I tried a digital detox facial meant to undo the damage blue light causes


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Technology is such a part of my life that I can’t even remember what things were like before my smartphone existed. My job requires being on a computer, like, all day, and when I’m not typing away, chances are my hands are preoccupied with using my cellphone. Yeah, I know—I can feel you shaking your head in disapproval. So when an email popped up in my inbox announcing a new “digital detox” skin-care treatment catered specifically to tech-loving beauty enthusiasts, my screen-addicted, blue light-riddled face perked right up.

The facial aims to undo all of the damage that technology can cause for your complexion. That means tech neck, the effects of blue light, and facial tension that comes from staring at screens. Um, yes please to all of the above.

“The digital detox treatment relieves tech neck through touch therapy and complete relaxation,” says Lynne Araw, global service innovation manager at Dermalogica, the brand that’s offering the treatment in their spas starting this month. “Touch therapy massage stimulates and loosens the muscles in the jaw, neck, and shoulders, plus helps balance the circulatory and lymphatic systems to help recapture a healthy, energetic glow.” In other words—it sounds completely necessary.

First of all, I was strongly advised to put my phone down—meaning, no social content. (I negotiated being allowed to take one selfie, but the benefits would def be better if you resist this temptation.) “We are on our phones and computers all day so this is truly a space to detach,” my facialist Kesia Poole tells me. “It’s all about reusing the power of touch. I’ll cleanse the skin, do a light exfoliation, and do facial massage before I put a mask on your skin. There are no extractions and no machines used.”

So even the treatment itself is separating from the use of technology. “Back in the day before we had all these machines, facials were all about touch,” she says. Fair point. She begins by using a cleanser and exfoliant, and while this might not seem all too different from washing my face at home, I begin to meditate on the sense of touch.

“The treatment was designed to treat the symptoms of digital overload that may show up on your skin through the power of human touch.” —Lynne Araw

“The treatment was designed to combat the symptoms of digital overload that may show up on your skin through the power of human touch—20 minutes of the facial are dedicated to touch therapy massage,” says Araw. “We use professional-grade products and ingredients, and applications that help your skin switch from defense mode to regeneration mode.” In other words, it’s focused on repair and renewal over anything else—something most complexions are hungry for if they’re consistently frowning at a computer screen and exposed to blue light.

The thing about blue light is that it disrupts your body’s natural circadian rhythm as well as dehydrates your skin and can even work to break down the collagen—hence why this facial promotes putting your phone down, not to mention using nourishing ingredients to help restore elasticity to your complexion. Poole gently applies creamy cleanser followed by a hydrating serum, then puts a lifting rubber mask all over my face that sat on my skin for about 20 minutes (I look like I’m straight out of that mask-making scene in Mrs. Doubtfire). Then, she presses on acupressure points that correspond with facial tension from staring at screens all day.

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The rubber mask. Photo: Rachel Lapidos

Overall, the treatment wasn’t that different from any other regular facial that I’ve gotten. But I do have to say that (not counting the 20 seconds I took snapping a selfie) it was refreshing to be unattached to anything digital for at least an hour. Yes, my complexion looked nice and glowy afterwards, but the biggest perk of all was having someone else massage out the knots in my face that build up from my technology use. Lesson learned: Put your phone down once in a while—you and your skin will be happier. Or, you know, you could get your pores sucked clean like this:


If you’re looking to truly do this more often, read up on how a digital detox can help your relationship. At the very least, you can turn off your push notifications for slightly less anxiety. 

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