We all know that sitting in front of a computer all day or hunched over our phones can wreak havoc on our posture and our back, but have you ever thought about what your technology habits might be doing to your skin? News flash! Those digital devices are causing serious damage to your complexions. Savoir Flair spoke to Dr. Vandana Kadam from Dubai’s Kaya Skin Clinic for the lowdown.
“Technology has come a long way in the past decade and a lot of people would say they couldn’t live without their phones or tablets. but there is a downside to it: technology can make your skin look older,” comments Dr. Kadam. “It’s tough to swallow, especially because there’s no real way to avoid technology on a day-to-day basis. But it is important that we alter our habits to make them a little bit less detrimental to our skin and looks in the long run.”
Research has found that our digital devices carry more germs and bacteria than the average toilet seat and, when we hold these dirty phones to our cheeks, temples, and chins, the bacteria transfers to our skin. “The habit of receiving cell-phone calls in one area alone definitely leads to acne, on or around the phone zone – the area of skin from the ear to the chin,” says Dr. Kadam. To reduce phone-related acne, you need to keep your phone screen clean – use an antibacterial wipe and give it the once-over daily. “Try using earphones instead of holding your phone to your face, which can help eliminate some of these symptoms,” says Dr. Kadam. Make sure you keep your skin clean too, using a daily treatment containing salicylic acid, an ingredient designed to beat acne and remove a build up of bacteria. Try the Cane + Austin ‘Acne Treatment Pads – pre-soaked with a powerful anti-blemish formula. They can be swept over problem areas of skin morning and evening.
Cane + Austin ‘Acne Treatment Pads’
AED362 / SAR370
Speckled Screen Skin
Some dermatologists believe that the rays emitted from our computers and phones can cause irritation, pigmentation problems, and age spots, especially when sitting in front of a screen or holding a cell phone to our face for long periods of time. Dr. Kadam agrees; “Monitors create an electrostatic field that attracts floating dust, which can then settle on the skin and cause dryness, irritation, and allergic reactions.” This excessive screen exposure can also lead to ‘screen dermatitis’, in which skin cells suffer as a result of consistent exposure to light and electromagnetic fields. “Moreover, the heat that turns out from a cell phone can damage the skin similarly to solar radiation. It will cause the onset of dark spots on the face,” she adds. The solution? Take regular breaks from your screen, even if it’s just to visit the water cooler, and try to make long phone calls on a landline telephone rather than a cell or use an earpiece to avoid holding a hot device to the side of your face. Protect your skin with a potent antioxidant such as the Bakel ‘Antioxidant Serum’, which will help neutralize and protect the skin from the effects of heat damage and radiation.
iPhone Skin Stress
New research has found that eight out of ten of us take our phones into our bedrooms at night, using them as alarm clocks and even checking them if they go off during the night. As a result, we are disturbing our sleep patterns, and thus damaging our skin without even realising it. “The use of light-emitting electronic devices at night, be they phones or laptops, is a dangerous trend, as they have been shown to cause sleep deprivation,” says Dr. Kadam. “Changes in sleep pattern could affect the amount of sebum the skin produces, which in turn causes acne. Some studies have even correlated chronic insomnia and sleep deprivation with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and skin aging.” The answer? Have a ‘no technology’ rule for the bedroom and try to avoid using any light-emitting devices after a certain time in the evening to allow your brain and your body to wind down for sleep. If you can’t resist the urge for a Facebook or Instagram midnight feast, pre-empt the damage of an interrupted night of sleep with the Sunday Riley ‘Luna Sleeping Night Oil’. It helps fake a full night’s sleep thanks to a potent formula that minimizes the appearance of pores, prevents loss of elasticity, and slows the development of wrinkles.
Sunday Riley ‘Luna Sleeping Night Oil’
AED470 / SAR480
“Younger men and women are aging more quickly because of the heavy use of information technology,” comments Dr. Kadam. If you sit for hours in front of your computer and tend to squint, frown, or remain in one position for a long period of time, you are at a greater risk of premature ageing; “That means accelerated fine lines, wrinkles, frown lines, turkey neck, deep wrinkles, and jowls. If you frown or squint when concentrating, you may end up with premature frown lines and crow’s feet.” While it’s hard to escape from long hours at the office, you can limit the damage by trying to regularly exercise those facial muscles, which might otherwise remain static. Smile, yawn, or even take a break and chat to colleagues. Give your face regular gentle massages and invest in a sonic cleansing brush, such as Clinique’s ‘Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush’ that can be used twice a day to not only clean the skin deep down but to give your facial muscles a gentle massage too, akin to a workout at the gym.
“’Tech-neck’ is a term used for horizontal wrinkles underneath the chin and around the neck caused by the way we tilt our heads down when we text or use our phones or iPads,” explains Dr. Kadam. And with the advent of smartphones, people are keeping their heads bent down and forward for hours to look at their phones and tablets. This causes neck muscles to be shortened, thereby increasing the gravitational pull on the skin. “The first thing is to improve the posture. Don’t constantly keep your head down. Instead, hold your smartphone or tablet up to look at it so your chin stays parallel to the ground.” Certain facial yoga exercises can also help reduce the damage done by the gadgets. “Moving the facial muscles will go a long way in countering this trend,” advises Dr. Kadam. Tone up that neck by tilting your head back and making a kissing sound and action towards the ceiling. Do this twice a day for a minute each time to see results.
Promo Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images