How smartphones affect skin
Is your iPhone bad for your skin?
Guest Written by Kelsey McGillis
When it comes to smartphones, chances are you’ve seen thousands of headlines about the dangers they may pose to our health. From being blamed for sleep problems, to headaches and even brain damage, cell phones are at the center of many controversial debates. With technology prevalent everywhere we go, it is healthy to maintain a certain skepticism and caution with our smartphones. But how many of these claims really hold validity? Global News recently spoke to skincare expert, Dr. Lisa Kellett, to get her take on the claim that smartphone use can prematurely age our skin.
Many people have claimed that our phone screens cause skin damage, not from the bacteria that live on them, as one might expect, but from the light emitted from the screen. This light emission is known as HEV, or high energy visible light. Also known as blue-violet light, it is naturally occurring but also heavily present in digital technology.
While experts have been aware of the effects of HEV on eyesight and sleep patterns for a long time, skin is an emerging topic in the world of light effects. A recent study conducted by the University Hospital of Nice, France found that HEV light radiation led to hyperpigmentation of skin, lasting up to 3 months. According to this study, the effects of this light far surpasses the potential damage caused by UVB rays.
However, many dermatologists argue there just isn’t enough research and evidence to prove the dangers of HEV rays. Dr. Lisa Kellett, director of Toronto’s DLK on avenue, highlights instead the importance of sun and light protection regardless of the type. “There’s not a lot of evidence-based medicine to support the claims that deeper wavelengths of HEV (between 400 to 450 nanometers) will have an effect on skin, but that said, I always stress the importance of wearing sunscreen year-round. Anything with titanium dioxide or zinc will be effective in blocking these rays.”
Sunscreen isn’t only for protection from direct sunlight, but from light of many kinds. As Dr. Kellett explains, “Many don’t realize that light protection is as important to skin health as sun protection is, so they don’t realize that just because they’re not on the beach, it doesn’t mean they can’t damage their skin.”
“The principle of light is that it’s reflective. On a bright day in the winter, you can still get reflection of light off the sidewalk or the snow,” she says. “Even on a cloudy day, 70 per cent of UVA rays can come through…..people don’t realize that you can get sun and light damage through a window.”
Until further research is done into the different effects of HEV, UVB and UVA rays, stay on the safe side and ensure you’re always protected with sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF higher than 30 is crucial to your skin’s health, regardless of season and setting.