Can your computer be harming your skin?

We all spend a lot of time on our computers. I most definitely do, and I wish I can minimize contact with mine but it’s just not possible. But have you stopped to consider what your computer is doing to your skin? Is it adversely affecting your skin? Maybe not now but perhaps with prolonged usage?

1. Dark eye circles
While dark eye circles can be hereditary or caused by poor diet, health or a lack of sleep, spending long hours in front of your computer can aggravate the condition. I know for a fact that my dark eye circles become more prominent when I spend too much time staring at the computer screen due to the strain on my eyes. In fact, I also noticed that my eyes can also get puffier than normal.

2. Crow’s feet
Crow’s feet are the clusters of wrinkles that appear around the outer corners of eyes. When you’re on your computer for too long, your eyes tend to become tired and you tend to blink more or squint and that can contribute to crow’s feet in the long run if you’re not careful.

3. Skin pigmentation
This seems to be a common concern and it doesn’t help that the media are reporting that youngsters who spend 7 – 8 hours on their computers daily are facing pigmentation disorder (source: Indian Express). However, I noted that the origin of the report and wonder if they are still using those large, box-shaped monitors known as CRT monitors that emit low levels of UV light? Based on my research and even discussions with my husband who is well versed with monitor displays, most of the flat-panel, or LCD monitors on your desktop computers or laptops have not been found to emit any UV light (source). So your LCD TV is safe too! In fact, an anti-glare computer screen is standard on most LCD monitors these days so there is nothing to worry about.

4. Skin discoloration
Okay, this is very interesting because some of us prefer mobile computing and that possibly means carrying your laptop into your bed. Now, are you balancing your laptop on your knees or tummy? Well, you really don’t want to do that as the heat generated by the computer can cause permanent discolouration of the skin and, in rare cases, cancer. In fact, this condition is termed the ‘toasted skin syndrome’, according to a report from Mail Online that showed a picture of a 12-year-old boy who developed a sponge-patterned skin discolouration on his left thigh after playing computer games for a few hours every day for several months.

5. Dull skin tone
I’ve read some women complaining that their skin tone appears duller when they work too long on their computer and my guess is that it’s due to a lack of blood circulation as they’re seated all day long.

6. Skin allergies
This is probably applicable to those with really sensitive skin or who have a medical condition as it appears that some people actually develop pretty severe skin allergies after prolonged exposure in front of a computer screen. Some of the symptoms sounds kind of alarming according to articles found here and here.

While it’s impossible to avoid using your computer or laptop, but just note that you should not be spending long hours in front of the screen. Take frequent breaks, drink lots of water while working, and use a sunscreen if you’re worried about skin pigmentation.

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  1. says

    I don’t drink enough water at work – I’m with the public and even with a water bottle, can’t drink often. Plus, the restroom is not nearby. I would say I’m in front of the computer at least four hours a day. Surely something to think about. I read about about the laptop toasting – a good reason to put your laptop on a desk – with a vented “cooler” instead.

    • sesame says

      I see…try to take sips whenever you can. And certainly agree about using laptops on the desk.

  2. says

    Can definitely attest to the puffy eyes and dark eye circles.
    Was spending an inordinate amount of time last week in front of the laptop both at work and at home. Had the worst circles ever, even with sufficient sleep!

    • sesame says

      Yeah, I find my eyes looking worst on days when I have stared too long at the screen. You’re right that sufficient sleep won’t eliminate them either.

  3. aibicon says

    I major in Computer Science and needs to face the computer screen almost every day. I think my dark eye circles are due to lack of sleep, sleeping late and facing the screen for too long.Its very hard not get dark eye circles.

    • sesame says

      I know…just try to take frequent breaks when you can so that your eyes won’t be so strained.

  4. says

    Definitely had worse pigmentations and dark circles ever since I started using the computer for long hours. Currently, I spend more than 9 hours a day in front of the PC.

      • says

        I’ve got a laptop in front of me and an LCD screen beside me. When I turn towards my back, there is another big LCD screen waiting for me to look at.. I’m not a graphic artist but I’m surrounded by a lot of them and most of the time, the only reason for me to leave my own desk is to look at somebody else’s computer screen, lol.

        • sesame says

          Hmm…you’re using LCD screens and still find pigmentation problems? Well, something to think about. I think the night time usage is a problem cos we usually don’t use sunscreen in the night.

  5. Angel says

    Well I’m out of luck. lol. I’m majoring in Graphic Design…that is pretty much computers all day!
    I do try to make an effort to drink plenty of water at my desk and to take breaks. But it’s hard with technology driven world it is today to not be in front of a comp all day…Luckily my monitor is a new flat screen LCD, at least I don’t have to worry about that. :)

    • sesame says

      Yeah, same here! I mean, I’m not in graphic design but with blogging and other work, I use the computer all day long. Good thing you’re using a LCD monitor…that’ll help a lot. Just remember to take breaks in between.

  6. Miss Vinny says

    Well, I use the computer a lot but I try to drink a lot of water.

    I always bring a 1L bottle with me, whenever I need to use the notebook/pc and even when I go out.

    As for radiation, that actually varies by the model number, I think. All computer equipment emits varying levels from low to really high.

    As for the electro hypersensitivity thing, interesting to know but I think the side effects apply more for those who’re ultra sensitive towards electronic or even electrical products. Plus, some people with certain psychiatric conditions could also fall under such a group as they might respond to certain noise levels, certain types of colours, certain type or level of lighting, etc.

    • Miss Vinny says

      Ah and also, I may have suffered dark circles from staring at the screen too much but pigmentation? No leh… been using computers heavily since I was a child and I didn’t get that. I literally spent up to 12 hours sometimes staring at the CRT screen. My skin has also been very very sensitive even before I started using computers at all. I don’t think it got much worse.

    • sesame says

      I have no idea about the model number but you’re right about the radiation. So if you’re using a desktop, then best to place the desktop further if possible. I think the flatter LCDs are pretty safe…I don’t get the usual static when my hands are in contact with them. Good for you that your CRT monitor did not cause any pigmentation. It may not apply across the board but it can happen for some. I also wonder if the distance between the monitor and you make any difference to the amount of radiation absorbed?

      Actually we’re pretty fortunate that we can use these equipment that help us improve productivity normally. Those with health conditions or severe skin allergies due to their health condition don’t have it too easy. Good thing it doesn’t apply to all but only very extreme cases.

    • sesame says

      Oh yes, I think that goes with your sitting posture too! I think too much computing time has caused lines on my neck!

  7. Issa says

    oh, i wish i could also lessen my time in front of the computer but my job requires me to sit in front of the computer for the whole day! waaaahhhh…..

    • sesame says

      I understand…it’s modern day technology that we can’t live without. Just try to step away on and off and don’t overstrain your eyes.

  8. says

    oh yes definitely…rays from the computer screen harms a lot!!! its better to get UV screens for the computers and laptops!!! have to get one…thanks for reminding :)

  9. Michelle says

    Now I know why my skin has been looking so dull lately! What do you think about “standing” desks? Do you think they could help?

    • sesame says

      If what you’re referring to is what I think, then I suppose the distance help to prevent the radiation.

  10. RedScorpio says

    As always, too much of anything can rarely be good!
    I must have been spending on an average 10-12h in front of a PC monitor for the last 20+ years so I don’t know if I can draw objective conclusions about how it has affected.
    I can certainly say about the bad body posture I often adopt because the chair I am sitting in is not ergonomic enough. Or the fact that a PC keyboard gathers lots of germs over time and if you touch your face often, you probably transfer them on it. That is enough already, no? :-)

    • sesame says

      Yes, it has a bad effect on our posture! Also contributing to still neck & shoulder plus backaches!

  11. Lena says

    Try eye exercises. I read in an old book to make your eyes seem brighter.
    But it also improves your vision.
    You look up as far as you can with just your eyes , the down, left, and right.
    Holding each for about 8 seconds. Then you roll them around in circles.
    Another one is holding up your finger and focus on a point behind it.

    • sesame says

      Good tips! I’ve been doing some of the exercises like those in this video:

  12. Julie1993 says

    This is scary as im spend more than 9 hrs on my iphone googling, facebooking n youtubing…cant believe that it can cause pigmentation:(((

    • Sesame says

      Well, it may or may not depending on skin types too but just know and try to ensure your screen is LCD type.

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