The '90s came with a revelation that the sun was damaging our skin. More specifically, ultraviolet rays UVA, UVB and UVC. It was all about putting sunscreen at the beach and while out and about -- the more SPF, the better.
As the new millennium came, so did new research on another problem caused by overexposure to sun --exposure to blue light. Wait, isn't that the same light that affects our sleep? It is.
The rise in technology also paved the way for human exposure to blue lights to increase. High-Energy Visible Light or "blue" light may disrupt sleep and cause eye strain, among other side effects.
Effects of Blue Light on Skin
An increasing amount of research is set to prove the blue light effect on the skin. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reveals what research has proven so far.
In the report "Selfies can age the skin and cause wrinkles, warn dermatologists" published on June 17, 2016, the Science Editor of the Telegraph, Sarah Knapton, reveals that dermatologists are starting to see the detrimental effects of frequent exposure to smartphones.
Substantial evidence also shows both UV exposure at a high level and exposure to blue light cause adverse effects on human skin -- the intensity of the effects being comparable.
Such effects on the skin may include: Hyperpigmentation; redness and inflammation or swelling of the skin; accelerated aging and wrinkles; increased production of free radicals; breakdown of healthy collagen and elastin; dryness and uneven tone and texture, and; sagging skin
While sources of blue light are plenty -- the sun, full-spectrum lighting, LED lights, cell phones, tablets, and flat-screen monitors -- reflective surfaces like water, snow, glass, concrete and sand also carry HEV light.
How to Prevent Skin Damage from Blue Light
Technology is a necessary evil. It comes with repercussions to physical and mental health.
We must find a workaround to continue towards progression while protecting our skin against potentially aging faster and skin damage.
Here are some actionable ways to start now:
1. Use Cosmetics
Soon, SPF will no longer be the main buzzword in skincare as more beauty brands create products with HEV-blocking properties.
In 2015, the New York-based brand "Make" launched Moonlight Primer to "shield the skin against HEV light emitted from electronic devices and minimize the impact of infrared light."
A skincare serum-like Lumivive by SkinMedica contains ingredients like alteramonas ferment extract to protect the skin against damage from environmental pollution. It is also formulated with obroma cacao seed extract that is said to protect the skin against blue light.
An antioxidant rich serum such as Skinceuticals Phloretin CF with Vitamin C and ferulic acid may also help counter the effects of blue light.
2. Rethink Your Sunscreen
Sunscreens that protect the skin against UVA, UVB and UVC rays are ineffective at protecting the skin from blue right rays. However, sunscreens that contain physical minerals like iron oxide will also help block HEV.
Those with sun-sensitive skin disorders like lupus and rosacea need to be extra vigilant to protect their skin against HEV damage.
Some good examples of mineral sunscreens include Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen. It has red algae to protect the skin from blue light damage.
You can also use a moisturizer like Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Defense Radiant Protective Veil to fight blue light damage. Its formulation contains mineral sunscreen and cacao that helps for indoor and outdoor UV and blue light protection.
3. Adjust the Brightness Level
Lower the brightness level on your computer, tablet and smartphone screens to help prevent overexposure to blue light. However, do not dim your gadgets as this can strain your eyes.
4. Relax Your Facial Muscles
When you focus while working on your laptop or playing a game on your smartphone, you may be clenching your jaw. To prevent wrinkles when using the computer or your phone, relax your facial muscles once in a while. Smiling is great at easing tension from your face!
You may also want to increase the font size of your texts so you don't have to squint your eyes, furrow brows and forehead while reading on your phone or computer.
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