How to Protect Your Skin from Digital Damage

Digital Damage

We stare at screens for the majority of our day for work, to communicate with loved ones and to consume media and entertainment. Working from home has seemed to increase time spent on technology exponentially with Apple’s Screen Time report confirming this come Sunday morning.

According to Biologi’s dermal specialist, Lucy Macdougald, all of this exposure to technology and blue light can manifest on your skin, with oxidative stress being a common symptom. A study from 2017, published in PubMed, found that blue light “could produce oxidative stress in live skin.”

“Oxidative stress can dehydrate cells, cause inflammation and chronic skin complaints, and even lead to skin cancer,” Macdougald told TheLatch—.

The same study found that blue light also can contribute to “skin ageing similar to UVA.”

“Blue light can affect collagen production and damage delicate fibres increasing the visible signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles,” Macdougald said. “As collagen production naturally slows with age, blue light exposure is a double whammy for those wishing to preserve their fountain of youth.”


Sensitivity can also be a common symptom of blue light exposure, as “cellular damage caused by blue light can lead to dehydrated cells which can weaken barrier function and cause sensitive skin,” she said.

While it’s impossible to avoid blue light — given it’s emitted from our phones, laptops and computers — Macdougald recommends a holistic approach to reduce damage to your skin.

★ Limit screen time: This is the most obvious solution, of course, but a good reminder that there are a number of reasons why we need to take regular breaks from screens. While the Screen Time reports on iPhones can be a source of stress sometimes, it is a good way to monitor the amount of time you’re on your phone.

“Awareness of internet habits can help reduce time spent scrolling and therefore exposure to blue light,” Macdougald said. “Other ways to limit mobile phone use can include only checking socials at set times of the day, leaving the phone off until you leave the house in the morning, or keeping your phone on silent at work.”

★ Apply a filter to screens: Blue light screen filters are available to buy for most models of phones, tablets and laptops — a quick Google search will help you locate one.

“Whilst they may only filter a maximum of 60% of blue light rays, a filter can significantly reduce exposure for those who spend their days in front of a computer or laptop,” said Macdougald.

★ Don’t rely solely on sunscreen for protection: Sunscreen protects the skin against UV rays, but it isn’t much help against blue light.

“If you’re looking at sunscreen for this purpose, always choose one that specifically contains HEV light protection,” she said.

★Build up antioxidant protection: According to Macdougald, “blue light exposure has been proven to generate free radicals that can damage healthy skin cells. Antioxidants protect healthy cells by terminating the chain reaction before the damage occurs.”

“The more you can build up antioxidant protection through nutrition and applying directly to the skin, the more you’ll counteract free radical damage leading to healthier cells.

“At Biologi, we recommend implementing a hard-working serum into your routine like our Bk Rejuvenation Serum. Bk Serum is potent in natural vitamin C — not synthetic ascorbic acid — and is actually the world’s first and so far, the only source of stable, active vitamin C in skincare its natural form.

Photo: Biologi

Biologi BK Rejuvenation Serum, $25 for 5ml.

Using a product like the BK Serum helps prevent signs of ageing, while also building up antioxidant protection — all without the added synthetics used in many other skincare products.

“For the average consumer, there’s no way to completely avoid blue light exposure so we recommend strengthening cells to minimise the damage that can lead to premature ageing and dehydrated skin,” Macdougald said.

As with many things, moderation is best applied to the use of technology alongside a protective skincare regime.

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