5 Simple (Yet Brilliant) Tricks to Stop Touching Your Face So Much
Today, you likely rubbed your eyes, scratched your nose, wiped away a crumb from your mouth, or smoothed over your temples—or something in between. In fact, today, you likely touched your face dozens, if not hundreds of times, without even realizing it. And now's as good a time as any not only to become more aware of how often you touch your face, but to try to stop doing it so much. And we'll tell you why it's worth keeping your fingers off your face (or at least making an effort to cut down). "Our hands carry bacteria. When you touch your face, you can unwittingly spread oil, dirt and bacteria from your hands to your face," says Lucy Chen, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami, Fla. Dr. Chen adds that this act of spreading germs to our faces doesn't just trigger breakouts and clog pores, but it can also cause premature aging too.
"Rubbing the eyes can create tiny tears in the [surrounding skin] tissue," she says. "This can age the eyes and break the capillaries in the eyelids, which can then intensify dark circles. And as tempting as it is to try to drain a pimple by squeezing it, she says, "it's best to leave touching your face for when you're moisturizing, cleansing, or applying makeup or sunscreen." Most importantly, if and when you do touch your face—because it's somewhat inevitable— Dr. Chen urges you to "please be sure your hands are very clean."
Of course, there's the other worry of spreading germs and viruses, like COVID-19 or flu viruses, from your hands to your face as well. But breaking the habit of constant face-touching is a little easier said than done; it's a habit that's well ingrained in human behavior. The good news is that it's not impossible, though. Here are a few easy-to-follow tips and tactics from experts to help break the cycle of face touching for good.
In the meantime...
While you're working on it, or if you just can't give up the habit of touching your face, Dr. Chen says there could be something psychological at play depending on the frequency, and "it might be something you want to investigate further with a mental health professional," she says.
If you are going to continue touching your face, she notes how important it is to keep your face as clean as possible without drying it out. "Use a gentle cleanser morning and night. Since you want to be conscious about controlling acne, use pads that contain glycolic or salicylic acid once a day to exfoliate and keep acne at bay," she says. "After cleansing in the morning and before applying your makeup, use a non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer with hyaluronic acid." Then, with the above tips in your pocket, try your best to keep your hands and fingers off your face for the rest of the day.