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From touching your face to spending too much time on your phone, stop now and your skin will thank you
THE IMPACT Can you believe that the average Brit is on their phone or tablet for nearly two-and-a-half hours a day? And it’s bad news for our skin. ‘It means we can spend more time looking down at our phones than at each other,’ says GP and aesthetic doctor Jane Leonard. This constant head tilt leads to excessive pressure and creasing of the delicate skin on the neck, which can speed up the formation of lines and wrinkles. So whether you’re typing, texting or scrolling through Instagram, this new problem – sometimes known as ‘tech neck’ – can affect the quality of the skin in this area.
HOW TO REPENT First up, it’s a good idea to become more conscious of your posture, and limit the time you spend glued to your device. Then consider helping to make the skin around your delicate neck area firmer and reduce the appearance of lines by pairing a wrinkle-busting day cream with a serum that targets a crêpey-looking neck.
SOS essentials: No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Day Cream , £25/2,500 points (50ml).
THE IMPACT The next time you’re sitting in the car in traffic or on the train to work with the sun streaming through the windows, spare a thought for the effect it has on your skin. ‘Sun exposure over many years is associated with premature ageing – the development of lines, wrinkles and pigmentation,’ warns Boots’ skincare scientific advisor Dr Mike Bell. And UVA rays (the ones that accelerate ageing) are capable of penetrating glass.
‘Many research studies, including Boots’ own, have shown that people who’ve been driving for many years are likely to have more accelerated ageing on one side of their face,’ says Dr Bell. Yep, the side next to the window – gulp! And sun exposure isn’t the only issue you encounter on your commute; pollution is fast becoming recognised as a big skin enemy, especially for city dwellers. ‘There’s increasing evidence that long-term exposure to urban pollution is associated with skin damage and accelerated skin ageing, especially pigmentation,’ says Dr Bell.
HOW TO REPENT Products labelled with a high SPF (think factor 30) for UVB and a five-star UVA rating will provide the broadest protection from damaging rays. And although the sun’s intensity is lower in the winter months, it’s best to wear sunscreen all year round. To help protect from pollution-induced damage, choose products that create a barrier and help stop irritants entering the skin. And remember to cleanse your face thoroughly at night, so that the day’s build-up of environmental grime is removed.
THE IMPACT You probably don’t even realise you’re doing it, but every time you touch, play with or poke at your skin, you’re potentially wreaking havoc. ‘The more you touch your face with dirty hands, the more bacteria can transfer to your skin, which may trigger breakouts,’ explains Dr Leonard. And don’t even get us started on the carnage that squeezing spots can cause. ‘This transfers bacteria from the spot to other areas of your face, increases inflammation and, potentially, causes scarring,’ she warns. So, resist the temptation.
HOW TO REPENT If you have to touch your face – when applying make-up, for example – always wash your hands first. Also make a conscious effort to leave your skin alone: ask friends and colleagues to tell you off if they see you touching it, or use distraction techniques, such as making a cuppa, when you notice you’re doing it more. Already scarred from previous blemish-squeezing sessions? ‘Consider using a retinol cream or a peel to help speed up the generation of new cells and improve the texture of your skin,’ Dr Leonard advises.
SOS essentials: Indeed Labs Retinol Reface Retinol Skin Resurfacer Serum, £19.99/1,999 points (30ml); Vichy Idealia Peeling Night, £30/3,000 points (100ml).
THE IMPACT When was the last time you wiped down your mobile? ‘Dirty phones can aggravate skin conditions such as acne, plus the pressure of placing the device to your face to make a call can result in sweating, which may also cause irritation,’ says celebrity skin expert Debbie Thomas.
HOW TO REPENT Use headphones to make calls, as this avoids placing the phone against your skin, and clean the screen regularly using antibacterial wipes. Look out for skincare products that are antibacterial, to help reduce the risk of bacteria developing and spreading.
SOS essentials: Wet Ones ‘Be Zingy’ Uplifting Antibacterial Wipes, £1.15/115 points (12-pack); YourGoodSkin Blemish Clearing Anti-Blemish Base Lotion Boots Exclusive £9.99/999 points (30ml).
THE IMPACT You may be bored with hearing about this by now, but staying hydrated is crucial to your skin’s wellbeing: a lack of moisture can leave it feeling tight and uncomfortable, as well as lead to an increase in fine lines.
HOW TO REPENT Debbie recommends products rich in lipids, such as ceramides. These occur naturally in the outermost layer of the skin, and play an important role in maintaining moisture levels, but can be depleted by external factors such as diet and certain chemicals. ‘Serums are a good way of adding a shot of extra hydration, because they are lighter and are absorbed faster than moisturiser,’ adds Debbie. ‘And look out for products containing hyaluronic acid, too.’
Finally, don’t forget that the best way to hydrate skin from within is by ensuring you drink plenty of H2O every day.
SOS essentials: No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum, £27/2,700 points (50ml).
Words Alice Manning Photography Getty Images