Your Cell Phone Causing Skin Issues?

Don't text, sleep on your phone, or rest your head on the screen of a laptop — as smartphones use to do in the 90s — because it could be causing skin issues.

There is no denying that phones have become ubiquitous in the modern-day world, and while there are those who would argue that humans should never be allowed to have them all together (ahem), we can't deny how happy and productive our lives have been since they came into existence. There is no doubt that today's society has benefited greatly from mobile devices; however, with perks come drawbacks as well, one of these being skin health. According to dermatologists Dr. Deborah Sarnoff and Dr. Sonia Batra of the International Dermal Institute at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, holding your phone in your hand all day can increase the risk of developing skin issues like eczema, dermatitis, and even acne. The problem is caused by the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones that is strong enough to cause issues with cellular activity. Where there is damage to cells comes inflammation which leads to acne and other inflammatory skin disorders. Preventive measures include keeping your cell phone out of your bedroom at night so that it doesn't disrupt sleep cycles and lower melatonin levels or using a speaker or headset while you text.

The next time you pick up your mobile device, consider first cleaning it — as your phone may be dirty! This is especially true if you are a lady and use your cell phone to apply makeup or if you are a guy and like to carry it in your pocket. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta found that women's makeup-applying habits lead to increased bacteria growth on their smartphones. The downside of this is that skin on the face is particularly sensitive, and thus more vulnerable to acne breakouts when exposed to bacteria. And apparently, most women don't clean their phones regularly enough.

If your phone isn't dirty, double-check to see if there are fingerprints on the screen. If they are there, try cleaning them off with a paper or cloth so that you don't hold the device in your hands all day long if you don't want to receive skin issues later on. Using a screen cleaning app is an idea as well; it can help purge dust and debris off of the phone's surface. And if it's black, then it does not absorb sunlight which can lower skin's vitamin D levels and cause eczema in some cases! It is best to use an anti-glare screen protector after applying any screen cleaner. Also, according to researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine, a smartphone screen needs a protective cover to reduce exposure to harmful rays. This is especially important as many people use their screens at around 800 nits or more. Too much exposure can lead to eye issues like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Case-makers are also in the business of producing low-cost covers that are made with different materials for different phones. Look for one that fits your phone snugly so that you don't have to worry about it falling out while you're holding it in your hand all day long. This doesn't mean that you should stop using your smartphone, but that you should use it more responsibly and make sure to apply sunscreen to your skin when outside in the sun so that you can both avoid skin issues and enjoy your phone.


Litovitz, T. (2014, August 26). Your Cell Phone Causing Skin Issues? Retrieved from:

Bazilu, F., Materu, B., & Ngcobo, M. (2013).

Photo by cottonbro 

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