how your laptop ages your skin

Heading back to your desk after a break? If you’re working from home it can be hard to separate work/home life; but here’s something to help you reconsider those boundaries: scientists at Unilever are concerned that increased screen time from home working could have a negative impact on skin, with five days in front of a laptop equating to 25 minutes in midday summer sun.

Two in three (64%) people are unaware of the effect that blue light can have on their skin, Unilever has found. The company wants to help people “beat the screen blues” by raising awareness of the negative impact that blue light has on skin – not just on our faces, but on the rest of the body too.

With 60% of people now spending more than six hours a day in front of a digital device, five working days can have the same impact on the skin as spending 25 minutes in midday sun without any protection.

The blue light emitted from screens not only affects the skin but can also disturb our biological clocks. Blue light can penetrate the skin far deeper that UV light, passing through the epidermis and dermis to the subcutis layer. It can induce both immediate and persistent pigmentation, which can still be present after three months. In addition, these rays can inhibit melatonin generation, increase stress hormone levels, and excite nerves, which in turn disturbs sleeping pattern and circadian rhythm. 30 hours of exposure to blue light from smartphone or laptop screens can increase the inflammation level in skin cells by 40%[3].

Samantha Tucker-Samaras, Global Vice President Science & technology, Beauty & Personal Care at Unilever explains, “long-term exposure to blue light has the potential to have a significant negative impact on people’s wellbeing, and we’re concerned people are simply unaware of the risks. It is highly likely that exposure to blue light has increased this year, as many previously office-based workers have increased their time in front of a screen, as face-to-face meetings have moved to virtual. People should be looking for skincare products loaded with antioxidants, as well as niacinamide and zinc oxide. Limiting screen time also helps, not only for our overall skin health, but our general wellbeing too.

“We have over 5,000 experts across the world working to bring science and innovation insights to products which benefit people’s health and wellbeing, and we have a duty to let people know how best to protect themselves from the impact of blue light exposure.”

Beat the Screen Blues:

To protect yourself against blue light, Unilever scientists recommend using products which include ingredients that minimise or neutralise blue light, as well as restore skin. Look for products which include the following ingredients:

  • Products with optics minimise visible light to prevent skin tanning. For example, some BB creams are proven to minimise the effects of blue light
  • Zinc oxide, which creates a protective barrier for the skin
  • Vitamin C protects and recovers skin cells from blue-light-induced oxidative damage
  • Vitamin B6 combats visible-light-induced antioxidant depletion and effectively suppresses oxidative stress caused by visible light
  • Niacinamide restores skin surface cells from blue-light-induced oxidative stress and provides strong protection against skin damage caused by blue light