LCD screens causing face irritation and 'burning'

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  • #23739

    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.

    #23746

    Hi John B and welcome,

    Just in case anybody is wondering the thread being referenced above regarding potential eye health concerns is this one.

    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!

    #23810

    Thanks for the welcome. To answer your questions:

    Direct sunlight is not a problem beyond sunburn issues, nor are normal incandescent lights. LED lights seem OKish. 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.

    #23813

    That 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?

    #23861

    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 ionising effect on one’s skin inducing the production of free radicals, or somesuch, 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.

    #23863

    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 minimise/prevent ionisation, 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 ionising 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.

    #27131

    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!

    #27163

    I’m really glad this thread has helped you out and given you a possible remedy. I’d also be interested in hearing back from John B about whether he was able to solve the problem and what he did to ease his symptoms.

    #27188

    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 90cm to 1m. 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.

    #27189

    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. I’ll let you know how that turns out at the end of the day or tomorrow.

    I’m glad to know you are doing better!

    #27209

    Follow up: 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.

    Nothing else to report until I try some of the other options I mentioned earlier – if I do.

    #27213

    Glad to hear you’ve found some relief from your glycerin and water remedy (as well as trying to stop static build-up as much as possible). I’m really interested to hear how you both get on – hopefully things continue to improve for you both.

    I discussed this with a medical researcher as well and he was quite baffled but extremely interested in the whole thing. These sorts of complaints aren’t as uncommon as you think, but knowing what to do about it is another thing entirely!

    #27535

    Hi Jon B. I came across this site by searching for “computer burning face”. I’m glad I did because my husband experiences the same as you have been and we’ve been trying all sorts of things to get the burning stopped because he has his own business and is dependent upon using the computer. The burning is causing him to be less productive. I saw that you you posted this in August of 2013. Any solutions yet?

    #27536

    karla4569 – when you say that “glycerin water” provided some relief, how did you use it and where can it be purchased? Thanks.

    #27538

    Hello Davenport164.

    You can buy glycerin at Walmart or any drug store. I just splash my face with water and then rub 2 drops of glycerin on my face and let it dry on its own. It’s a great moisturizer.

    Since I did not get complete relief with the glycerin or trying to control the static field, I kept searching and came across some information in which someone said the computer box could be giving off some kind of fumes from PVC used in the plastic facing. So this turned my attention to the computer box and I remembered that just prior to this burning sensation starting to occur, my husband had changed out my computer, which has always sat on my desk to my right. So I had him change it back two nights ago. I am still feeling some effects, but it seems to be lessening somewhat.

    Other things that changed around the same time as the burning started to happen in the first week of Jan. 2014 is that I started taking liquid bentonite clay as part of a natural bowel cleanse I am doing. I also added a cordless landline phone on top of my computer box, which could be adding to the PVC fumes theory.

    Another possibility I am considering is the mercury amalgam fillings I have in my teeth. I read a book a few years ago called “It’s All In Your Head”, which was about the effects a dentist noticed of problems his patients had as a result of mercury fillings and how replacing those fillings resolved their problems. I am wondering if these fillings are reacting to the electromagnetic field that surrounds me at my desk. I have been having sensations of swelling felt in my left cheek and jaw for months now, along with a waterbed motion, dizzy sensation since last July. I went to the dentist about this, but he advised that since I did not have any acute pain in my teeth that it wasn’t my teeth and I should see an ear, nose and throat specialist. I am not a believer in the medical establishment, so I have not done this.

    Next, I am going to try to just clear my desk of all electronics other than my LCD monitor and see if that helps.

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