Are you suffering with a digital beauty disorder? 

Are you suffering with a digital beauty disorder?
Digital addiction is beauty's new battleground Credit: REX

With pollution and stress levels at an all-time high, beauty doesn’t need a new battleground. However, we’ve got one nonetheless. Coined as 'digital dependence', our constant desire to be 'switched on' and attached to our phones, tablets and laptops is having an overwhelmingly negative affect on our skin.

In fact, just the light emitting from the screen you’re reading this on is said to be more toxic to your complexion than sunlight.

Furthermore, with studies indicating that we spend more time staring at screens than we do sleeping, a myriad of other effects are also coming to light. These digital skincare disorders haven’t escaped the beauty industry. So before you pack away your phone and laptop in a panic, swat up on our beauty tech survival guide. 

How to defend against the tech neck

This is the digital disorder you’ve most likely heard of. Bandied about by dermatologists and cosmetic doctors, tech neck refers to the increase of sagging jowls due the repetitive motion of quick-drawing your smartphone like a Wild West gunslinger and gazing down at it .

“This position applies an excess pressure of up to 50 pounds on bones and muscle around our neck, which are only meant to handle 10-12 pounds" explains Ada Ooi, international facialist.

“Incorporating a daily 10-to-15 minute facial massage when applying your skincare products to your neck and jawline is a great way of training muscles to prevent sagging” she advises.

For those who have a little more time to spare, Decléor’s new Facial Pilate sessions, £75 for 1 hour 15 minutes, are like a gym membership for your face and neck. Ironing out creases via a set of deep pressure massages and a blend of essential oils, the treatment consists of a Warmup, Workout and Stretching, focusing on the 52 core facial muscles and harnessing the power of essential oils.

For those who aren't the type to swoon at the scent of sandalwood and a massage table, kit your bathroom out with Crystal Clear's Rewind10 Super Sonic Neck Firm and Lift Duo, £89.99. It’s Neck Wand is the star product as sonic vibrations help the skincare formulation to reach the deepest layers of your skin.

Similarly Prai, the skincare brand now regarded as the ’neck-xperts’ have a released a Throat Ionic Device, £99.99, which instead uses iontophoresis technology, a type of electric therapy, to positively charge the serum so it absorbs deeper into the skin. Ultimately, it makes crepey skin that resembles parchment paper that little bit peachier.

Of course, prevention is better than cure, so get into the habit of looking at screens at eye level advises Dr Zamani. It will save you time and money, which is far less of a pain in the neck.

What is digital pollution? 

Staying indoors may avoid the onslaught of outside air pollution, but if you’re starring at a screen for eight hour plus, you’re replacing it with a different kind. “The blue light and electromagnetic radiation from screens wreaks havoc with our ageing process” reveals Dr Murad, dermatologist and founder of Murad Skincare.

“The light emitted has a wavelength of 380-500nm making it one of the shortest, highest-energy wavelengths. A type of ‘visible light’, it penetrates skin more deeply than UVB and UVA and has been shown to generate more ROS (reactive oxygen species) than both UVB and UVA combined."

Credit: Rex

And if that wasn’t bad enough, excessive blue light also accelerates the oxidation process, as it affects melatonin, causing hyperpigmentation and eliciting inflammation. Vitamin C is your saviour here as it helps to counteract the effects of dullness. "You also need to take hydration seriously to help cope with the inflammation and keep the skin’s barrier strong," advises Murad.

For facialist Annee De Mamiel, dullness caused by smartphones is so prominent, she can tell jut by looking at your face which side you press your phone on. It's one of the reasons she's developed her Amospheriques range, which uses natural ingredients, mostly antioxidants, and is designed to tackle digital pollution. 

Alongside this she advocates her clients undergo a digital detox as often as possible. "Use a landline at home and at work where possible, and make good use of your headphones when you take a call on your iPhone," she says. 

Elsewhere, De Sebagh now offers treatments via consultation for pigmentation of the skin that caused by light blue damage. His Supreme Day Cream, £145 , which contains a melanin complex that protects against HEV (high intensity blue light) and is designed to be worn like an SPF.

How to prevent bacteria breakouts

When was the last night you cleaned your iPhone?  If your mind draws a blank, the chances are it's harbouring more bacteria than your toilet seat. Touchscreens contain large numbers of bacteria on their surface precisely because you’re constantly touching them. 

Added to which, placing your phone against your cheek creates pressure that may activate your oil-producing or sebaceous glands. 

Combine this with heat generated from your phone and bacteria on the phone surface, and you have the perfect recipe for acne.

“Fight this by keeping some antibacterial cleansing wipes handy to clean the phone surface regularly," advises Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation spokesperson. 

Soothe tired eyes 

Over the years Dr Ravi Jain, has noticed a sharp increase of patients of who suffer from eye fatigue. What shocks him more however, is that these patients are unable to identify the signs of screen strained eyes.

"We've  turned patients away from botox or more strenuous treatments purely because it is related to digital beauty disorders and not ageing.  There are plenty of topical solutions and facials that work well enough to  alleviate the problem  so you shouldn't need to embark on more advanced procedures," he explains.

How can you tell the difference between screen strain and simple ageing?  "Sore eyes  and a general look of tiredness are caused by moisture loss around the eyes which is the result of starring at screens. Ageing tends to be the fine lines that appear around the eyes such as crows feet, however the loss of moisture loss  can accentuate these lines"  

Dr Jain warns. While remedies such as The  HydraFacial or Rodial Dragon’s Blood Eye Mask, £39, bring instant relief, above everything else, he says regular breaks are paramount.

"Turn off all screens after 7pm and don't look at them first thing when your eyes are adjusting to waking up, it's cause extra stress."