Taking good care of our skin is a 24/7 job. It doesn’t just start and end with our at-home skin care regimen, it continues throughout the day. And the place we spend most of our time aside from at home? Yep, work. If you’re in an office, chances are you’re unaware of all the potential hazards that are trying to thwart your best skin care efforts. For starters, the typical office desk harbours more than 10 million bacteria1. So grab the disinfectant wipes and read on as we uncover our best skin care tips – office edition.
Wash, Wash, Wash, Wash, Wash. (And then wash some more)
It should go without saying, but we all don’t do it as much as we should. The thing is, good hand hygiene is hands-down the most important step in bacteria and infection control2. Frequent lathering helps stop the spread of skin-damaging, acne-causing germs that can get transmitted from hands to face (it happens more often than you think).
Keep the Hands off the Face
It’s unavoidable at times, unconscious even. You lean on your hand, rub your eyes, scratch your cheek. Problem is, every single one of these little habits impact the skin, transmitting breakout-causing bacteria (among other things) to our precious faces. Remember how hard you work to keep your face at its best - diligent regimen, (mostly) clean diet, wonder products – try to be a little more aware so you don’t negate all the good you’re doing.
Air Conditioning = Blessing and Curse
Nothing feels better than leaving extreme heat and hitting the cold blast of the air conditioner. Problem is, it’s a bit of a vampire. It sucks all the moisture out of the air and unfortunately, your skin3. What to do? Keep the moisturizer handy. Also, try to control the time you spend in it. Impossible at the office, but try to turn it off at home a little more often ie. on more tolerable evenings, sleep with the windows open or use a fan.
Wear Sunscreen All Day, Every Day
We all know sunscreen helps protect us from the sun’s wrinkle-causing rays outside4, but if you have an office with a view, you may be still getting exposed inside. That goes for sitting anywhere near a window or any other natural light source for that matter. UVA rays pass through glass5 so it’s definitely a good idea to lather up with a good daily SPF.
Step Away From the Screen
Need a little work break? Try not to spend it surfing the net, get up and take a little walk, grab a tea or coffee, talk to a coworker. Less screen time is better for everything - your skin, your eyes, your mind – plus it gets the blood flowing, which is never a bad thing.
How’s Your Set-Up?
A bad desk set-up can wreck more than your posture. When you’re not sitting properly, you tend to bend, squint, rest those hands on your face, etc. All of which can make you more prone to, you guessed it, wrinkles. The perfect set-up? Sit up straight with your back against the chair, support your arms at 90 degrees and position your screen at face height and at an arm’s length in front of you (prop it up on a couple of books if you have to). Good posture = better everything.
Let’s Talk About Office Equipment
Did you know that our mobile phones are one of the biggest bacteria traps known to man6? Though not quite as bad, your workplace phone is also transmitting more than just conversation. Use disinfectant wipes (often) to clean your phone as well as other oft-used office staples like your mouse, keyboard, stapler and anything else that you come in contact with frequently7.
Skip the Straw
Keeping skin well-hydrated starts on the inside. Sipping water and other smart beverages throughout the day is super important, just one thing - avoid the straw. Apart from helping reduce unnecessary environmental waste, you’ll help reduce wrinkles. Constant lip pursing tends to exacerbate unsightly fine lines around the mouth.
While our office skin care tips will help, they should be followed along with a healthy at-home skin care regimen with products suited to your skin type. If you need help figuring out which products are best for you, make an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as possible.
P.S. – Wash your hands.
- Arbogast, James W. PhD; Moore-Schiltz, Laura PhD; Jarvis, William R. MD; Harpster-Hagen, Amanda MPH; Hughes, Jillian MA; Parker, Albert PhD (2016) Impact of a Comprehensive Workplace Hand Hygiene Program on Employer Health Care Insurance Claims and Costs, Absenteeism, and Employee Perceptions and Practices. Retrieved from: http://journals.lww.com/joem/Fulltext/2016/06000/Impact_of_a_Comprehensive_Workplace_Hand_Hygiene.25.aspx
- Indian J Med Res. (2011) Hand hygiene: Back to the basics of infection control. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249958/
- International Journal of Epidemiology (2004) Commentary: Air conditioning as a risk for increased use of health services. Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/33/5/1123/624014/Commentary-Air-conditioning-as-a-risk-for
- Randhawa, Manpreet PhD; Wang, Steven MD; Leyden, James J. MD; Cula, Gabriela O. PhD; Pagnoni, Alessandra MD; Southall, Michael D. PhD (2016) Daily Use of a Facial Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Over One-Year Significantly Improves Clinical Evaluation of Photoaging. Retrieved from: http://journals.lww.com/dermatologicsurgery/Abstract/2016/12000/Daily_Use_of_a_Facial_Broad_Spectrum_Sunscreen.7.aspx
- Susan T. Butler MD (2013) Sun hazards in your car. Retrieved from: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/are-you-at-risk/sun-hazards-in-your-car
- S.E. Amala and I.F. Ejikema (2015) Bacteria associated with Mobile Phones of Medical Personnel. Retrieved from: http://www.nwpii.com/ajbms/papers/AJBMS_2015_1_04.pdf
- University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry (2011) Comparison of wiping away bacteria with disinfectant wipes or a tissue moistened with saline. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316152937.htm