Is Extended Computer Use Making You Ugly?

Our obsession with social media sees us either hooked to a mobile, a tablet, or a laptop on the way to work and then logged onto our computers as soon as we arrive in the office.

According to figures, we are awake for just 15 hours and 45 minutes a day yet nearly 45% of that time is spent looking at a screen. Our wish to cram as much media into a short space of time has even lead to a new term, 'media stacking' which refers to the way in which we use a laptop while keeping an eye on the telly, texting and checking our Facebook updates.  

Tech Time Exposure

What are the consequences for such extended computer use? Only 15 years ago, it was uncommon for the average household to have their own computer, yet now most families have one at home as well as a mini version with them when they are on the go. Computers are even strapped to our wrists as the new 'Smart Watches' are developed to transmit data between computers to watches.  

According to an article in the Cosmopolitan, our obsession with technology is affecting our looks. We are all aware that being on a computer makes us more sedentary and less active, but have you ever considered what the excessive screen time does to your face and over all complexion? 

  • Frown lines - looking down at a small screen and reading small text and concentrating can lead to frown lines just in between the brow. These are quite natural and develop over time but according to the article, brow frowns are appearing in younger people, earlier on. 
  • Wrinkles - similarly, excessive squinting at a small screen to read texts and emails can lead to an increase in wrinkles around the eye area, commonly known as 'crows feet' or 'smile lines'. We naturally acquire these with age, but apparantly they are coming sooner than expected. 
  • Jowl droop - when we look down for a long time with our chin on our chest, we are affecting the natural posture of the head and neck. This, frighteningly, can encourage the jowl effect - when the skin around the chin loses its elasticity and can become loose. This, again is associated with aging bit is apparantly speeding up due to excessive technology use.  
  • Dark circles - the artificial light of a computer screen can suppress the production of melatonin which is a major player in controlling sleep cycles. 95% of Americans have admitted to using electronics an hour before going to bed which leads to poor quality sleep. Dark circles and tiredness can affect the vitality of otherwise healthy faces.
  • Bacteria - studies have shown that most Smart phones, tablets and laptops carry bacteria - up to 7,000 different types have been found in a recent study. One report suggested that our phone, keyboard or tablet contained more bacteria than a public toilet. If we have a bacteria ridden phone near our skin, we are exposing our skin to bacteria and making ourselves more prone to outbreaks.  

What can you do? 

Keep your equipment clean with a regular anti-bacterial wash and maintain a good facial cleansing routine.

Try and be aware of your posture when using technology. Implement facial exercises too into your day to make sure your social media habits are not affecting the elasticity in your skin.

Drink lots of water to flush any impurities from your skin, and try and have a 'social media holiday' every once in a while. The worried, distracted brow frown is never a good look! 



Image 1: attribution to tcawireless .com/blog/

Image 2: creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by RLJ Photography NYC: