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Scratching an itch or itchy face on Shabbat?


Rabbi David Sperling

Kislev 3, 5780
Is it okay to rub my face/skin with my fingers or a soft fabric on Shabbat/Yom Tov if it’s very itchy, or annoying, and it rubbed my face it would be soothed? What if it’s very distressing and almost or even cannot be helped how itchy? (For my face I tried using a paper napkin but I might have sensitive skin not sure, but rubbing my face with any napkins/paper towels tends to make my face even itchier.)
Shalom, Thank you for your question. There is no problem with rubbing or scratching oneself on Shabbat – as long as one does not scratch themselves to the point of bleeding, which is forbidden on Shabat. It is also permitted to wash one's face with (liquid) soap and water. One may then dry their face with a towel. I hope knowing this will make your Shabat more enjoyable. Blessings.
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