Tips to help you stop touching your face
We’ve often been told to stop touching our faces, but it’s a hard habit to break. Cassidy Hood, MD, explained why we should stop and how to do it.
Why is it important to not touch your face?
- It is estimated that the average person touches his or her face about 23-25 times per hour.
- Our hands are very dirty, containing bacteria, viruses and other disease causing germs that we contracted by touching other people, other objects (such as phones, computers and door handles) and our own bodies.
- When we touch our dirty hands to our faces, these disease-causing germs can get into our bodies through the mucous membranes of our eyes, nose and mouth.
Dr. Hood said if you have to touch your face, such as when you’re eating, putting on contacts, scratching an itch, flossing, etc., then wash your hands with soap and water first. “It is recommended that we wash our hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20–30 seconds, or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.”
So, what can you do to help you stop touching your face?
Dr. Hood said touching your face is a habit, just like biting your nails. Habits can be broken with practice, replacing the bad habit with a better one, preferably with one that is similar. Here are some tips:
- When you feel the urge to touch your face, touch your arm instead.
- Do not ignore the urge to touch your face; acknowledge the urge and practice better behavior instead.
- Be more aware of what triggers you to touch your face (anger, stress, speaking on the phone, reading) so you can take an active role in practicing and forming a better habit.
- If touching your face is a subconscious habit because you need to keep your hands busy, use an object such as a Rubix cube or stress ball. Just make sure you sanitize it often.
- You can also use sensory cues to help break the face touching habit. For example, nail biters use nail polish products that cause a foul smell and ill taste when your fingers are touching your mouth.
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