From Phacne To Tech Neck: Is Your Smartphone Prematurely Aging You?

As if the double act of Mother Nature and Father Time weren’t enough of a war on your face, modern living has created yet another culprit to unfairly mess with your skin: your smartphone.

Face it, like most of the population, you’re addicted to your cell phone, right? From checking Instagram 20 times a day, to endlessly scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, via answering emails and watching stupid videos that mean nothing to anyone, we’d bet our bottom dollars that your little bundle of tech joy is never far from your fingers and thumbs.

And while we are never going to undermine the importance of staying in touch with friends and keeping abreast of global news, it’s important to know, too much phone action could be playing havoc with your skin.

Here’s how…


While you might keep a scrupulously clean house and rate personal hygiene as an absolute must, everyone’s cell phone is, without doubt, extremely dirty. They literally invite makeup, sebum and environmental pollution to come and have a party with them every single day. And when you couple this with the fact that rarely does anyone ever clean their screens? Well, you’ve got a bunch of veritable bacteria magnets right there.

What does this mean for your skin? Bacteria and build-up can easily transfer from phone to face, therefore clogging your pores and potentially leading to breakouts – especially around the cheek and jaw area. Say hello to phone acne – aka phacne.

The Fix: The easiest and most effective way to stop phacne in its tracks is to go hands-free. And make sure you never go to bed without a good cleanse. We love Alastin Gentle Cleanser because it helps remove impurities and build-up without drying or irritating the skin.

Screen Squint

There’s no doubt about it: squinting = fine lines and wrinkles. Like any repeated facial expression, squinting or frowning (which many of us do while concentrating) will inevitably end up giving you premature lines on your forehead and/or around the eyes.

The Fix: Also known as ‘computer face,’ one simple trick for staving off screen squint is to make sure you take regular breaks from your phone. Come on, we know you can do it;) During breaks, try gently massaging your face using small circular motions with the pads of your fingers, working from your chin up to your forehead. Also, injectable toxins such as Botox, Dysport and Xeomin are the bomb at dealing with crow’s feet and frown lines. Just saying.

Phine Lines And Premature Wrinkles

We hope, by now, that you’re vigilant about protecting your skin from UV radiation on a daily basis, but did you know there’s another enemy that’s just as damaging? This beast we speak of is high-energy visible (HEV) light or blue light. HEV primarily comes from the sun, but is also emitted by your smartphone or computer screen and is not far behind UV when it comes to aging up your skin. Recent studies show it may play a major part in causing premature age spots, collagen damage, fine lines (or phine lines as we like to call them), wrinkling and hyperpigmentation.

The Fix: Again, go hands-free to increase the space between your phone and your skin. Also make sure your skin is given a daily dose of antioxidant protection which can help reverse damage as well as protect and brighten your skin. And don’t forget the sunscreen – try ZO Skin Health Daily Sheer Broad Spectrum SPF50 which protects from UVA, UVB and HEV light. Dang.

Tech Neck

Looking down for prolonged periods is not only terrible for the muscles in your back and neck, but can also cause sagging, wrinkling and visible rings around your neck. Gasp. Since the skin on your neck is thinner and more sensitive than other areas, persistently folding it in a repetitive motion, like looking down, takes its toll. It doesn’t do any favors for your profile, either (hello double chin) and can add decades to your posture (as we all know, the human head weights a whopping ten pounds, a fact courtesy of Jerry McGuire.)

The Fix: Keep your phone at eye level when you use it and apply neck cream twice daily, using gentle but firm pressing motions that don’t tug the skin. At the doctor’s office, while they’ve not been FDA-approved for the neck, injectable toxins are often used for diminishing fine, horizontal creases on the neck known as platysmal bands. Great caution should always be taken, however, because injections in the neck can lead to difficulty swallowing when administered incorrectly. The procedure requires precision, extreme skill and proper dosage, so employing an experienced, knowledgeable injector is absolutely imperative.

Another option for tightening saggy neck skin is Ultherapy. Using ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen production and effectively lift, firm and tighten the skin, Ultherapy has been FDA-cleared to treat skin on the neck, chin, eyebrow and décolletage area.