Did you know that we spend approximately 23 hours online each week[i]? For many of us, accessing the internet on tablets, smartphones and laptops is an integral part of our daily routine, but could exposing our skin to digital screens so often be harming our skin? Here we explore the skin complaints linked to computer and mobile phone use.
IS YOUR PHONE A HOT SPOT FOR ACNE?
Acne can affect anyone of any age and is often caused by the skin over-producing an oil called sebum. Sebum attracts acne-forming bacteria and some believe that using a mobile phone regularly could expose the skin to a multitude of microorganisms, increasing the likelihood of acne developing.
In 2017 researchers explored the link between mobile phone use and acne and discovered that the blue light emitted by smartphones could indeed be helping acne bacteria to multiply on the skin[ii]. So, should we be concerned?
The reality is, further research is needed before we can conclusively say that smartphone use contributes to acne. Whilst blue light might help bacteria to breed on the skin, researchers have pointed out that UV light is much stronger than mobile light and, as such, it’s hard to identify which has a greater impact on acne growth[ii].
What we do know is that our phones harbour many forms of common bacteria[iii] so be sure to wipe the screen regularly and wash your face twice a day with an antibacterial face wash that is designed to control the spread of acne bacteria.
In 2017 researchers explored the link between mobile phone use and acne and discovered that the blue light emitted by smartphones could help acne bacteria to multiply on the skin[ii]
IS SCREEN USE SKIN AGEING?
Recent news reports have suggested that light emitted by computer devices could have a skin ageing effect that is equal to UV light.
According to reports, when we expose our skin to mobile devices we deplete the number of free-radical fighting antioxidants present in our skin. The reports claim that this increases the number of free radicals which are known to damage skin tissues and contribute to skin ageing.
We explored the evidence and several scientific papers have been published linking blue light to a decrease in levels of antioxidants[iv], as well as several age-related medical conditions[v].
The good news is that we can support our bodies to fight off free radicals by eating a diet rich in leafy green vegetables, bright fruits and berries. These are all good sources of beta carotene, an antioxidant known to help shield skin fibres from free radical attack and protect against collagen loss and cell mutation.
Unfortunately, over-cooking food can deplete the number of antioxidants we get from our diet, but taking an antioxidant food supplement can compensate for this.
Our Age Defy + Green Beauty capsules contain an antioxidant called Astaxanthin which is thought to be 10 times stronger than beta-carotene. Applying an antioxidant serum could further help to shield skin from screen glare and UV light.
CAN TECHNOLOGY EXACERBATE ECZEMA?
Data suggests that our increasing reliance on technology has caused an increase in cases of the skin condition, allergic contact dermatitis[vi] .
According to one report, the increase could be caused by phone manufactures using Nickel, a common skin allergen, in mobile handsets[vi]. According to the National Eczema Society, Nickel is a known trigger for allergic hand eczema, a condition that can make the hands feel dry, sore and itchy[vii].
They advise anyone concerned about hand eczema to consult a dermatologist for patch testing and advice on managing the condition.
Can’t cope without your phone? Eczema can be triggered by many factors and, whilst as many as 10% of people are allergic to nickel[viii], it is not necessarily Nickel that is aggravating your skin. Using hand soaps containing SLS, Triclosan and fragrance can dry out the skin and sensitive skin may also react to fragranced hand lotions.
To help keep your hands healthy and hydrated when using mobile devices, consider switching to a scent free hand wash and hand cream. Made without SLS or Triclosan, our Neutral Scent Free Hand Wash is pH-balanced to gently cleanse sensitive skin. After drying your hands apply our Neutral Scent Free Hand & Body Lotion to lock moisture into the skin.
Do you feel like screen use has affected your skin? Let us know by using #GreenYourRoutine on social, or leave us a comment below.