Your computer can make your face sag a decade too soon, warn skin experts, but a quick position change will help

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After yet another locked-down day of intently staring at your laptop screen (with regular breaks, of course, to pour over your phone), it’s inevitable you should start wondering how all that glare might affect your skin.

The answer? It’s not doing a lot of good, although the jury is still firmly out on just how damaging it is.

However, there are some things we DO know about the potential consequences of all this extra screen time.

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Here are four things you should be aware of, and what you can do about them to keep your face radiant despite the radiation.

Is tech making your face sag?

Most of us look at least slightly down when working on our laptops – and staring down at your phone is endemic. Apparently, this exerts up to five times more gravitational pull on your neck and jaw area than is normal.

As a result, skin doctors are increasingly seeing the beginnings of jowls and saggy necks on people in their 30s, when this is a problem that should normally not become apparent until a least a decade later.

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Now, don’t go crazy buying special neck creams and “jaw exercisers”. Just buy a laptop stand so yours is elevated to eye level, or try a standing desk (much more comfortable than it looks, and quite energising).

And from today onwards, take all your usual facial skincare down to your neck: looking after your skin consistently is one of the main keys to ageless skin anywhere on the body.

Is blue light sapping your skin?

If you’re freaking out over HEVL (high energy visible light) radiation, or blue light, which is supposedly emanating from your screens at dangerous levels and causing pigmentation and wrinkles, you may be able to breathe a little more easily.

“I would not be concerned about HEVL emitted from skincare devices,” says dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto. “Based on current research, the amount is small and unlikely to directly affect the skin.”

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It’s the level of HEVL contained in sunlight that is dangerous, which is why you should always wear a broad-spectrum SPF30 or higher when outside or working by a sunny window.

If your sunscreen also has iron oxides, as can be found in Bioderma Photoderm Melasma SPF50+ Tinted, £15.50 here, all the better; they are currently the best blue light-blockers we know of.

Is your sight being damaged by screens?

According to ophthalmic and oculoplastic consultant Mr Daniel Ezra, there is “no evidence” blue damages our eyes or vision, either.

It can, however induce headaches for people prone to migraines or who have a sensitivity to light.

So dive into the settings on your devices and change the light preference to 24-hour Night Shift mode (or download an app called F.lux). This blocks blue light in favour of (innocuous) yellow light, and is an instant eye saver. It’s also good for your sleep as blue light is proven to keep you in a waking state.

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If you wear glasses, consider adding a blue light blocking tint to your prescription lenses. If you don’t, eyewear brand Quay does prescription-less blue-light blocking glasses in a wide variety of frames, from £39 here.

Are your eyes being dried out by lockdown?

Dry eye syndrome (dehydrated, burning and sometimes watery eyes) “is practically an epidemic in offices,” says Ezra. So by Covid-extension, it will be a problem in our home offices as well.

Drying air conditioning is probably not SUCH a problem at home, but digital devices can be at fault too.

“It’s not radiation or heat from your screen that’s drying your eyes out,” says Ezra. “It’s a decreased blinking rate. We’re primed to stare into bright lights, suppressing the blink reflex that coats eyeballs with moisture and protective oils.”

He recommends lubricating eyedrops without whitening agents that can irritate and dry eyes out even further. “You want entirely irritant-free drops, which means they should also be free of preservatives,” he says.

Peep Club Instant Relief Eye Spray, £15 here, provides both instant hydration and conditioning, micronized sea buckthorn oil to mimic the tear film, and is cleverly sprayed onto closed lids.

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The moisture will penetrate the lids but hydrate the skin on the outside as well.

Ezra also recommends the use of warm compresses on the eyes: not only do they relax the area, the warmth helps re-liquefy the oils in the natural tear film, which can sometimes solidify, causing eyes to water.

Try Sensory Retreats Amour Eyes Self-Heating Eye Masks, £15 here.

Written by Ingeborg van Lotringen

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