Is Screen Time Messing With Your Skin? A Derm's 7-Day Plan For Unplugging
On average, how many hours per day do you think you spend fixated on your smartphone or laptop?
I recently conducted an informal study with my employees and found that, on average, they spend 14 hours in front of a digital device per day—that's nearly 213 days of the entire year! While we're all digitally connected through our social feeds, work emails, and text messages, we're losing the incredible power of real face-to-face human connection.
The truth is the stress of modern life has tremendous health consequences, which are particularly visible on the skin. Stress is a trigger for all inflammatory skin conditions, resulting in redness, flakiness, and dryness, and it can cause inflammation and cellular water loss, the final common pathway of aging.
Through my 50-year career as a dermatologist, I've found that the solution to this type of cultural stress is the power of human connection. Real-life, face-to-face, eyes-up connection. In fact, my research has shown that just five minutes of human connection with someone close to you can reduce cultural stress levels.
That's why I've launched the EyesUp campaign—I'm educating people on the danger of digital-only relationships, the power of real-life human connection, and the benefits of going "EyesUp." And let me be clear: It doesn't mean you need to move to a deserted island and throw away your iPhone. What I'm encouraging you to do is make small changes to your day that can make big differences in how your skin looks and your overall well-being.
For example, rather than scrolling through your social media feed during your commute, make a real-life connection by complimenting a stranger, or even just making friendly eye contact and smiling. Instead of sending an email to a person in your direct vicinity, go talk to them face-to-face instead.
You'll be surprised at the big impact these little changes can have on your skin, health, and happiness. Ready to tackle more? I've developed this 7-Day Challenge for reducing digital dependency and encouraging more human connections.
Day 1: Take the Pledge
Take the first day to figure out what you want to go EyesUp for. To spend more time with your kids? To be in the moment more? Sign the pledge, make it official, tag friends to encourage them to do the same.
Day 2: Adjust Your Commute
Use your travel time to connect by disconnecting. Rather than scrolling through your social feed and liking photos, engage in "real world likes" by complimenting a stranger or even just making friendly eye contact and smiling.
Day 3: Workplace Connections
How often do you talk to the people who sit just feet away from you in the office? Today, instead of sending an email to a person in your direct vicinity, go talk to them instead. Make it a priority to do this, even just one time. You'd be surprised at the connection it can inspire.
Day 4: No Netflix, Just Chill
Instead of ordering food on Seamless, go to a restaurant, cook with a friend or significant other, or even just get out and pick up your takeout.
Day 5: Weekend Warrior
Use the start of the weekend to engage in something you're passionate about—maybe it's a hobby you haven't been able to partake in lately or something you've always wanted to do. The catch? Make sure to take someone along with you!
Day 6: Sans-Social Media Sunday
Sunday is the go-to "fun day" for many of us. But how often does the momentum of fun Sunday activities get cut short to document it on social media instead of just living in the present and letting it happen? Make this Sunday a social media-free day. See the world and your experiences without the filter of your screen.
Day 7: Pen & Paper Day
To start the week, make an effort to only use a notebook and pen to take notes at work. Give your phone a rest by popping it on the charger—out of sight, out of mind!