How To Stop Picking Your Lips

Many people pick the skin off their lips every once in a while, but those who find themselves doing it often may have developed a skin-picking disorder. According to the Cleveland Clinic, dermatillomania, or excoriation disorder, is when you cannot stop picking at your skin. This may include the lips, whether with your fingers, nails, or tweezers. The health condition affects one's overall being, as skin picking can cause stress, anxiety, infections, and more, including severe injuries. The condition is related to obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) because it shares similar characteristics, like repetitive behavior, per the International OCD Foundation.

While picking at your skin every now and then is normal, there are some things you can check to see if you have a skin-picking disorder. In addition to compulsively picking at the skin, causing injury to yourself or trying to "correct" a spot or scar are both signs of dermatillomania, according to the National Health Service (NHS). Also, those with the skin-picking disorder may pick their lips and not realize it, or only pick when they feel stressed or anxious.

Caring for your lips

Typically, the best treatment for the skin-picking disorder is therapy combined with medication, according to Mental Health America (MHA). A doctor may prescribe antidepressants to help control compulsive actions and obsessive thoughts, and therapy will help you understand and change those thoughts. However, there are other steps you can take at home to stop picking your lips. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) reports you shouldn't lick your lips often — instead, keep your lips hydrated with a non-irritating lip balm to help reduce how dry the skin is. 

If you want to stop picking your lips, you can also try keeping your hands busy, reports MindBodyGreen. Many people pick their lips when they're bored or inactive, so ensuring your hands are busy may reduce your likelihood of picking. A stress ball or fidget toy not only keeps your hands busy, but may simulate the same feeling you get when picking your lips. The best course of action you can take for the skin-picking disorder is to reach out to a doctor who specializes in the health condition, or your primary care doctor for additional resources.