Elizabeth Hale MD

Elizabeth K. Hale, MD is a Board Certified Dermatologist and a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine, where she received the Surgical Attending of the Year Award. She is also the Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation. As a widely respected dermatologist, Dr. Hale is frequently sought out and extensively quoted by national broadcast, print and online publications.


There have been some rumblings over the past year about the effects of HEV or blue light — the type emitted from smartphones, computers, and tablets — on skin. While we tried to swat those worries away (don’t we have enough skin woes to worry about?), they niggled at the back of our minds, so we called Elizabeth Hale, MD, renowned dermatologist, sun protection expert, and Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation, to get the full scoop. 


Ayla: What’s your perspective on the result of chronic exposure to the high-energy visible light emitted from our smartphones and other screens?
DR. HALE: There’s new evidence that chronic exposure to that type of light could be generating free radicals in the skin and accelerating melasma. It’s theoretically possible, which to me just reaffirms that we should wear broad-spectrum sunscreen every day — not just when we’re out in the sun. 

Ayla: Is there anything else we can do to protect our skin?
DR. HALE: An ingredient called ferrous oxide can be good at absorbing this type of light — you can find it in mineral makeup. And, because the radiation from smartphones also generates free radicals in the skin, anything you can do internally to neutralize them (adding antioxidants to your diet, for example) could be helpful.

What I think should be a greater concern is what some people call “tech-neck,” which results from the combination of what’s being emitted from your phone plus the effect of looking down all day. I definitely see increasing numbers of younger people coming in with more horizontal lines on their necks. So be aware of your posture — I try to lift my chin and neck up as much as I can!   

Ayla: What about pollution? Do you think that can accelerate the visible signs of aging?
DR. HALE: Ultimately, yes: exposure to both sun and pollution can deplete your skin’s ability to fight free radicals throughout the day.



Note from Ayla: 

Sobering news, isn’t it? Well, chin up, as they say — and check out Luzern’s new La Defense Urban Protect lineup. It’s no secret that Luzern’s excellent La Defense SPF 30 sunscreen is one of our favorite products; it’s now been improved with the addition of lutein to further protect against the free radicals generated by HEV light, and it has some fabulous new HEV light-fighting, pollution-battling sidekicks. 


About Dr. Hale: Liz is a Board Certified Dermatologist and a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at the New York University Langone Medical Center, where she received the Surgical Attending of the Year Award in 2008. She specializes in Mohs micrographic surgery, cosmetic dermatology, and laser surgery. Dr. Hale has extensive experience in the field of skin cancer and is a vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. A widely respected dermatologist, Dr. Hale has received an astounding number of awards and honors. Learn more about her impressive background — and her brand new, state-of-the-art dermatology, laser and skin surgery practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan — here.

Any topic discussed in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please check with your doctor.