Protect your skin from phone-induced damage
Looking at screens all day can hurt your complexion. Katie Wright talks to experts on counteracting the effects
By now, anyone with even a passing interest in skincare knows that we should all be using sunscreen every day to protect against the ageing effects of UVB rays (in summer) and UVA (all year round).
So, you religiously apply SPF 30 every morning. Well done - your skin is going to thank you later.
But did you know there's another complexion-threatening danger lurking indoors that hardly anyone knows about?
According to new research by Avon, only 10% of UK adults are aware that the light from a mobile phone can age you.
"As a nation, we're now spending a huge part of our days looking at screens - up to 12.5 hours a day according to Avon's research - and much of this time is spent looking at mobile phones," says Dr Susan Mayou, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic.
"As a result, we're seeing a significant number of younger patients with visible signs of premature ageing and a dull, uneven skin texture.
"The increasing popularity of 'selfies' now means that people are pointing their phones at their faces for increased periods of time."
Computer and TV screens also emit HEV (high-energy visible) or blue light - you may have heard experts advising you to avoid them for an hour before bed because they delay the release of melatonin, the substance that makes you feel sleepy at the end of the day.
"Blue light not only wreaks havoc on our sleeping patterns, but now there is also mounting evidence which points to it having a detrimental effect on our skin, resulting in the early onset of symptoms of premature ageing," says Michelle Doherty, the founder of Alpha-H. "Specifically, these include pigmentation, melasma and brown spots, the breakdown of collagen and elastin, free radical damage and photoageing."
While you can feel the sun's rays and sunburn is a sign that you've definitely not protected your skin adequately, HEV light damage isn't as obvious, and sunblock won't help.
"Unfortunately, while normal broad-spectrum SPF will protect you from UVA and UVB, it doesn't do anything against blue light," says Doherty. "Luckily, there are other ingredients which do."
Now that skincare experts have realised how phones and computer screens are affecting us, there are a host of new products on the market designed to counteract the effects of blue light.
"Increased exposure to this type of light can cause considerable oxidative damage to the skin," Dr Mayou explains.
"Vitamin C has unique antioxidant qualities, so I often recommend this to my patients to help tackle and prevent this kind of damage."
Adding an antioxidant-rich cream to your skincare routine, morning and night, can act like a sunscreen against the light from digital devices.
So you can keep on snapping selfies, safe in the knowledge that you're keeping those blue rays at bay...