PickFix™ is an essential oil/ serum marketed to people who have a “nasty habit” of picking their skin for $28 USD/ $48 CDN. The choice of words presented on Carter + Jane’s website shames potential customers by stigmatizing the results of an anxious behavior. Immediately my alarm bells go off as people with excoriation disorder are being targeted and offered hope that this product will mysteriously manage the compulsive nature behind their body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB).
…as skin pickers and nail biters, ourselves…
What does it work for- skin picking or healing skin? The confusion in the declaration “PickFix™ really works!” easily persuades people wanting to stop their skin picking that this product is a mental health solution. This ambiguity suggests that it contains ingredients with a psychological effect; nothing about healing skin was mentioned in its introductory paragraph because it can be re-branded for everyday scrapes, etc., as mentioned further down on C+J’s PickFix™ page.
Pomegranate seed oil, pear seed oil, chamomile, lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus oil with “an exceptionally high percent of vitamin e” are listed as ingredients for PickFix™. Some skin pickers benefit from a skincare routine, making this product successful in the illusion that it’s addressing the skin picking behavior. As a teenager, I tried vitamin e oil but its stickiness was triggering for me in making me touch my face more, and thus, pick. It was effective in speeding up healing, as this serum likely is with its listed additives used in many skincare products that are available at a lower cost financially (and without the shame of being told that picking is “nasty”).
The most important part of an item’s description is what’s in its disclaimer. Like with nearly all non-regulated products, it’s located at the bottom of the page in hopes that you’re already sold on their product by the time you finish reading- if you even make it all the way to this obligatory statement. Sales would plummet if this was showcased at the top.
PickFix™ is marketed toward a vulnerable demographic seeking skin care while being desperate for their disorder to go away. Carter + Jane try to be relatable in revealing they have this problem, yet use harmful language by tapping into a deep insecurity. Had they not used these predatory tactics or a compulsive behavior for its branding, they could have created a product that focused on soothing the skin and mentioning skin pickers as being those who can benefit. Unless it can heal wounds faster than they can be created, PickFix™ can only help promote skin healing, not mental health miracles.
Within 24 hours of publishing this post, the co-founder of Carter + Jane reached out to me to concede that the use of “nasty” could “make someone feel bad or shamed” and has since changed the ostracizing tone on their American website.
I responded with the following:
The co-founder claims to have dermatillomania, but it doesn’t justify selling a tiny bottle of ordinary, over-priced, skincare ointment using over-exaggerated promises. As someone who has gone into recovery from this disorder, I offer my experiences with therapy and share methods that work for me but would never claim to have a fix, solution, or cure, because not all skin pickers respond to the same treatments. There is no cure for excoriation disorder and giving false hope to people in despair can cause irreversible damage to their mental health.
While changing one word in the description doesn’t address the more pressing issues with PickFix’s oil, launching a product called ScalpFix for hair pullers and skin/ scalp pickers (that can be used as a skin toner, refresher AND shampoo!!!) nearly 48 hours after this post was published shows that Carter + Jane is focused on targeting the body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) base with generic and overpriced products through misleading language, along with jumping on the opportunities on branding mental health “fixes” for profit.
Check out the five star documentary Scars of Shame and Angela’s ground-breaking memoir FOREVER MARKED: A Dermatillomania Diary. Follow Angela on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and subscribe to her blog.