Touching your face is a bad habit that has negative consequences for your skin, it also promotes the spread of viruses (including COVID-19). It can be hard to kick the habit, especially at a desk job where it’s really easy to rest your face on your hand after a long day’s work. Here’s why you should stop touching your face regularly;
Touching your face can lead to breakouts and acne
When you touch your face, what you’re effectively doing is transferring the dirt and bacteria on your hands to your face. Regardless of how often you wash your hands, they will be more contaminated than your facial skin. Think of all the surfaces you touch in an hour, mobile phone screens, door handles, keyboards, mice, the list goes on.
Acne and breakouts are caused by the P.acnes bacteria, dirt and oil build-ups on the face which clog pores and trigger the body’s inflammatory response. By touching your face you’re increasing the probability of this happening.
Touching your face can damage the skin
This especially holds true for those with irritated skin. Rubbing your hand against the skin can cause further irritation and bacteria can infect these sites. If you rub your eyes as a result of allergies, bacteria can be transferred into the eye causing ocular infections. Not only is the risk of infection increased, but you could be increasing eye itchiness, or even increasing the prominence of dark circles.
By rubbing the area around the eyes you may be damaging the underlying blood vessels, this can worsen dark circles and damage your skin. This skin damage can also lead to fine lines and wrinkles, as you will reducing skin elasticity through abrasive action.
Touching your face spreads viruses
Touching your face drastically increases the probability of infection from common viruses, including the flu, common cold and coronavirus. If there is broken skin on your face from acne or other skin conditions, bacteria can also enter these sites and cause infection or aggravate any preexisting skin conditions.
Touching and picking your skin can cause scarring
Picking is another habit that’s hard to kick. Whether this be picking at acne, blemishes, ingrown hairs, blackheads or something else. You might think picking is helping, whether this be to extract a pimple or blackhead but often this can have terrible consequences. Picking and touching acne can cause it to spread, as well as cause scarring and irreversible skin damage.
How to stop touching your face?
1. Touching your face might be a fidget, try and replace this behaviour with something else that keeps your hands occupied. This could be touching your arm, other hand, or using a fidget spinner/stress ball.
2. Try and wash your hands frequently, carry hand sanitiser also. Washing your hands properly ensures all the bacteria and germs are killed, so, in case you do end up touching your face you’re doing less harm. Hand sanitiser can also help when you’re out and about.
3. Use mobile reminders or post-it notes around the house to help you kick the habit. Constantly being reminded to not do something is negative reinforcement, this can help you kick the habit.
4. If all else fails, try wearing gloves. Wearing gloves will be constant reminder that you shouldn’t be touching your face, especially if you’re wearing them indoors or at work.