27 Investigates: Could your phone or laptop be harming your skin?

A Boardman dermatologist says High Energy Visible Light from electronic devices could be damaging skin

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Memorial Day is in one week and the kickoff to summer is the prime time to wear your sunscreen. But there’s something else you should think about when it comes to protecting your skin.

How many hours a day do you spend on a device?

Dylan Berg said she uses her phone frequently.

“I’m on my phone until like, 2 in the morning. It’s the first thing I check when I wake up,” she said.

Berg isn’t alone.

Many people can’t do without their phone, tablet, and laptop. Frequent use of those devices may come at a cost, however.

Dermatologists said the LED glow is damaging the delicate skin on our faces. That glow is called High Energy Visible Light, or HEV light.

“It’s visible light, so the sky is blue because of the blue light. You find it outside, you find it on your computer screens, you find it on your tablets and things like that,” Dr. Jenifer Lloyd said.

Lloyd runs a dermatology practice in Boardman. She said HEV light can cause premature aging.

“Now associating tablets from High Energy Light from those devices, it starts with freckles and age spots, premature wrinkling, things like that.”

Lloyd said HEV light hasn’t yet been associated with skin cancer, just minor aging damage. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about it.

“It wasn’t until years after tanning and sun exposure that we made the connection of skin cancers, and I think the same will be true of the younger generation who are growing up spending hours and hours of their total lives in front of these devices,” she said.

So how can you protect yourself from the light coming from your cell phone, tablet, or laptop?

One way is with a special lotion — not just regular sunscreen.

“A sunscreen only protects you from UVA and UVB, and does not protect you from visible light. So you want to switch over to something with zinc, titanium, or iron oxide,” Lloyd said.

There are also some antioxidant products that claim to help protect from HEV rays.

Aside from what you can put on your face, you can also get a screen or filter for your phone or tablet that will protect you from exposure. Lloyd said those items are inexpensive.

Most smart devices have an option to go into night mode. If you enable it, the screen has more of an orange glow.

For consumers interested in looking for the products that help protect from HEV lights Dr. Lloyd mentioned, a variety of stores carry those special lotions, from big-box stores, to beauty suppliers, to online retailers.

Look for products that specifically claim to help protect from HEV light. They typically range in cost from $12 to around $55.

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