If you’re spending lots of money and time on your skin regime, then you should make sure that you aren’t doing anything on a regular basis to jeopardize its effectiveness. Makes sense, right? Otherwise, all that effort (and cash) you’re putting in will be going to waste and you’ll be taking one step forward and two steps back.
One killer example of this is repeated touching of the face. Each time you touch your face, you are risking transferring dirt and grime into your pores, producing more oil and sebum and moving bacteria around as well. If you just spent all morning exfoliating, then this is one surefire way to undo a lot of that good work.
But I Don’t Touch My Face!
A lot of readers at this point might be thinking of hitting ‘back’ and leaving the page (if you did, you wouldn’t do it!). After all, you probably don’t think of yourself as someone who touches their face regularly. If you aren’t prone to picking spots, then you probably don’t have any reason to intentionally touch your skin. So it’s not an issue, right?
Think again! Just because you are not intentionally touching your skin that does not mean that you might not be touching it either unconsciously or without realizing.
Some of us for instance will touch our skin while talking to people if we are nervous or frustrated. It’s quite common for us to either brush our nose with a finger, or to absent-mindedly brush our hair out of our eyes. Another habit is to lean on a hand, which also obviously means the hand comes into contact with the skin.
Itching is also a common reason to touch the face, while other people might do it while gesticulating – touching their cheeks to show surprise for instance.
For all these reasons, it’s actually perfectly likely that you are touching your face without realizing it – and each time you do it is causing some amount of damage to your skin.
How to Stop
With that in mind then, what can you do to stop touching your skin?
The first thing to do is to find out whether or not you are indeed doing it. If you have any videos of yourself spending time with friends or family, then watch these back and look out for points where you touch your face.
Another trick is to ask friends and family to let you know if you’re touching your face. Get them to make you aware each time you do it and this will a) show you the extent of the problem and b) help you to note in future times when you might be doing it.
The main problem you’ll find once you identify the habit is that it’s not easy to stop yourself doing something that you do unconsciously. How do you remember not to?
One solution to this problem is to try wearing a colored band. This time, each time you raise your hand to touch your face, you will see the band in your peripheral vision and it will remind you. You can even try wearing a band with a small bell on it, so that this way you will get an audible alert as well.
Another option is to wear gloves. This way, you won’t be touching your skin directly and you’ll feel the different texture each time you touch your face.
Now, before you worry that this is something you’re going to be stuck with for the rest of your life (or live forever with acne!), the good news is that it takes just 30 days to form new habits. If you wear a bell and a band on your wrist, or a glove on one hand for about one month, then you can take it off and hopefully the new habit will have formed!
When You’re Sleeping…
Something else that you may not have considered is that you may be touching your skin while you sleep. This is actually fairly common and is a hard one to combat but it does give you one more good reason to consider wearing a face mask.
Something that you can do something about though is your pillow. If you have a tendency to sleep face down in your pillow, then note that this can actually have the very same effect as sleeping with your hands on your face all night – the pillow will absorb the oil and dirt that comes from your face and then you’ll effectively be lying in it all night!
Try to prevent yourself from lying face down in the night then by stacking your pillows higher or even making it uncomfortable to sleep on your front (by wearing a hat with a peek for instance). If that doesn’t work, then at least make sure you are regularly and thoroughly washing your pillow cases.