Dr Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, has shared why one should not use too much gadgets and some preventive measures.
It is quite difficult to even imagine life without electronic gadgets today. They are everywhere, from helping you in making housework easy to help you work from a remote location. In this fast-paced world, gadgets are not an accessory, they are now a necessity. From young boys and girls to adults, everybody relies on various gadgets such as computers, tablets, phones, etc. to make their life easier and gadgets do their part beautifully. However, like everything else, there is a downside of the prolonged use of devices like mobiles and laptops.
In a recent study, it was found that modern young adults’ glances at their phone more than 157 times a day and older people tend to check their phone about 60 times a day. This frequency increases when they are stressed or anxious about something. Apart from causing eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes, continuous and constant use of gadgets damages the skin too. Dermatologists worldwide have cautioned about a new pattern of hyperpigmentation, breakouts, early ageing that is emerging with the constant use of gadgets.
There are three main culprits to it:
1. The good and bad of blue light
The blue light is a high energy light with a short wavelength. There are two types of blue light: the natural one that makes the sky appear blue and the artificial one that adds the glare, flicker, and brightness to the fluorescent and LED lighting, flat-screen TVs, HD TV screens, mobiles, laptops, electronic notebooks, and other digital devices etc. The good blue light is emitted from the sun is essential for our good mood, improving memory, improving the sleep and wake cycle (the circadian rhythm, and staying alert. The high energy visible (HEV) blue light from our gadgets penetrates deeper into our skin than the UV rays and leads to:
Elastin, hyaluronic acid and collagen damage under the skin leading to skin sagging
Pigment changes (melasma)
Suppressed supply of melatonin, which disturbs the body’s circadian rhythm and causing sleep deprivation, which in turn results in puffy eyes, dehydrated skin, and dry circles
Redness, swelling and inflammation
Dry and itchy eyes and continuous exposure to blue light can even lead to retinal damage.
2. The infamous tech neck
Looking down on the smartphone and the laptop can lead to permanent wrinkles around the chin and neck and cause the skin around the jowls and lower face to sag. This has nowadays become a common phenomenon with people under the age of thirty. The biggest downside? There is no treatment for this kind of permanent damage to the skin except for expensive and aggressive treatments like lasers and fillers.
3. The phones are a hotbed for the breeding of germs.
The phones carry more bacteria than a public toilet seat. The more time the phone screen spends glued to your face, the higher are the chances of acne and blemishes. The sweat and germs on the phone cause the pores to clog leading to pimples, acne cysts, and painful bumps on the skin that might leave a scar behind.
We understand that you cannot just stop using the gadgets, but you do some preventive things at home to prevent the damage to your skin:
1. Use a speaker button or a good quality earphone if you are having long conversations on the phone.
2. Hold your phone up instead of looking down onto it.
3. Try not to stare at the phone screen late at night or the first thing in the morning. Give your eyes and skin a chance to rest.
4. If you have to read something on the mobile then zoom the fonts, or stream the mobile screen on the big screen of the laptop or TV.
5. Turn off notifications, Wi-Fi, and the screen at least two hours before bedtime in order to regulate your sleep pattern.
6. Wear sunscreen indoors while using the devices. Normal sunscreens don’t protect against HEV light, look for a vegetable-derived form of melanin as an ingredient in your ‘gadget wear’ sunscreen.
7. Use a night serum or moisturizer before going to bed in order to fortify the skin’s defense mechanism against HEV, infrared, pollution, stress-induced damage.
8. Stop looking at your phone at least an hour before bedtime and try to hold off your nighttime skincare routine to till after you have switched off the gadgets.
9. Keep the devices away from the bed.
10. Make a schedule to check social media messages and limit screen time
11. Keep your phone, TV, laptop brightness to a minimum and opt for dark mode on the screen
12. Use a red night light for the bedroom.
You can also help your skin and eyes by using the following home remedies:
1. Soak some almonds in milk overnight. Make a paste out of it in the morning and apply around the eyes as a pack. This will refresh the eyes and reduce dark circles.
2. Give your eyes a rest by using the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes, you spend on looking at the screen, stare at a faraway wall for 20 seconds, and blink for 20 seconds.
3. Use cucumber or cold spoons around the eyes and avoid rubbing your eyes.
4. A marigold face pack will help prevent photo-aging and boost collagen production in the skin. Make the pack by cursing two marigold flowers and mixing them with half a tablespoon of yogurt. Apply on face and leave for 20 minutes before washing. Do this three times a week.
5. Neem, tulsi, and turmeric face pack helps reduce the sign of aging, inflammation and improve collagen and elastin production. Grind tulsi leaves, neem leaves, a teaspoon of turmeric and yogurt to make a smooth paste. Apply on the face and let it dry before washing. Do this thrice a week.
6. A gooseberry and curd face pack will tighten the skin. Use it twice a week
7. Use gua sha rollers or jade rollers for a lymphatic massage. This will help drain the free radicals caused by exposure to blue light.
8. Eat pigmented fruits and veggies like blackberry, eggplant, figs, grapes, raisins, red cabbage etc.
Dr. Debraj Shome is Director and Co founder of The Esthetic Clinics. He has been rated amongst the top surgeons in India by multiple agencies. The Esthetic Clinics patients include many international and national celebrities who prefer to opt for facial cosmetic surgery and facial plastic surgery in Mumbai because The Esthetic Clinics has its headquarters there.