We have all spent a lot more time in front of a screen – whether it’s working or FaceTiming friends and family. And, you’re not alone if you’re starting to worry that you’re getting a tech neck from constantly looking down. Read on to discover the skincare issues and bodily woes excess use on our phones and laptops can cause – as well as the best ways to treat them…
The problem: Tech Neck
The cause: These days we’re always looking at a screen. Be it peering up at our computers at work or hunching over our phones, our necks can bear the brunt of our tech habits. Repetitive glancing up and down can cause stiff shoulders and a sore neck, as well as premature ageing from the constant creasing and de-creasing of delicate skin. “Angling the head forwards adds weight to the under chin and jowl area whilst also adding folds of skin and lines to the neck,” notes Dr Mervyn Patterson, Medical Director at Woodford Medical.
The solution: Commit to cutting down on screen time in the evenings and take regular breaks. While we can’t always help sitting in front of a computer at work, we can make sure our chair positioning and posture are at the best they can be in order to avoid straining the neck.
Be diligent with phone use too; Dr Patterson suggests “adjusting usage of devices and where possible using them with an elevated and extended neck position.” Practising a good skincare routine which includes our necks is crucial, too. Incorporate an effective neck cream and firm application (always massaging in upward strokes) into your routine for further prevention. Our current favourites include Sisley Paris Neck Cream, which helps to lift and firm with oat seed extract, and Revive Fermatif Neck Renewal Cream, which uses RES technology to hydrate and tighten.
The problem: Light Damage
The cause: Constant use of our phones can damage the skin due to the amount of blue light emitted by our devices. “High energy visible light can have a damaging effect on skin by increasing inflammation and repair mechanisms”, warns Dr Patterson. While less damaging than rays such as UVA and UVB, excess blue light can contribute to pigmentation and therefore, premature ageing.
The solution: Limit your time with your phone, and when you do use it, try to keep it as far from your face as possible. Use skincare products that contain powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C, which improve pigmented areas and dullness. Dr Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Deep Cream contains vitamin C and a blend of oils to help protect and nourish you skin. For your eye area, look to Rodial Vitamin C Eye Souffle.
The problem: Stress & headaches
The cause: The main culprit here is squinting when reading on your phone, as well as the constant influx of blue light. We all know that looking at something bright for too long and struggling to read small font can cause achey heads, but prolonged exposure to your phone can result in an ongoing groggy feeling and an increase in stress.
The solution: It may sound silly, but try increasing the font size on your phone so that squinting is rarely necessary. If you’ve been having trouble for a while, book in to the opticians to get your eyes checked and remember that your phone’s brightness can be adjusted (turn it down so as not to hurt your head but not low enough you have to squint). Invest in a good eye cream to target any fine lines caused by continuous creasing of the fine skin. Elemis Pro-Collagen Eye Renewal is packed full of vitamins B, C and E and amino acids to help rehydrate and nourish tired eyes.
The problem: Breakouts
The cause: Ever ended a phone call then looked at your phone only to find a thick layer of makeup or oil on the screen? We’ve all been there – and the bad news is, bacteria frequently builds up on our phone screens and transfers over onto skin during longer phone calls. This in turn can lead to clogged pores and blemishes.
The solution: The best advice we’ve heard is to go hands free as much as you can. The speaker function on your phone is there for a reason, and although it’s not always possible, using it when you can directly stands in the way of dirt, grease and bacteria rubbing off onto your cheek. When you must press the phone to your skin, monitor the temperature of the screen; once it starts getting hot, it’s time to hang up. Always remember to wash your hands regularly and wipe down your phone twice a day with an antibacterial wipe. Treat existing breakouts and to get blemish-free skin look to, “topical products containing salicylic and azelaic acids, which have been shown to be helpful as they both an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect”, says Dr Patterson. Try the Malin + Goetz Salicylic Gel on particularly stubborn areas of acne and maintain a consistent, effective routine.