You most likely know the sensation: You see a hangnail lingering in your finger and have this intense urge to select it. However you recognize you should not do it—and so that you attempt to withstand…solely to do it anyway.
Predictably, it is painful—however it additionally feels sooo good. The query, then, is that this: Why? Why will we topic ourselves to such distress, understanding that (a) it can damage, and (b) it can solely make issues worse in the long term? Figuring out these truths, why will we proceed?
“One of many essential causes folks have a compulsion to select is that it feels very gratifying when the factor comes out,” says board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD. “Despite the fact that they know it is not good for them in the long term, it appears like this big launch, and that momentary launch can really feel very good, so folks maintain doing it.”
Despite the fact that they know it is not good for them in the long term, it appears like this big launch, and that momentary launch can really feel very good.
One more reason folks choose is that the factor being picked—whether or not it is a hangnail, a scab, a pimple, or no matter else—truly hurts. Generally quite a bit. And choosing it looks as if an answer to that drawback. “Relying on the place the actual piece of pores and skin is situated, it will possibly really feel like there’s strain constructed up below the pores and skin, and choosing it will possibly seem to be a technique to relieve that strain,” says Bowe.
MORE: Cease Biting Your Nails (For Actual This Time)
Final, anxiousness is also responsible. “When folks have anxiousness, they typically really feel like they should do one thing to alleviate that anxiousness—and choosing scabs could also be a type of issues,” says Bowe. Some folks smoke cigarettes, some folks twist their hair, some folks choose scabs—however we’re all doing it as a response to a common feeling of unease.
Breaking the Dangerous Behavior
Spoiler alert: It is exhausting. In spite of everything, you would not do it within the first place if there weren’t some factor of it that felt actually—if weirdly—good. That stated, it is doable: One of the best factor to do is to switch the behavior with one other behavior. “In case you practice your self to do one thing else as an alternative of choosing, will probably be simpler to cease doing it than should you simply order your self to give up,” says Bowe.
One of the best factor to do is to switch the behavior with one other behavior.
Her recommendations: In case you’re a compulsive pores and skin picker, put a spot therapy on the wound—whether or not it is a scab or a pimple—as an alternative of getting after it. “You may nonetheless really feel such as you’re being proactive in serving to your self heal, however it will not make issues worse,” she says. Plus, gels and lotions can really feel actually soothing, which is able to assist calm your nerves (and presumably ease the ache).
MORE: Outsmart Dangerous Habits: Trick Your Mind
In case you’re a hangnail picker, Bowe suggests getting a very costly manicure that can assist you give up biting. “Not solely will you retain your cuticles from fraying, you may additionally really feel dangerous about ruining the manicure you simply paid for, so it will be simpler to cease,” she says. And if all else fails? “Chew gum,” suggests Bowe.
The article “Why You Cannot Cease Choosing Your Pores and skin (Or Hangnails, Or Pimples…)” initially ran on WomensHealthMag.com.