Some say it takes 3 weeks to start a habit, but with scratching it can be a lot more immediate. Picking at inflamed, acne-prone skin can cause acne scarring and lead to further damage in your adult years, in some cases the scarring can even be permanent. It all starts with bad habits whilst we’re young.
So how can we prevent ourselves from giving into the temptation to scratch and consequently causing permanent scarring anyway, I hear you ask. I bet you’re just itching to know the answer!
First of all, an organic approach. It is going to take a lot of willpower, and resisting the urge to attend to an irritation can prove to be difficult. Try to keep the affected area uncovered if possible. Clothing can annoy the skin casuing you to scratch. If your itchy acne is in an area which is not adviseable to leave exposed, perhaps you could cover it with a bandaid. Having a physical barrier between yourself and the itchy skin can act as a good buffer from picking away at your skin.
Some people find holding ice or cold water over the affected area can be soothing, and if done correctly it should numb the irritation for a while. There are also many home remedies which can be applied to the area of discomfort, such as baking soda or oatmeal, both of which can help to reduce irritation when applied correctly. For example, adding 1 cup of baking soda to your bath can be beneficial for the itch, provided you let your skin dry naturally afterwards, without using a towel. In the same respect adding 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal is said to be effective.
But what can you do if you’ve already started picking?
Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is utilize a combination of these previous methods and reduce the amount you are itching. Test your willpower - go cold turkey. Otherwise a good start is to itch your skin more softly and lightly, and reduce the frequency of your itching over time. Be conscious of it - gradually working on your itching or picking problem can be longwinded, but successful.
Furthermore, in order to prevent acne scarring, its best to be conscious of the things that can worsen the impact of scarring. Less exposure to the sun can be good for you in general, and if nothing else this could prevent your acne scarring from getting burned and further inflamed. It is also important to know that some products can increase inflammation, so it’s best to do your homework on what might irritate your skin and cause it further damage, before you use it.
Best of luck - itching can really be a case of mind over matter. Resist now and save yourself the consequence later.