Beauty Wellness

How Your Smartphone Is Aging Your Skin (and How to Fix It)

woman texting on her smartphone

image: Imaxtree

In a world where everyone is glued to their cell phones, it’s easy to forget that these devices can be damaging to our health and appearance — and not just because our dependence on them is often linked to stress. Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank gives us the breakdown on how gadgets may be responsible for some of our breakouts, fine lines and enlarged pores, and what can be done to treat them. Here’s to no longer putting off that tech detox

Phone Zone Acne

“The area from the temple to the chin, referred to as the ‘phone zone,’ is prone to breakouts,” says Frank. “Your phone holds on to germs and these germs can be transferred onto your skin. To reduce breakouts, it is important to exfoliate the skin and balance oily skin, which can worsen the condition. Make sure to clean your phone often to rid it of germs and keep your face fresh.”

He also recommends using a spot treatment like La Roche-Posay Effaclar K Acne Treatment, since it contains salicylic acid to treat breakouts and pores. It also works to keep skin clear of blackheads and whiteheads.

Text Neck

“Double chins and sagging above the collarbone from constantly looking down at computers and iPads are more visible in the younger demographic,” says Frank. For younger skin, Frank recommends Exilis Elite, which tones skin and increases cellular production. “Exilis Elite delivers improved, pain-free results in half the time and number of treatments. The treatment is safe and takes as little as two treatments on the face and four treatments on the body. Patients will see results in one to two weeks without visible downtime.”

He also notes that holding your phone low and constantly looking down can cause the collagen in your neck to break down and create an undesirable turkey-looking neck called “text neck” or “tech neck.” To reduce text neck, try to hold your phone/tablet at eye level.


Squinting to read texts and emails can cause crow’s-feet and wrinkles to form around your eyes. To prevent these troublesome lines, Frank recommends increasing the font size and brightness on your phone. Lasers have also been used, he says, as a popular treatment for resurfacing and to help combat wrinkles on the face.

“The Fraxel Restore and Fraxel Repair Lasers are the gold standard in safety and efficacy. There are no open wounds created with this treatment and it targets a specified area without affecting the surrounding skin. Healing time is between one to three days. Belotero is another treatment and the only fine line filler on the market which is a hyaluronic acid. It rehydrates your skin while integrating with your dermal tissue to provide evenness and enhance facial contours to give you natural-looking results. Typically, results can last anywhere from 6 to 12 months, however, some patients experience results over a year.”

Bunny Lines

According to Frank, people typically fail to notice the lines along the bridge of the nose and hairline. “These lines can be caused by technology. In most instances, I will treat all areas in the upper face when doing lasers and fillers. Some areas need more treatment than others, but when you do not treat the whole face at once, people will feel overcompensated and come back for other treatments later down the line. The same treatments that treat crow’s-feet (Fraxel and Belotero) also work for bunny lines.”

Pore Size and Pigmentation

“Holding your devices next to your face for a long amount of time can also cause pore sizes to enlarge and pigmentation to become discolored,” says Frank. “The Clear + Brilliant laser treats fine lines, pigmentation and pore refining and it can be done monthly. It is a gentle laser that refreshes your skin from the inside out with very minimal downtime. You’ll have glowing, luminous and smooth skin.”

Alternatively, opt to use the speakerphone option when possible.