Skin experts are starting to see cases where our technology – computers, cell phones, tablets, even our keyboards, headphones, and fitness trackers – are wreaking havoc with our skin. And these experts are predicting that the younger generation, the ones most strongly attached to these devices, will eventually suffer the most, experiencing premature aging and other skin issues at an earlier age.
So how do we avoid this and maintain our youthful glow? Obviously, no one is giving up their electronic devices any time soon. But by being fully aware of what type of harm they can cause to our skin – and incorporating therapies like Steamtherapy as part of a routine to help limit the damage – we may be able to combat some of technology’s effects.
Damage Caused by Blue Light and Electronic Magnetic Fields
The blue light we absorb daily as a result of exposure to our devices, which is known as high-energy visible (HEV) light, penetrates deeper than the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, into the sub-tissue of our skin, creating a certain type of free radical. Some researchers are even reporting that four hours spent in front of a screen may be as harmful as a full day in the sun. This is because the light can lead to a breakdown of collagen and elastic, causing irritation, redness, and hyper pigmentation.
In addition, electronic magnetic fields (EMFs) can also damage skin cells. The electromagnetic field can alter the minerals in the skin, actually affecting your DNA.
And then, there is the damage caused by blue light exposure at night. New research shows that most of us are taking our phones into our bedrooms, using them as alarm clocks or checking them during the night. This disturbs our sleep, which is detrimental to overall health. But in terms of our skin, it also affects the amount of sebum the skin produces, which can cause acne. The chronic insomnia and sleep deprivation caused by overexposure to this blue light is also associated with eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and skin aging.
So how do I protect myself?
Here are some ways you can help combat the issues caused by your computer’s light:
- Turn down the brightness of your devices
- Apply a protective moisturizer such as lutein (a free-radical-busting carotenoid) and beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A (retinol).
- Steamtherapy Tip! Before applying moisturizer, steam will help open your pores so that your moisturizer will penetrate more deeply into your skin’s sub-tissue. Read more: Get Your Glow Back with Steam Therapy.
- Facials will stimulate your skin’s lymphatic drainage system, helping your skin release the build up of toxins
- Steamtherapy Tip! Steam is particularly helpful in eliminating toxins from the body. Read more: Five Ways Steam Helps Boost Fitness and Wellness
- Remove your devices from the bedroom.
- Avoid using any light-emitting devices some time before sleep, to prepare brain and body for sleep.
- Steamtherapy Tip! Taking a steambath before bed helps you relax, promoting a better night’s sleep – particularly when you incorporate aromatherapy into the steam, or use MusicTherapy to listen to soothing music. Read more: Steam Your Way to the Sleep of Your Dreams
Damage Caused by Bending and Squinting
It’s a common enough sight – a group of young people huddled over their devices, checking their phones, iPads, or the laptops which rest in their laps. Even if we ignore the social implications, the long-term damage this stance creates is accelerating the gravity on our lower faces, throats and upper necks – which will eventually translate into a combination of drooping jowls, sagging skin and a crease above the clavicle bone – all contributing to an aging neck. Dermatologists have dubbed this phenomenon “tech neck” – and it is happening with ever increasing frequency in individuals as young as 18 to 39.
In addition, we’re all squinting at the small screen – and often frowning when the messages we’re reading or watching are negative. This effects muscle movement, causes repetitive strain on our skin, and is speeding up the incidence of fine lines, deep wrinkles, frown lines, turkey neck and crow’s feet.
So how do I protect myself?
There are some steps you can take to prevent this premature aging of neck and face:
- Be aware of how you are holding your devices. Position them so that your chin stays parallel to the ground.
- Increase the font size to be able to read what’s on the screen more easily. Look away regularly.
- Regularly exercise your facial muscles by smiling, yawning, or chatting (yes, actually talking) to friends and colleagues. Stretch those muscles!
- Steamtherapy tip! After stretching, steam can help relax and restore tired muscles. Read more: Physical Therapist Praises the Benefits of Steam
- As with blue light, use skin products with retinol to keep your skin supple.
- Steamtherapy Tip! Steam helps open your pores so that you can better absorb skin products.
Damage Caused by Dirty Devices
Did you know that research shows our digital devices can carry more germs and bacterial than the average toilet seat? The accumulated filth and our constant use of phones, keyboards, headphones and activity trackers can result in the transfer of bacteria to our fingers, cheeks, temples, and chins. The result? An increase in acne seen around the ear, jaw-line and side of the face, as well as contact and irritant dermatitis – chronic rashes manifested by redness, scaling, and itching.
Our fingers are covered with oils that we need to protect them from the environment, which can help transfer anything they touch to everything they touch. If you touch your fingers to your face, you’re not only being exposed to your natural oils, but also to whatever you’ve come into contact with.
So how do I protect myself?
- Avoid holding your phone up to your face.
- Clean your phone, keyboards, and other peripherals regularly, using antibacterial wipes.
- Keep your skin clean as well.
- Steamtherapy tip! A daily steambath will deep cleanse the pores on your face and help avoid acne.
Avoid the Issues Technology Can Cause
We realize that everyone’s lives have grown so interconnected and our devices have become indispensable in many of our lives, and that we will keep using them, no matter what. But being aware of the dangers they can cause to our skin – and by using some simple MrSteam tips to minimize the damage, including incorporating Steamtherapy into your daily routine – we may help keep early aging at bay and keep our skin fresh and beautiful!