I spend a lot of time at my computer and lately I’ve been wondering whether this habit is damaging my skin. After all, computer monitors are a source of light, but do they emit UV rays? Am I accelerating the aging process by working so many hours at my PC? I’ve decided to investigate and this is what I found out:
Do computer monitors emit UV light?
Those old school, large, box-shaped cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors emit very low levels of UV light that don’t really do any damage to the skin. Most people these days, however, use flat-panel (not to be confused with flat screen) screen monitors with LCD and plasma technology. These do not emit any UV light at all. And no UV light = no damage. Yay! We can keep using our computers without worrying about our skin!
The exception to the rule
People suffering from severe photosensitivity, including those with xeroderma pigmentosum (or XP disorder, a rare genetic condition characterized by an extreme sensitivity to UV rays), can sometimes feel dizzy or nauseous when exposed to light emitted by a computer. When this happens, turn down brightness on the computer screen, sit farther away from it and take frequent breaks. And if you haven’t already, switch to a LCD monitor or use an anti-glare screen on your monitor.
The Bottom Line
LCD monitors don’t emit any UV light at all, while that emitted by CTR monitors is so low that it won’t cause any problems for your skin, so there’s no need to wear sunscreen in front of your computer (unless you’re sitting very close to a window as UVA rays can penetrate through glass). Only people with severe sensitivity should limit the time they spend at their PC.
Do you wear sunscreen in front of your computer?