Whether you practice body positivity or body neutrality, feeling comfortable in the skin you’re in is critical to maintaining your mental and physical health. This can be difficult for people who struggle with skin picking, especially if it’s an unconscious habit triggered by stress or the need for stimuli. But while you’re on the journey to self-acceptance, it’s OK to feel self-conscious about certain things, and it’s OK to want to improve. If you’re struggling with scars or scabs, here’s how to help heal scars from skin picking.

Provide Your Skin With the Time To Heal

The skin cells on your face engage in a cycle of shedding and renewing dead skin cells that, on average, take about 45 days to complete. While a mark may not be completely gone by then, over time, you may see it begin to fade. During this time, it can be difficult to avoid picking even more, and the best thing to do is avoid looking at or touching it.

Spot bandages or small hydrocolloid patches can prevent you from looking at the scab or scar and picking at it more. It also provides a moist environment that allows the skin to heal better, and adding petroleum jelly to the bandage can speed up that process.

Use Products That Increase Your Skin Cell Turnover Rate

As mentioned, it takes 45 days on average for your skin cells to turn, but there are ways to speed up your skin cell turnover rate. One of the top benefits of exfoliating your face is that it helps remove dead skin and promote the growth of new skin cells. Whether you use chemical or physical exfoliants, you can remove corneocytes (dead cells) and promote collagen production.

Protect Your Skin From Damage

This may go without saying, but while you’re repairing your skin, you also need to protect it. New cells will become more vulnerable to sun damage when using products that increase your skin cell turnover rate, so using sunscreen becomes critical. And while it may be difficult for you to stop picking entirely, there are things you can do to mitigate the temptation.

If you tend to pick with your fingers, cutting your nails can reduce the amount of scabbing that occurs from picking. You also want to make sure that your hands and the space underneath your nails are clean to avoid infection. Keeping yourself busy with fidget toys, snacks, or puzzles can also help reduce the temptation, giving your skin the time and help it needs to heal scars from skin picking.