Mobile Phone Bad for Skin?

Stressed Skin? Your cell phone could be the culprit!

Are you battling with zits, blackheads and whiteheads on your cheeks that just won’t go away? Despite your basic skin-care routine and fortified crèmes, if these skin troubles keep on pestering you then perhaps it is your cell phone which is the actual culprit! Startling as this might be to your ears but researchers and dermatologists are waking up to the notion of skin troubles arising out of one’s cell phone use.

We are Conscious and Ignorant

Most of us, these days, have become hygiene conscious but we tend to overlook places or objects that have become a part and parcel of our lives. Smart phones and regular cell phones are no exception! The touchscreen and keypad of cellular phones are really ‘dirty’ places full of germs and bacteria.  The latter gets transferred to your fingers and cheeks every time you text or make/attend a call. The fine dust particles, grease n’ grime and germs clog your facial pores and lead to breakouts.

Another peculiar distressing skin condition which can occur in individuals is the presence of an unexplained rash on cheek or ear. Your classy looking cell phone can cause Contact Dermatitis.  It is a kind of skin allergy, which now-a-days, has been observed by doctors among people who spend long periods of their time on mobile phone.

The ‘mobile phone dermatitis’ is caused by the adverse reaction of nickel, present in the mobile phone handset. Getting contact dermatitis due to our skin’s reaction towards metals is not uncommon. However, as most people are not aware that their mobile handset has a nickel coating, they may ignore this skin trouble or try to attribute it to any unknown cause. Thus the problem, though common, goes unreported or untreated.  Women, in particular, are more prone to develop mobile phone dermatitis as they are more likely to have been previously sensitized to this metal, thanks to their usage of nickel-coated jewellery.

Radiation Damage

Besides damaging the complexion, the jazzy cell /smart phones can also affect your skin in ways that you would not have imagined. The flipside of these handheld technological wonders is that they emit artificial electromagnetic waves (AEW). Exposure to this type of radiation can cause heating of tissues. In a Finnish study, researchers have found some worrisome observations. Their study on the effect of cell-phone radiation on skin revealed that it may actually alter the structure of proteins found in the skin.  The fact that long term exposure of such radiation may cause skin cancers is also under consideration of doctors.

Given the widespread use of cell phones, exposure to AEW is inevitable. The latter has also been associated with premature ageing of the skin. Also, since these smart phones are an embedded part of our professional and personal lives, repeated frowning and squinting while looking at the mobile phone screens leads to early development of lines and wrinkles.

What is the Solution?

While the obvious solution to protect our skin from the above-mentioned damaging effects of smart or regular cell phones is to avoid their usage; it is a remedy easier said than done! In such a scenario, one must try to limit oneself and not use the mobile phone for long durations.  Also, it is extremely important to pep-up your skin’s care by following a daily routine.

The following tips will come handy:

  • Daily cleansing the face 2-3 times with a gentle cleanser to clean the clogged pores especially after long hours on phone.
  • Moisturizing the skin well with Vit. E and anti-oxidant based emollients. Not only will these keep your skin hydrated but also prevent it from premature ageing and early wrinkles.
  • Daily sun screening your skin with a good sun bloc to further boost your skin’s defense system.
  • Periodically clean the surface of screen and keypad of your cell phone with an alcohol wipe to prevent the accumulation of grim and germs.
  • Lastly, using a Bluetooth or earphone instead of placing the phone’s metallic body close to your ear and cheek to avoid any possibility of contact dermatitis.

Stay beautiful.

This article has been contributed by Dr Indu Tolani a dermatologist at Clinic Dermatech Delhi. She can be contacted at –

Dr Indu Tolani
D1 3rd Floor
Defense Colony
New Delhi 110024
Phone: 011-41550504
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