Is Outdoor “Screen” Time Increasing Your Skin Cancer Risks?

With access to information at our fingertips 24/7, we’re not used to parting with our smartphones, tablets and laptops for any amount of time—whether we stay inside or go out.

But, have you ever considered that using your device outdoors could have serious consequences for your skin? Think of those old-fashioned, foil tanning reflectors to envision how screens can reflect the sun onto your face, neck and under your chin—the vulnerable spots that might not be shielded by a hat or sunscreen.

Researchers at the University of New Mexico wondered about this UV exposure from screens in natural sunlight and how it might increase cumulative UV exposure over a lifetime. As reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (September 2015), they found that when a smartphone was held at close range, UV exposure increased by 36 percent. These results point to a new area of concern for our tech-savvy generation, however further research is needed to measure any increased skin cancer risks.

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With spring break in full swing this March, college students and families everywhere will be traveling to warm, sunny destinations, and some will be basking in the sun for hours, devices in hand. Considering the already harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays on skin, why risk additional exposure due to your screen?

Wherever you choose to spend your days, limiting sun exposure (or avoiding it altogether) is the most effective preventative measure to protect your skin. If you simply must chat, tweet or surf the internet outside, always apply a broad spectrum sunscreen, like REDEFINE Triple Defense Treatment SPF 30, so you don’t get “burned” by your smart devices. To achieve a golden glow year round without catching any UV rays while you text, try ESSENTIALS Foaming Sunless Tan.

“SHARE” these sun smarts with everyone—especially those who spend a lot of screen time outdoors.

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