Is work taking a toll on your face?

Give your skin a promotion. Lisa Haynes reveals the beauty pitfalls to avoid while at your desk.

IT’S quite possible you spend more time at your desk than anywhere else. While overtime and hard work might lead to a promotion, your skin could be paying the price in the long run.

“You may think you’re getting ahead putting in the hours at your desk, but it could be taking its toll on your face,” warns Jill Zander, founder of the Jill Zander Skin Rejuvenation Clinic.

Why not beautify your work space and reward yourself with clear skin.


We can blame the ageing process for slackened skin, but your desk posture can add to sagging jawline woes.

If you regularly sit for extended periods of time with your head bent slightly forward, staring at a screen, you can shorten the neck muscles and increase the gravitational pull on the jawline, eventually leading to the formation of jowls.

“Make sure that your computer screen is correctly positioned at eye level to keep your face in a lifted, forward-facing position as much as possible,” advises Zander.


“There are such things as ‘sleep lines’,” says Zander. “Sleeping in the same position night after night means that the lines you create while asleep can become permanent.

“The effect is replicated if you constantly lean your face on your hands at your desk day after day.”

Adjust your chair height so that your forearms rest firmly on the desk — this will make you less likely to lean on your hands and make you more aware of your sitting position.


Work-related stress and exhaustion have a damaging effect on critical DNA in the cells in the body, according to a 2012 study published in scientific journal PLOS ONE.

Researchers measured DNA sections called telomeres and found individuals with the most stressful jobs had the shortest telomeres — and when telomeres become too short, cells either die or become damaged. “When you get stressed, your sebaceous glands also produce more oil, and this can result in adult acne,” Zander explains.

“Even if it’s just for five minutes, try and get out the office for a de-stressing walk. Getting out in the open is also great for helping to top up vitamin D levels, which stimulates the production of elastin and collagen.”


If you discover recurring spots on one side of your face, your desk phone might be the culprit. Alarmingly, phones can carry 10-20 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

Zander says: “Keyboards and phones can harbour a lot of bacteria. Using these appliances and then touching your face, or touching a phone to your face, can transport bacteria onto the skin causing blockages to the pores and possible infections.”

Keep a pack of anti-bacterial surface wipes in your desk drawer and clean your keyboard and phone once a week. A mini hand sanitiser will also help curb the spread of spot-causing germs if you’re prone to touching your face and hair.


That comfortable temperature-regulated office environment that stops you needing big jumpers in the winter can also be a prime suspect for dry skin. Artificial heating or cooling could be zapping your skin for around 40 hours a week.

“Air conditioning can dehydrate the skin resulting in more fine lines and a dull complexion,” Zander warns.

“Keep a water misting spray to hand on your desk, which you can spritz over make-up, as well as a large bottle of water to sip throughout the day to keep you hydrated from within.”

If your skin often feels tight and irritated, stash a face moisturiser in your desk drawer to instantly rehydrate and rescue an overworked office complexion.

IsaDora Wake up Make-up, €16.95.

With all the fuss in the beauty industry about all-singing, all-dancing BB and CC creams, it’s easy to push liquid foundations to the back of the shelf. But if you’re looking for a good cover then this beauty will not let you down. It’s a dream to apply, gliding on and blending in seconds. And the finish is velvet smooth without being cakey.

Be careful though, it’s easy to over apply. Smooth it on in the morning and enjoy the benefits well into the day. It also comes with a welcome SPF20 to protect your skin. In a word — sorted.

SkinCeuticals Blemish + AGE Defense Serum, €88

Prevent office anguish acne and blemishes and fine lines with this two-in-one tonic.

Don’t expect an instant lift. This product needs time before you see the benefits.

Dr Nick Lowe Purifying Foaming Cleanser, €15.49

Lift away the day’s desk impurities with this anti-bacterial, foaming face-wash to deep-clean pores. Remember to follow with a night cream, before popping into bed for some beauty sleep.

Halo Toilet and Surface Wipes, €1.39

If you’re prone to ‘al desko’ lunches, give your desk a speed clean with these antibacterial wipes. It’ll give your workspace an instant lift — and help you to focus.

Cowshed Anti-bacterial Cow Slip Hand Gel, €9

As hand-sanitisers go, these are as pretty as they come, with essential oil combos, like sweet orange and peppermint, or lavender and grapefruit. Now that’s what we call a win-win product.

La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray, €9

Spritz this to instantly soothe and rehydrate an air-con-zapped complexion. It also gives you a lovely, healthy glow. Available in desk-drawer-friendly, 50ml bottle.


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