How Technology Is Affecting Our Skin


July 20, 2016 | BY Annie Tan

From smartphones and laptops to aesthetic breakthroughs and beauty gadgets, we investigate how modern technology is affecting our skin and ageing patterns.

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Photo: Getty images.

If you can’t imagine a day without your favourite gadgets, you are not alone. Our modern lives are powered by technology that simplifies daily tasks, keeps us connected, and even changes the way we age. From smartphones and laptops to aesthetic breakthroughs and beauty gadgets, here’s what you need to know to navigate this brave new world.

Smartphone acne
“You will be surprised how much bacteria could be growing on mobile phones,” stresses Dr Lee Mun Heng of Cambridge Medical Group. Make-up, sebum, sweat and dirt from your hands accumulate over time and cause breakouts. This could even result in bumps, boils and skin infections, warns Dr Lee. So clean your phone screen with an alcohol wipe regularly.

Tech neck
Addicted to your mobile phone? “Studies show that most people spend two to four hours each day staring at their smart devices. This involves adopting a head down position as well as a subconscious frown,” says Dr Chiam Chiak Teng of Face, Body & Skin Aesthetics Medical Centre. “This causes prolonged creasing of the skin around the neck, increasing the depth and number of neck lines, as well as premature sagging of the jowl area. So make it a point to keep your phone at eye level and straighten out your neck to prevent this phenomenon known as “tech neck”.

Poor sleep
Blue light from your smartphone, tablet and laptop can also disrupt your circadian rhythms. In fact, according to Dr Lee, “Any light source that sends a stimuli via the optic nerve to the brain can disrupt sleep.” And insufficient shut-eye naturally contributes to premature ageing. The good news is, Apple recently released iOS 9.3 for iPhones and iPads. This new system includes a Night Shift feature which reduces blue light exposure when the sun goes down, for higher quality beauty sleep. 

Advanced fillers
That said, technology has also been our key ally in the battle against ageing. Aesthetic advances have helped defy the ravages of time and gravity. For instance, a new US FDA‑approved botulinum toxin type A1, Xeomin, is now available in Singapore. According to Dr Karen Soh of Privé Clinic, regular botulinum toxin type A contains a lot of complexing proteins, which increase the risk of an immune response, where the body produces antibodies to fight the toxins. Xeomin is free of complexing proteins, and has benefited more than 250,000 patients since it was approved in 2010 by FDA for therapeutic purposes and 2011 for cosmetic use, with zero reported cases of primary or secondary treatment failure.

“Other fillers such as Belotero and Juvéderm (both formulated with hyaluronic acid) have also been improved for better results and fewer post-treatment symptoms such as swelling and unevenness,” she adds.

Topical Treatments
Another key recent breakthrough, according to Dr Soh, is the use of cord lining conditioned media, a patented protein mix derived from red deer umbilical extract. This prompts dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin to shed, encourages healthy cellular turnover, and reduces the thickness of the topmost layer of skin. Fine lines, pigmentation and skin translucency is visibly improved.

Home Gadgets
Thanks to the latest slew of home beauty gadgets, you can even continue your anti-ageing battle in the comfort of your home. Clarisonic and Foreo are known for their facial cleansing devices that oscillate or pulsate at supersonic speeds to remove dirt and impurities more effectively than cleansing with hands. The new Philips VisaPure Advanced not only cleanses, it also has a mode that recreates the effect of 750 fingertips massaging your face and eyes.

Other devices claim to have in-clinic anti-ageing efficacies. Iluminage Skin Smoothing Laser, uses pulses of laser light to stimulate collagen production; and Skin Inc Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light produces LED lights to boost collagen, calm sensitivity and revive dull skin.

However, both Dr Soh and Dr Chiam point out that these home-use beauty gizmos have far lower intensities, and won’t deliver the results of professional treatments. They may be used to sustain results or enhance the efficacy of topical products, but should not replace in-clinic treatments.

Try these

Iluminage Skin Smoothing Laser

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Skin Inc Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light

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Philips VisaPure Advanced

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