In an earlier blog, we mentioned frequent face touching and how it can bring unwanted germs to your skin. Here’s a closer look at the reasons why the single best thing you can do for your complexion is to stop touching your face! That is, when your hands are dirty, which, it turns out, is any time you are not washing them or washing your face. So the rest of the time? Mitts off!
Why? Because your hands are always picking up what everyone else leaves behind on common surfaces. All day. Everywhere you touch. Before we even get into the whole public bathroom discussion, understand that if you’re not washing your hands often, expect that no one else is doing much better. Yet, we have everyone touching surfaces, coughing, sneezing, and shaking hands with each other and like a mobster might say, “nobody’s hands are clean!” And it is all of those touches that we transfer directly to the face in many unconscious gestures.
In a recent experiment, a black light sensitive cream was used to track people’s hand to face touches. Volunteers were told that they were testing a new hand lotion, which they applied to their hands and went back to normal tasks. Twenty minutes later, they entered a dark, black lit room. The faces of all volunteers were covered with “glow in the light” splotches. They lit up like a 70s basement party! On each person, the eyes, nose, mouth and chin had been touched many times within that 20 minute period.
So what are you picking up? What aren’t you picking up? There are really three measures of behavior that contribute to our hand cleanliness (or not). Here comes the public bathroom info...
- People “over report” handwashing. Yes, they lie. One study showed that though 90% of participants reported hand washing after using the restroom, only 75% actually followed through on that promise.
- Men are far less likely to wash hands than women. So that explains why men are in and out of the restroom in under a minute! In one restroom study, only about two thirds of men were observed using the sink. Guys, start soaping up before you exit the restroom next time!
- Almost no one washes correctly. Oops. Of course you’ve heard this before and it is still true. 25% do not use soap, and for a full 95% of all those who wash, it’s not long enough to be effective in removing bacteria and germs. Good try, but needs work!
All this to say that it’s not germs on your hands that make you ill. It’s when your hands reach up to your face that germs receive an escort to your front door! So good luck interrupting that unconscious behavior. Meanwhile, increase your consciousness around effective hand washing. Your face (and immune system) will thank you!
What about hand sanitizer? Perhaps in a pinch, but studies show it is not as effective as good old soap and water, especially when hands are visibly dirty, and frequent use can dehydrate the skin. Hand sanitizer is helpful when there are no other options, but should not be a replacement for washing hands frequently.
So perhaps the first step toward a beautiful complexion is to leave it alone, a lot more than you thought. And for sure, cleanse at night before going to bed. Get everything off of your hands first, of course, then gently remove makeup and the day’s grime and germs from your face. Then apply your favorite night cream. Porcelana Night Skin Lightening cream is a great complement to help brighten and even your skin tone while you sleep. Dark patches and spots will fade, leaving a renewed look of youthful skin. All the better to to look at, but not touch!