We all know that the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun can cause skin damage and premature aging. But did you know that your cell phone and computer may be as bad as sun tanning for too long? Let’s look at how your phone and other devices really affect your skin.
Is Your Phone Damaging Your Skin?
About 6.6 billion people are using smartphones for an average of 4.5 hours daily in 2022. An increase in device usage and screen time was seen especially during covid and may have caused device dependency among the millennials and gen z (thanks to apps like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Zoom). It might be hard to stop yourself from unconsciously checking and scrolling through your phone. However, you may want to put down your devices, because not only do they disrupt your sleep cycle, but may also cause skin damage.
According to experts, your devices — mobile phones, tablets, computers, and televisions — emit a certain type of radiation called HEV (High Energy Visible Light) or “blue light”. Skin experts have warned that prolonged exposure to this light can weaken the skin’s surface and may cause inflammation, premature aging, or skin cancer. Although research is still in the works on how damaging it can be for the skin, many dermatologists have advised limiting screen time and using protective skincare to lessen the harmful effects of HEV or blue light from your phone and laptops.
Possible Skin Issues
Here are how mobile phones and other devices with blue light can wreak havoc on the skin:
Acne or Allergies
According to research, mobile phones are 10 times dirtier than a toilet (ew!) and can transfer to your skin in a matter of seconds. Remember where you last put your phone down? You might not see how dirty your phone is, but your screen is harboring thousands of bacteria from where you last put it down — on a skink, a restaurant table, a public bathroom, you name it. These bacteria and dirt can transfer to your skin whenever you use your phone and touch your face. The result? Acne or allergies.
Hyperpigmentation or Dark Spots
A 2020 randomized controlled trial found that blue light may induce photoaging and hyperpigmentation. Being glued to your screen or taking long calls that make your phone heat up can interfere with your melanin production, and as a result, may contribute to melasma or dark spots. Limiting your mobile use or using earphones can help minimize the possible skin damage from the blue light and heat from your phone.
Crow’s feet and Fine Lines
Are you constantly squinting when looking at your phone or computer? Doing so may result in crow’s feet or wrinkles around the eyes. Constantly looking down at your phone may also trigger necklines and what we call “turkey neck.” It happens when collagen breakdown and the elasticity of the skin weakens resulting in saggy neck skin.
How to Combat HEV or Blue Light Skin Damage
Here are a few ways you can combat HEV or blue light damage to your skin:
- Limit your screen time is as much as you can
- Use sunscreen with titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or ingredients with blue light-blocking properties.
- Use a blue light filter or screen protector on your computer
- Turn on night mode on your laptop or phone to reduce the blue light
- Add antioxidants and blue light protection skincare products to your routine
Recommended products you may want to try:
Abrams, A. (2017, August 23). Your Cell Phone Is 10 Times Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat. Here’s What to Do About It. Time; Time. https://time.com/4908654/cell-phone-bacteria/
With “Text Neck” Comes...Turkey Neck. (2018). Yahoo.com. https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/with-text-neck-comes-turkey-neck-114753354102.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAF4UKSnFNzlLImVFY2VaxkzxPf3i5Z13b9PyedNO8a9NsHZXU8yIkuL8mNhzK4iiN8KRmmxMWKsABpwgEG14GlUATVba5zRSS1HExtj6ewvdXCYaqK8oBTF2T94UueLaL-nih47U4XS3a6EKVRNZfnqPJX9Q1jZkVHPG1HePaG3O#:~:text=%E2%80%9CWith%20such%20thin%20skin%20on,call%20it%20Text%20Turkey%20Neck.