Did you know your cellphone is damaging your skin? Here's how

Skin damage

We live in an age where we can’t live without our devices, be it our phones, laptops, iPads and Kindles. While these devices make our lives easier in many ways, they are also the culprit behind various health and mental issues, including laziness, insomnia, anxiety, negative body image and even skin damage.

Yes, the blue light from your TV, computer, and smartphone, a.k.a. high-energy visible (HEV) light penetrates the skin more deeply than UV rays, thus causing damage to your collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. It’s been said that cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than a public toilet seat. When we put our phones to our ears a lot of that bacteria, along with sweat, oils and makeup, comes into contact with your skin, and could potentially lead to breakouts.

We spoke to beauty mogul Shahnaz Husain to understand how our phones can damage our skin and ways we can avoid related skin issues.

How our phones and other devices are harming our skin:

“Several studies are being conducted on the emitted radiation of electromagnetic rays and its impact, not only on the skin, but on our health too. According to one of the studies, our mobile phone screens emit blue light, which are damaging to the skin, like exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.”

“We are also exposed to the heat of mobile phones on the side of the face, while we are using them. As a cosmetologist, I always advised my clients to apply sunscreen before going out in the sun, to keep the skin protected from UV rays. Little did we know that the skin is exposed to the same kind of skin damage from mobile phones and other gadgets.”

Skin problems that can be caused due to our phones:

“There are fears that the incidence of skin diseases and dermatitis may be increasing due to the long term use of mobile phones. Cell phones are also known to lead to acne or aggravate an acne condition. Actually, cell phones can contain a lot of germs. If you have dandruff, the flakes from the hairline can also be conveyed to the side of the face, leading to pimples and acne. Sebum (the skin and scalp’s natural oil) from the hair can increase oiliness on the face and clog the pores, leading to blackheads and even acne.”

“Exposure to radiation and blue light, as well as the long duration of calls can also lead to hyper-pigmentation, i.e. dark patches and spots on the skin. Doctors also believe that the constant squinting to read messages on the phone, some of them in small font sizes, can also cause premature lines on the forehead and crow’s feet at the outer corners of the eyes. Over time, these tiny wrinkles and lines, or visible ageing signs, become permanent and that too, prematurely. Experts also believe that the blue light may even be leading to sagging skin, caused by breakdown of collagen and gradual loss of skin elasticity.”

Skin damage

How to avoid these skin issues:

“The obvious way to avoid these skin problems is to decrease the use of the mobile phone and the duration of the calls. A “hands-free” device would also help to put a greater distance between the phone and the face. Clean the phone daily. If you have oily or acne prone skin, wipe your face with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool, to reduce oil. Apply a sunscreen, as it may provide some protection from the blue light emitted by these gadgets.”

Products that can help repair your skin:

“A sunscreen may be applied on the face and hands for protection. An astringent lotion would be needed. A facial scrub would help to keep the pores unclogged and also lighten dark spots. For dark patches, anti-pigmentation gel, cream and serum are also available. If there are premature ageing signs around eyes, apply an under-eye gel or cream daily and wipe it off after 15 minutes. Under- eye seaweed masks also help. Regular facials help to keep wrinkles and lines at bay and strengthen collagen.”

Home remedies that can help maintain a healthy skin:

“For your eyes: Apply pure almond oil, daily but sparingly (very little quantity), around eyes and massage it lightly on the skin, using only the ring finger, for one minute under each eye. Massage in one direction only. Leave on for 15 minutes and wipe off gently with moist cotton wool. You can also mix cucumber juice and potato juice in equal quantities. Apply under eyes daily for 20 minutes. Wash off with water.”

“For oily and acne prone skin: Mix multani mitti (Fuller’s Earth) with rose water into a paste and apply on the face. Wipe it off when it dries.”

“For a facial scrub mix ground almonds with curd and a pinch of turmeric and apply on the face. Rub gently on dark patches and spots and wash off with water.”