11 March, 2018

Could computer screens (or phone/TV ones) worsen rosacea?

Very often I sit behind a computer screen, to type away, or read on end. I type for a living and do research for a living, which these days takes as much time reading online, as in the old fashioned 'real life' libraries. I sometimes feel that my rosacea gets more red and flushed from this. Especially compared to the odd days (holidays, weekends away, travel days) when I am not behind a computer screen at all. I don't have a smartphone (am happy to be offline when I am out of the house), so that one doesn't add to the problem, but the off days I seem to have calmer, less red skin. I am never sure if this is a coincidence, or perhaps due to other factors (less stressed, more fresh air, more exercise, different eating patterns, you name it) or really due to the amount of screen exposure my face receives? On forums I read the same thing now and then:

Darcelle wrote on March 12th, 2017: "Whenever I sit in front of the monitor for a long period of time my face starts to burn and turn red. I haven't been able to find any information about monitor illumination aggravating the condition though. Anyone else experience this?"

Serpentine replied on March 12th, 2017: "I wonder if it's something to do with dust? Monitors. Screens of all sorts. All electronics generally. They all give off static charge which attracts dust and other particles like bacteria and spores in the air, like a magnet. I wonder if these are landing on your skin and causing a reaction? I get a bit red as well when using my laptop."

ZK_78 replied on March 13th, 2013: "I have similar problems, even with a modern LED PC screen. If anybody has any guidance on this I would love to know."

laser_cat wrote on March 14th, 2017: "Just fyi, I've found that whenever I sit for long periods in general, my face becomes prone to redness/burning. It is relieved somewhat when I stand up and walk around. Maybe it's the sitting more so than the computer?"

And g3006 replied on April 4th, 2017: "I still haven't figured out exactly what causes this but I have been dealing with a severe case of computer screen burning for 10 years and the one thing I have eliminated that a lot of people think is the cause is the actual light off the monitor hitting your skin. In my case it had very little to do with it as I made a mask that completely covered my face and it helped a little but was far from a cure. I believe in the vast majority of cases that its either artificial light hitting the eyes and causing a reaction or simply the deep concentration that accompanies most work in front of a computer. I am currently running experiments to try and narrow it down. just my 2 cents."

KRC wrote on April 24th 2014: "People think I am crazy when I try to explain this. Phones, computers LED and florescent lights sell take their toll."

hg24 wrote on April 25th 2014: "My phone turns my face red. I use it in front of me - speaking into the speaker phone part. I also type on it. I'm also unable to use a computer - makes me red and burns. Obviously, not being able to use a computer is a giant problem. Fluorescent lights also get me and I often have to leave stores that have too many of them. I hadn't considered electro-sensitivity. I'm not sure what to think. I thought maybe it was the UV output - but filter screens don't help. Reducing brightness doesn't help. I also recently bought some UVEX goggles/glasses that filter out blue light - no help. As I type this, the left side of my face is burning. I wish we all could figure out the solution to this artificial lights problem!"

The first thing I read when I google the matter, is that according to a recent study by Unilever Skincare Research (what's in a name.. what's in their interests?), four days in front of a computer is just as damaging to our skin as 20 minutes in the mid-afternoon sun. Wow, that is shocking to read for someone who flares up in the face from even 5 minutes of sun exposure..  So even if you avoid the sun altogether, our computer screen is giving off some harmful rays of its own too? The Unilever Skincare Research advises to put on a lot of sunscreen at all times. Unfortunately my skin goes crazy from every sunscreen I ever tried, and a hat isn't really helping me with computer screen lights.. So is there a possibility that even our modern day flat screens from laptops (or TV's..) are somehow causing skin inflammation or irritation? Is there any ultraviolet UV radiation coming off them? Fluorescent lighting perhaps even?

Do computer screens emit UV light or fluorescent light? 

UV radiation is what the sun gives off and it can not only cause skin burning, but also premature ageing and wrinkling (not to mention skin cancer..). Sun exposure is near the top of the list of rosacea triggers and causes for rosacea progression according to the National Rosacea Society (NRS). The sun’s damaging UV rays can cause many rosacea symptoms and long-term flares but the damage to blood vessels throughout the face is one of the most important with regards to progression — often causing mild rosacea sufferers to eventually progress into the moderate-to-severe stages. Avoiding direct sunlight is one thing, and difficult enough as it is. But how about UV radiation coming from other day to day used sources? Computer screens for instance? From what I read, most computer screens today don't emit UV radiation, although older monitors do. Sigh of relief!

In Marie Claire magazine, a worried computer user contacted dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., who comforted her: "These days, it's not very dangerous at all," she explained of the light my screen emits. "Most people work off newer models, with LCD or LED screens, which do not emit UV radiation and are completely safe. But if you're still working with a bulky old desktop computer, you must take precaution, as they do emit UV radiation. People working long hours in front of these screens should absolutely take care to protect themselves," she said. "Even small amounts of daily radiation will not only exacerbate a light-sensitive condition, but also slowly contribute to skin aging." That explains how all throughout my university days, writing a thesis (for a year..) behind my bulky old boxey computer screen, made me so flared up. I even bought a (radiation blocking I hoped) anti glare screen for it, but it dimmed the screen brightness so much that I could hardly read what I had just written haha. So we can be rest assured that the newer, flat screens from laptops, computers, i-pads and tv's do not emit harmful UV radiation. However, that doesn't mean that we aren't subjected to UV radiation inside the home at all. UV light from the sun also reaches our skin through windows, both in the home, workplace or in your car. It's ideal to use a sunscreen or moisturizer with a minimum SPF of 30. Like with the chronic illness lupus, some people with rosacea may also have light sensitivity, to the point that sunlight worsens the inflammation and redness, as does fluorescent lighting for some very sensitive patients. In fact, sun exposure and sunburn are even a known cause (one of many possible causes!) of rosacea.  But there are also many people with rosacea who don't find sunlight a trigger, and for others their skin even clears up from sun. I think it's important to remember that rosacea comes in different subtypes:

Subtype 2, with skin outbreaks and bumps, can sometimes handle sun much better than subtype 1 with redness and flushing. It depends per person and also depending on your skintype; the more pale you are, the less chance that your rosacea skin improves from sun. Darker skin tones have more melanin, which makes the skin thicker and makes it more difficult for the sun rays to reach the lower layers of the skin, where damage is done and where the blood vessels lie. But in fair skinned people, the sun does reach the lower levels easily and can do harm there.

In fact, it can worsen skin inflammation. Sun can also dilate blood vessels and especially the small superficial blood vessels in your face (particularly in fair skinned people, whoms skin is more easily penetrable for the damaging sun rays), and cause or worsen rosacea. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation -- a component of sunlight -- leads to the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance that has been linked to the development of visible blood vessels (telangiectasia).  UV rays not only dilate existing blood vessels but can also stimulate the uncontrolled overgrowth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) in the skin, and trigger those new blood vessels to grow much closer to the surface. The heat from the sun might also dilate your existing blood vessels and cause a flare. Even cloudy days do not protect you from the sun's UV radiation, so either protect your skin with sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF, or wear a hat like I do and keep your face in the shade (and realize that reflecting sunlight from walls and pavements can still reach your face!).

So summarized: 

- Within 20 to 30 minutes of exposure to the sun’s UV rays, direct UV absorption into the blood vessel wall can cause the collapse of affected blood vessels and can cause irreversible damage to the structure of the blood vessel. This type of damage often results in “broken blood vessels” or telangiectasia

- Short term sun exposure stimulates new growth and overgrowth of facial blood vessels known as angiogenesis.  This is central to rosacea progression and once grown are permanent fixtures in the facial skin.

- Short term exposure causes many blood vessels to grow much closer to the surface.  Often times it will cause blood vessels to grow into the epidermis which is normally without blood vessels.  This is a serious side effect because these superficial blood vessels are now left nearly unprotected and much more prone to environmental damage.

- Short term sun exposure increases the number of mast cells around blood vessels.  Mast cells contain dozens of potent blood vessel dilators – thus, more mast cells usually results in increased facial redness and flushing.

- Short term sun exposure turns on inflammatory enzymes like collagenase and elastase.  These two enzymes break down the skin’s architecture and eat away at blood vessels like “PAC MEN”
Short term sun exposure stimulates damaging enzymes such as Matrix Metalloproteinases, one of the hottest subjects in rosacea research and treatment. Each sun exposure thins the protective epidermis, which in turn, results in more damage to blood vessels over time. (Source)

Cathode ray tube, or CRT, screens like those that we once used for (old style) computer monitors and TV sets actually do emit low levels of UV radiation. However, these levels are significantly lower than that of the sun. The fluorescent light bulb above your head emit actually emits more UV light than a CRT monitor. Liquid Crystal Display, or LCD, flat-panel monitors, most commonly found on laptops, desktops, and mobile devices today do not emit any UV radiation. Modern flat screens all have a fairly thick glass faceplate, and also have been made to emit less UV as of late. To make the picture brighter, the “blueness” has been reduced by pushing their color point to more of the center of the Color Chart. This reduces any amount of UV radiation. Still, if you spend hours in front of your screen at a time, it is best to switch to a flat-screen monitor if you haven't one already, as they emit no detectable UV light. In at least one study, researchers have attempted to measure any UV that might be radiated from LCD screens and were unable to detect any UVA or UVB using meters capable of measuring as low as 1 micro-watt per square centimeter. There are also monitor anti-glare filters available.

And how about the blue light that our screens emit? Is that damaging to rosacea skin in any way? 

This could be a potential problem actually for rosacea skin. There is conflicting information and research on this topic. What is the blue light that comes off our computer/TV/phone/tablet screens anyway? It is called high-energy visible light (HEV – otherwise known as blue light). It is a higher-frequency, shorter wavelengths of light in the violet-blue band in the visible spectrum. Andrew Birnie, a dermatologist and skin-cancer specialist at the William Harvey and Kent and Canterbury Hospitals says about it: “HEV is present in daylight, but it’s also emitted by fluorescent lighting and LEDs, including TV screens, smartphones, tablets and computers.” The idea that this could be doing permanent damage is a fresh kind of hell. “There’s a lot of research being done at the moment into the effects of visible light,” says Birnie – light that can be seen by the human eye, unlike ultraviolet light such as UVA and UVB – of which HEV is just one example. “I recently got back from the American Academy of Dermatology meeting and one of the things that was being discussed there was whether visible light such as HEV or infra red ought to be protected against in sunscreens.” Although he has no verdict on this, the doctor is clear about this: “there’s no evidence of HEV causing skin cancer”. According to Birnie, there is some data suggesting that “darker skin types could experience worsening skin pigmentation after exposure to visible light, such as melasma around the forehead and eyes”; he points to a study from 2014 which found that blue light did produce more hyper-pigmentation than UVB. Could blue light be as ageing as sunlight? Many beauty brands jumped onto the matter, making products with HEV-blocking properties ('Moonlight Primer' for instance). Uniqlo is selling prescription-free sunglasses and spectacles fitted with blue-light reduction filters.

In this article, a journalist claims that emerging research shows that the light from phone screens may be damaging our skin
and she asked a dermatologist if the blue light from our screen is damaging our skin? Phones' "blue light" falls in the middle of the light spectrum, between UV rays (from the sun) and infrared rays (from heat) and we still don't know how, exactly, chronic exposure to such intense visible light impacts our skin health. Dermatologist Dr. Patricia Ceballos answered: "Blue light itself, unlike solar UV radiation, does not contribute to skin cancer, because it doesn't induce DNA mutations the same way the sun does. But one study detected increased pigment production in skin exposed to blue light, which means that it's theoretically possible that chronic exposure to our smartphones and other electronic devices carries an increased risk of pigmentary disorders such as hyperpigmentation." "The likelihood that blue light leads to premature aging of the skin is very remote. And its role in hyperpigmentation remains speculative."

There are however also studies that show that blue light may give off infrared radiation, and therefore could have harmful effects on the skin, including premature aging, by releasing cell-damaging free radicals. The journalist asked dermatologist Dr. Alicia Barba if this type of light might have a negative consequence to skin health, to which she answered: "Probably not." But is it causing premature aging? "Less than UV, because we know UV does it, but it may be, at least a little bit and so protecting against it might be beneficial for skin to look better." So how can you protect yourself, save for giving up your cellphone all together, just in case? "Notwithstanding the lack of solid evidence to the contrary, it is prudent to protect the skin with antioxidants such as vitamin C serum and mineral/physical sunscreens containing Zinc oxide and/or Titanium dioxide, or makeup foundation as a barrier between our skin and the HEV and Infrared energies emitted by modern devices," says Dr. Ceballos.

Jean-Louis Sebagh, a celebrity cosmetic surgeon and skincare expert, subscribes to the notion that we should all be wearing a sunscreen and a “screen-screen”. “HEV can be as damaging to the skin as UVA and UVB combined,” he claims, citing another study, from 2013, which was commissioned by Lipo Chemicals. It claims that “the effects of HEV are the same as UVA and UVB damage: uneven pigmentation, premature ageing and impaired barrier function, though of course you wouldn’t get the burning redness that you get from overexposure to the sun”. Still, the study, like many beauty studies, was commissioned by a skincare company, in this instance, Lipo Chemicals, a personal care ingredients supplier based in the US, so there is the potential for some bias. Many dermatologists however, including Andrew Birnie, remain skeptical about the extent of skin damage caused by HEV. “Until more research is done, people are better off just using broad-spectrum, five-star UVA protection every day,” he says. “Many people still don’t realize that UVA can penetrate through glass and is consistent throughout the year, not just in summer. Let me put it this way: if you’re sitting in front of a computer all day, and your monitor is next to a window, I think you should be more worried about the window than the computer.” You can also use a blue light filter on your cell phone, or change the settings on your computer to reduce blue light emissions (see how to do this here). That can help protect your eyes too btw.

A 2013 study linked LED lights in bulbs, computers, cell phones, and TVs to increased risk of irreparable harm to the retina in the eye. Researchers stated the damage came from high levels of radiation in the “blue band” of light. They estimated the problem is likely to grow as more computers, mobile phones and TV screens use LED lights. Experts have called for built-in filters to cut down on the blue glare.

Could it then be electromagnetic radiation or heat that comes off our screens, that somehow makes some rosacea patients more flushed or flared during computer or screen use? 

Electromagnetic radiation is emitted from our computer screens, tablets and mobile phones. Research has shown that higher levels of electromagnetic radiation exposure can break single or double-strands of DNA and cause damage. But does the low level electromagnetic radiation coming from our screens have the power to impact our facial skin? Computers today generate both low-frequency and radio-frequency EMR. Both the Sun and laptops emit waves of pulsing energy within the Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) spectrum. UV sunlight is on the higher frequency side of the Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) spectrum while, while on the lowest side you find pulsing energy emitted from laptop computers, tablets and other electronic devices. Laptop radiation can in rare cases cause burning of the skin where the laptop rests on, fertility issues, cell fragmentation and DNA damage as health concerns.

In this pubmed research, the authors measured the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that laptop computers produce and estimated the induced currents in the body, to assess the safety of laptop computers. They measured EMF exposure produced on the user and in case of pregnant women, of the fetus in the womb, when the laptop is used at close contact with the woman's womb. The computers emitted radiation levels that were within the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation (NIR) Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines, but that were considerably higher than the values recommended by 2 recent guidelines for computer monitors magnetic field emissions, MPR II (Swedish Board for Technical Accreditation) and TCO (Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees), and those considered risky for tumor development. When close to the body, the laptop induces currents that are within 34.2% to 49.8% ICNIRP recommendations, but not negligible, to the adult's body and to the fetus (in pregnant women). On the contrary, the power supply induces strong intracorporal electric current densities in the fetus and in the adult subject, which are respectively 182-263% and 71-483% higher than ICNIRP 98 basic restriction recommended to prevent adverse health effects. They concluded that the name 'laptop' was not a good one, as users should be summoned to NOT use a laptop on their lap, or making contact with their body while resting on it, out of safety point.

In this pubmed research, scientists identify the problem of "screen dermatitis", with skin redness, burning, sensitivity and outbreaks even, caused by being close to electrical devices. 

"Skin changes in "screen dermatitis" versus classical UV- and ionizing irradiation-related damage--similarities and differences." "An increasing number of persons say that they get cutaneous problems as well as symptoms from certain internal organs, such as the central nervous system (CNS) and the heart, when being close to electric equipment. A major group of these patients are the users of video display terminals (VDTs), who claim to have subjective and objective skin- and mucosa-related symptoms, such as pain, itch, heat sensation, erythema (skin redness), papules, and pustules. The CNS symptoms are, e.g. dizziness, tiredness, and headache. Erythema, itch, heat sensation, edema and pain are also common symptoms of sunburn (UV dermatitis). Alterations have been observed in cell populations of the skin of patients suffering from so-called "screen dermatitis" similar to those observed in the skin damaged due to ultraviolet (UV) light or ionizing radiation. In "screen dermatitis" patients a much higher number of mast cells (mast cells are involved in allergic reactions and cause itch, redness of the skin and blood vessel dilation too often) have been observed. It is known that UVB irradiation induces mast cell degranulation and release of TNF-alpha (involved in making more new blood vessels in the skin). The high number of mast cells present in the "screen dermatitis" patients and the possible release of specific substances, such as histamine, may explain their clinical symptoms of itch, pain, edema and erythema. The most remarkable change among cutaneous cells, after exposure with the above-mentioned irradiation sources, is the disappearance of the Langerhans' cells. This change has also been observed in "screen dermatitis" patients, again pointing to a common cellular and molecular basis. The results of this literature study demonstrate that highly similar changes exist in the skin of "screen dermatitis" patients, as regards the clinical manifestations as well as alterations in the cell populations, and in skin damaged by UV light or ionizing radiation." So yeh, perhaps the low radiation from our computers/phones/TV's do emit some radiation or electrical waves that somehow set off our rosacea. It isn't properly studied and investigated however, so pretty much anecdotal and unproven up to this point.

More medical research has found that prolonged exposure to a computer screen may lead to discoloration, blotches, rashes, and skin allergies. Those with pre-existing skin problems, like rosacea and sun sensitivity, could be even more at risk. How? One possible explanation given, is that monitors create an electrostatic field around which absorbs floating dust in its surrounding. This can cause symptoms of skin diseases such as allergies, skin discolouration, blotches and rashes. Skin cells also suffer from being consistently exposure to light (as well as those electromagnetic fields).

“People with pre-existing skin conditions like rosacea [redness of cheeks] and photosensitivity are more in danger as radiation from the screen can aggravate these conditions,” says Dr Deepak Vohra, senior consultant, dermatology at Fortis Group of Hospitals. Radiation can result in itchy, dry, wrinkled skin and photo ageing — a skin condition normally associated with sun exposure. Plus dermatitis from unclean workplaces is yet another skin peril lurking in your office aisles. 

“Overexposure to white light at the workplace can worsen rosacea while too much air conditioning can aggravate eczema,” says Dr Ajitha Bagai, senior consultant, dermatology at Max Hospitals, Delhi."

How about fluorescent light bulbs? 

Low levels of light come from fluorescent bulbs as well. Fluorescent bulbs emit a small amount of light in the UV spectrum (GELighting).  While small, it is still detectable, which means it can lead to cumulative UV damage over time. Fluorescent lighting is a kind of lighting technology which depends on a chemical reaction inside of a glass tube to create light. This chemical reaction involves gases and mercury vapor interacting, which produces an invisible UV light. That invisible UV light illuminates the phosphor powder that is coating the inside of the glass tube, emitting white "fluorescent" light. Fluorescent lamps emit a small amount of ultraviolet (UV) light. A 1993 study in the US found that ultraviolet exposure from sitting under fluorescent lights for eight hours is equivalent to one minute of sun exposure. Ultraviolet radiation from compact fluorescent lamps may worsen symptoms in photosensitive individuals, and worsen skin redness in very sensitive people, for instance those who are photosensitive (due to medication use - for instance certain antidepressants, chemotherapy, certain anti inflammatory drugs among many others-, due to illness -think of lupus- or in general). Rosacea itself also can cause the skin to become sensitive to light ('photosensitive'), meaning light exposure can worsen the skin condition! This isn't the case for every rosacea patient, but for some it is unfortunately another complicating factor in their illness.

The ultraviolet light from a fluorescent lamp has some measurable power as they can degrade the pigments in paintings (especially watercolor pigments) and bleach the dyes used in textiles and some printing. Valuable art is always protected from ultraviolet light by placing additional glass or transparent acrylic sheets between the lamp and the art work. Fluorescent lamps used close to the skin could cause problems for people who are extremely light-sensitive or who have photosensitive skin related conditions. This is expected to be related to an immune response in the body/skin. For instance in lupus patients (and in many other diseases that are characterized by photosensitivity), fluorescent light has proven to be a possible trigger: "Through their UV component, chronic exposure to CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) could possibly be a problem." And in cancer patients: "Ultraviolet radiation is a major environmental risk factor for skin cancers. Hence, UV radiation from artificial illumination sources should be reduced to a minimum. The UVC and UVB radiations are especially effective in damaging DNA, and in causing gene mutations and cancerous transformation of cells. Although the carcinogenic UV dose from fluorescent lighting in offices is minor (~ 1%) when compared to equal exposure times in the summer sun, old risk assessments showed that actual annual exposures of office workers could increase by 10 to 30% from the fluorescent lighting, which over a lifetime was estimated to increase the risk of squamous cell carcinomas by around 4 % with a baseline risk much lower than that for outdoor workers who dominate incidences (Lytle et al 1992)."

Conclusions regarding skin diseases: "Although good quality clinical data associating fluorescent light induction (and by inference CFL) of these photosensitive diseases, is lacking, there are some experimental data supporting the belief that exposure to CFL (particularly when the source is close to the skin) may induce problems in those patients with severe photosensitivity in the ultraviolet B/A spectrum namely, xeroderma pigmentosum, and other genophotodermatoses as well as the idiopathic photodermatoses (chronic actinic dermatitis, severe solar urticaria, polymorphic light eruption and actinic prurigo). It is also possible that in cutaneous systemic lupus erythematosus problems could be induced by the UV mercury vapour lines emitted by unfiltered CFL. It is also feasible that in some skin conditions particularly sensitive to blue light, e.g., photodynamic therapy administered patients, there could be a marginally greater reaction with CFL than seen with incandescent light sources." In other words: only those with very reactive skin diseases which respond really badly to UV sunlight, could fluorescent lamps flare the disease. It happens sometimes in lupus patients and in many other conditions that create photosensitivity, including possibly rosacea. In fact, about two-thirds of the people with lupus are UV light-sensitive. Many experience an increase in lupus symptoms after being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, either from the sun or from artificial light. Photosensitive people with lupus may develop a skin rash, known as a butterfly rash, which appears over the nose and cheeks after sun exposure. Other rashes might look like hives. But lupus isn't the only condition that flare from fluorescent lightning. According to the British Association of Dermatologists, fluorescent light bulbs are known to worsen skin rashes in people with a variety of diseases and conditions including dermatitis, eczema, lupus, photosensitivity, porphyria and xeroderma pigmentosum. Rosacea patients are also sometimes dealing with photosensitivity.

In rosacea, you are more likely to see an increase in redness of the facial skin. Possibly more facial flushing and burning, and you could also develop more of a red rash than usual. Itchy rashes can also start as a result of photosensitivity to fluorescent lightning. If you suspect that your rosacea flares while working under fluorescent light bulbs, try if you can switch them off for a while, or cover them with something, to see if your skin improves yes or no. Many indoor offices and businesses use halogen and fluorescent light bulbs. Copy machines also have lighting mechanisms that emit UV rays that can flare symptoms. Also check if you haven't got (spiral-shaped) compact fluorescent light bulbs in your house. They are the energy-saving alternative that is very popular at the moment. For lupus, antimalarial medication, especially plaquenil, can help to reduce the sensitivity from the skin to light. For some people with rosacea, this strong anti-inflammatory drug can also help with both the rosacea redness and the sensitivity to (sun)light.

By the way, the simple act of sitting down (instead of standing up  and walking) can sometimes cause a rosacea flare for those with moderate to severe rosacea. And doing something intensely, with great concentration (for instance, behind the computer) can also cause a flare sometimes! What I do myself is reducing the screen brightness, keeping a decent distance between my face and the computer screen, using a fan to stay cool and taking regular breaks.

Some other suggestions:

All computers as soon as they’re switched on also generate magnetic radiation or magnetic fields. The closer by to your body you are using your computer or laptop, the higher these exposure rates will be (but still very low relatively). The most common sources of this magnetic field are the motor of the hard drive inside your computer and also from the in-line transformer unit (all computers have some form of transformer to convert from the mains supply, 110 or 240 volts depending where you live, to the lower voltages computers use). If you have a laptop, consider using an external keyboard and make sure the transformer unit (often a little rectangular box in the cable) is situated at least a few feet from your body. If you have a desktop keep the CPU at least 3 feet away from your body.

WIFI. We live in an increasingly wireless world.  Most computers, phones and tablets nowadays run on WiFi. They create low levels of RF radiation, just as the computer/device you're using does. Even if you are on a hard wired Ethernet connection, your laptop is still emitting and receiving RF (WiFi) radiation. If you want to change this and go back to the good old cable connection, you need to go into the settings and disable the wireless (possibly WiFi and Bluetooth) functionality. Many modem/routers are now factory configured to automatically re-enable WiFi when they receive an update – this can be several times a day. So even if you disable the WiFi in the settings menu it may be subsequently re-activated without you knowing. Scientific research has shown that it is best to not use your laptop computer on your lap. Use your laptop on a desk or other surface away from your body. There are some good laptop radiation shields on the market but some laptop shields only shield RF radiation (which is not a problem anyway if you disable the WiFi) and some offer no protection from magnetic fields.

Computer monitor’s radiation. Reduce your exposure by sitting further away from your computer screen. This will reduce your radiation exposure, especially if you sit at least three feet from the screen (not too far to avoid eye strain) – EMF exposures decrease significantly with distance. Wash your face in the evening. Not just dust and dirt accumulates on your skin, but some computer specialists even claim that particles of computer screen radiation can attach themselves there. Go fully wired. Use a wired mouse, wired keyboard and wired peripherals. Even if you are using a laptop, using a wired external keyboard and wired mouse will reduce your exposure to the EMFs emitted by the electrical components situated under the keyboard of the laptop. Cables are also a source of high electromagnetic fields. Move these power cords away from your pillow and head at night, in case you have them lying close by. Also do not sleep with your mobile phone (switched on) under your pillow. The only way to know for sure if you are exposure to radiation levels is to measure them with an EMF meter. To get a complete picture, measure the RF radiation levels, magnetic fields and electric fields, which usually means buying several meters. Radiation levels vary from computer to computer. Purchase an anti-glare screen that fits over the computer monitor to cut down on radiation exposure and the glare of blue light. Another suggestion I found is to wear sunscreen every day and use skin care products with antioxidants in them—they provide natural protection from UV radiation. Consider applying moisturizer or a hydrating mist periodically through a long day. At the very least, wear a long-lasting moisturizer. Maintain a good distance from the monitor and clean it regularly (to remove dust). Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.

Below are some Rosacea Forum posts from rosacea patients who find that using their cellphone gives them a rosacea flare:

Bradley wrote on October 4th 2005: "Mobile phone and skin rashes/rosacea...help - I'm really hoping someone has an idea of what I have experienced because it is the first time I have seen these symptoms before. The other day I had just finished a conversation on my mobile phone (that lasted for around 25mins) and went to have dinner. While I was eating I happened to catch my reflection in the mirror and to my shock I had this kind of red rash predominantly on the left side of my face towards the upper cheek. The other parts of my face seemed okay compared to my cheek. I thought I must have eaten something wrong or that I was sensitive/allergic to some food I had eaten but again the next day I experienced the same red rash on the same side of my face after having a conversation on my mobile (I hold my phone on my left ear) and I hadn't eaten anything.
So far it has happened three times on three separate occasions after using my phone recently. This is crazy, can this truly be possible that my phone is causing me to break-out in a rash in the same place? I've been using this phone for almost 5 years now and have not once experienced a rash before these ones? Moreover why is only the upper cheek affected? My lower part of my cheek doesn't go red like the upper part. My ear doesn't turn red either? What is going on? I'm really worried because either my blood capillaries have become so sensitive that they just leak immediately OR do you think since it is an old-ish phone it could be emitting higher levels of micro-waves and may be damaged because I had dropped it a few times? God this is depressing, things just keep getting worse. I'm going to try it with my hands-free set and see whether that makes any difference. Thanks in advance guys, I've searched the net but haven't found much regarding this issue. Furthermore I haven't really seen it discussed here before so would be great if any of you more knowledgable people know any answers...please."

Nikkitn replied on October 4th 2005: "When you talk on a cell phone for an extended period of time, the phone becomes hot. This could possibly causing the rash/flush on your cheek. Get an "ear bud" thing - you know, the hands-free things. I have one and I don't have to hold a hot phone to my ear anymore. I love it."

Bradley replied on October 4th 2005: "Hi nikki. My phones only gets hot when I use it for more than 45-50 minutes. The times when I experienced the rashes the phone was not hot (I used it for around 25-30 minutes). It wasn't the same as a heat-induced flush because usually you can feel your face become warmish and tingles a bit. The rash totally surprised me because I felt nothing and my skin wasn't hot. So I totally don't understand what caused it .Yep I'm going to try out my hands-free set to see if that works."

Andy replied on October 4th 2005: "Could also have something to do with the so much debated (at least over here where every man, woman and child have had their own cell phone for years now) radiation from cell phones. Here's one of many interesting articles to read on this subject."

JimJImson replied on October 20th 2005: "I get the same damn thing on my neck!! when I talk on a cell phone for extended periods of time. I was worried that it was associated to some nervous response with the people I was talking to, but then I reflected on the numerous things I've done without any flareup difficulties at all, and how the cell phone flareups seem completely independent of time of day or who I'm talking to, not to mention I'm absolutely calm when I'm on the phone (I'm a pretty calm guy all around, come to think of it...). So, in a way, I'm pleased to hear that this seems to be more of a physical response to cell phones than anything else. I'm not so sure it's heat related, because heat doesn't cause me to flareup in this way. I'm going out on a limb here, but having eliminated most of the unlikely causes, it seems to me that this is connected to cell phone waves. Of course, as always, that's pure speculation. On the bright side, I need to get off that phone anyway."

In this topic, someone who doesn't have rosacea complaints on a forum about getting a burning face from the use of his computer screen

(Google photo)
John B wrote on August 8th, 2013: "LCD screens causing face irritation and 'burning' - I’m delighted that I came across this site. The recent discussion around screens and health, and the potential effects on one’s eyes was very interesting. Another health aspect with screens that some people experience, myself included, is that time in front of a screen causes the skin on one’s face to become irritated. I’m a long time computer user, and this started with CRTs. LCD screens are a lot better, but even they are now causing problems. I have looked for information on this, but have found very little. I was wondering whether anyone on this forum could throw any light on this area. I have wondered whether it’s the fluorescent back lighting that causes the problem, and does that mean that LED backlighting, particularly something like LG’s GB-LED system with less phosphor than the single led systems, would be an improvement? I’d be very grateful for any input on this area."

PCM2 replied on August 8th, 2013: "This is an interesting topic you’ve bought up here and in honesty is not really something I’m familiar with or have come across in other people (I’m sure others must ‘silently suffer’ with this sort of thing as well). I don’t think the backlight itself should be causing any sort of physiological reaction (at least, not something specific to monitors and not other artificial or natural light sources). Do you experience any sort of skin irritation when outside, perhaps on a bright day (not talking about sunburn, of course)? What about other light sources like lights in the household or mobile device screens (smartphones, tablets etc.)? I’m also wondering about the sort of onset time before the irritation begins. Is it something that occurs fairly quickly after using a monitor or does it take a bit of time? Also how long before it ‘calms down’ after ceasing use of the monitor? As I say this is a great and intriguing topic you’ve bought up here!"

John B replied on August 9th, 2013: "Direct sunlight is not a problem beyond sunburn issues, nor are normal incandescent lights. LED lights seem OK-ish. Fluorescent lights are however a problem, and have been at least since my twenties. CRT screens and old style TVs were/are also a problem. Tablets (my Nexus 7, my wife’s iPad 2) and smartphones have also become a problem since their entry into our life about eight months ago to the point where I no longer use the tablets. You ask about the onset time. The reaction starts within minutes, and depending on length of exposure, can take two to three days to settle down. Over the years I have used various creams and the highest factor sunblock I can find, but they’re becoming less effective. When no-one is watching, I wrap heavy cloth around my face, with a small slit for my eyes. 😉 Doctors and dermatologists have not been able to help. However it’s real, as shown by a recent skin biopsy, and my wife can tell immediately from my face that I’ve been behind a screen. I’ve heard of a few others with similar problems, but not heard any explanations or solutions."

PCM2 replied on August 9th, 2013: "That's really is strange (and fascinating! ;))
I am trying to think what could be causing it. I am not surprised it stumped the doctors and dermatologists, it doesn’t seem to be something that’s well documented as you say. I don’t think it is any sort of radiation specifically from the monitor – I mean nothing you’d worry about like harmful UV, phosphor leakage or anything like that. You said in the original posts that CRTs were actually even worse than LCDs. I wonder if it’s some sort of electrostatic charge around the monitor that you are very sensitive to. This sort of charge is far greater on CRTs (and plasmas I suspect – I’m not sure if you’ve tested those out?) than LCDs but does still exist on LCDs. And you don’t get any other symptoms such as eyestrain or headaches during normal use?"

John B replied on August 12th, 2013: "Your suggestion that this is the result of an electrostatic charge is not something I’ve considered before. I’ll need to look into the implications and see how that would change things. My present understanding of your suggestion is that by some mechanism a positive or negative charge builds up around the monitor. This then induces an (opposite?) charge in one’s face. This charge may have an ionizing effect on one’s skin inducing the production of free radicals, or some such, which in turn would lead to inflammation. (You haven’t said all this. I’m just extrapolating, and may be way off.) If this is the case. one then needs to ground the screen to prevent the electrostatic build up, and/or somehow screen one’s face from the electrostatic field, and/or provide some way for one’s skin to deal with the electrostatic field. That would all need some investigation. I find the Kindle with it’s e-ink far more benign. Does it maybe not develop an electrostatic charge, and does this provide some circumstantial support for your suggestion? I haven’t tried plasma displays, so can’t comment on them. Thank you very much for your very useful comments and for the background knowledge you can contribute to this."

PCM2 replied on August 12th, 2013: "No problem, this is all very interesting to me as well. Whilst I can’t say I’m entirely sure on the physiological results, the process is very much what I was suggesting. The charge would somehow have to be dealt with at source to minimize/prevent ionization, or alternatively mitigated on your own face/body. Although I haven’t tested this the e-ink displays are certainly very different in how they operate and should have minimal ionizing effect. In fact they don’t emit any light (unless you count the front-light on the ‘Paper White’ version) and only actively do anything for very short periods of time; when the text or images actually change from one thing to another.

Karla4569 replied on January 7th, 2014: "Hello! I have had this problem in the past as well, and am having it now again. After sitting in front of my computer monitor for a few minutes my face starts to burn. I have my hair pulled back and can feel it burning my ears as well. I have to leave it to get relief and the sensation is cut in half within 5 or 10 minutes and usually gone after a couple of hours so long as I don’t go back to it. This idea of static charge possibly being the culprit gives me hope of being able to resolve this! It makes sense for my present situation because it seems to have become really bad since our weather has turned really cold and dry lately, plus I’m covering myself with highly static clothing materials for warmth (microfiber). When this happened to me before, I was working in an office building in front of a computer all day, on standard commercial carpeting and I remember not being able to ever open my car door at the end of the day without having a strong static shock. My husband – an I/T guy – suggests spraying my clothing with some kind of static guard and getting a static mat to put under my chair. I just wanted to pop in and say thank you, PCM2, for this possible solution! John B., did you resolve your situation? If so, how? I hope you are doing better!"

John B replied on January 8th, 2014: "Hi Karla and PCM2, In brief, I haven’t found a complete answer to this problem. I have found ways of lessening it, but haven’t addressed the electrostatic possibility directly. A dermatologist suggested what he considered to be the best sunblock on our local market, Bioderma Photoderm Max 50+. It’s hypoallergenic and apparently formulated for ‘intolerant’ skin. That certainly eased the problem, but I’ve found two creams that seem even better, and both relatively inexpensive. The best, called E45 on the local market, is a mixture of soft paraffin and lanolin and, I believe, vitamin E. I re-apply two hourly, and on a given day once or twice a week can work for four to five hours spaced out over the day. The other difference is that I’ve changed to a 22″ LCD screen and maintain a viewing distance of 90 cm to 1 meter. Previously I think I had much too close a viewing distance, peering at the laptop screen. I’ve also reduced my time in front of a computer, and try to keep a decent viewing distance for my 7″ tablet as well when I occasionally use it. I take a small daily supplementary dose of vit A and a good quality vit E. It’s difficult to tell, but I think these help a bit too. Karla, have you had any luck with your anti static measures? I hadn’t thought of trying anything like that and would be very interested in your experience. John."

Karla4569 replied on January 8th, 2014: "Hello John B, It has only been a couple of days since I first found this thread and got the idea that it could be a problem with static. I haven’t tried anything yet, other than just making it a point to break the static field up periodically throughout the day by wiping my monitor screen with a soft cloth. Yesterday was a pretty good day – I felt the heat only about 25% of what it was before, but then again, I was away from the computer for about 5 hours as well. I think I will try an anti-static mat and will report back how this works out. I’m also considering trying to humidify the air a little bit. I live in southwest Texas and the air is very dry here and the static can be a problem. Even though I have a dry skin problem, I am one who doesn’t like to use creams and lotions – I’m too much of a naturalist. But your mention of these potentially giving you some relief has just inspired me to use a glycerin/water mixture on my face for moisture just now. The glycerin/water provided some relief. There was just barely any noticeable burning, and I also continued to periodically wipe my monitor and computer box to break the static field. Our weather has warmed up and I believe that has helped as well, since our heater doesn’t have to kick on as often."

On the Rosacea Forum, the above forum post was also discussed

hg24 wrote on July 8th, 2014: "Computer screen flushing/burning, lights -  Hi, As some of you know, my biggest trigger is artificial lights - computers, my BBerry, fluorescent lights etc.  I found this thread about the issue on a computer site. The people talking about it don't have rosacea. This is link. I think it has some interesting ideas. But not sure they apply totally to me - as I can't handle more than just the PC screen. I can barely function around lights. I'm unable to use a computer without burning. My BBerry is the only thing I can use and. It gives me lots of problems. Anyway, wondering if anyone else has similar difficulties with lights and has found a solution? I'm really down about this and tired of having doctors stare at me blankly because they've never heard of this problem and don't know what to do."

KRC replied on July 8th, 2014: "Somewhere I read that B vitamins help this from which I also suffer. The vitamins seem to take the edge off of it. This may be a placebo effect, but I think it did help me. I am better, but not completely free from this issue. I am also assuming you put the brightness control on a low setting, right? Take frequent breaks. Give the B Vitamins a try and keep us posted as this affects so many. Good Luck!"

Alexb568 replied on July 11th, 2014: "Yes, artificial lights is my biggest trigger. For the computer lighting, you can download app f.lux which put much less strain on your eyes and will probably help with burning also."

hg24 replied on July 11th, 2014: "Hi, Thank you so much for your replies. I took a B complex vitamin for several weeks. I had read the same thing on this forum about how they help some people. It didn't help me. I had to stop when I started on other medications. Maybe I will try again. Does the f.lux change the look of the screen? I bought some glasses that screened out blue light. Everything looked yellow-orange-green. Kind of made me sick. But it didn't help with the computer. But that wasn't something on the computer. They were just special goggles to wear. Yes, I have my computer and my BBerry at the lowest brightness level. I also have a UV filter on both devices.  I will look into the f.lux and start popping B vitamins. I'm also taking Plaquenil and am hoping that will kick in soon and help me with lights. I read that Chris1234 on this forum had success with her lights issue after being on Plaquenil.

Kill replied on July 13th, 2014: "I've read that one should wear sunscreen in front of a computer then. However, I don't like any sunscreens."

hg24 replied on July 13th, 2014: "I set up a new flat panel LED backlit monitor today. But it turned my face red and burned  I couldn't get the sound to work so went to Best Buy to ask someone and my face felt zaps from the fluorescent lights overhead. I read about f.lux today. Will see if that helps. I had the monitor on very low brightness and had it set away from me - further back against the wall. But became red anyway. I wore sunscreen during one attempt, too.
I'm so disheartened. I just don't know what causes it. Is it my eyes? The signal goes in there? Or my skin? Is it the degree of redness on my skin? If not for lights/computers/phone, I would be pretty okay otherwise. Light issues are destroying my life."

hg24 updated on July 15th, 2014: "Saw this in an article online...

Allergic Reactions that Lead to Aging
Recent research suggests, though, that prolonged exposure to a computer screen may lead to discoloration, blotches, rashes, and skin allergies. Those with pre-existing skin problems, like rosacea and sun sensitivity, could be even more at risk. According to some scientists, monitors create an electrostatic field that attracts floating dust that can then settle on the skin and cause dryness, irritation, and allergic reactions—particularly in poorly ventilated areas. Swedish associate professor at the Experimental Dermatology Unit, Karolinska Institute, Olle Johansson, agrees that in some sensitive individuals, excessive screen exposure can lead to “screen dermatitis,” in which skin cells suffer as a result of consistent exposure to light and electromagnetic fields.

replied on August 3rd, 2014: "Hi guys, I just bought a new laptop and noticed that even on the lowest screen brightness settings on it is still way too bright for my eyes and rosacea, so I installed this device for free; http://www.nelsonpires.com/software/dimmer/ Its a dimmer and it is fantastic I find, especially for laptops. All you do is click on the download and store it in a file of choice on your desktop and it will automatically dim the screen as soon as you do. If it gets too dark for your liking (I find it perfect for working on it) you just delete the file and all goes backl to normal. It makes or leaves no changes on your computer then. You can also just brighten up your screen within the windows settings to adjust to the best settings if you find it makes the brightness too low. I hope this helps some people, the brightness is now not bothering anymore to my eyes or skin. Best wishes"

More posts on rosacea flaring due to computer screens 

g3006 wrote on November 11th, 2015: "Computer screens/lights -  I thought I would post my experience in the hopes in can help somebody. My "rosacea" started about ten years ago and I put that in quotes because I believe it debatable if it rosacea or just a skin allergy. It all started when I started working in front of a computer and it took me until a few months ago when it has progressed to the point it was truly unbearable that I finally took the action I did and it has almost completely stopped. This is after 3 derms I allergy doctor and I regular doctor. I now work in a dark office with just a table lamp that doesn't shine on me, wrap the middle portion of my face with a piece of cloth anytime I am in front of a computer, wear a sun hat anytime I leave my office and walk around in the hallways so no artificial light hits my face and I have a piece of uv blocking film over my computer screen. I know these steps seems extreme but my reaction was truly so bad I had two choices, either figure this out or quit my career working in front of a computer. These steps like I said have reduced my issue well over 90 percent so if you have a skin reaction to computer screen and it also seems like its also light related I would take action asap as this can progress to the point it will do permanent and disfiguring damage to your face and skin if you let it go to the point of swelling and extreme burning. Trust me unless you get really lucky or maybe I got unlucky no one in the medical field will be able to help you. They can treat the symptoms pretty effectively for quite a while, like 3 years but it eventually may get so bad it no longer is enough, mine did. If I would have known what I know now I would have never waited this long to go to this extreme. hope this can maybe help someone."

Babadah wrote on November 11th, 2015: "Hi g3006, thank you for this information! I have a suspicion that computer light worsens my rosacea too. Also since many years I've been working on computer all day. Maybe accutane or something else causes some sort of UV allergy. I have some questions to you: how long did it take to see results after you made changes, and did you have permanent redness? Did you have problems with sweating on the face? So you have to block sun uv as well, do you think it is as bad as computer? What about TV, does it bother you too? Thanks in advance"

g3006 wrote on November 11th, 2015: "For me the relief was instant, I could tell within minutes. No turning down the brightness did nothing for me. Try the film I don't think anyone will notice even or when no one is looking try a handkerchief, I know talking to your coworkers is tough. I just bought the cheap window tint from WalMart but I am going to try some other stuff because that window tint is kind of hard to see though, although in the interim until I can find something else its beyond worth it!"

Optimismum wrote on November 14th, 2015: "I did the experience to turn the lights off in my work office all along the day... and I noticed my redness reduced."

g3006 wrote on November 15th, 2015: "I'm glad that helped, my experience so far is its more the screen but all artificial lights aggravate it."

ZK_78 wrote on April 5th, 2015: "I suspect this may be something to do with the glare from the screens. I have tried anti glare filters but with no success. I don’t think it is eye related as when I cover my face the problem doesn’t occur. Has anybody else carried out research on this?"

g3006 wrote on April 15th, 2015: "I have tried everything I can think of and ran every experiment under the sun to try and figure this out and so far the most effective way to reduce the symptoms throughout the day is to take breaks and get up, walk around and clear your mind. By far the most efficient way to reset for me is to do something physical like a brisk walk and run around for 10 minutes. I really believe this is completely related to some type of really rare reaction to sedentary concentration and focus. No idea how to treat it though. I probably have 500 dollars tied up in every filter imaginable. UV, blue light, emf u name it and i have bought it. Nothing worked for me."

Optimismum wrote on April 15th, 2015: "Like g3006 said , I think it is not a computer related but a concentration/focus and sedentary issue. Here is some potential solutions :
- Take a regular break (every hour, 5 min of gym, go outside, breath, meditation)
-Drink a lot of water all along the day
-Try to keep your face away and not be close to the screen like a geek.
It will enhance the symptoms and avoid to corrupt the eyes."

Julianjett wrote on April 17th, 2015: "It's the ultra violet light coming from the computer screen. I'd bet my paycheck on it that fluorescent lights and the sun do the same to you..."

Johnabetts wrote on April 17th, 2015: "You can easily invert screen colours on Windows and Mac (white becomes black etc) good for printed pages, very odd for pictures. May help with glare. Certainly helped me prior to cataract surgery. Google will explain (it varies slightly with each Windows version). Look up "invert screen colours."

g2006 wrote on April 17th, 2015: "I wish you were correct but the light has very little to do with it. It is an aggravating factor but far from the root cause. I currently work with a projector and still have issues. Also to disprove that theory I made a mask that covered every inch of my face and still had problems. Might help some people though everyone's different!"

elegantsquatlobster wrote on May 20th, 2017: "I have classes that last 40 mins and sometimes it's just so damn hard to sit through the whole thing. Face gets warm and other unpleasant symptoms arise. Once I finally break free and get to walk a little I feel more like myself again. It's so odd and I used to totally NOT have this. Sadly, I've gotten used to it now so much that when I see how others can read/work/knit/write/draw/whatever for HOURS at a time I'm just like how the heck is that even possible?! Getting up and walking around is a fairly easy solution but still sometimes impractical. How would your co-workers and boss, for example, react if you take breaks all the time at an office desk job?!"

I wrote on May 21sr, 2017: "I have the same problem.. I work behind a laptop literally half the day for work and it's just so annoying that my rosacea flares from it too., Or so it seems sometimes. I have tried shielding my face from the laptop screen light (mask/wrapping up a scarf around it even building a cardboard box around the laptop screen lol where I can peek through - that was a very silly construction and I used it mainly for a few days to test out) but it didn't help me a whole lot. I have installed a free dimmer program a year or more ago already and love it. It allows you to dim the light that the screen emits much more than otherwise is possible. For me it seems to be about the light that comes off the flat screen, not so much the radiation.. I love this dimmer, as especially at night the lowest light screen my laptop offers is still quite bright."

g3006 wrote on May 22nd, 2017: "You are not alone, I could write a book about all the experiments i have ran. I even bought 50 foot USB cables so I could keep my computer 50 feet away from me and still run a keyboard mouse and work with a projector, still had problems."

Antwantsclear wrote on May 22nd, 2017: "The problem for me is the radiation fields set up around wireless devices. I find a lot less flushing using my laptop on the Ethernet cable (plugged in) than on Wifi. I also don't have a mobile phone with internet because I find that makes me flush a lot and quickly (texting is less of a problem). To find out if Wifi radiation causes you problems, there are a lot of things to eliminate/reduce that a lot of people use. You are surrounded by other people using internet connected devices on public transport and in the workplace, and you may use a phone that creates these fields around it yourself such as tablets, phones and laptops."

hg24 wrote on May 22nd, 2017: "I have this, too. It used to be quite severe. I would flush badly and my skin would burn. I mainly just use my cell phone now as my computer. That's only because I had to quit working because rosacea was so bad. My rosacea is better now - but still a challenge. I just got a mini iPad a couple of months ago - trying to use it instead of my laptop. But I find that even with makeup on, it stings my face and causes my chin, forehead, nose, neck and chest to get red and sometimes itchy. Computers, smart phones, televisions and fluorescent lights all zap my face. It's a drag. I saw an old article about a boy who developed a rash due to his iPad. Specifically, his docs traced the problem to nickel in his iPad. Apple wouldn't confirm that the iPad had nickel. But have am sensitive to nickle, so I wonder. Also read that there are other chemicals people react to in the plastic of their computers/phones. I put my computer's white balance on the yellowest it will go. And have 3M privacy screens on everything to darken the screen more. That has helped a lot. But I still have it. So, yeah, it's frustrating. And of course all the docs I've mentioned this too over the years just stared at me blankly as if I was nuts. There are other threads on this topic posted over many years. Sadly no solution was found. But you might search for those in the search box in case something applies to you. My rosacea isn't a computer issue alone. I have reactions to other triggers. Sometimes I wonder if it was brought on by the screens in my life. As computers, smart phones, etc became a huge part of my work/home life. But who knows. I would be much better if I could get rid of this trigger."

Antwantsclear wrote on May 22nd, 2017: "I also have found that the old style laptops (e.g. Toshiba older models) with plastic casing seem better for me than the newer models that usually have metal casing. For me, it does seem to be the internet activity that is the problem though and the signals set up. So, I'd have no problem at all listening to a CD on the computer or watching a DVD since no internet is required.

hg24 wrote on May 24th, 2017: "Do you also have fluorescent lights above you in your office? Those made me react, too. Yes, agree the concentration/stagnation of movement is a factor, but hasn't been that disruptive. More that my skin is just always talking to me - tapping me on the shoulder 24 hours wanting attention. I was just talking to my mother via FaceTime, occasionally feeling some discomfort. After the convo I went to the mirror and had several fresh breakouts. It's almost like a screen dermatitis - which is something I've read about, but it doesn't seem widely accepted as a real condition."

g3006 wrote on May 24th, 2017: "If you want to narrow down possibilities try facetimeing/ working/surfing the net with a projector. That's what I did. I currently work in the dark with a little desk lamp and use a projector for a monitor and shine it on the wall. I make it as big as possible. In my current situation my image is about 6 feet across and i am about 10 feet from the wall."

Driven wrote on October 28th, 2010: "In my experience, fluorescent lighting only exacerbates an existing condition - it isn't a trigger in the sense that it isn't causing a problem the way some food and supplements can. Once you fix the underlying problem, lighting should stop aggravating your condition. Your skin is basically in "super-sensitive" mode all the time, and the idea is to get it out of that mode, not live in the dark. I wish I had a better answer."

Phlika29 wrote on October 28th, 2010: "At work I insist that the overhead fluorescent light is switched off and instead use a tungsten light that is covered by a shade. There are companies that specialized in making products for light sensitive individuals. Will try to find an old thread of mine."

Mrsmoof wrote on October 29th, 2010: "I wonder if my skin barrier is really damaged and thus very sensitive. I wonder if I rebuild the skin barrier that my sensitivity will decrease. Also, I am wondering if low stomach acid plays a role. I'm getting tested next week."

Bellableu wrote on October 29th, 2010: "In my very humble opinion, a damaged skin barrier is usually the reason why someone Rosacea-prone develops symptoms."

Greenbd71 wrote on November 13th, 2010: "Well I will tell you what can help. #1 Buy a small fan that you can you when you are on the computer at your desk or at home on the computer. It will help keep your face cool while the computer light is on your face. I bought a USB fan that I sit directly in front of the computer to keep the heat down on my face. $5.00 bucks on Ebay. I just posted a topic today that has really helped me out with Rosacea that is working pretty good so check that out. Drink nice cool water as much as you can when you are at work and use the fan. I am in the same boat....I have dimmers in my house...tinted windows all around my house....and ceiling fans in just about every part of the house including the bathroom so steam does not build up when taking showers. I try to find anything that will keep me cool and keep the redness level low."

KRC wrote on May 28th, 2016: "As my rosacea improved my light sensitivity improved. Neither have totally gone. Most times I can work on an iPad in lieu of a desktop, and do notice certain fluorescent can still get me going. I always hated those lights, now like yourself I have good reason. Moderate avoidance is how I deal. I refuse to allow fluorescent in my home. I limit my time in places that have them. When I had a major rosacea flare I had to seriously totally avoid them for a few months. As my skin barrier improved it did seem that the light sensitivity got a little better, but not to the extent that I can spend a long time in bad lighting. Yes, I always did believe those lights to be bad. As I posted elsewhere, I used to work in special education and the kids disliked the lights and would beg to leave them off on sunny days! I also worked in a computer lab so maybe I did do some damage there - not sure."

Mrsmoof wrote on March 6th, 2014: "My main triggers are artificial lights (computer screens, fluorescent lights, etc). Right now I am working in front of a computer and my entire face is red, eyes are dry, etc. However, when I walk away from my computer screen and close my eyes for 10-20 seconds the redness on my face almost immediately goes away. This makes me wonder if the blue light or something else from these artificial lights are hitting some nerve in the back of my eye which then causes the redness. Are my eyes the main problem? Also, when I wake up in the morning my face is usually completely white with no redness. Also, if I watch tv in the dark my skin is not too red. I am really starting to believe a lot of it has to do with my eyes. SO I have the following questions:
*Does anyone else experience the same thing?
*Any research, articles, etc on this topic?
*Has anyone tried using computer glasses? IF so, did it help your eyes and your redness?
*Is there a test to see if your eyes and/or skin have issues with this type of light or any type of light?
*Any other thoughts?

Lucy_nic87 wrote on March 6th, 2014: "I don't know how much help this is going to be as its beyond vague, but I was looking into the same thing about six months ago and came across a really interesting article which basically confirmed your suspicions. It was about something at the back of the eye being stimulated and causing redness/flushing. I'll see if I can find it and re post it for you. I realize this isn't the most informative response but just thought id chime in and let you know you may well be onto something. If I remember right it suggested lenses with a certain coloured tint, either orange or pink I believe." [..] "I have been retired for around 8 years now, but I spend long periods on the computer at home and still get red eyes. When I go into shops with fluorescent lighting my rosacea definitely flares, it's instantaneous. It happens in the supermarkets and department stores, and I find the Ladies rooms in shops particularly vicious. As soon as I leave the shops the redness calms right back down. My other triggers for rosacea (flushing type only) are every time I eat, no matter what I eat, my chin flushes, if I get anxious or nervous sometimes my whole face flushes the brightest crimson and I have broken capillaries on cheeks and chin. I have wondered many times about the computer screen and if all those years of working on computer screens have damaged my skin, especially back in the early seventies, when no doubt the rays coming off those screens were more harmful."

hg24 wrote on March 16th, 2014: "Hi, I have this problem, too. So much so that I am typing only on my BBerry. The computer turns me red and stings. I was looking up info again on this issue when I saw this thread.  I'm about to be put on Plaquenil and have an eye doctor appointment Wednesday for the baseline test. I plan to ask the eye doctor about this - though so far every doctor just stares at me when I mention my problem with computers and artificial lights  Even the BBerry screen turns me red. Someone on another thread mentioned LED-backlit monitors are better than LCD. But I still react on my LED-backlit MacBook.
Hi all, I went to the eye doctor today for my pre-Plaquenil eye test. I asked her about the notion of light signals causing the skin redness/sensitivity issue and if special glasses help. She wasn't aware of light signals causing skin problems, but she did say that some of her patients have had luck with amber-tinted lenses when they have problems with fluorescent lighting. These are patients who get ill from lights - headaches, nauseous or just find the lights too bright. She said she suggests that people first try a cheap pair of sunglasses with amber lenses before changing their prescription lenses. She said the yellow is what filters out the blue to purple spectrum of light. But she stressed the lense should be more amber versus a light yellow. A deeper looking tint versus pale yellow. She also said you can have contacts tinted this way, too. I don't know if my skin is flushing due to the eye signal or the heat of lights or the rays or what. But getting some amber sunglasses is easy enough and worth a try! Hope this helps! So far, UV filters on my digital devices/computers have not helped. Yesterday I had to leave Target because the fluorescent lights were hurting my face. I walked out with makeup faded off and red skin blotches. If I could solve my artificial lights issue, I'd be a new person!  I am occasionally grabbing my sunglasses when using the BBerry to try out the eye doctor's suggestion. So far, has just been a few days, I simply feel more comfortable with them on in terms of my eyes and the bright screen. But I've still had some flushy feelings/reddening. Also, I'm to start Plaquenil as soon as doctor calls in the prescription. Hopefully tomorrow! Am hoping it helps with the inflamed feeling I feel on my skin but also with light issues."

Azzachazza wrote on July 30th, 2014: "Hmmm very very very very interesting. My rosacea/seb derm started exactly when I purchased my 50 inch computer monitor which I sit in front every night for work. Yesterday I reduced all the blue levels in the screen so it looks a lot better. I'm using f.lux on iPhone and iPad makes things a whole lot better. Don't know if it will improve my skin though. I should probably read first thing before bed, but too tired already. I hope we get to the bottom of this. Good luck all."

g3006 wrote on November 10th, 2015: "Tape a piece of car window tint to you computer monitor, the kind that blocks UV light. It has worked wonders for me, the.over head lights I almost for sure an issue for anymore the flushes from a computer monitor. I now work in a dark office with a table lamp and window tint over my monitor and my reaction went from almost unbearable to almost gone completely. Its totally a basic allergy to light and it far worse then most people including me realized. I even have to wear a sun hat now indoors at work just for the brief moments i am outside my office walking around, it was embarrassing at first but totally worth it as this will progress to unbearable just like mine did. It is now basically gone."

Healthydeb71 wrote on October 17th, 2015: "Hi everyone, for a long time, I have suspected that my laptop, smartphone, cordless home phone and even fluorescent lighting were causing very serious flares for me. I came across a site today that I wanted to share. I have not purchased anything from this site so I can't attest that these products work; however, due to my own experience of desperately trying to get to the root cause of my ever-present, unbearably uncomfortable facial skin (and even more desperate solution-seeking), I am always hopeful to find something that eases my emotional and physical distress that revolves around this condition. Here is the link."

About flushing while talking on the phone

hg24 wrote on October 25th, 2015: "Hello friends, So anyone flush when talking on the phone? - I flush to fluorescent lights and computer screens. And am battling flushing when I sleep. But I just had to get off the phone with my mom - because I was flushing. I hadn't called her in a while for that very reason. Just email. Last week, I was on the phone for 10 minutes tops to customer service with my bank. I flushed. When I talk on the phone, I use my cell phone. I have it on speaker phone sitting a foot or so away from me. And the screen is dark. I have the same problem talking on my wireline phone. I can talk to a doctor or the staff and not flush. Meaning, I can talk to people in person - as long as the other triggers are okay - lights, room temp, etc. So why am I flushing talking on the phone? I don't talk loudly. I'm fairly soft spoken. It's really difficult. I'm by myself most of the time lately - so I don't talk much these days. But if talking were a trigger, why can I talk to people in person vs on the phone? Talking to my mom, I looked like the kid in "Home Alone" after he puts on aftershave. I held both hands over my cheeks to ease the burning of the flush on both sides of my face. Finished up the convo and started splashing cool water. Anyone have this problem? I think I'm starting to get phone anxiety from this! It's all so weird."

Cricket0117 wrote on October 25th, 2015: "My face does the same thing. I have no idea why though. I'm not nervous or anxious while I'm on phone."

Optimismum wrote on October 26th, 2015: "Wow what's an interesting post. I always wonder why I'm very red when I'm in a phone conversation, but I did not really search the answer. I think the better solution to avoid the phone-flush is to :
- use headphones / speaker
- tried to not fix the phone on the skin/ear. Try to leave an empty space between the phone and the ear.
Or :
- speak with block of ice in the mouth
- do not use phone, only texto, e-mail or homing pigeon."

hg24 wrote on October 26th, 2015: "Lol. Homing pigeon it is! Or Morse Code! Yeah, I use text and email. When I talk on the phone, I've just be using the speakerphone - but I still flush. It's weird! Like just talking causes a flush."

Mistica wrote on October 27th, 2015: "Yes!! Me too. In fact, when my flushing was at it's most severe, I avoided the phone completely. Even talking in general could trigger a massive flush. I could feel my face vibrating and it irritated the nerves. So having a long conversation was draining. My face felt fatigued. These days, I can chat on the phone, but not at night. And when I do talk, I walk about with the phone. I think it helps keep the blood moving and directed more to my limbs. I also swap hands frequently. I also stick my head in the fridge freezer if the call is going to be a long, or laborious one. And of course, ice packs as required. It isn't just holding the phone which triggers flushing in me though. Holding anything in a particular position, where the item is still and there is concentration applied can trigger flushing in me, mostly in the upper right cheek. Examples: Typing. I can feel it now. I never type before eating. Lack of fuel makes it much worse. I only type small amounts at one time and then I get up and walk around. It is the same muscular tension I feel in my face when holding the phone. Although that is just ONE pathway of setting off the flush. With phoning and typing, I don't think I breathe properly. When concentrating and typing, I tend to hold my breath. And I am in a fixed position. When talking a lot, I suppose I might be getting a little less oxygen. Anyone else noticed altered breathing and a flushing response? Normal, healthy people wouldn't be affected by such minute differences, but we are not normal."

hg24 wrote on October 27th, 2015: "Hi Mistica, Thanks for this input. I think you're spot on about moving about vs sitting when talking on the phone. I will try that. I do think there is something about holding one's breath - also shallow breathing, which I do a lot - that can cause flushing. Concentrating too hard seems a trigger for me, too. My phone flushing is while using a speaker phone. I set my phone about a foot or so away - don't even touch it - and just talk. But I flush. Yesterday, I called my mom while tapping an ice pack around my face. I did okay - until the little ice pack melted and then I started flushing. I feel like the flushing is just from talking. But I didn't flush sitting in a chair talking to my doctor yesterday. So what gives with sitting on my bed talking on the phone? Or talking on the phone standing near my kitchen counter? I think drinking cold water and having an ice pack nearby is a good idea. Oh rosacea! You are not the boss of me! I'll beat you yet!"

Antwantsclear wrote on October 27th, 2015: "I suffer from this kind of flushing. I believe it is caused by electromagnetic radiation fields around these devices. So the best solutions I find are:
- don't use wireless internet on smart phones or laptops (a desktop computer is the best attached with Ethernet to the internet)
- speakerphone on a landline (these aren't so easy to find good quality versions of) are ok for short calls - they have less electromagnetic radiation fields than mobile phones, which are lessened again when you can keep a little away from the landline phone.
When my flushing was particularly bad, I attached a microphone on a long lead to the computer (of course attached by Ethernet not wireless to the internet), turned the speakers up, and could have quite a long conversation without terrible flushing. In this way you can be a long way away from the computer with the electromagnetic fields. This last option is the best if you want to avoid flushing, as you can be 2 metres away from the computer and it really does help. I would add that my flushing has been reduced while using the mobile phone since starting to use Soolantra (ivermectin) cream on the ears. (This is in addition to hydroxychloroquine and moxonodine which are also important to stop flushing for me.)"

ihavetoasky wrote on November 28th, 2015: "I have not read what everyone wrote but I read what you wrote. You always helped me so how can I not at least try to help you so here are a couple of ideas: 1.maybe you have really sensitive skin like me so when something touch it, after a minute you get irritated and your skin gets red...
2. Mobile phones are full of bacteria and not the good ones; maybe that's connected...
3. If it is because of the light, just try to turn the screen off when you call someone or someone calls you and see what happens...
4.Maybe when you talk on the phone it's harder for you then in person, so the anxiety gets you..
5. Maybe your cell phone heats up a bit? So it irritates you...
If the lights are not good for you, maybe you should buy the old phone, like not a smart phone but the one with a cell keyboard because it has a smaller screen, so maybe it will bother you less".

About flushing due to (suspected) electro-magnetic fields 

FlushingQueen wrote on April 2nd, 2015: "Maybe it isn't rosacea at all? Maybe it is all this damn Electromagneitic Fields - Hello, I am going to sound a bit crazy trying to explain my rosacea but here it goes: I developed really sensitive skin from a peel two years ago, and my skin reacts to almost anything. However my biggest triggers are my computer and bright fluorescent lighting. This past week I have carefully monitored my symptoms, and sure enough within minutes of walking away from the computer or shutting off the lights, my skin improves 100%! I took yesterday off from work, and did not turn on any electronic device and my complexion has never been calmer, despite eating a ton of trigger foods (hot, spicy high histamine etc.) I have spent the past 5 hours researching this strange phenomenon and it turns out I am not the only one out there. Several people in this forum and other experience burning from computer use. The biggest explanation has been electromagnetic fields hypersensitivity: 
All the symptoms are explained here. Some people are more sensitive than others, and things like mercury dental fillings (I have FOUR) make people more susceptible... Could I not have rosacea but just really sensitive to today’s modern technology? I am assuming with my computer job, 6 overhead fluorescent lighting, iPhone, I am screwed. WHAT AM I TO DO? 
[..] I have tried setting the computer to the dimmest lighting, wear yellow tinted glasses, gotten a filter (tried everything and my co workers seem to make fun of me) Doesn’t help that all the derms I have seen, don’t know about this at all. I just bought a laptop EMF radiation protection tray ($90 on Amazon) honestly, I have spent thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars this disease in the past two years and nothing has really worked. I am at work right now and my face is bright red and it burns as if I have been standing in the summer sun for hours without sunscreen. At this point, I would not even care about the redness, it is just that my face burns and stings to the point where I can’t even work. I am going to my dentist soon and hopefully we can come up with a safe way to get these toxic mercury fillings out. Even though it might not contribute to this, might be healthy to just have them out of my body. I feel so defeated. Best, Deborah"

Birdie wrote on April 2nd, 2015: "I have contributed to some threads about this. I also type mostly on my phone. My skin is pink red or stinging after using iPad. I don't know the answers. I do have rosacea and I know my triggers. Even walking outside in bright light stings. I first noticed this on my arms about 8 years ago. I've avoided light for years, especially in the morning while my eyes adjust. Can take an hour. Can't drive at night. Headlights scream in my head. Perhaps we are Albino?"

Wiry wrote on April 3rd, 2015: "I am not sure I buy this, but for the sake of argument, lets say it is real. Can you do some simple tests to see if you can isolate the problem? For example, try wrapping your phone in aluminum foil and see how you react. I know it sounds weird, but that will block EMI (you can also see that you won't be able to receive calls). Try some experiments like this and see if you can truly demonstrate a connection. It may take several experiments, but if you can truly isolate this, you might have a way to change things. But until then, you don't know if something else is going on. What if it is an effect of mental concentration (usually happens when at computers)? I have noticed that causes me to flush sometimes. I suppose you could try to put a transparent EMI barrier around yourself and see if that works (testing purposes). If so, perhaps you could put it around your electronics (keeping thermal management in mind). That is pretty "out there" but so is your diagnosis. So if the shoe fits."

Mrsmoof wrote on April 3rd, 2015: "Wow.. This describes me as well. Computer screes, fluorescent lights, sitting in the car and sun shining on me (funny when I am not in a car and sun is on me my skin is fine), etc..are all major triggers. I too after leaving my computer my skin improves. My skin always looks the best when I first wake up in the morning. Nice and pale! :-) Maybe its due to sunburns in our past, maybe something to do with our eyes, who knows. All I know it sucks!
Anyway, has anyone with similar issues used sunscreen or something on their skin that has helped a lot. I am thinking about trying a sunscreen during the day when at work but my skin can be oily at times. Mainly forehead. Any suggestions on a very mild sunscreen/moisturizer? Maybe a baby version? Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks!"

FlushingsQueen wrote on April 3rd, 2015: "The thing is, I doubt sunscreen would do much if it is due to electromagnetic fields. I am an avid sunscreen user and have been since I was 10 years old, and it has not helped. I am even thinking that all the physical sunscreens with zinc and titanium oxide I have been using these past two years are making it worse for me. Zinc and titanium are metals that conduct heat and electricity, especially zinc is a good conductor. I cannot wear chemical sunscreens as they will cause a reaction too. http://scienceviews.com/geology/zinc.html If mercury dental fillings can hurt us that are inside our mouth, let alone metals that we apply directly to the skin. This whole thing is maddening. I will experiment with not wearing any sunscreen these next few days and see what happens. Just a good old hat and sunglasses."

Wiry wrote on April 3rd, 2015: "Hmmm, I just don't know about all of this. I think you should do some more tests with foil on and off the phone and the monitor. I would do that over several days and get as many data points as you can. If you can absolutely confirm it is from the electronics, you can probably do things to shield yourself (or at least minimize). But there could be other things at play here : concentration, temperature, humidity, anxiety, placebo...who knows). I know people have claimed before that fluorescent lights and LCD monitors have made them flush. I suppose it is possible from the fluorescents (though I am not convinced) since the spectrum response tends to be peaky especially in the older style T-12 (due the mercury) as opposed to incandescent, which is much smoother. But newer fluorscents can still be a bit peaky. A couple of the peaks are at lower wavelengths (about 420-480nm), which tend to be aggravating to rosacea skin which is not tolerant to UV (less than about 395nm). You can search the forums for people discussing fluorescents, its come up quite a few times as I remember. I will say that some work environments cause me to flush more than others. I don't know why that is though. My suspicion is that is has to do with a combination of temperature, humidity, air quality, stress, dress clothing, etc."

Lwemm wrote on April 6th, 2015: "I suspect the flushing from computer usage and lights is more prevalent than we would guess from the number of posts about it on here. I find it interesting as I did notice when I worked that my skin and eyes would always look worse at work. All my life I have been sensitive to the fluorescent lighting in stores and malls and they make me feel sick. Some stores with mirrors, fluorescent lights and loud music are hell for me and I just don't go in. My (blue) eyes have always been sensitive and have large blood vessels making them look bloodshot. Those blood vessels have been there as long as I can remember-- definitely since my teens-- and look worse when exposed to screens and artificial lighting. Now I have dry eyes and ocular rosacea symptoms in one eye. Evening primrose oil seems to have helped slightly with that. Good luck-- I hope at least you will get to take vacation from your screen time and give your skin needed rest."

hg24 wrote on April 7th, 2015: "Here's the thread going on about niacinamide riboside (NR) and straight niacinamide. I'd suggest taking the time to read through the whole thing. It's evolved in an interesting way and with some potentially interesting findings. I took straight niacinamide yesterday. 1000 mg in two 500 mg doses. Mistake because as Mistica mentioned in the other thread - headache! You have to work up to a stronger dose. It's WAY too early to tell if it's working. But I noticed that my vascularity seemed calm - the kind of added redness I get just from moving around and basically breathing. Also my redness was a smidge less - just my permanent blotches. I usually turn red when my home gets to 70 degrees. Today after noting how calm my face felt, I checked the thermostat and it was 72 degrees! No reaction from my skin. However, went to the store and sat under some fluorescent lights for a moment and felt a bit uncomfortable. I haven't taken any niacinamide today. Am getting a smaller mg of 250 mg and am going to work up. The science behind all of this is not only fascinating, but also reassuring. Not sure if it will help each person's rosacea. That's what we're trying to determine. But a few people on the thread are seeing results - so definitely read and join in, so you can make an informed choice one way or the other."

hg24 wrote on May 26th, 2015: "Doctors' offices are the worst. And why leave a rosacean in those exam rooms so long? I can walk in pink and by the time the doc walks in, I'm in full flush mode. The derm will leave me in a room with a laser machine that's on and warming the temp. I'm always looking immediately at the ceiling when I walk into a doc's waiting room to see where the lights are and where I can strategically sit without being directly under one."

FlushingsQueen wrote on June 1st, 2015: "Today has been the worst day of it all. I cannot work anymore. My face is bright red, peeling and in pain. My office is brightly lit with fluorescent lighting, similar to the ones you would find in a hospital. Also, I am working 8 hours on the computer and my face is in so much pain today. I am envious that at least you guys don’t have to spend so much time around these triggers. I found this website, and they have interesting protection products. I am buying a couple of things, but I have spent thousands on this problem so far with no relief."



  1. I am glad I found this.
    I have noticed of lately that on the days that I sit in front of my laptop I feel my cheeks heat up and beginning to flush within half an hour ; the longer I stay the worse it gets.
    On days when I don't use the pc I very very rarely get a flare up......
    I thought I was going nuts and getting paranoid ; helpful to know other people go through similar stuff-I gues is the knowing one is not alone.

  2. Glad you could pinpoint the laptop use as a trigger for your skin, anonymous, although it's bad news considering how much time many people these days spend online... Do you have no issues with watching TV on a flat screen? Have you tried dimming the brightness of the computer screen to see if that makes any difference?


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