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How Your Phone’s Light Radiation Might Damage Your Skin

February 13, 2018

It’s hard to do much of anything these days without having a smartphone in our hands. And while some side effects of spending all that time staring at the screen are well-publicized, there are some others you may really not be thinking about – like the possibility of skin damage.

“HEV is High Energy Visible light, which is also called ‘blue’ light, or ‘near-UV’ light,” said Dr. Andrew Salner, medical director of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at Hartford Hospital. “It is a type of light radiation that comes out of the cellphone.”

In theory, HEV light has the potential to be damaging to the skin, and researchers are busy looking into that possibility.

“HEV light penetrates the skin a little bit more deeply,” said Dr. Salner. “That’s why some researchers have speculated that there may be injury to tissues below the skin’s surface and around connective tissue, for example, in the dermis (not in the epidermis) that could potentially lead to wrinkling or skin injury.”

There is at least one other connection between your cellphone and the potential for skin damage, particularly if you are outside.

“One of the greater concerns,” said Dr. Salner, “might be that we know that the reflection off the screen of a cellphone or an iPad can significantly, by some 30 or 40 percent, increase the amount of ultraviolet radiation than you might get from sun exposure.”

His advice is to slather on the sunscreen anytime you are outdoors. He also adds this piece of advice:

“We just have to use our good common sense in terms of using our cellphone,” he said, “and try to limit it to times when we really need it, and recognize that there may be unintended consequences of using it all the time.”

Learn more here about the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute