Should I Wear Sunscreen In Front Of My Computer?

computer sunscreen

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?

Image courtesy of marin /
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    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Trisha, it’s a relief that at least in front of our computers we don’t have to wear it, isn’t it?

  1. Janessa says

    I’m so glad about is. I looked it up myself once I found out about the harm UV rays can inflict. I watched a TED Talk yesterday on sun exposure and heart disease. There are studies that suggest UV rays from the sun activate some sort of enzyme (I forgot the name) and it helps with blood circulation and flow.. Something like that. Sorry I’m so vague, but the conclusion was that UV rays are necessary for heart health.

      • beautifulwithbrains says

        Janessa, that’s the first time I hear this. It’s weird dermatologists, when stressing the importance of wearing sunscreen daily, don’t mention this. But then science discovers new things all the time. I will definitely look into it and see what I can find out.

        I often read that it takes 30 minutes or so of unprotected sun exposure a week to get the dose of Vitamin D your body needs. It’d be interesting to know how much is necessary for blood circulation too. Not wearing sunscreen every now and then may have some beneficial effects on our health, but the UV rays have also been shown to cause cancer, so we should just exercise caution. Even if this new study showed that wearing sunscreen all the time may have side effects, we shouldn’t go back to wearing it at the beach only. Moderation is always the best policy imo. :)

        • Janessa says

          Aw, you make me so happy with your thoughtful replies! I am still going to wear sunscreen daily and apply generously but I won’t stay indoors all summer or avoid the sun with umbrellas and hats (unless I am outdoors for many hours). So yes, moderation is key. I, too, wonder how much UV exposure is healthy.

          • beautifulwithbrains says

            I did some digging but I couldn’t find much yet. It seems this research is in its early stages and so far the findings point to the possibility of UV rays having some beneficial effects on blood circulation, but nothing has been proved for certain. Still, I’ll follow any updates as it’s an interesting study. In the meantime, moderation. :)

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