Smartphones: We check them at the office, at the dinner table, in the doctor’s waiting rooms, and while we’re pumping gas. They’ve practically become an extension of our bodies. In fact, many Americans check their mobile phones within five minutes of waking up. And before the end of the day, they’ll check them another 46 times.1
But have you stopped to wonder what your smartphone might be doing to your skin? For example — those little bumps on the side of your face? They could be caused by the oil residue from your phone!
Wonder what else your cell phone might be doing to your skin – and how to practice good phone hygiene – read on.
Bacteria & Germs
We take our phones with us everywhere. They have hundreds of opportunities throughout the day to make contact with germs.2 Bacteria thrive in higher temperatures. The warmth coming from your mobile phone may actually encourage the growth of more germs.3 How bad is it?
Mobile phones often contain more bacteria than toilet seats. Yikes!
Of course, some bacteria is healthy. But if your face makes contact with unhealthy bacteria on your phone, things can get ugly. Your skin will have to work extra hard to fight off the bacteria, leading to a tired, irritated complexion.
To get rid of germs on your phone, mix one part water with one part rubbing alcohol. Dampen a soft cloth in this solution and swipe it over your phone (front and back) a few times. Dry with a microfiber cloth. Doing this a couple of times a month will go a long way in keeping your phone, and your skin, bacteria-free.
Oily Skin and Clogged Pores
You’ve probably noticed a thin film of oil on your phone screen from time to time. That’s evidence of your skin’s natural sebum production. And it’s bound to transfer from your face to your phone. This is especially true if you spend hours on the phone, catching up with an old friend.
The problem begins when that oil – along with the oil from your fingertips – builds up on your phone screen. And if you add a little bacteria to that buildup of oil? Putting that phone screen up against your face becomes a recipe for clogged pores, irritation, and uneven skin.
To reduce oil on your phone screen, deep clean with water and alcohol 2-3x a week.
Between cleanings, use a microfiber cloth to wipe away oil residue from your phone.
Another great way to avoid passing oil a back and forth between your face and phone is to use a hands-free device!
If you’re like most people, you generally look down when you look at your phone. This can lead to something called “text neck.” Ever heard of it? It’s also known as “tech neck.” Not only can it cause neck pain, it may also break down collagen. This, in turn, can result in loose skin or premature wrinkles under the chin.4
To avoid “text neck,” try holding your phone up, at eye level.
It might feel strange at first, especially if you’re used to looking down at your screen. But over time, it will help keep your neck looking firm.
You know the importance of protecting your skin in the sun. This helps prevent premature aging and dark spots caused by UV rays.
But did you know that non-UV rays can also produce dark spots on the skin? A 2015 study showed exposure to non-UV light may result in skin hyperpigmentation. This is especially true if the exposure is frequent and long-lasting.5 Are you spending long hours on the phone? You may wind up developing dark spots on the exact parts of your face where you hold your phone.
A great way to avoid developing dark spots on your hands is…
To use that hands-free device (and of course, lots of sunscreen)!
Keeping your phone at a distance may help keep your skin spot-free.
Having a hard time making out what those tiny letters on your phone spell out? It might be time to increase the font size. You can do this in the “settings” section of your phone.
When letters are a little too small, and they often are on phones, it can lead to squinting. And squinting? Well, that can lead to the deepening of wrinkles around the eyes.
Increase your font size in your phone settings to avoid squinting!
And while you’re at it, adjust your screen’s brightness, so you can read with ease.
Dark Circles and Dull Skin
Phones and other electronic devices give off a particular blue glow. This can be detrimental to your sleep cycle. Blue light in electronic devices, including smartphones, prevents the release of melatonin. And melatonin is a natural hormone released in the body when it’s time to sleep.6 So, if you’re spending time looking at your phone right before bed, stop. Your sleep, and your skin, could be suffering.
Your skin does its most regenerative work when you’re asleep. A lack of sleep can actually compromise your skin’s health.7
So, for skin that glows, put away any electronic devices that glow several hours before bedtime.
A Healthy Complexion: Don’t Phone It In
Your phone spends a lot of up close and personal time with your face. So, make sure you’re practicing good phone hygiene. Keep your phone clean. Use a hands-free device. And adjust when and how long you use your phone. All these things will go a long way to helping you keep your skin looking healthy and youthful!
For more health and beauty tips, keep reading: