Beware! Your cell phone could be messing up your good looks. According to a recent survey conducted by wireless technology firm Qualcomm, at least 29 percent of people polled reported that their mobile phone is the first and last thing they look at each day. From sending text messages to snapping pictures to checking bank account balances, there's no shortage of tasks today's cell phones can accomplish, but there's a newly discovered downside to mobile phone use too: It might be making you less attractive. Here's how to avoid everything from turkey necks to bags under your eyes caused by your faithful phone.
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1. Dark Circles
In a study funded by some of the biggest phone makers in the world, researchers in the U.S. and Sweden found that radiation emitting from mobile devices cause headaches and interrupt vital sleep patterns. Another Swedish study found that a quarter of young people feel like they must be available by phone around the clock, which in turn leads to sleeping problems, stress, and depression. Think you can skimp on beauty sleep? Think again. One of the first places those sleepless nights can show up is your face.
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"Not sleeping can lead to everything from increased stress levels to dark circles and bags," Dr. Eric Schweiger, founder of Clear Clinic in New York, told Yahoo! Shine.
While there are lots of products on the market that can help alleviate the look of bags, sags, and dark circles on the face, it's best to just shut down the cell phone down before getting into bed. If possible, leave your phone in another room and use a separate alarm clock on your nightstand. (Remember those?)
However, if you insist on having your cell phone at your side, the Mayo Clinic in Arizona suggests dimming the glowing light by adjusting the brightness setting and, if you've got to check one last email before bed, make sure to hold the phone at least 14 inches from your face.
2. Serious Wrinkles
If the font on your phone is small, causing you to squint, that might lead to forehead wrinkles and crow's feet over time.
"When you squint, you are changing the muscles in your face and making the skin more crinkly," Schweiger said. "Botox can help out with this, but you have to train your body not to make these expressions."
If you don't have the big bucks to shell out for Botox treatments, using a larger font will definitely help to alleviate some of the problems. Using a great eye cream (Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream, $55, sephora.com) and an anti-aging cream (Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift Intensive Deep Wrinkle Day Cream, SPF 30, $17.99, drugstore.com) daily can also work to keep your skin wrinkle-free.
3. Bad Skin
Recent studies have shown that cell phones carry 18 times more harmful bacteria – including staph, E. coli and salmonella – than a public toilet handle. Your cell phone is often pressed up against your face several times per day, so it's easy for that bacteria to make the jump to your skin, leading to breakouts and infections.
"We have a lot of oil on our cell phones from where we touch our hair and our faces that can lead to blocked pores and breakouts," Schweiger added. "I tell my patients to use an alcohol swab and wipe their cell phones down at least once a day to try and get rid of some of that oil."
One of the most effective ways to rid your phone of those germs is to use the UV Cell Phone Sanitizer ($49.95, violight.com). It zaps your device clean of 99.9 percent of bacteria such as strep, E.coli, salmonella, and listeria, as well as the H1N1 virus in three minutes. A cheaper method is to wipe your phone down with a microfiber cloth such as the GoSwype ($1.99, goswype.com).
4. Sagging Jawline
Constantly looking down at your cell phone to check your emails, send a text, or play a game can lead to a saggy, wrinkled neck and jaw line. The only way to reverse this condition, known as turkey neck (or, these days, text neck) is surgery. However, you can avoid needing to go that route by holding your cell phone up in front of you. "It can be hard to minimize these behaviors, but a hands-free device will help," Schweiger said. Using a great lifting and contouring cream will also help keep the skin along this area firm. L'Oreal RevitaLift Triple Power SPF 30 Day Lotion, $24.99, lorealparisusa.com
5. Red Eyes
Staring at your cell phone screen for hours on end while surfing the Web or responding to emails can cause your eyes not only to dry out but also to become extremely red, and that's never a good look. Red eyes are caused by swollen or dilated blood vessels on the sclera (which is the white outer surface of the area) and can be avoided in this case by taking frequent breaks from your cell phone screen or using lubricating eye drops to help keep eyes moist. (Visine L.R. Long Lasting Redness Relief Eye Drops, $5.29, drugstore.com)