Your smartphone can make your face sag
Spending time poring over your phone can lead to the 'smartphone face' — i.e. a drooping jawline
A'smartphone face', as explained by Dr Mervyn Patterson of the Woodford Medical group, is a new condition caused by spending too much time looking down into your phone. "If you sit for hours with your head bent slightly forward, staring at your smartphone or laptop screen, you may shorten the neck muscles and increase the gravitational pull on the jowl area, leading to a drooping jawline." However, is there a connection between the increase in the number of people opting for chin implants and an addiction to the latest technology?
Nilofar Sheikh (name changed), 25, who is constantly connected to the virtual world courtesy her smartphone and laptop says, "I am dependent on my smartphone and my laptop, as I can manage my work and connect with friends at the same time. I recently had to consult my dermatologist because I wanted to get rid of the sagging skin around my chin. I am not sure if my addiction to technology has caused this, but I think my habit of sitting with a bad posture may have contributed to it." While Nilofar's doubts may sound far-fetched, she may have a point.
More about the condition
Mohan Thomas, a senior cosmetic surgeon, says, "Smartphones are known to cause chronic upper back and neck problems like kyphotic deformities and neck strain, as a result of the head constantly drooping down by looking at the screen for long hours. The smaller the screen, the more one tends to bend the neck and elbow. Prolonged neck flexion causes loosening of the neck skin and aggravates the double chin deformity in people already predisposed to it. However, there is no consensus on the smartphone face terminology as of yet, and the effects need to be studied on a long term basis in a large population base to collectively label the seen effects as smartphone syndrome."
Dr Apratim Goel, a dermatologist, adds, "I have definitely seen an increased awareness about the double chin and sagging jowl lines over the last year among the age group of 18 to 30 years. Prior to this, it was a common complaint with people in their 40s. So far, I have noticed an increase of 20-25 cases a month with such concerns, especially among the youth. However, I would not put the entire blame of this concern on the growing use of technology. I also have housewives who don't use mobiles and laptops and still have the same issues. But technically, I agree that forward bending of the neck increases the gravitational pull on the neck tissues and increases sagging. Since there are static and dynamic lines on the neck, holding the neck in the same position for long hours does lead to increase of static horizontal lines and increase in double chin. However, this does not lead to shortening of neck muscles at all."
She adds that the use of technology is reducing our physical activity, due to which we put on weight leading to further weight gain and double chin. Goel finds support from Dr Nick Lowe of London's Cranley Clinic, who revealed that other causes of a sagging complexion can include a naturally short, weak chin, weight fluctuations and even exercise and diet. As for reasons why people are going in for skin tightening and chinplants, Dr Meenakshi Agarwal, a cosmetic surgeon, says, "The number of cases of youth inquiring about chinplants and tightening of skin around the chin have definitely increased from roughly 10 to 12 per cent last year to around 20 per cent this year. However, the reasons vary from an increased awareness to looking their best at all times to a general awareness about non-surgical treatments, which are available for a fraction of the cost. Also, you cannot completely rule out the role of technology taking a toll on your face and body."
Yoga expert Shameem Akthar recommends asanas for your face that can ensure that you don't have to bother with a double chin or sagging skin. These include:
Cobra pose or Bhujangasana
Lie on your stomach. Hands under your shoulders, elbows close to your body. Inhale, lifting your head and forehead off the floor. Then lift the chin, and finally the chest off the floor. Breathe normally. Look up at the ceiling. Now exhale and lower yourself, head and chin back to floor. Rest on your stomach, breathing evenly.
Benefits: It lifts the face and the skin under it, against gravity. Tones the neck and removes double chin. Keeps the face youthful also due to pressure at the jawline and chin which are packed with anti-aging acupressure points.
Lion roaring pose or Simhagarjasana
Sit on chair, hands on thighs. Inhale, exhaling, flare your fingers, splaying them, put your tongue out, lift eyes to look upwards, draw your stomach in, tighten all muscles in the torso. All this must be done simultaneously. Hold for a few seconds, retaining the breath. Release the pose. May be done anytime, though ideally on empty stomach.
Benefits: Tightens and tones the whole body, skin on the face, removes halitosis.
-The times of india