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Is Screen Time Aging Your Skin? Here’s What You Need To Know

digital devices

Back when I was growing up in sunny southern California, my only concern about sun exposure was getting enough to maintain my golden-brown suntan! The dangers of sun exposure weren’t widely understood back in the 60s and 70s, which seems unthinkable when you consider how seriously we take sun protection today!

And while we’ve come a long way since then, there’s still more to uncover about the way light affects our skin. And according to recent studies, it turns out that the light from our devices may be having a highly unwelcome effect on our skin!

Related: 7 Anti-Aging Skincare Myths That Need To Be Debunked

digital devices

How Digital Devices Are Aging Your Skin

The screens on our smartphones and other devices emit a particular kind of light called high-energy visible light (or HEV light). While the effects of HEV light are still being studied, new research suggests that it can actually accelerate the aging process.

While we already know that ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause oxidation that leads to inflammation, skin damage, and hyperpigmentation, a 2017 study found that HEV light had a similar effect on skin. Which means that even if you avoid excess sun exposure to avoid premature aging, your devices could be undermining your efforts!

But don’t give up hope just yet! Because fortunately for us, there are a few things we can do to protect our skin from the aging effects of HEV light!

3 Ways To Protect Your Skin From HEV Light

digital devices

1. Adjust The Light Settings On Your Devices

You can adjust the light and display settings on your digital devices to reduce your exposure to HEV light. If you have an iPhone, you can use the built-in Night Shift feature to shift your display to warmer colors. (By default, Night Shift turns on at sunset and off at sunrise, but you can adjust the settings by going to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift.)

For Androids and other devices, go to Settings > Display and look for either the Night Light or Blue light filter options. These features work the same way as Night Shift and can be adjusted to your liking.

digital devices

2. Use Hands-Free Features

To avoid the direct contact of holding your phone against your face, use hands-free calling! I take calls through my AirPods all the time, and at this point I much prefer that to holding my phone the whole time. :-)

Apart from calls, you can also use your smartphone’s digital assistant to perform other tasks hands-free. Just ask Siri, Alexa, or the Google Assistant to set up events on your calendar, make notes, send texts, and more!

3. Wear SPF Every Day

And finally, don’t underestimate the power of good old sunscreen! Wearing some sort of product with SPF is the easiest way to protect yourself against light damage from the sun or from your screens.

Here are a few different skincare products that offer protection from HEV and other types of light:

If you often forget to apply sunscreen, I recommend working it into your daily skincare or makeup routine. There are so many different types of products with SPF in them these days, from BB and CC creams to primers to moisturizers. Just swap out one of your current everyday products for a version with SPF, and then you won’t need to remember to put it on! :-)

With these tips, you can use your devices confidently knowing that you’re protecting your skin from the aging effects of HEV light!

Do you have a favorite skincare or makeup product with SPF?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Beauty Tips

  • I love the scents of Coola Sunscreen but I also use Mary Kay and add essential oils like Lavender or Geranium to make it smell more relaxing.

  • I have stage 4 melanoma. I’ve had many surgeries, two types of chemo with side effects. Take the time to find a sunscreen that you can use regularly. I am NED right now with regular scans but it could come back anytime. Be safe and keep well.

  • I’m happy to learn about using SPF for devices as well as sun block for my face. Didn’t know that. I will now use it and be more careful with my skin.

  • My question was the same as others’ here, in regard to product ingredients…I use titanium/zinc oxide sunscreens when I go outside in order to avoid avobenzone and similar active ingredients which are purportedly hormone-disruptors in most chemically-blocking sunscreens. I can put up with having a ghostly sheen on my face for a few hours in the backyard, but I wouldn’t want to go around the house like this (or out in public, although this is largely moot right now) all day. I also don’t typically wear makeup most days, so perhaps an SPF moisturizer might be a solution – except that this leads us back to the ingredients question. Are there any SPF moisturizers with physical UV/HEV blockers that don’t make one look like a ghost?

    • As I use Bare Minerals on makeup days I checked out their product listed above and confirmed that the active ingredients are zinc and titanium oxide. It seems to get high reviews so maybe the “ghost” effect isn’t as pronounced as with a straight sunscreen; maybe the long list of inactive ingredients serves to mask this effect! The other two products listed contain avobenzone.

    • For all these reasons, I use EVER’s Daylight Tinted Moisturizer: It has a chemical-free 32 SPF and is approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

  • There are many ingredients in some sunscreens that are to be avoided–some are linked to cancer. Be sure and do your homework and research what ingredients to be avoided. And there are DIY sunscreens one can make and avoid the ingredients that companies insist on adding to their product even thou it can be problematic. Research–research. research==

    • You are absolutely right, Kathy! However, I can’t control how long other people are on their devices, so I am just offering ideas to help. :-)

  • I’ve never heard this before about harmful rays from our devices. My favorite skin care product with spf is the Olay complete daily moisturizer. It’s a broad spectrum one . I love it because it’s very affordable.

    • We didn’t hear much about the importance of wearing sunscreen daily until I was late 20s -30 ish . I would try to
      tan but it would take me until the end of summer to even get any color on my skin . I grew up in Colorado and inherited my moms side of the family’s skin. Her relatives always joke you know a —- family member if you can’t go out in the sun without your heavy duty sunscreen. I wasn’t as bad as some of moms siblings who would get headaches if they were out in the sun very long and had to wear hats and long sleeve shirts.

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