One evening, while clacking away at my keyboard (as I do all day every day), a colleague asked aloud, "Hey, do you think being in front of these computer screens for hours on end could be bad for our skin?"
*Gasp* What scared me more than the question itself was the fact that, even as a digital editor, I had literally never thought about it.
Following my inevitable freak out, some preliminary research introduced me to the term "computer face," which is the premature aging caused by sitting for long periods of time in front of the screen. And that was it—I needed to get to the bottom of this possible skincare plight.
I contacted a trusted expert, dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., at Schweiger Dermatology Group, for the harsh reality. And, turns out, it's not so harsh. "These days, it's not very dangerous at all," she explained of the light my screen emits. "Most people work off newer models, with LCD or LED screens, which do not emit UV radiation and are completely safe."
But if you're still working with a bulky old desktop computer, you must take precaution, as they do emit UV radiation. "People working long hours in front of these screens should absolutely take care to protect themselves," she said. "Even small amounts of daily radiation will not only exacerbate a light-sensitive condition, but also slowly contribute to skin aging."
If that's not motivation to upgrade your circa-1999 desktop, I don't know what it is. In the meantime, you can use an anti-glare screen cover to help to block the harmful rays.
Before you breathe a sigh of relief, there's still plenty we can do to safeguard our skin from all kinds of UV damage. Sunscreen is obviously non-negotiable: "Applying a daily moisturizer with a minimum SPF of 30 will not only protect you from potential UV radiation from old computer screens but also UV streaming from windows in your office and the bursts you get from running out for lunch or traveling to and from work."
All in all, I'm relieved that my slave-to-my-desk lifestyle isn't out to destroy my youthful glow (humor me, please). But I'm more inspired than ever to load up on the SPF, because you just never know where those pesky, wrinkle-causing rays are lurking.