Dermatologists are blaming smartphones and tablets for causing sagging skin and wrinkles in younger generations, including a wrinkling condition dubbed “tech neck”.
The latest ailment to result from modern technology can be found mostly in people aged 18 to 39 who own an average of three devices.
Tech neck refers to a specific crease just above the collar bone that is caused by repeated bending of the neck to look at the screen of a portable device.
“The problem of wrinkles and sagging of the jowls and neck used to begin in late middle age but, in the last 10 years, because of ‘tech neck’, it has become a problem for a generation of younger women,” said Dr Christopher Rowland Payne, a consultant dermatologist at The London Clinic.
“Neck skin is exposed to sun every day because of low neckline, especially in women, but people are less inclined to think of protecting their necks than their faces.
“This is bad news for neck skin as it starts off finer and sun thins it further. Finer skin wrinkles more readily and the fat of the neck may sag.”
The research was commissioned by Yves St Laurent and has been published at the same time as the cosmetics giant releases a face and neck cream to remedy the condition. YSL claims the product improves skin firmness by 13% in a single application.
Tech-related health problems
Cell phones have long been associated with various health conditions and even some serious illnesses.
Research conducted by the Swedish Hardell group found that mobile phone use has been linked to specific types of brain tumour, while a recent study published in Surgery Technology International found that heavy use causes back problems.
“As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees,” said Kenneth Hansraj, a back surgeon and author of the study.
Hansraj warned that chronic screen-staring could “deteriorate the back and neck muscles to the point of needing surgery”.
The latest tech-neck malady is believed to have come about in the last 10 years directly as a result of the rise of mobile phones.
The first ever cream specifically designed to combat a smartphone-related condition does not come cheaply, setting consumers back £65.
“Many women I treat accept their wrinkles and fine lines but what they cannot accept is their new facial expressions,” said dermatologist Dr Thierry Michaud, who works on the YSL Skin Science team.
“Inappropriate expressions are due to a loss of facial volumes – sagging skin, less defined contours, creased neck.”