Touching your face can clog your pores and spread acne-causing bacteria on your face. One of the worst habits you can have when you have acne is touching your face all the time, or worse, picking or scratching it! Try to get rid of the habit of touching or picking at your face by using mental tricks or by creating physical obstacles that make touching or scratching more difficult. And if you did touch your face again, it's important that you know what to do to limit the damage.
Method 1 of 2: Resist the tendency
Step 1. Keep your hands busy during the times when you are most likely to touch your face
If you tend to touch your face while waiting for the bus, bored, or in class, give yourself something else to tinker with to keep your hands busy. For example, you can keep your hands busy with a stress ball, a key ring, a beaded bracelet, an elastic band, or a nice smooth stone.
- Give yourself a hand massage if you touch your face while watching television.
- Knitting, drawing, or other crafts are all great ways to keep your hands busy (and do something creative right away!).
- Try to figure out what's causing you to touch your face so you can prepare for the temptation and plan ways to distract yourself. Do you unconsciously touch your face while sitting, reading, at school or watching television? Do you go to the bathroom to brush your teeth and end up always touching your face? Or do you touch your face when you're nervous, excited, angry, sad, or bored?
Step 2. Sit on your hands if you tend to pick or scratch your face while sitting
Whether you're at school or at the dinner table, try sitting on your hands when you don't need them to eat or take notes. Keeping your hands in place and leaving them there (not near your face) will make it easier to break the habit, especially if you often scratch or pick at your face without realizing it.
You can also twist your fingers together and place your hands on your lap or on the table, instead of resting your face in your hands
Step 3. Remind yourself with notes not to touch your face
Stick sticky notes (post-its) that say "DO NOT TOUCH OR SCRATCH" on the bathroom mirror, on the rear view mirror in your car, on the TV remote, or wherever you will see it often. It helps to stick those reminder notes in places where you often tend to touch your face.
You can also set an hourly alarm on your phone to remind yourself not to touch your face if you're tempted to do it at certain times during the day
Step 4. Wear gloves around the house if you tend to touch your face when you're at home
It may sound crazy, but you won't be able to scratch your face with gloves on. You can also wear them at night, if you tend to sleep with your face on your hands. Just don't forget to wash the gloves regularly so that bacteria don't build up in them.
- Use 100% cotton gloves. Wool irritates your skin (should it still touch your face) and nylon is not ideal either.
- If wearing gloves indoors isn't an option for you, see if you can put bandages or pieces of tape on your fingertips. This is a little more discreet, and it will make it very difficult for you to touch your face.
Step 5. Ask a friend or family member to tell you if you touch your face again
A close friend, one of your parents, or a roommate can be a valuable ally if you want to get rid of a bad habit, such as touching your face. Ask one of them to kindly warn you if he or she sees you touching your face.
You can also always put something in a piggy bank if you need to, so that you are encouraged not to touch or scratch your face. For example, you can agree with yourself that every time you do it, you have to put one euro in the pot
Step 6. Think about exactly why you want to stop touching or scratching your face
Try not to get discouraged and remind yourself of the good reasons you have to get rid of this habit. You can also remind yourself of the damage you cause if you keep touching or picking at your face.
Search the Internet for images of acne scars to see what can happen if you keep picking at your face. Most acne types won't scar if you don't touch them. You are much more likely to get scars from picking, scratching, or irritating your skin
Step 7. Practice mindful meditation to control the emotional stimuli that prompt you to touch your face
If you're scratching or scratching your face when you're stressed, worrying, bored, or sad, take a moment to gather your thoughts and "reboot" your mind. Research has shown that it helps people control their emotions and stop neurotic behaviors that can damage your body (such as touching or scratching).
- Watch videos on the internet in which you learn to meditate under supervision or sign up for meditation classes at a yoga studio.
- You can also download a meditation app on your phone, such as Headspace or MindShift. Such an app can help you to relax under supervision when, for example, you are on the road or before you go to sleep.
Method 2 of 2: Minimize the damage as much as possible
Step 1. Trim your fingernails and keep them clean
Always keep your fingernails trimmed short so that if you do decide to touch your face, at least you won't damage your skin. It is also important that you keep the area under your nails as clean as possible, so that as few bacteria as possible accumulate there that could end up on your face via your hands.
Our hands are some of the dirtiest parts of our bodies. So remind yourself of that every time you want to touch your face again, and you'll probably leave it soon enough
Step 2. Wash your hands and fingers carefully with an antibacterial soap
Wash your hands with liquid antibacterial soap and warm water. Press the pump twice for the correct amount. Rub your hands together for at least thirty seconds until they are foamy. Then rinse off the foam carefully with warm or hot water.
- Keeping your hands and fingers clean will greatly reduce your chances of developing acne should you be tempted to touch your face.
- And if for some reason you really need to touch your face, wash your hands with antibacterial soap before and after.
Step 3. If necessary, follow a skin care routine to get rid of your acne
Make an appointment with your doctor and ask if he or she can refer you to a dermatologist. If your acne is causing you to constantly touch your face, ask if you can get a prescription for a cream or facial cleanser specifically for acne. If you want to buy something from the drugstore without a prescription, choose a product with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and/or retinoids. These ingredients have been shown to reduce acne.
- If you prefer a more natural remedy, try hazelnut or tea tree oil to help dry up your pimples and acne.
- Don't rub your face too hard when you wash it. Rubbing too hard can irritate your face, after which the pain or itching can make you want to scratch or pick again.
- Always remember that the more you touch your face, the more likely you are to get clogged pores, blackheads, and acne.
Step 4. See your doctor if you think you may have dermatillomania; in English abbreviated to SPD
Dermatillomania is an impulse control disorder and you may be able to get rid of it with cognitive behavioral therapy. You may have an SPD if you:
- Can't stop touching your face.
- Scratch your face until you bleed, bruise, or cut yourself.
- Touching bumps, blemishes or scars on your face to try to 'correct' them.
- Not noticing that you're touching your face.
- Touch your face while you sleep.
- Scratching or picking at your skin when you're nervous or scared.
- Not only with your fingers, but also with tweezers, pin or scissors on your skin.
- Do not give up! Like all bad habits, you probably won't learn to touch your face overnight.
- If you tend to touch your face while standing, put your hands in your pockets and mess around with some change or a rock; it doesn't matter what it is, as long as it keeps your hands busy!
- If you have long hair or bangs, wear a headband or hat to keep your hair from getting in your face. Wiping your hair from your eyes or nose is one of the most common reasons for touching your face.