No matter how surprising it sounds, your mobile phone is actually one of the biggest enemies of your skin. Not only can it cause a number of mild to severe skin issues, but it can also harbour millions of bacteria.
You may reach for your phone right after waking up in the morning and scroll through your social feeds endlessly throughout the day. Then, once your day ends and you’ve finished answering your emails, you go to bed before repeating the same steps just a few hours later. This new age habit can wreak havoc on your skin.
Just look at the fingerprint-stained, dirt-infested, and foundation-smudged screen of your phone. A fingerprint that we all have had to wipe off with the corner of our sleeves. This alone will help you to understand why tech-induced acne is a thing.
Our mobile phones encourage constant contact, pressure, and friction with your skin, leading to even worse breakouts. While your screen can never be friends with your skin, it is also impossible to give up your mobile phone entirely…so worry not as we have come up with some simple skin-savvy solutions for you, along with a few easy fixes, to make using your phone less of a cosmetic threat.
How Does It Affect Your Skin?
When it comes to the health and appearance of your skin, your phone can be the root of a whole lot of evil. Every time you tap-tap-tap on the murky screen of your phone, you are putting your skin at risk.
Dirt and Germ Build-ups
How many times have you accidentally dropped your phone on the floor of a public restroom? Or, how long do you keep it on your desk during an office day?
Whatever your answers are, your phone has already become a cesspool of germs.
In fact, each square inch of your phone carries nearly 25,000 germs (mostly streptococcus, staphylococcus, and Corynebacterium)…this is 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat. Gross, right! And then there are the sweat, oils, creams, makeup, and a ton of environmental toxins that end up on the screen of your phone after each conversation.
All these build-ups together turn your phone into a huge source of skin contamination.
Friction and Pressure
When you place your phone against your skin for hours or simply push it into your cheek during a lengthy conversation, you cause repeated friction against the surface of your skin. In turn, this can promote irritation and inflammation. Also, the pressures exerted on the skin also increases sebum secretion resulting in more dirt and grime into the skin that causes clogged pores and blemishes.
Exposure to Heavy Metals
Most phone handsets extensively use heavy metals in their exterior casings, menu buttons, frames around LCDs, and decorative logos. These types of products are well-documented contributors to sensitivity and allergic reactions, often causing irritation and itchiness upon repetitive or prolonged contact.
Emission of Blue Light Rays
Whether your obsession lies in taking selfies or you have a night-time habit of checking notifications, you are letting the blue glow emanating from your phone damage not just your eyes but your skin too.
The LED light or high-energy visible (HEV) light can penetrate the skin even more deeply than the harmful UV rays of the sun. This can create inflammation and damage natural age-defying components like collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin.
Release Of Heat
Your phone is nothing but a piece of machinery and there is no wonder that it heats up under persistent use. If you continue to talk until your phone burns your cheeks, get ready to experience major skin issues! The overheating not only allows the microbes to multiply on the screen but also interrupts the normal melanin production of your skin.
If you stare down and squint at the screen and keyboard of your phone for long periods of time, you are causing repetitive tilting to the delicate skin underneath your chin and around your neck. This impacts the inherent elasticity of the skin negatively, thereby causing the creasing of the neck as well as neck and back problems.
What Kinds Of Skin Problems Does It Cause?
There is, indeed, a long list of adverse skin effects caused by mobile phones. Check out below the most common complications your skin can suffer from, from interacting with the phone.
Acne and Breakouts
Tech-induced acne is the most pressing concern that is attributed to repeated friction, constant pressure, and excess heat applied to the skin. At first, it begins with clogged pores. However, your skin breaks out over time and you may even get deep acne cysts that eventually leave scar and blemishes.
In addition, the bacteria living on your phone gets reintroduced onto your skin with each phone call and start nestling into your pores. This is the most common cause of staph contamination, which also leads to breakouts and the development of boils on the skin.
Frequent use of a mobile phone can aggravate the issue of metal hypersensitivity, thereby triggering allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). It is characterised by red and inflamed skin with dryness, cracks, swelling, itchiness, blisters, and weird rashes.
This is also termed as ‘mobile-phone-dermatitis’ as the symptoms randomly creep up in places like the sides of the face, cheekbones, fingers, etc. This tends to cause a reaction where the metal parts of the phone come in contact with the skin.
Suggested Article: Prevent Smog and Pollution from Affecting Your Skin.
Both the blue LED light released by the screen as well as the added heat generated by the handset can mess with your melanin pigments. This can result in the discolouration of your skin.
Phone-induced pigmentation is typically linked to dark spots or hyperpigmentation and can result in the darkening of the skin. Also, it is known to exacerbate the issue of melasma by creating uneven patches.
Your screen time is causing premature ageing of your skin by developing vertical furrows between your eyebrows. It can also cause crow’s feet or fine lines around the outer corners of your eyes.
But the most prevalent effect is ‘tech neck’ in which permanent wrinkles are formed around the chin and the neck, along with sagging skin and drooping jowls.
Looking at the bright screen of the phone for too long is disturbing enough for your sleep cycle. Thus, you may end up developing ugly dark circles and puffy bags under your eyes.
How to Prevent It from Affecting Your Skin
Though you cannot swear off your phone, you can certainly do your skin a favour by being preventive.
Here is your sure-fire protection plan to keep your complexion relatively healthy.
Keep the Phone Clean
Avoid contamination by cleaning your phone thoroughly and sterilizing it every night.
The best way to steer clear of tech-induced acne and breakouts is to wipe the device with a diluted alcohol mixture. Some other good alternatives include alcohol pads, antibacterial wipes, and UV cell phone sanitizers.
Cover and Protect It
It is always good to cover up the phone with a plastic case. Also, use a clear screen protector in order to avoid metal hypersensitivity, irritation, and clogged pores.
Use Phone Accessories
Cut down your face-to-screen contact and go hands-free as much as possible. Commit to an earpiece, switching to the speaker mode, or even turning on Bluetooth. You can also avoid friction and pressure by holding the device away from your face and limiting the length of calls.
Practice Good Posture
Hold the phone up at your eye level so that you can look straight ahead instead of down. It may be helpful to increase the font size of texts as per your convenience, to help avoid squinting.
Reduce Screen Time
Try to minimise your screen time by opting for less calling, texting, and scrolling. Make sure that you switch the phone off and simply unwind after having your dinner.
How to Treat Skin Problems Triggered by Mobile Phones
Already got hit big time by the side effects of your cell phone? There is nothing to worry about! Check out some easy fixes below to say C U L8R to all your skin concerns triggered by your favourite gadget.
Deep cleanse your skin every night with a facial cleanser containing salicylic acid or 5% benzoyl peroxide. This will release build-ups from your clogged pores and give you relief from tech-induced acne and full-blown breakouts, without redness and irritation.
Suggested Article: Clogged Pores: How to Prevent and Minimise Congested Pores for Smooth Skin.
Skin rashes caused by friction or pressure can be treated easily with over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. Furthermore, the itch can be soothed with a deep-hydrating moisturiser.
Banish Dark Spots
An antioxidant serum having vitamin C, E, and niacin is essential to eradicate dark spots and restore skin’s lost brightness. A prescription-strength hydroquinone cream will also work for this purpose.
Suggested Article: Vitamins For Acne: The Best Vitamin And Mineral Supplements To Heal Acne.
Slow Down Ageing
Follow a robust skincare regime aiming at sun protection, chemical exfoliation, and superficial cell renewal in order to create a firm and lifted look over time. Although tech neck is hard to reverse, you can try aggressive treatments in an attempt to reduce its effects. These can include longitudinal Botox, fractionated laser resurfacing, etc.
Suggested Article: Skin Tightening Treatments For Ageing Skin That Really Work.
While a good night’s sleep is vital, you should also apply a firming and rejuvenating eye cream daily. This will improve the elasticity of the skin around your eyes and get rid of dark circles.
Let your screen and your skin go hand in hand. Keep connected with all your loved ones without it affecting your skin!
To break more acne-causing habits, click on to read our article on 11 Sleeping Habits That Can Reduce Breakouts While You Sleep.