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4 ways tech could be damaging your skin and what you can do about it

From premature ageing to breakouts and tech neck, these are the signs that you're spending too much time online

Are you addicted to your phone? According to a 2020 study by Unilever on the effects of blue light on our skin health, 60 per cent of us are now spending more than six hours a day in front of a digital device.

Spending an excessive amount of time on your phone or laptop could also be prematurely ageing your skin, so read on to find out the risks and steps you can take to minimise the damage.

Light damage

There’s no doubt that UVA and UVB rays from the sun are the skin’s number one enemy, but as Aesthetic Doctor and EV Expert, Dr Vincent Wong explains, “electronic devices such as mobile phones and computer screens emit blue light, which is very close in wavelength to UV light from the sun. As blue light has high energy, it can penetrate the skin and cause a wide range of issues from premature signs of ageing such as pigmentation, lines and wrinkles to skin cancer.”

Scary stuff, especially as tests have shown this blue light is as damaging to skin as UVA and UVB combined.

What you can do:
  • Try to limit screen time, not only for your skin health but your overall wellbeing 
  • Buy HEV filtering screens for your computer screens, laptops, tablets and smartphones
  • Turn your phone onto the ‘night setting’ which emits a gentler yellow light
  • Make sure your daily SPF includes zinc oxide which helps create a barrier on the skin; try Eucerin PhotoAging Control Sun Fluid, SPF30, which contains a powerful antioxidant, Lichochalone A, that in clinical and dermatological research has shown to provide effective protection from HEV light as well as ultraviolet light
  • Look for serums with vitamin C and niacinamide which help skin cells recover from blue light damage, such as Dr Sam’s Flawless Brightly Serum.

Lines and wrinkles

According to the Unilever study, 64 per cent of us remain unaware of how blue light emitted from screens negatively affects the appearance and health of our skin. This is confirmed by aesthetic surgeons who are noticing younger patients with the signs of premature ageing – fine lines, scattered pigmentation, wrinkles, and jowls. Plus, if you’re one of those people who frown or squint when concentrating on a screen, you’re likely to end up with frown lines, too.

What you can do:
  • Don’t sit in one position for too long
  • Pay attention to whether you frown when looking at the screen, and consciously relax your facial muscles
  • Keep up to date with your eye tests, so you’re not tempted to squint
  • Consider anti-wrinkle toxin which can prevent your facial muscles from working overtime and creating wrinkles or try Revision Revox Line Relaxer which features innovative technology  to help minimise the impact of facial expressions that lead to lines.


Have you noticed how makeup or oil collects on your phone screen? Your phone harbours huge amounts of bacteria, so if you’re breaking out it could well be due to bacteria transferring from your phone and leading to clogged pores and blemishes. As Dr Wong explains, “for those who suffer from skin inflammation such as acne, blue light from electronic devices can also trigger a flare up or outbreak as the skin quality is compromised.”

What you can do:
  • Buy some antibacterial wipes to keep your phone clean
  • Use earphones or put your phone on speaker mode
  • Tackle existing breakouts with products containing salicylic and azelaic acid, as both are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. We like Paula’s Choice Defense Antioxidant Pore Purifier, or treat yourself to the Signature Facial at Skinfluencer Clinic in London, a bespoke deep cleansing facial including pore cleansing, extractions, a light peel and a laser suitable for your skin's needs
  • Use hand sanitiser so you don’t spread bacteria to your phone from your hands.

Tech neck

You have probably heard of tech neck which is basically a form of repetitive strain injury causing pain, stiffness and soreness among other things, due to constantly straining our necks downwards. Sadly, this action can also cause your neck to age at an alarming rate.

Hunching over phones and laptops shortens our neck muscles, leaving them looking wider and our jawlines less structured. Constantly looking down ages the skin on the neck – our necks aren’t attached to any bones, so gravity does its thing and pulls at the skin, resulting in crepiness and sagginess. Further, most of us are guilty of not extending our skincare and SPF down our necks.

What you can do:
  • Bring your phone up to eye-level rather than looking down at it
  • Put your laptop on a stand whenever you can so you’re looking straight ahead and not down
  • Try a neck cream such as Dr Sebagh Supreme Neck Lift – this cult favourite promises to boost and restore skin’s firmness and elasticity. 
  • Consider an in-clinic skin booster treatment such as Profhilo to plump up the skin and diffuse neck lines.

Vincent Wong, Cosmetic Doctor

Dr. Vincent Wong is one of London’s leading cosmetic doctors. He is trained in advanced non-surgical cosmetic treatments...

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