We don’t know about you, but we’re welcoming Fall with open arms, eager to experience some crisp weather, changing leaves and a sense of normalcy in the midst of an unpredictable year. As we bid adieu to beach days and scorching temperatures, it’s still more important than ever to keep sunscreen as a part of our morning routines. With so many of us working from home staring at our laptops, scrolling through our phones and setting our kids up in front of their own Zoom screens, we’re spending more time than ever looking at our devices. Believe it or not, the light from our devices could be causing skin damage that’s just as bad as sun damage.
Even though it is spooky season, don’t let this news scare you too much. As owners of our own medical spa, we’re here to give you the 4-1-1 on screen damage, how to prevent it and even how to treat it. High-energy visible light (HEV), otherwise known as blue light, is emitted from the sun’s rays and from the screens on devices like iPads, laptops, cell phones, televisions, etc. Skin damage resulting from our devices is often referred to as Screen Face, and there’s scientific evidence that supports this claim. Blue light has been studied and shown to produce a stress response in the skin, which weakens the skin’s natural defense mechanisms. As a result, blue light has shown to produce more hyperpigmentation than UVB exposure, as well as an increase in melasma around the forehead and eyes.
Of course, the first thing we’re going to tell you to do to prevent Screen Face is wear sunscreen, but it’s important to look into purchasing a high-quality SPF. Many sunscreen formulas on the market have a myriad of chemicals in them, like octinoxate, oxybenzone (a form of benzophenone) and avobenzone. In addition to cancer rates, these chemicals have been linked to hormone imbalances, dysfunctions in sexual development and function and some birth defects. Physical blockers, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are naturally occurring ingredients that protect against the full spectrum of UV damage. We recommend the ZO sunscreen brand; they have a mineral-based line of products that are suitable for whatever your needs are.
Making a quality sunscreen part of your morning routine is the most important thing you can do to prevent screen damage, but it’s also helpful to turn down the brightness on your devices when you can. Turning your device to “night mode” when applicable (like Apple’s night mode) decreases exposure by simply emitting more red or yellow light instead of blue. Take frequent breaks from your screen (for your mental health, too!) and try to do activities when you’re off work that don’t involve screentime.
However, when you do find yourself staring at your screen, don’t forget to protect your retinas as well! Consider buying a pair of blue light glasses to help shield your eyes from the intensity of your screen. Studies show that blue light glasses can help reduce eye strain and fatigue, and help prevent screen-induced headaches. They range in price, but you can find affordable (and cute!) options on Amazon.
For those of you who feel their skin damage needs a little more help, seek a professional consult. We love IPL lasers for reducing brown and red spots and resurfacing lasers that increase collagen and thicken the dermal and epidermal layers of the skin, should you want to go that route. There are also options for chemical peels and individualized, medical-grade skin care products.
Last but not least, make sure you keep up with your skincare routines (morning and night) to keep your skin looking and feeling its best. We know it feels unnecessary to go through the motions if you’re not wearing makeup, but we promise your skin needs just as much TLC with makeup or without! With most things consistency is key, and your skincare regimes are no different. So with or without the presence of a smokey eye, please wash your face before bed! Your skin will thank you.
As working women, mothers and partners we get it–lots of our lives revolve around devices right now. So apply your sunscreen, turn down that brightness and remember to safely soak up those rays. Sunlight is good for the soul–as long as you’re protecting yourself, first.