, my nails aren’t sharp enough to peel or pick as my natural nails would be. You don’t need to get them constantly done either, just having them the first week or so when you’re working on scrubbing and softening your lips would probably do the trick 🙂