The anti-aging industry is big business. People around the globe spend more than $261 billion per year on everything from eye creams and moisturizers to Botox and plastic surgery, just for the chance to retain a bit of that youthful glow. It turns out that those who want to look young can help cut down on worry lines and drooping jowls by simply putting down their smartphones. Researchers and dermatologists say heavy cell phone use is to blame for an increase in wrinkles and creases below the chin, a phenomenon that some have taken to calling “tech neck.”
In the U.S., people spend about three hours per day on their cell phones. All that time hunched over looking down at emails, sending texts and surfing the web is causing our necks to sag and crease from constant folding. The result is a loosening of the jowls that could make some cell phone users look like aging turkeys.
Bad posture related to cell phone use can also do a number on your back and spine. By leaning your neck forward regularly to look at your phone screen, whether it's to browse your Facebook account or find the right emoji to go with Snapchat photo of your lunch, you're increasing the amount of pressure on your spine by up to 50 pounds (22.7 kilograms).
Experts say the best way to sit or stand is to make sure that your ears are aligned with your shoulders and your shoulder blades are perched out like angel's wings. The trouble is that many of us tend to bring our shoulders in when we lurk over our phones. All that added pressure that comes with the change means more wear and tear on the muscles and tendons that support the neck and spine.
This news is enough to make a cell phone user feel the way Nick Nolte looks. There are, however, at least some benefits to our obsession with cell phones. For one thing, regularly smartphoning seems to enhance dexterity and brain activity, according to a team of Swiss researchers.
They also found that habitual smartphone use can actually change your brain's relationship with your thumbs. If nothing else, you might be able to tap around on your cell phone more quickly to find the latest cure for that sagging neck.