Sit upright. Level your device with your eyes. Look straight ahead. Read. Step away from your screen for at least a minute once you’re done. Because as interesting as your screen might be, your love of all things electronic could be causing your skin some serious damage. Sure those never-ending Instagram scrolls and those addictive Facebook feeds serve as a breather, and also as a companion when you have nothing to do. But the long-term effects aren’t something you’re going to “Like”.
Think about it. It’s the rise of the electronics. Technology has come a long way, but in the process, something else gives way. Can’t wrap your head around what your laptop, your tablet or your phone can do to your skin? Let’s count the ways.
When the screen becomes a pain in the neck
Your dependence on your devices could be ageing you faster than you think. When you look at your screen, your head is usually tilted down at an angle. The longer you’re on it, the more strain it creates around your neck. Aches and pains follow. But that’s not all. The skin around your neck is very thin and sensitive as compared to the rest of your body. This means that the layer containing collagen is also very thin, putting your neck at a higher risk of showing age. Now add to that gravity and the constant craning over your screens. What it leaves you with is fine lines, wrinkles, deep folds. Signs that would eventually catch up with you over time. Only now they’re given a head start, with your devices.
When “phone zone acne” zones you out
Those long conversations with your friends may help you clear your thoughts, but they don’t help you maintain clear skin. All day long, your hands are usually over surfaces that contain bacteria. Although you can’t see it, excess oils secreted from your skin are also present on your hands. Now whenever you pick up that phone to text, dial, upload or browse, the bacteria and excess oils from your hands are transferred to your phone. And when that phone meets your face, it becomes their settling place. This doesn’t make your skin very happy. So it flares up, leading to breakouts in the phone zone, which includes your temples, cheeks and chin.
When radiation causes pigmentation
Ever felt your phone heat up with prolonged use? Well, your smartphone radiates heat. When it comes in contact with your face, it beats down on your skin just like the sun does. Soon, dark spots follow, especially on the areas often exposed to your phone.
When information and technology get too heavy to handle
Do your professional commitments demand long hours at the desk, glued to the computer screen? You’ll get “computer face”. That’s what dermatologists call premature ageing due to long hours on the computer. When you stare at your screen, you unknowingly tend to squint or frown, especially if you’re trying hard to concentrate. And this can only mean one thing… an acceleration of the ageing process. It should come as no surprise when fine lines, wrinkles, frown lines and crow’s feet develop way before they’re due.
But there’s more to those long hours than you think. Monitors tend to create an electrostatic field around them, which easily attracts floating dust. When you’re present in this zone, the dust settles on your skin. It could give rise to a variety of unpleasant skin conditions such as dryness, irritation and allergic reactions.
When you switch on the device and switch off your sleep mode
Cleanse. Tone. Moisturize. Get into a comfy pair of pajamas. Hit the sack. Tell yourself you’ll spend only five minutes on your phone before you shut your eyes. End up spending thirty minutes instead. Lose all sleep. Sounds familiar? Why don’t you get into bed with a book instead? Umm, what’s that? You only read on your tablet?
Your devices are perfectly designed for you to lose sleep. One. They keep you mentally engaged. Two. Detaching yourself is hard to do. Three. The “blue light” they emit interferes with your body’s level of melatonin, which is a chemical responsible for promoting sleep. In fact, the bright light sends your brain a signal to stay alert, saying goodbye to that desire to catch a good night’s rest. And need we remind you that the lack of sleep causes dark circles and premature skin ageing?
Screen time v/s Skin time
Who wins the battle? The screen or skin? Here are a few tips that will ensure you always stay on your skin’s side.
Tip # 1 – Don’t lower your gaze to meet your smartphone or tablet. Let it rise higher to meet you instead. Hold it at eye level. Half the trouble is done away with. Also, adjust the height of your laptop or monitor, or your chair to ensure your screen and your sight are at the same level.
Tip # 2 – Step away from the screen and exercise your neck every hour. It will serve as a much needed break, and also help you focus better when you get back to your desk.
Tip # 3 – Use anti-bacterial wipes or screen cleaners to get rid of any dirt or germs settled on your phone. Make sure you do so at least twice a day. Now this won’t ensure a 100% elimination of bacteria from your phone, but it will certainly lessen your risk of acne.
Tip # 4 – Top up your daily routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising with exfoliating. This will help prevent the damage from excess oils transferred from your phone to your face.
Tip # 5 – Speaking for long hours over the phone may not be avoidable. So how about using a pair of headphones instead? That way, your skin need not be glued to your phone through the entire conversation.
Tip # 6 – Find a healthy bedtime ritual. Reading, meditating, praying or simply contemplating over your day and over things to come. Try to keep the phone away, makes it harder to give in.
Tip # 7 – Gaze upward once in a while. Look at the sky, the clouds, or the trees. Treat your sight to the world beyond your screen. It’ll really help.
This will not only help you get your beauty back on track, but will also help you with all things health. Moderation indeed is key.