Your smartphone is dirty enough to give you skin problems, according to Dermatologist Dr. Erin Gilbert who spoke with Tech Insider.
“Our smartphones are a really big source of skin contamination, and they’re a source of skin problems, namely acne,” Dr. Gilbert said.
Those contaminants mostly take the form of bacteria, specifically staphylococcus, streptococcus, and corynebacterium. They sound gross, but there’s a ton of the same bacteria on your body already. Yes, right now there’s about two pounds-worth of bacteria all over your skin. But don’t worry, as Dr. Gilbert reassures that it’s normal.
What’s not normal and causes skin problems is adding to the trillions of existing bacteria on our skin with the bacteria that lives on a smartphone. Dr. Gilbert explains that higher concentrations of bacteria from your phone mixed in with oil and makeup that build up on your smartphone over time can clog your pores and “increase the inflammation on your skin.” Dr. Gilbert explains “this is why people are getting acne from their phone.”
To remedy this problem, you obviously need to clean your phone. Dr. Gilbert recommends you use alcohol pads or antibacterial wipes to wipe the surface of your phone.
While that’s fine and won’t cause your phone to malfunction, tech companies like Apple advise against using alcohol wipes, or other harsh chemicals like ammonia, to clean your phone. That’s because smartphones come off the production line with special coating that repels human oils to prevent excessive screen smudging. Unfortunately, those oleophobic (oil-repelling) coats can be stripped away when you use alcohol or other harsh chemicals.
There are special cleaning products you can use that are specifically designed for your phones and won’t rub off the oleophobic coating.
Other gadgets that you often use around your face can also cause skin problems, like headphones. Dermatologist Dr. Debra Luftman spoke with Yahoo and said, “Wearing over-the-ear headphones is a perfect setup for causing an increase of acne breakouts and skin infections.” According to Dr. Luftman, sweat and moisture can build up on headphones ear pads and encourage bacteria to grow when you wear them.
Unless you have fancy headphones with real leather ear pads, you can wipe your headphone ear pads down with alcohol or other anti-bacterial wipes. For leather pads, you could find special products that won’t damage them.
Earlier, we wrote about headphones made by Logitech that can be easily removed and washed with soap and water, which is more effective than simply wiping ear pads. It’s a wonder why more headphone ear pads aren’t designed to do just that.
Just because our gadgets don’t look dirty doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get a good clean once in a while.