Do you have WFH face?

Do you have WFH face? Hours spent at a screen can be surprisingly damaging for your skin. Thankfully the new bluelight beauty is here to help…

  • Lockdown means we’re spending more time than ever in front of computers 
  • The extra dose of blue light may be giving you ‘working from home’ face
  • Here we test products that claim to give protection against more screen time

For the skin obsessives among us, you might think that the one small silver lining to being cooped up at home and tied to our screens all day long is that we’re dodging damaging UV light.

In fact, the shift may not have been quite so good for our complexions as we thought.

New research suggests that spending five days in front of a computer can have the same impact on skin as spending 25 minutes in the midday sun without any protection.

That’s the claim made by global consumer goods company Unilever, which says a group of its scientists measured the blue light energy emitted by a laptop and compared it to the energy produced by the midday sun.

The suggestion is that this blue light can increase inflammation and pigmentation in the skin.

During lockdown, we’re spending more time than ever in front of computers, with UK adults on screens for more than 40 per cent of their waking day, according to a study by Ofcom.

Lockdown in the UK means we’re spending more time than ever in front of computers. Here we test products that claim to give protection against more screen time (file image) 

So if your skin isn’t looking quite as healthy as it should, it’s possible that all that screen time — with the extra dose of blue light — is giving you ‘working-from-home’ face.

Consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Craythorne, of the St John’s Institute of Dermatology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, says the sun should remain your prime concern in relation to your skin’s health and appearance.

Yet she agrees there is some evidence to suggest blue light can have an impact on the skin, in terms of triggering activity in the cells that cause pigmentation, and also because it can generate compounds known as free radicals, which are associated with accelerating skin ageing.

With UV rays from the sun, although all skin types should use SPF protection, those with paler skin need to be more vigilant. But when it comes to blue light, the opposite is true.

Pale complexions have less need to worry, says Dr Craythorne, while those with darker skin tones may want to add extra protection into their skincare regime.

We test products that claim to give you just that …


Murad City Skin Broad Spectrum SPF50, £60,

Murad City Skin Broad Spectrum SPF50, £60,

Claims to ‘shield skin from 89 per cent of blue light from screens’, based on research from test tubes rather than real people.

Verdict: This cream has a slightly peachy shade and offers excellent protection against both UV and, thanks to the iron oxides it contains, blue light.

‘Iron oxides are one of the few ingredients that have been proven to be effective at protecting the skin from blue light,’ says Dr Craythorne.

‘If you want to know whether your daily sun protection cream also protects against blue light, then look for a tinted one, as iron oxide is what gives it its brownish colour.’

This one is easily absorbed, doesn’t leave white marks, even on darker skin tones, and is a great base for make-up.



Max Factor Miracle Prep 3in1 Beauty Protect Primer, £12.99,

Max Factor Miracle Prep 3in1 Beauty Protect Primer, £12.99,

Another peach-tinted primer, this offering claims to ‘protect skin against three key environmental aggressors — pollution, UVA/UVB and blue light’.

Verdict: This contains broad spectrum SPF 30 along with botanical ingredients, including ginseng to brighten skin and ginkgo biloba to combat pollution. 

The peachy colour comes from iron oxides, giving you the blue light protection.

It is easily absorbed, doesn’t leave a white cast and gives a slight sheen to the skin which forms the perfect base for make-up. A less expensive and lower SPF version of the Murad product above.


According to the brand, this is ‘the first mineral-based all-in-one veil with cacao extract to help protect against the damaging effects of blue light’.

Verdict: The fact that it offers protection against UVA and UVB gets a thumbs up from Dr Craythorne. It also contains iron oxide for blue light protection.

But while it will be effective, it’s not the nicest product to use. It smells a bit musty, feels tacky on the skin and leaves a white cast behind. Instead, try the brand’s Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturiser, which contains iron oxide and SPF 30 but comes in 20 shades and doesn’t smell weird. 



One Ocean Beauty Blue Light Protection and Hydration Mist, £46,

One Ocean Beauty Blue Light Protection and Hydration Mist, £46,

Designed to ‘help protect the skin against digital ageing from blue light, dehydration and urban pollution’.

Verdict: This hydrating spray feels like the sort of thing you should keep by your work station to give yourself a reviving mid-afternoon spritz.

But while it might give you a moisture boost, Dr Craythorne was less impressed with the ingredients from a blue light protection point of view.

‘I don’t see how any of them would protect your skin against blue light,’ she says. ‘Some of the ingredients might contribute to a reduction in mild hyperpigmentation, but I can’t see how it would prevent the radiation damage in the first place.’


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