For the world’s most popular fashion accessory, phones don’t make you look very good. Dark spots, wrinkles and acne are only the beginning. If you have a regular phone habit, you may see even more serious damage done to your skin over time. If you have no idea how using a phone could possibly hurt your skin, here’s what happens.

You Squint to Read the Microscopic Print on a Phone Screen

Even with the giant screens that today’s smartphones come with, the print is invariably tiny. While older people may envy how easily 20-year-olds read their screens, it isn’t as easy for them as it might appear. Dermatologists these days regularly treat 25-year-olds showing up for permanently creased brows and crow’s feet – artifacts left behind by constant (if slight) squinting.

While there’s no way that the print on a phone can ever be normal-sized, bumping the font to 20 pt. can help. Leaving the screen as bright as it will go is another good way to keep from squinting. While extra brightness may seem like a bad idea for battery life, it’s the price that you need to pay.

You Let Your Phone Heat Up

Phones tend to heat up when they are used any longer than 5 minutes at a time. While the heat may not be readily perceptible at first, it does exist. Continuous heat against the skin is bad because it tends to boost melanin production. You can end up with dark patches or spots near your ears. Skin brightening creams don’t help for long. The only real solution is to resolve to not apply the phone to your ears for long periods of time. If you need to be on the phone, a headset is the best bet.

You Go to Bed and Wake Up with a Phone Next to You

If you like poking about on your phone right before drifting off, it can throw your body’s melatonin production off. The bluish light of a phone screen has the ability to confuse the brain about the time of day. When there isn’t enough melatonin, you don’t sleep well. Waking up poorly rested can destroy your skin. The problem is so well recognized that a few companies actually make phone screen filters that block out all bluish light. Swearing off the phone a couple of hours before bedtime, though, is a good idea.

You Simply Use Your Smart Phone for Too Long Each Day

For most people, the normal way to use a phone is to hold it at chest level or lower while looking down at it. Constantly looking down, though, can be a bad way for the skin of your neck. The collagen and elastin fibers that make your skin taut and supple can only bounce back a given number of times. Constantly looking down can permanently damage the skin of your neck. The result is that the skin around the neck, chin and jaw looks loose and un-toned. It’s easy to treat your neck better – you need to either learn to start holding your phone at eye level or cut down on your phone use.

You Could Get a Low-level Skin Allergy

A study published on, an outlet for medical research, finds that chromium, nickel and the other metals used in phone casings manage to irritate the skin for some people, enough to cause contact dermatitis. If you are allergic, using your phone in the case can be a better idea.

Acne is Another Possibility

Skin doctors have reminded their acne-prone patients for years that they need to keep their hands off their face. Touching the face with unclean hands transfers commonly found acne bacteria right on your facial skin where it can mix with excess oil and cause acne. Now, dermatologists often add phones to the list – putting an unclean phone on your cheek can be just as bad as touching it with unclean hands. If you have a problem with acne, you need to either start using a headset or clean your phone with antibacterial wipes.