When people talk about “Millennials” the conversations often range from the fact that we are “too entitled” to our constant addiction to our mobile phones. Let’s face it, while the Baby Boomers may not have had to graduate college with job uncertainty, they just weren’t blessed with the social media know-how that we all are – so we tend to consider ourselves a step ahead of the game, right? But, this boom in technology also of course comes with a downside: What is all of this screen time actually doing to our skin?
We had the opportunity to talk with dermatologist Dr. Debra Luftman at a recent Unilever event, and we picked her brain to find out how harmful our iPhone and Instagram habit might really be. Plus, as we’ve also heard, this access to screens are making our workdays inherently longer – will that result in more wrinkles too? Before you panic, find out what she had to say – and what you can do to help save your skin.
Beauty High: How do you think our longer work days will affect our skin in the future?
Dr. Luftman: Just stress in general isn’t good for any part of our body, especially our skin, because it does increase cortisol which is the hormone of stress. And that causes breakouts, that causes the activation of skin conditions like Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea, so I think that in general, just increasing our cortisol levels due to stress is not a good thing. So we have to figure out how we can minimize the stress in our lives.
We’re attached to screens at basically all hours of the day, do you think that is something that’s adding to breakouts? How can we prevent them?
I for sure see it. You especially see it on the specific side people are using their phones. So, if you can wipe your phones, that’s great, if you can put them on speaker that’s great. I like Simple Cleansing Wipes for that reason – I’m also on the Simple Advisory Board and I think Simple wipes are a godsend because you can carry them around, you can even wipe your phone with it if you absolutely need to, but you can wipe your face with it in the middle of the day to freshen up, so something like that would be very helpful.
Do you think that we’re causing ourselves more wrinkles by staring at all of these screens? Are there ways to prevent that?
[Ed note: At this, Dr. Luftman laughed and emphatically nodded yes. Uh oh!] Taking technology breaks will help, or maybe scheduling it into your day, if you’re able to get out of the building at all. There have been studies that show if you look at greenery during the day – if you go to the park for example, look at the trees – or even put a plant or orchid in the room, that will stimulate parts of the brain that will help you to feel relaxed. Also, believe it or not, working with people that you like and especially women, increases oxytocin, which is that feel-good hormone, will relax you. And lastly, scents – if you can put a scent in your room that you like that relaxes you that also can help if you can’t leave. So I think there are a lot of opportunities that can help you.