We’re willing to bet that, as you sit, you’re doing a number of small things that’ll wreak major havoc on your beauty game. So, we spoke to dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel about what your desk habits do to your skin. Plus, Dr. Andrew Hecht, chief of spine surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, clued us in to the damage you could be inflicting on your spine and neck. Ahead, seven bad beauty habits and how to fix ’em. Consider yourself cured.
Hands-On Experience Shouldn’t Include Your Mug
Spending hours staring at your computer can put you in a bit of a daze. And, who doesn’t resort to a face-palm every once in a while? Dr. Sobel says this is an especially bad habit. “Constantly touching your face or resting your chin in your palm or fist will spread bacteria on your face and can cause breakouts.” Plus, your face is bound to get all kinds of oily after you’ve been touching it all day. That’s not exactly the kind of shining moment you were going for.
Put Down The Antibacterial Gel
Not only are you washing your hands several times a day at work, but there seems to be a hand-sanitizing station around every corner. According to Dr. Sobel, you should moisturize your hands after each wash (or sanitization), and try to limit how often you’re hitting the soap. “Washing your hands or using sanitizing wash more than once or twice a day will remove all of the natural oils in your skin and cause dryness and wrinkles.” Keep a small hand lotion at your desk, and take it easy on the Purell.
You may have heard the alarming suggestion that your smartphone is dirtier than a toilet. Gross, right? Well, that’s exactly the image you should have in mind when approaching this next bad beauty habit. Dr. Sobel agrees that your techy peripherals need a good cleaning. He says it’s essential to wipe down both your cell phone and desk phone every day with an antiseptic wipe. (We’d add keyboard and mouse to that list for good measure). Seriously, think about the crowded, weird places you were this weekend. Get out the wipes, like, now.
Don’t Get It Twisted
We’re willing to bet you’re doing this right now. And, we’re here to tell you it’s time to uncross those legs. Though we’ve been conditioned to believe that legs crossed is the only way a lady sits, Dr. Sobel says doing it at your desk all day can cause varicose veins or spider veins. Don’t let a Downton Abbey marathon mislead you: It’s okay to sit with your feet planted firmly on the floor.
Okay, this one may be slightly out of your control. Look up. Are you sitting under a heating vent? Dr. Sobel says this will dry out your skin. And, in the dead of winter, we’re pretty sure that’s the last thing you need. Your office setup may not allow you to get out of the line of fire (um, air). And, HR will most likely laugh in your face if you ask to move for cosmetic reasons. So, make it a point to get up and do a lap around the office more often than you normally would. This will at least give your skin a well-deserved break.
Walk It Out
We’re all spending way too much time sitting at our desks. And, while you may have heard about how this can affect your heart health and the quality of that butt you’ve been busting at the gym, Dr. Hecht says there’s a greater issue at hand. Our reliance on computers has made us a “sedentary kind of populace,” he says. When you sit on your keister all day, “your back muscles start to shorten and contract. That can lead to chronic tightness and pain.”
Dr. Hecht recommends taking breaks from sitting — which you’re already doing to escape those vents. Specifically, you should be getting vertical every 45 minutes to an hour. “Even getting up for a minute or two and sitting back down is better than sitting down for prolonged periods of time.” As he explains, when we’re sitting at our computer, we’re also flexing forward. “When you sit and flex forward, you’re putting the maximum pressure in the disk, and that can cause pain.”
Got On Eye Level
Finally, when you’re at your computer, remember that your monitor is adjustable. And, Dr. Hecht says you ought to be moving it to eye level so you’re not looking up: “That can cause pain in your neck — you want to be cognizant of that.” With 27 tabs and windows open at all times, we know it can be hard to remember where eye level ought to be. Try opening just one browser window in the center of your screen, and matching it to your eye level to start. Then, skip the pain in the neck.
Illustrated by Sydney Hass
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