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Blame screen time for ageing skin

ambica@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 3, 2020

Imagine, there you are pouting away to glory, only to realise that between snapping the image and posting pictures, your skin has visibly aged.

For many people, the recent, or ongoing as the case may be, global lockdown in the wake of a pandemic that saw everyone beating a hasty retreat into the sterile haven of their own homes, away from the virus-lurking world outside, has been a period of reflection and rejuvenation.

With no recourse to regular beauty treatments and no compulsion to present a perfectly made-up face to the world, except during the odd zoom meetings, it was the much-needed detox our bodies had been screaming for. The mind, of course, is another matter altogether since the work-from-home mode had also spewed in its wake, a round-the-clock, on-call culture in the absence of a clear-cut official log in and log off time.

All that time indoors away from the direct sun and harmful chemicals should have worked wonders for our skin and hair, we'd imagine.  

However, recent research by multinational consumer-goods brand Unilever has come up with startling data that a week in front of the computer screen could age you as much as spending a solid 25 minutes under the hot midday sun with no protection. Don't believe us? Go take a look at the mirror right now. This burn-inducing statistic comes at a time when digital consumption is probably at its peak, buoyed by a pandemic that saw most of us compulsively peering through our virtual windows into a PPE-clad world.  

The culprit here apparently is the blue light emanating from the screen that is said to penetrate deep within your skin, further even than UV light, to affect the collagen - it could lead to long-term pigmentation, turn your biological clock topsy-turvy and basically give your face the effect of having time-travelled into your own future. 

"It is highly likely that exposure to blue light has increased this year, as many previously office-based workers have increased their time in front of a screen, as face-to-face meetings have moved to virtual," says Samantha Tucker-Samaras, Global Vice-President Science & Technology, Beauty & Personal Care, Unilever. This probably explains why no one has been gushing over your fresh face during the virtual zoom meetings.  This is a recent study so the long-term effects of prolonged exposure can't be quantified as of now, though night owls and Netflix addicts should pay heed unless they really want to cultivate a more mature face. Also, do note, that by a week, researchers mean over six hours spent in front of any kind of digital screen daily for a minimum of five days. Even by a generous estimate most of us would have easily spent half of that time just attempting to reignite the flames with an ex on FB or watching reruns of Friends during the recent 'stay home' period. 

Using the right kind of skin cream with all the prescribed ingredients could alleviate the onset of premature ageing, according to the same experts. But whether it is a ploy to get us to spend on beauty products during the downtime is a pertinent query from several sceptics. Since the company advocating all this is also conveniently the one manufacturing creams and ointments that could restore our youth, we would be a bit suspicious too. 

But truth be told, we all know by now that limiting our time in front of the screen is not just beneficial for our complexion but our overall well-being and mental frame-work as well. 

These findings are bound to give social media influencers some sleepless nights, no doubt.   

Imagine, there you are pouting away to glory, in your 'oh-this-thing-that-I-just threw-together-right-now' look in your carefully curated living space, clicking selfies after selfies in the quest to get that perfect candid shot to post to your gazillion followers only to realise that between snapping the image and posting it, your skin has visibly aged. Okay, that is an exaggeration, no doubt, but you get the gist of what we are saying.  

Then again what's the harm in slathering on some cream the next time you switch on your work comp, so you can finally post that perfect #nofilter profile shot.  -ambica@khaleejtimes.com 

 


author

Ambica Sachin

Armed with a double masters in English Literature, Ambica Sachin embarked on a career that has seen her straddle teaching, assisting an award-winning author, and reviewing books and movies, before finding her forte in critical writing and interviewing celebrities. She is currently Editor, City Times, the lifestyle and entertainment portal of Khaleej Times.


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