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Intelligent Beauty

How your screen is ageing you (and what to do about it)

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert4 years ago
View Verity Douglas's profile

Scarily hailed as the 'new UV' rays, HEV (high-energy visible) light is a 21st Century skin care nemesis. Silently damaging cells' while we sit at our desks (or enjoy our pre-sleep Insta binge), blue light (as it's also called) penetrates even more deeply than its ultra-violet siblings, disrupting much more than just sleep patterns...


Although research is scant, HEV is the subject of several new studies as specialists scramble to understand how our addiction to tech could be cause for concern. We've already been warned about the perilous {tech neck} (the sorry side-effect of too much iPhone gazing) but now, formulators are trying to find ways to safeguard our skin from the negative impact of lives lived in front of computers, smartphones and TVs.

The extent of the damage (and the long-term effects) are still subject to debate - no one really knows what all this screen exposure means for cells' wellbeing, and some are convinced that scaremongers are making a fuss about nothing. However, others err on the side of caution - reasoning that what we don't know probably will hurt us. Emerging evidence suggests that HEV can cause low-level inflammation which in time, could lead to lasting degradation of the fibres that support our face's framework.

Similarly to the ways in which UV can damage DNA, HEV could be responsible for premature deterioration of the 'scaffolding' - the collagen and elastin - that keeps our skin smooth, taut and supple. It's also believed to cause 'age spots' - the pigmentation patches we associate with sun damage, especially for those with darker skin tones.


So, what can we do? The best (and most difficult) thing is to 'limit' your screen time, especially now when we're working, procrastinating and socialising via our screens. But why not try imposing certain time-orientated 'rules'? From switching box-sets for books before bed and refraining from early-morning scrolling until after we've sat down at our desks for the day to limiting the number of times you check BBC News. Not only will your skin (potentially) benefit, but you'll probably get better quality sleep (blue light disrupts your Circadian rhythms). Not possible? Here's our pick of the best blue light-fighting products that redefine what it means to invest in a screen protector...


A featherweight sunscreen (with added antioxidants) will help to ward against free radical formation (the 'bad guys' that compromise cells). Zelens' {Daily Defence} is a 'force field' for your visage - deflecting sun and city with SPF 30. Or, invest in The Ordinary's pocket-friendly {Mineral UV Filters with Antioxidants} which come in a choice of factor 15 or 30, and blend seamlessly for broad-spectrum protection.


If you live in a highly polluted environment, an anti-pollution serum, oil or moisturizing crema is the first line of defence for preventing the risk of of 'polluaging' (accelerated skin ageing caused by pollution).  So make sure your skin care is brimming with vitamins C, D or B3 as well as potent antioxidants to supplement your complexion's natural barrier. Also, why not try keeping a bottle of Volition's {Screen Time Hydrating Mist} nearby as a deskside essential. Here are our go-tos:

Allies of Skin {Molecular Multi-Nutrient Day Cream}

Dr. Barbara Sturm's {Anti-Pollution Drops}

Oskia's {Citylife Concentrate}


Finally, for those wanting maximum protection against blue light while still fulfilling their love for make up, these multi-tasking, anti-pollution CC and BB creams are sure to deflect HEV rays while looking cute on your Zoom call. These tried and tested heroes have garnered industry acclaim for a reason...

IT Cosmetics {Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+}

Dr. Jart+ {Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment}

BY TERRY {Cellularose Moisturising CC Cream}

Omorovicza's {Complexion Perfector SPF 20}

COOLA's {Mineral Face SPF 30 Rōsilliance BB+ Cream}


Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...