‘Smartphone major source of skin infection’


New research has found disturbingly high levels of bacteria, mould and yeast lurking on phones, with the screens unsurprisingly being the most problematic area.

Other heavily affected areas include the back of the handset, the lock button, and the home button, according to the study by Insurance2go.

It comes as more than a third of people interviewed admit to never cleaning their phone, with one in 20 cleaning their phones less than once every six months.

Horrifying images show how your smartphone could be covered in up to ten times as much bacteria as a toilet seat. Pictured are the levels of bacteria and yeast found on different locations of a Samsung Galaxy 8 handset. The highest levels of bacteria of 40 CFU per cm2 was found on the screen (bottom row, second from right)

Researchers took swabs from an iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy 8 and Google Pixel to test for the levels of aerobic bacteria, yeast and mould present.

For all three phones, the screens had the highest levels of bacteria, with 100 CFU (colony forming units) per cm2 for the Samsung Galaxy, 40 CFU for the iPhone, and 12 CFU for the Google Pixel.

Dr Shirin Lakhani, from Elite Aesthetics, explained how the high levels of germs on our phones can lead to skin problems.

She explained: “Our smartphones are a really big source of skin contamination and skin problems; namely acne.

‘High concentrations of microscopic bacteria from your phone’s screen mixed with oil and makeup from the skin, along with heat from the phone, breeds more bacteria. This can clog pores and often result in inflammation and acne.

She added: “To combat these problems use a headset when on the phone for a lengthy period of time and regularly wipe your smartphone with an alcohol wipe to remove as much bacteria as possible before using it.’

The smartphones had higher levels of bacteria than an office keyboard and mouse (5 CFU per cm2 of yeast and bacteria), as well as a toilet seat and flush (24 CFU)

Commenting on the research, Gary Beeston, from Insurance2go, added: “Our phones are never far from our sides; we take them everywhere with us. Therefore, it’s inevitable that they’ll pick up a few germs along the way.

“In our experiment we took the germs that are normally lurking on our phones invisibly, and placed them in ideal growing conditions to help people see the potential hidden germs.

”Perhaps we don’t realise quite how infectious our phones can be considering we’re holding them against our faces.

“The three mobile screens we tested were almost four times as infectious as the next most infected feature, the back of the phone.”

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