From constant exposure to air conditioning to staring at a screen for nine hours a day, your daily coffee habit, and that perpetual phone addiction – your working day could slowly and gradually be adding years to your skin. Savoir Flair investigates the phenomenon and how to help stop time in its tracks.
The Phone Addiction
Phones are an essential part of any working day; we take them everywhere and put them down everywhere, too. But did you know that the trusty gadget you hold to your face several times a day is loaded with more bacteria than a toilet seat? “Most of these bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms won’t do us any harm,” says microbiologist Dr. Carl Edwards, much to our relief, but a few can cause annoying allergies and skin irritations like dermatitis and acne.
SF skin-saving action plan: If limiting your phone use is not an option, keep those skin problems at bay by wiping your device with a disinfecting wipe several times a week, as advised by Dr. Edwards. Be sure to use one that is safe for electronics, like the Fellowes ‘Screen Cleaning Wipes’.
Fellowes ‘Screen Cleaning Wipes’
The Prolonged Computer Use
If you spend hours working at your computer, the screen time could be adding years to your skin – more so than UV rays. “There’s emerging evidence that the light from computer screens and cell phones, which is referred to as high-energy visible light, or HEV, can penetrate into the deeper levels of the skin,” explains dermatologist Dr. Justine Hextall. “This results in free radical damage that can break down skin collagen and elastin, the structures that keep the skin firm and youthful, leading to the development of fine lines and wrinkles – not to mention sagging skin.”
SF skin-saving action plan: Protect your skin on a daily basis with an application of sunscreen that has physical – not just chemical – blockers. Ingredients to look out for include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Try the Soleil Toujours ‘100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30′.
Soleil Toujours ‘Mineral Sunscreen SPF30’
The A/C Exposure
Sitting in an air-conditioned office for extended periods of time can dry out your skin. Additionally, the closer you sit to the vent, the more detrimental it can be because the air may be colder and the breeze is blowing right on you. If you already have skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis, air conditioning can make them worse, sending the skin’s natural moisture balance out of whack.
SF skin-saving action plan: Have a hydrating, alcohol-free facial mist at hand to regularly spritz on your skin throughout the day. The Trilogy ‘Hydrating Mist Toner’ is brimming with repairing and nourishing rosehip oil and hydrating water, providing instant moisture to parched skin.
Trilogy ‘Hydrating Mist Toner’
The Mid-Morning Coffee Habit
It’s always hard to turn down a cup of joe when a colleague offers to make you some, but GP and skincare specialist Dr. Anita Sturnham believes that our daily coffee addiction is ruining our skin. “Small quantities of caffeine may actually be beneficial for the skin, but we know that caffeine junkies who regularly guzzle tea and coffee throughout the day are more prone to dry skin as caffeine has a diuretic effect and draws water out of our cells. This can leave you with dull and lifeless-looking skin.”
SF skin-saving action plan: Prevent dehydration and rejuvenate dull skin by using a skin-reviving face mask once or twice a week. The Alpha-H ‘Liquid Gold Smoothing and Perfecting Mask’ uses AHAs to brighten the skin and boost moisture levels.
Alpha-H ‘Liquid Gold Smoothing and Perfecting Mask’
The Afternoon Sugar Slump
“Many people don’t make a link between the foods they eat and their skin, but like any other part of the body, our skin is kept healthy by the food and nutrients that we consume,” says nutritional therapist Cassandra Barns. “Sugar may give us a quick boost of energy, but when consumed frequently, it can have negative effects on our health and well-being, causing premature aging and many other chronic health conditions.” The more sugar you eat, the faster your body will go through a process called glycation. This can make the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin less supple and malleable, which is how lines and wrinkles are caused.
SF skin-saving action plan: If you can’t do without an afternoon sweet treat – and we can relate – you can still eat chocolate when trying to cut back on sugar. Simply swap those milk-chocolate binges for a small amount of quality dark chocolate with a minimum of 70 percent cocoa, which will only contain a relatively small amount of sugar.
Pana Chocolate ‘Raw Organic Eighty’
The Constant Stress
If you thrive on stress to get your job done, consider what it’s doing to your skin. “The latest research has revealed that stress is a major aging factor for our skin – and entire body for that matter,” explains dermatologist Dr. Stephanie Williams. “In today’s modern world, we are exposed to an almost constant assault of low-level stress. This can lead to a persistent elevation of stress hormones, including the incredibly aging stress hormone called cortisol.”
In fact, cortisol has even been referred to as the “death hormone”. “Studies have confirmed that high levels of cortisol are even linked to our faces looking older because it can have a negative effect on the collagen and elastin fibers that make our skin plump and smooth,” she adds.
SF skin-saving action plan: Combat stress-related aging by taking time out each day to relax. Soak in a bath infused with lavender or rosemary – both essential oils have been proven to reduce stress levels and have a calming, soothing effect on the body and mind. Try the Susanne Kaufmann ‘Essential Bath Oil for the Senses’. “This will help to ‘neutralize’ the high-alert stress state and return your hormones and metabolic changes back to balance,” says Dr. Williams.
Susanne Kaufmann ‘Essential Bath Oil for the Senses’