Is Your Phone Giving You Acne?

Illustrated by Peter Karras.
We don't really talk on the phone that much these days. But, when we do, we can't help but notice a new crop of zits appearing on chin and jawline alike. Sure, acne in that area can be linked to hormones, but could it also be because of our phones?
In short, yes. But, there's not just one way for our phones to give us pimples (joy). According to dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, "The friction from rubbing your phone against your skin can cause a phenomenon called acne mechanica." She explains that this rubbing action can lead to breakouts. So, if you're the type of phone-talker who likes to hold the device close to your face, Dr. Bowe recommends trying a headset instead.
According to dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler, the other (somewhat more gross) reason that a phone could cause a breakout is grime. "If your phone is pressed up against your face for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to perspiration, irritation, and blocking of your pores. Essentially, all of the dirt and grime that is not only on your phone but on your face gets trapped and pushed down into the skin, which can lead to breakouts."
Dr. Wechsler says that prevention for this is simple. "Clean your phone between uses, and wash your face after a long call," she says. But, she agrees with Dr. Bowe that the best option here is using a headpiece. And, if you've already got a zit from your conference call, Dr. Wechsler says to treat it with salicylic acid.
So, we're thinking we might just stick to our texting-only habit. After all, we're way less worried about breakouts on our fingers.

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