As the world of skincare has evolved into a truly sophisticated field, we’ve built a greater understanding of aging and how to prevent it. And experts have learned that of all aging factors, sun exposure is major.
But as we’re spending more time indoors, now may be the time to learn about another light source that’s damaging your skin.
And you’re looking at it right now: your screen!
Read on to learn how blue light may be affecting your skin, how concerned you ought to be, and what you can do to prevent photodamage.
What is Blue Light, and Why is it Different?
It’s said that 90% of signs of aging are caused by sun exposure. But what about the light from our screens? Surely it’s not as damaging as the sun, right?
Well, that’s potentially a “yes and no” question.
Basically, all visible light is made up of a range of different-colored light rays. And of all the visible light rays, blue light has the highest level of energy, almost as much as some UV (ultraviolet) rays, which are particularly damaging to the skin.
And while blue light isn’t necessarily as high-energy as UV rays, research shows that it’s much more penetrative. So much so, actually, that trials have observed that it may even damage the eyes, based on our frequency of exposure and intensity of the blue light source, whether it’s our smartphone, computer, or tablet.
Can Blue Light Really Damage My Skin?
While research on blue light exposure is still in the works, the general consensus so far is that potentially, yes, blue light exposure may impact our skin and the way it ages.
According to one commonly-cited peer-review from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, it was indicated that blue light exposure caused an increase in swelling and pigmentation, while a 2018 study from the Journal of Biomedical Physics & Engineering concluded that blue light exposure can cause oxidative stress, especially amongst those with a tendency to browse the web at night.
What’s more, is that increased exposure of blue light can also be confusing to the skin. This is because blue light is known to promote wakefulness: when it hits our skin or retinas, our bodies take it as a signal that its daytime. But if we’re looking at our screens well into the evening hours, it can potentially throw off your entire circadian rhythm, leading to disrupted cell turnover and a plethora of other skin problems.
How to Protect the Skin from Blue Light
So how can we prevent our screens from ruining our skin?
Here are a few strategies.
1. Go Into Night Shift Mode
While many individuals have reported success with trendy blue light blocking glasses, there’s a far simpler solution: most computers and phones now have a built-in “night shift” mode, which turns down the blue light levels in your screen’s display.
However, one of the best things can be to cut back on screen time at night, as this will drastically reduce blue light exposure and potential oxidative stress.
As mentioned before, one of the factors that make light rays so damaging is that they can cause oxidative stress, and while reducing exposure is going to be the most effective means of prevention, antioxidants are a great addition to anyone’s skincare routine, as they’re known to help lower oxidative stress.
Some of our favorite antioxidant-rich ingredients include sprouted red clover, rosehip extract, and vitamin E.
3. Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen
Blue light protection is becoming quite a hot topic, and it probably won’t be long before we see a drastic growth in skincare products designed specifically for blue light exposure. Needless to say, many individuals are concerned about blue light!
But while blue light shows potential for creating sun damage, it pales in comparison to the side effects you can experience from overexposure to the sun.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you use a form of sunscreen every day! Preferably a mineral-based sunscreen, which is a lot safer for our oceans than chemical sunscreens.
No matter how closely you follow the advice before this, it’ll mean nothing if you’re not protecting yourself from the sun.