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Verify: Does more screen time cause premature aging?

Amid the beauty boom, we Verify: Does too much screen time damage your face?

Since the pandemic has forced so many in person experiences to become Zoom meetings, a cosmetic boom, also called a beauty boom, has arrived.

Why? Well, traditionally, we only see ourselves a few times a day – when we are getting ready in the morning or when we’re washing our hands. But now we have to look at ourselves over Zoom for hours, and we see our face in motion or in poor lighting and the sight of this has sent people running to their nearest day spa or dermatologist's office all around the world.

According to Global Markets Insights, the injectable cosmetics industry, like Botox, exceeded $4.9 billion in 2019, and is projected to grow over 8.9 percent between 2020 and 2026.

But are the things we notice about our face just us being overly critical of ourselves, or are all these Zoom meetings and other screen time activities really causing premature aging?

So, we Verify:
Does too much screen time cause damage to your face?

The experts:
Kristi Hawley, DO, a board-certified dermatologist at The Derm Institute of West Michigan
Sheri Litchfield, salon manager at Renewal Skin Spa

“The answer appears to be yes," said Dr. Hawley. "Things are still early when it comes to researching this, but it does look like the high energy visible light is responsible for breaking down collagen, it’s allowing free radicals to form on our skin which is responsible for damage and aging our face. Definitely the eye skin which is so fragile probably gets the most face time with the screen, I guess it depends where you hold it. But anything that’s exposed to it is going to suffer some.”

"The specific wavelength of light is actually been shown to create damage to the skin by breaking down collagen and what collagen is the building blocks of our skin," explained Dr. Hawley. "It helps retain that elasticity of our skin and youthfulness, and so with time, the longer we’re in front of those lights it looks like it is slowly breaking down our skin.”

"There is definitely damage that comes from the digital screen," said Sherri Litchfield. "The blue light tends to penetrate the skin deeper into the dermis levels, so as they're studying it, they're finding that it's actually more damaging to the skin than even what some of the regular UV-A and UV-B rays."

VERIFIED: Too much screen time does cause damage to your skin.

The good news is there are treatments available to help repair digital damage to your face, and there are ways to prevent it.

According to the experts, people should wear a medical grade sunscreen before sitting in front of the screen every day. The sunscreen should be at least a 30 SPF, although a 50 SPF is better. Look for a sunscreen that includes the ingredients titanium and zinc, which are actual physical blockers, that won’t let any light or sun touch your skin at all. The light will bounce right off of you, no matter what the source is.

To get in touch with our experts for treatment and more questions, contact the Derm Institute of West Michigan and Renewal Skin Spa. 

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