Health Check: Is blue light from your cell phone a health hazard?

Could blue light from your cell phone be harmful?

It’s a growing concern for some doctors.

“There certainly is potential that these can cause some of the signs of aging, such as wrinkling, such as changes in the texture of the skin, such as brown spots -- all things that people associate with the aging process,” Dr. Seth Forman, a dermatologist, said.

Unlike UV rays, which can cause a change in the skin right away like a sunburn or tan, the blue light emitted by phones, tablets and computer monitors is something called high-energy visible light, or HEV.

Researchers think over time HEV light penetrates deep in to the skin, weakening it and causing us to show the normal signs of aging sooner.

"We believe sunscreens don't block out the high energy visible light either,” Forman said.

Traditional sunscreens block only UVA and UVB rays.

There is some evidence that antioxidants and fractionated melanin provide a barrier to HEV light -- you’ll notice more skin care lines are producing antioxidant-infused sunscreens.

But as for the long term effects of HEV light, Forman said it’s unknown.

“However, the one that's not a question mark is to moderate anything that is unnecessary," he said.

Some things you can do to add layers of protection include:

  • Adjusting the blue-light setting on computer monitors.
  • Buying blue-light filters for phones and tablets, which are less than $10.
  • And keeping a log of how much screen time you’re getting every day.
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