We live in a hyper connected world which is overrun by technology such as laptops, smartphones and other gadgets. Easy access to all this technology has now made simple mundane tasks easier to manage and helped us become more adept at multi-tasking. Research has shown that people aged 18 to 39 have an average of 3 digital devices, and will stare at a mobile device for almost 3 hours a day. In addition, 45% of an average person’s day is spent surfing the web, emailing, texting, listening to music or on social media. Although the rise in digital and online use has increased, it does not come without its consequences. Small portable gadgets such as smartphones and tablets have been known to disrupt your social life, cause bad posture and interrupt your sleep however recently these useful gadgets can now be the cause of premature ageing.
Looking down at your gadgets, texting or scrolling through Instagram will contribute to more lines and wrinkles forming on your neck, this is commonly known as “tech neck”. This phenomenon causes signs of ageing as our bodies were not meant to carry the head at the 45 degree angles we use to look down at our devices. It causes stress on the musculature of the neck and distorts the skin to appear untoned and slack. The best way to combat this is to hold your gadget at a neutral eye level to avoid looking down and allowing your skin to fold, thus avoiding those dreaded signs of ageing. Similarly, squinting while reading tablets, phones and computer screens also contribute to the appearance of crow’s feet around the eyes. Make sure you have a proper glare to avoid this. If you need or are worried about these premature signs of ageing, MZ Skin’s Hydra-Bright Golden Eye Treatment Mask (£65 for 5 pairs) is a wonderful at home treatment that will act to smooth and minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with intense hydration. It also functions to diminish dark circles. Follow with Soothe & Smooth Collagen Activating Eye Complex (£90) to help maintain hydration, restore moisture and create a suppler area around the eyes.
It may sound unlikely but holding the phone to your ear can increase skin allergies and outbreaks. Theses gadgets carry so much bacteria from dirty hands all day long, sweat and make up. The accumulation of these agents can significantly affect the skin so it is important to regularly clean your screen and you could additionally invest in earphones or a wireless headset. MZ Skin Cleanse & Clarify Dual Action AHA Cleanser & Mask (£56) is a great product that will help remove all that daily grime and dirt while refining pores. It uses a highly effective blend of AHAs and Papaya Fruit enzyme that removes dead skin cells and boosts cell renewal, while deeply exfoliating without being abrasive.
Fatigued eyes are the next common complaint and are becoming more frequent with increased screen time that adults and children are exposed to. Mechanically, when you are sitting in front of the computer screen or staring at any screen, we tend to blink less often and this leads to dry, irritated and sometimes red eyes. It is important to remember not to stare and to blink more frequently. Lifting your head periodically and looking up at something in the distance helps redistribute the tear film. Using eye drops like artificial tears can help to lubricate the eye and diminish eye strain. Decreasing screen time can also be a huge plus!
Another problem any light emitting gadget can cause is a disruption in the way one sleeps. It can disturb the circadian rhythm which is why it can be more difficult to fall asleep. Constant exposure to blue light from gadgets suppressed the production of the hormone that our bodies produce to maintain sleep cycles (melatonin) and can therefore disrupt our internal clocks needed to get a good night’s sleep.