The Asian Age interviews Dr Aman Dua regarding breakouts in Teens because of the various gadgets. Saumya Bhatia shares that we overlook the hygiene of our day to day gadgets.
Gadgets cause breakouts
Your ‘dirty’ mobile phone and other gadgets can cause white patches on your face, neck and hands, aggravate acne and make your skin dull. Skin experts claim a rise in the number of patients who have skin breakouts due to lack of gadget hygiene
Skin experts in the capital are increasingly seeing rise in young patients, with instances of skin breakouts, contact dermatitis (allergy) and warn that lack of gadget hygiene is unknowingly adding to the woes of many.
While we all take care of our personal hygiene, many of us overlook the hygiene our day-to-day gadgets require. Twenty-one-year-old Shikha Kapoor, a Delhi University student, was shocked when she saw white patches on her face, neck and hands and experienced mild irritation. Convinced that it wasn’t any deficiency, Shikha consulted a skin specialist, who among other things asked about her phone usage. “She said I am suffering from contact dermatitis (an allergy which occurs when skin touches something that person is sensitive or allergic to). Though she said there was nothing to worry as such cases are on the rise, I still can’t believe that not cleaning my mobile phone could cause allergy. It was never on my ‘to-do’ lists. The doctor advised me to use skin wipes or disinfectant to clean my phone, keyboard etc. Now that I know my skin is prone to allergy, I am very careful using gadgets.”
IT professional Sagar Dahal had mild acne on his face and didn’t pay heed until it aggravated. He says, “When the doctor told me that the radiation from my mobile phone was causing acne, I was shocked, until then I thought it was due to pollution. The doctor also asked if I used my phone when it was still on charge. It’s not safe to use phone in that condition and the radiation had further aggravated my acne. The treatment continued for five months and I had to go in for a laser treatment to get rid of the marks. Now, I prefer using headphones while talking.”
This is a recent phenomenon where usage of gadgets is aggravating acne, which is becoming persistent in nature, shares Dr Indu Ballani, consultant dermatologist, B.L. Kapur Hospital. She adds, “Every alternate girl or boy who are consulting us is suffering from acne breakouts, which isn’t just hormone related. Today, along with hormonal change, stress caused due to late night texting leading to sleep deprivation and bacterial infection is leading to acne in all age groups. Both the genders are equally affected. It’s not just usage of mobile phones alone, but it’s one of the factors as people spend hours talking on phones and the radiation emitted by the phone is harmful for the skin.”
Sharing some tips for gadget hygiene, Dr Ballani says, “Clean the mobile surface daily with a wet wipe which has alcohol content. Wash your hands more often especially after using your handset or keyboard. Most importantly, wash hands before your sleep as many people use handset before sleeping.”
Dermatologist Dr Aman Dua, co-founder and director of AK Clinics, confirms, “We are getting a lot of queries regarding breakouts from youngsters that use modern-age gadgets. Most of the patients that consult us usually have acne, breakouts or what we call pimples in the pre-temporal area (that is the area right in front of the ear) and usually on one side, commonly seen on the right hand side in the patients who are right-handers and seen on the left side of the patients who are left-handers. We suspect that mobiles are the culprit in such cases because they can cause ‘contact allergies’ or what we call contact dermatitis. So acne, folliculitis, contact dermatitis, are all very common in the pre-temporal area which is right in front of the ear.”
If mobile phone users experience any mild irritation post usage of their phones, they must not take it lightly, says cosmetic physician Dr Reema Arora of Reva Clinic. Dr Arora adds, “Contact dermatitis starts off as irritation and can lead to discolouration of skin resulting in red or white patches. It isn’t dangerous but can become a permanent patch on the skin. If it gets infected by bacteria it may lead to formation pus as well. There’s been a 15-20 per cent rise in queries related to skin breakouts.”
BPO employee Shruti Khatke’s job profile requires her to be on the phone most of the time at workplace. It was only when her colleagues started pointing out about how dull her skin looked that she consulted an expert. Shruti says, “Perspiration, acne, and radiation from the phone worsened my cheeks. The skin specialist suggested chemical peels and laser treatment. Though the treatment lasted for nearly two months, I was also advised to drink more water and improve my diet and avoid touching the handset and use headphones if required. Since then, I’ve reduced the number of calls and have switched over to video conferencing, and universal mailing system at my workplace.”
Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, dermatologist, Skin alive Clinics concludes, “We spot atleast two cases every month who have experienced an aggravation in skin problems due to excess use of gadgets but it never remains the only reason other reason also play part. Generally, radiations that come from the phone has heat and it aggravates acne, pigmentation and skin dullness. We work on keyboards, we keep touching our phone with unwashed hands we even take our phone to washrooms and we never disinfectant it. Hence when you touch your face it causes bacterial infection.”