Ditch the desk nasties and give your skin a promotion

A woman working at her desk. PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos.
A woman working at her desk. PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos.
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Lisa Haynes reveals the everyday beauty pitfalls to avoid during the nine to five working day

It’s quite possible you spend more time at your desk than anywhere else. Guilty?

While overtime and hard work might lead to a pay rise (if you’re lucky!), your skin could be paying the price in the long run.

Even the most clean and tidy person can neglect their desk environment in a haze of deadlines and to-do lists. If your work space regime is in need of an overhaul, look no further than the mirror for declutter motivation.

“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.

Home office or corporate desk, beautify your work space and reward yourself with clear skin.

Slack jowls

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. “This helps prevent a drooping jawline, which can be caused by looking down too much.”

Lean lines

Even office workers who abide by textbook health and safety seated positions can end up slumping, with head in hands, before clocking-off time.

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

Skin stress

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 that 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.”

Bacteria build-up

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.

Desk dehydration

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 if you work a desk-bound eight-hour day.

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

“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.

Desk SOS

Fight office skin dramas with these hard-working wonders:

n SkinCeuticals Blemish + AGE Defense Serum. Help prevent the formation of office anguish acne and blemishes, and prevent fine lines with this two-in-one tonic, £75 (01209 617 146).

n Dr Nick Lowe Purifying Foaming Cleanser. Lift away the day’s desk impurities with this anti-bacterial foaming face wash to deep clean pores, £10.49 (Boots).

n Halo Toilet and Surface Wipes. If you’re prone to al desko lunches, give your desk a speed clean with these antibacterial wipes, 99p (Boots/Superdrug).

n Cowshed Anti-bacterial Cow Slip Hand Gel. As hand sanitisers go, these are as pretty as they come with essential oil combos, like sweet orange and peppermint or lavender and grapefruit, £7 each (www.cowshedonline.com).

n Vaseline 2in1 Hand Cream & Anti-Bacterial. Some hand sanitisers can dry out the hands, but this product simultaneously deeply hydrates and moisturises, £3.75 (Boots).

n La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray. Spritz this to instantly soothe and rehydrate an air-con-zapped complexion, available in desk-drawer friendly 50ml bottle, £4 (Boots).

Tried & tested

Make the most of dark winter nights on the sofa with a deep cleansing clay mask. Our testers trial three face transformers:

n Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask 100ml, £6.99 (Boots)

Sludgy green in colour and earthy in scent, this mask looked quite runny but dried surprisingly quickly on my face.

After 10 minutes it was easily removed with warm water to reveal smoother skin, but is best suited to oily skin types.3/5

n Super Facialist by Una Brennan Tea Flower Deep Clean Pore Purifying Mask 150ml, £8.99 (Boots)

This beautifully fragranced mask was really easy to use and not at all messy like some can be.

It cleaned my pores and left my skin feeling really fresh and clean, without making it at all dry.4/5

n Clayspray Brightening White Clay with Ginseng Mask 125ml, £44.50 (www.feelunique.com)

The texture of this mask was creamy and luxurious, like a thick body cream.

It turned from dark grey to white as it dried, and afterwards my skin looked clear and glowing and felt super-soft.5/5