High-tech devices could be hurting your skin, dermatologists war - KCTV5

High-tech devices could be hurting your skin, dermatologists warn

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KCTV5 is investigating how staring at electronic devices all day changes your skin. (KCTV5) KCTV5 is investigating how staring at electronic devices all day changes your skin. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

KCTV5 is investigating how staring at electronic devices all day changes your skin.

Local dermatologists say research is being done to determine how light from screens is causing wrinkles, dark spots and even cancer.

Dr. Bryan Matthys with Sunflower Dermatology says one person dies every hour from skin cancer, and that rate continues to steadily increase.

"It used to be 1 in 1,500 had melanoma in the 30s. Now the number is 1 in 26, so there’s something still going on that we’re not knowing about," he said.

One thing we know has changed in that time period is technology.

Whether it’s a laptop, tablet, smartphone or TV screen, our faces are always glued to some sort of device.

“First thing when I wake up in the morning, I check my phone. I see if I have any updates, any Instagram posts, anything interesting going on. I’m addicted to it,” Hareligh Ellsworth said.

Ellsworth is a barista at Kansas Coffee Café in Olathe. Walk in, and you’ll notice many people on their phones.

Matthys said because of that addiction, Ellsworth and the patrons in the shop may look much older than they should in about 20 years.

He says the combination of sun and light from screen damage will eventually make itself evident.

“It creates free radicals on the skin and that’s the pre-building blocks of aging and pre-cancer,” he explained.

Matthys said there are three types of light changing our skin.

The first is the visible light shining at your face from a device ages you. He said it could be from the light itself, the squinting or the position your face is in while looking at the content on the screen.

The second is blue light reflecting off the screen at your face when you’re looking at it in the dark. It has an impact on your skin that many people aren’t aware of. It tricks your body into thinking it’s daylight. This decreases melatonin and in return makes you look tired.

And finally, reflective light is also a type of light that Matthys says many people don’t consider.

This type of light is cancerous. It comes from looking at your device while outside or walking around with your phone in your face. The position of the device allows the sun to reflect off the screen and send its rays back into your face.

Matthys said the exact impacts of technology on our skin will be constantly developing, and we truly won’t know just how much of a risk we’re at until 20 years from now.

By then, Matthys says, a generation that has lived on their phones since birth will be old enough to see the effects.

“You won’t see the problem until 20 years. Just like doctors used to smoke in the hospital right? We would walk through the hospital ... you’d see “doctors recommend Camel.” Those were real ads. This is similar,” he explained.

No matter what, he said to wear sunscreen every day.

“You can’t just protect yourself when you go to the beach. You also need to protect yourself every day. You can’t get six pack abs in one gym session or you can’t retire on one month’s savings. You got to do it every day, day after day," Matthys said.

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