Breaking the Habit of Touching the Face

Dr. Syed Farhan Ali Tirmizi, MBBS, MSc – Epidemiologist

How to Break the Habit of
Touching the Face Guidelines

Teaching Employees to Stop Touching Their Faces


  • Encourage employees to use or bring any of the following whether they are at home, in the workplace, or in public places to prevent themselves from touching their faces:
    • Face masks
    • A stress ball or anything that can comfort them whenever they feel stressed
    • A handkerchief, tissues, or a scarf to:
      • Scratch itch on their faces
      • Wipe sweat or anything off their faces
  • If applicable, introduce them to basic meditation exercises.
  • Hang posters about preventing oneself from touching his or her face wherever appropriate.

Please forward the following guidelines to your (department/team).

Helpful Tips to Prevent Yourself From Touching Your Face

  • When you are in a meeting, interlock your fingers and place them on your lap. You may also consider placing your hands between your crossed legs.
  • Set reminders about preventing yourself from touching your face on your phone.
  • Do not ignore your impulse to touch your face; instead, fight it by focusing on the other parts of your body such as your arms.
  • Avoid using contact lenses as they may urge you to touch your face more often.
    • Use glasses instead.
    • If you really need to wear them:
      • Use eye drops to prevent eyeball irritation.
      • Adjust the lenses by taking them from the back. Wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 to 30 seconds or use a hand rub with 70% alcohol before doing so, afterward, and regularly.
  • If applicable:
    • Refrain from using or applying:
      • Fake Eyelashes or Eyelash Extensions
      • Makeup
    • Get your bangs out of your face.
  • Avoid exposing yourself to allergens.
  • Seek treatment for skin conditions that cause itching on your face.

Hayes, Steven C. “How to Stop Touching Your Face.” Psychology Today, 25 March 2020.
LINK. Accessed 21 April 2020.

Shannon, Joel. “Health officials say not to touch your face. That’s harder than it sounds – even for them.” USA Today,, 08 March 2020.
LINK. Accessed 21 April 2020.

“Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 April 2020.
LINK. Accessed 10 May 2020.

Citroner, George, and Crescione, Michael. “You Probably Touch Your Face 16 Times an Hour: Here’s How to Stop.” Healthline. 09 March 2020.
LINK. Accessed 10 May 2020.

Written By

Dr. Syed Farhan Ali Tirmizi, MBBS, MSc


Communicable Disease Control (CDC), Alberta Health Services

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