A women touching her face while stressed.
Healthy Living

You Probably Touch Your Face 16 Times an Hour: Here’s How to Stop

Jan 19 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that touching our faces without washing our hands is one major way to spread a harmful virus. The CDC even issued guidelines suggesting that you shouldn’t touch your face at all when you’re in public.

The problem is that the average person touches their face about 16 times an hour. It’s hard not to scratch your nose, rub your eye or adjust your glasses. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of ways to help you stop doing this to stay as healthy as possible.

Stay mindful

When you touch your face, you probably don’t think twice about it. It’s a habit most people have.

So, the first thing you need to do is remain mindful. Sure, it’s easier said than done. But try to remind yourself not to do it. If you catch yourself doing it, stop immediately. When you see other people touch their own faces, make a mental note that you shouldn’t touch yours.

Some experts even suggest pretending your hands are dirty or covered in something you wouldn’t want on your face, like mud or paint.

Wear a face mask

The CDC also recommends wearing a face mask to stop the spread of COVID-19. Not only does it help stop the spread, but it can help you stop touching your face.

You’re probably mindful of the mask, so when you go to touch your face, you may remember to stop. Your mask can also provide a barrier between your hand and your face. Just try not to adjust your mask after you put it on — fiddling with it can lead to face touching.

Keep your hands busy

If you can’t trust yourself not to touch your face, you may need to find a way to keep your hands busy. If you’re at work or out shopping, take a rubber band, stress ball or fidget spinner with you. Keep it in your hands when they aren’t busy with other tasks and use it as a reminder.

Know your triggers

There are many reasons why you may touch your face. If you can identify what your worst trigger is, you may be able to fix it.

For example, if you constantly push your hair out of your face, you may need to wear it pulled back for a while. If you have dry skin that itches, try a new moisturizer. If you have allergies that make your eyes itch, take medications to help. If your glasses don’t fit and you adjust them constantly, it may be time for a new pair.

Wear scented lotion

If you don’t already wear a scented lotion or perfume on your hands or wrists, try it. Every time you bring your hand to your face, the scent may remind you not to touch it.

Keep tissues on hand

If you just can’t ignore that itch or your hair fell out of a clip and into your eyes, use a tissue to touch your face. Make sure the tissue is clean and throw it away afterwards. Keeping tissues on hand in your car, your purse or your desk drawers can help.

Wash your hands

Finally, make sure you wash your hands regularly, especially after you’ve been in public and around other people. The CDC recommends washing them for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. This can help protect you in case you do slip up and touch your face.

Learn about the health care services we offer at Mercy Health and find a provider near you.

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