I can’t stop touching my face. As perfectly demonstrated by the image of me below, hands clamped to face. The portrait should probably be repurposed as a public advisory as to how not to spend it right now.
I know it’s bad, but I can’t help it. And the need to touch has become even more urgent during this current crisis. With each new global health directive, I feel my fingers drawn, as if magnetised, towards my face. I suppose Freud would diagnose it as a need for reassurance via self-soothing, along with some kind of pseudo-sexual waffle about holes. All I know is that these estranged body parts just want to be together. I yearn to plant my chin in my palm, or prop my cheek up when I’m reading. I feel a compulsion to rub my eyes and pull my lips and pinch my nose. Studies suggest that we touch our faces at least 16 times an hour, part of a vast tranche of naughty habits we should immediately cease and desist. Hence, I am trying to atone by handwashing in earnest. It’s easier to accomplish, but brutal on the hands. Two rounds of Happy Birthday, scalding water and a splat of hand sanitiser at regular intervals throughout the day are playing havoc with my skin. I’m not alone. Last week I posted an image of my red, prunified digits on Instagram with a call for hand-care advice. Turns out a corollary of hygiene in the age of the Covid has been a huge uptick in eczema, psoriasis and dry skin.
I love the hive mind. Not only does it provide excellent solutions, it’s a great way to build community in these strange, self-distanced times, when communities are being wrenched apart and neighbourly behaviour involves sticking plates of food outside front doors.
Social media, when used kindly, can be an extraordinary platform for conversation, for checking in with each other, for advice, and for finding out what people think. While we work from home through the next weeks and months, I will be using my own Instagram account, as well as the How To Spend It handle and email, to speak to readers more directly, and get your sense of what is going on. While I still want How To Spend It to offer a diverting escape, I do want it to be relevant. If there is anything you specifically want to read about or look at, I’m keen to hear your thoughts. Let’s spend it together – on the pages at least.
SOS: Save Our Skins
For those who enjoy a hive-mind recommendation, these solutions came up tops, in no particular order:
Drink celery juice
Adopt a vegan diet
Wear cotton gloves in bed
Cleanse the gut
• A-Derma Exomega Emollient Lotion, £17.25, cocooncenter.co.uk
• Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Aromatic Repair & Brighten Hand Cream, £28
• Aveeno Daily Moisturising Hand Cream, £5.99, boots.com
• La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Soothing Hand Cream, £7.50
• Sisley Restorative Hand Cream, £67
• Zoetic Lemongrass and Ylang Ylang CBD Hand Cream, £25