Someone emailed me recently to ask about napkins and if they were a potential source of irritation. We know that irritation of any kind—like picking at the skin, facemasks rubbing against the skin, and hats binding the skin of the forehead—can potentially aggravate acne. This is why it might seem like every time you get a cold you tend to break out on your nose in the immediate aftermath. You’ve simply been irritating the skin around the nose with constant blowing.
Napkins, much like tissues, are an unavoidable part of life. We all get messy at times. So it’s best to simply reduce the potential amount of irritation when using napkins. My best advice for when you get something on your face while you eat is to gently wipe it off with a napkin and then be done with it. Avoid wetting the napkin, and avoid washing your face during the day. Twice a day is the most you ever want to wash. Simply wipe up the spill and try to avoid rubbing too hard or for too long. An occasional spill, when cleaned gently, needn’t lead to a breakout.