How Your Phone is Messing with Your Skin

Your phone might be messing with your skin. Your phone might be messing with your skin. You feel panicked without it. But your lifeline to your friends, family, and work can be seriously messing with your skin.

By Nicole Catanese

1. Squinting to read the small type on your screen

HOW IT'S MESSING WITH YOU "I have a surge of 20somethings coming in with crow's-feet and 11 lines-the vertical furrows between the brows-which normally don't show up until your 30s or 40s," says NYC derm Dendy Engelman, MD.

QUICK FIX Increase your font size to "Grandma" (20 points or bigger), and up your screen's brightness. If Botox seems extreme, try a moisturizer made with argireline (like DDF's, right), which temporarily "freezes" muscle movements. "Some studies show up to a 60 percent reduction in wrinkle depth in one month," says Dr. Engelman.

Related: 9 Genius Beauty Rules Every Girl Should Live By

2. You talk long enough for your phone to get hot while chatting.

HOW IT'S MESSING WITH YOU "Prolonged exposure to heat from any source can increase melanin production in that area," says Dr. Engelman. If brown spots and an uneven tone aren't bad enough, there's this: Research shows they can make you look up to 10 years older.

QUICK FIX A headset (or speakerphone) is your best bet. A brightening cream (look for ingredients like licorice, as in this CC cream, and vitamin C) can fade unwanted spots.

3. You must read that last work e-mail (or tweet or text) before bed.

HOW IT'S MESSING WITH YOU Artificial light from your smartphone messes with your body's ability to produce melatonin, the chemical responsible for making you sleepy, notes research out of Harvard Medical School. "The large amount of blue-spectrum light emitted by these devices, especially when held close to our eyes, can disrupt the natural sleep cycle," says David N. Neubauer, MD, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center. Not good for beauty sleep.

QUICK FIX If you have trouble shutting down before bed, Dr. Neubauer suggests you dim the intensity of your phone's light, or make use of the invert-colors feature (it turns your screen black and fonts white)-both reduce the brightness and amount of blue light. Blue-light-blocking screen covers (find them at LowBlueLights.com) also help.

4. Pressing your face against your phone (telltale sign: oil or makeup slicks on your screen)

HOW IT'S MESSING WITH YOU The touch-screen trend has caused a rise in acne in the phone zone: temples, cheeks, and chin. "The dirt and bacteria that live on your screen are transferred to your skin when you talk on the phone, which may lead to infection," says NYC derm Doris Day, MD.

QUICK FIX Use earbuds, and clean your phone daily with an antibacterial wipe, advises NYC derm Neal Schultz, MD. (We like GoSwype, $2.) Try benzoyl-peroxide lotion (like Proactiv+, left) or glycolic-acid face pads to keep pores clear.

Related: 7 New Ways to Beat Acne

5. Constantly looking down to refresh your Instagram feed and group-chat with your girls

HOW IT'S MESSING WITH YOU It's called text neck-a slack, untoned neck and jawline caused by a breakdown in collagen and elastin. "Those tiny fibers have only a finite number of times they can fold," says Dr. Engelman. "The constant up-and-down movement weakens that support structure."

QUICK FIX Hold your phone at eye level to minimize folding, and apply a skin-firming, peptide-rich cream on your jawline and neck twice a day. Those with high levels of Matrixyl-aka Pal-KTTKS-(like the one at left) can nearly double collagen production, according to a study in Molecular Pharmaceutics.


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