PATERSON, NJ -- Here's another reason to hate smartphones. A study out of Paterson, New Jersey suggests just the simple light emitted by your phone or laptop -- that blue light they call HEV or high energy visible light -- can be more damaging to your skin than the sun.
"I think it sounds crazy," says teen Ashley Jeans, "Like, the sun is more powerful than a phone."
Her friend Ezekiel Pitts agrees, "The sun can give you skin cancer, and I've never heard of anybody getting skin cancer from the phone."
That's true, but we decided to take the question to an expert-- dermatologist Dr. Lucile White, director of laser surgery at Dermsurgery Associates. "We know for a fact that this high energy visible light can affect macular degeneration," says White, "but in terms of causing cancer, there's no evidence that these wavelengths (do that)."
White's clinic actually uses blue light to treat pre-cancerous growths and prevent skin cancer. "We use a chemical that will react with this light and it will cause any pre-cancerous lesion to flake up and fall off," she says. "Blue light on its own without that chemical won't have much effect on the skin."
Researchers who warn about blue light say it penetrates more deeply that sunlight and could impact DNA and accelerate aging. White is skeptical, "Blue light does penetrate more deeply than some of the other sun's rays... but it's weak. It's wimpy. It is not strong light."
She says folks should worry less about the light being given off by electronic devices and focus more on the dangers outside. "It's very important to wear sunscreen and in Texas wear it every day because even just a little bit of exposure adds up."
So slather up and text on, Houston. It's just what the doctor ordered!