Dubious Medical Syndrome of the Day: ‘Smartphone Face’

Can staring at your iPhone all day make your chin sag? Let's find out!

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Beware, teenage texters and overworked professionals. If you stare at your phone for too long, you just may end up with a case of “smartphone face.” At least, that’s what a bunch of British cosmetic surgeons say.

British cosmetician Dr. Mervyn Patterson explains exactly what the condition consists of in the London Evening Standard:

“If you sit for hours with your head bent slightly forward, staring at your iPhone or laptop screen, you may shorten the neck muscles and increase the gravitational pull on the jowl area, leading to a drooping jawline.”

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According to Patterson, more and more people are noticing what they look like while they’re Skyping or video-conferencing. And they’re not happy with what they see. But is there any truth to it?

Short answer: probably not. There’s no real science to prove that smartphone face even remotely exists, but what’s for certain is that cosmetic surgery is becoming a hot trend amongst teens, a tech-savvy segment of the population. As one 25-year-old texter told the India Times, “I am not sure if my addiction to technology has caused [me to suffer from smartphone face], but I think my habit of sitting with a bad posture may have contributed to it.”

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If you are indeed looking for a “chintervention,” be aware that the typical “fix” will set you back $7,000 for a full chin implant. There’s also a whole range of treatments including Botox, facelifts and other injections. And then there’s always the PY Neckline Trainer, a “home gym for your chin”, as seen on TV. Whether smartphone face exists or not, it’s certainly good for business.

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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