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To Pick or Not to Pick

When we were kids we used to spread a layer of cold wood glue/craft glue onto our hands and wait for it to dry, with the pure intention of pulling it off. I remember getting much joy from this, a similar situation when I was sunburned and it started peeling.

It was the most wonderful feeling to pull the pieces of skin off.

The jury is still out

Now some of you may think that this is gross, sometimes I do too. The therapeutic value of this seems to be rather incredible, I have no idea why, but it is. And then I got the ultimate, scaling skin when my diagnosis of psoriasis hit.

There are two schools of thinking when it comes to this, to pick your dead scales off or not to pick them off. Some say that you can damage the skin if you do and others say that if you don’t the build-up is terrible and more painful.

Both sides have a very valid point and both are shown to be correct depending on the person involved. I on the other hand definitely fall into the picker category. Over the years, I have learned that there is a time and a place, and believe it or not, I have a plan for this.

Before you think I have totally lost the plot, I do not mean, a schedule, like Mondays at 7 pm this is what I do. Although that is not a half-bad idea, if only psoriasis was that predictable.

Here's what works for me...

The last thing I want to do is cause more damage to my already pedantic skin. I, however, am incapable of leaving the scales to build up. They really do hurt and when they then come off the spots underneath tend to be raw and bitterly painful.

Finding the balance with this was easy. Scales removal is essential for me, and my way around it has become pretty simple and works well for me. I am supposed to moisturize every day, but I will admit that I sometimes let this slip. When I do I will quickly notice that my skin feels tight. 

A quick shower is first in line for me, and a gentle rub down with a towel after. Next is the luxurious part. I chose a cream that works well for me, my current favorite is a castor oil and zinc combination and a zinc based African potato cream.

I give it a good rub down, I moisturize well just before bed. It is essential for me at this point to go sleep. If I don’t I will want to start phase two before my skin is ready.

Overnight is when the magic happens, the lotions I chose to use, will assist in making sure the dead skin layers, which are the ones that I want to get rid of, to prevent build-up. Will separate slightly from the new skin underneath.

What comes next?

I will admit when I wake up, it looks pretty darn gross. The one cream has a funny brown color and leaves the dead skin cells with an off-yellow color.

This is the fun part. The dead skin cells are now separated from the new skin, which is still attached to my body. My fingers do the rest, lifting the already separated skin off the healthy skin, I do this just before a shower, over a towel or basin to be rinsed down when I am done.

If I feel that the skin is not lifting easily I leave it be, as this is the quickest way to open myself up to a secondary infection. Afterwards, one more shower and another rub down with my normal moisturiser.

My skin always feels so much better after. I move easier as my skin is not so tight and I have normally not created any raw patches. So while my skin is sensitive it is not painful like it would be if I just sat and picked at them when they had made these great big patches of build-up.

I think that part of the satisfaction is that it actually feels like I am actively doing something to help my skin. Are you a picker or not? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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