Community//

Protect your Skin…from your Screen

Yes, the light from your phone can actually damage your skin. No, you don't have to toss your devices out the window. Christine McMackin and Tobi Baker-Daigle, co-owners of New England Skin Center, bring you their tips on what to do (and not do) to protect yourself from your screen.

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It’s been quite the year, to say the least. Between a global pandemic, murder hornets, and various (very important!) social movements, it feels like we’ve been glued to our TVs, computers and smartphones waiting for the next big thing. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, especially this year, but all this screen time may just be aging you. But please don’t shut your computer or throw your phone just yet– we’re here to help!

Before we tell you how to prevent “screen face” (as it has affectionately been coined by some experts), we’re sure you’re wondering how it’s even possible to get sun damage from your devices in the first place. The culprit is blue light, otherwise known as high-energy visible (HEV) light. The sun, as well as our screens, emits blue light, which promotes stress responses in the skin. Exposure to blue light over time can lead to early aging, skin damage and an overall weakening of the skin’s natural defense mechanisms. 

Blue light can also penetrate the skin’s surface, which quickens the loss of collagen found in the skin and increases visible damage on the skin’s surface. So the million dollar question: what does this do to the appearance of your skin? Well, it can result in overall sallowness, increased discoloration, and general inflammation. There’s also studies showing a worsening in skin pigmentation after exposure to blue light, and an increase of melasma (brown or gray patches) around the forehead and eyes. Blue light has also been studied and shown to produce more hyper-pigmentation than UVB exposure. 

There is a lot of scientific data and evidence to support the negative impact of blue light on our health. Blue light has been studied and shown to produce more hyper-pigmentation than UVB exposure, particularly for those with darker complexions. 

Have no fear, your medically-trained aestheticians are here with some advice on how to prevent (or even reverse) blue light damage. Goodbye, screen face; hello, healthy skin!

Do Lather Up…with sunscreen everyday. We recommend the ZO sunscreen line, as it’s filled with good, hypoallergenic ingredients. There’s also one with a primer for those who like to wear makeup. Find a sunscreen that works for you, but avoid ingredients like octinoxate, oxybenzone and avobenzone. In addition to increased cancer rates, these chemicals have also been linked to hormone imbalance, dysfunctions in sexual development and function, as well as birth defects because of their estrogen like effects. 

Don’t Avoid Those Rays…of sunshine. Some sun is important not only for the skin, but for a person’s overall well-being. Exposure to sunlight has an energizing effect and frankly, is just good for the soul. Sunlight is also a source of vitamin D—D3 to be specific. Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin after exposure to UVB rays and defends the body against microbial invaders and regulates the concentration of calcium and phosphate in the bloodstream to promote strong, healthy bones. So apply your sunscreen and get some vitamin D in your life!

Do Turn Your Phone…on night mode. Any setting that changes the tone of the screen to warmer colors decreases your HEV exposure by emitting more red or yellow light instead of blue. Turn that brightness down when you can!

Don’t Wait…on seeking out medical professionals if you feel like you need a medical procedure to reverse sun damage. At our spa, we use IPL lasers to reduce brown and red spots and resurfacing lasers that increase collagen and thicken the dermal and epidermal layers of the skin. There are also various chemical peels and medical grade skin care depending on the extent of the damage and your specific skin needs. 

Moral of the story? Wear your sunscreen, (safely) catch those rays, and try to reduce your screen time/brightness overall. Your skin will thank you–we promise!

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