Protecting Your Skin.
More and more studies are showing that it is essential to guard against premature ageing of the skin. It is necessary to protect the skin, not only from the sun’s UVA and UVB radiation but also from blue light. Human skin is exposed to blue light radiated from the sun and the digital devices that we use.
With our increasing dependence on digital devices – smartphones, laptops, computers, televisions – our exposure to blue light has increased significantly. For example, estimates show that everyone is now exposed to more than four hours of screen time daily on average. This implies that our skin is exposed to much more blue light than was the norm earlier – when the blue light exposure was from the sun alone.
It is estimated that a working week of four days, of eight hours each, in front of the computer is equivalent to twenty minutes of exposure to the mid-day sun. As stated in more relatable terms – exposure to mid-day sun for seven minutes is enough to cause the skin to tan.
What is blue light? How does blue light affect your skin?
Blue light is scientifically classified as High Energy Visible (HEV) light. Compared to UVA and UVB radiation from the sun, blue light has greater penetrative power in the skin. Therefore, blue light can penetrate the skin up to the dermis – where the collagen and elastin reside. This causes loss of firmness of the skin – leading to visible wrinkles and lines on the skin.
Blue light also accelerates premature ageing by causing pigmentation. In addition, it disturbs the natural sleep cycle by altering the sleep hormone melatonin’s level in the body. Blue light has also been shown to affect vision adversely.
Protecting the skin against blue light damage
The skin receives blue light from both the sun and the digital devices that we use. Therefore, you need separate – indoor and outdoor approaches to protect the skin against blue light damage. Some essential steps that you need to take to protect against blue light damage are:
- Cover your digital devices with a blue light shield. Some devices come with settings for ‘night mode’ that disables blue light in favor of yellow light. These measures will reduce blue light exposure for your skin as well as your eyes.
- When out in the sun, use a sunscreen packed with antioxidants. Choose a sunscreen that is chemical free and broad spectrum with a minimum of SPF 30. A cocoa extract sunscreen is antioxidant rich and protects the skin from the harmful effects of blue light.
- Use of topical antioxidants supplements our skin’s natural ability to protect against oxidative damage. Natural antioxidants, such as vitamin E, present in the skin might not by themselves, be able to protect against the oxidative damage caused by UVA/UVB and blue light. Eating fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants also helps the skin in its natural renewal process.
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Dr. Scott is a doctor from Harvard Med School and a dermatology resident at the University of Miami. Laura is known for her authentic advice. Her goal is to find beauty in all things and to enjoy every moment of life...