How much of your day is spent in front of the computer screen? What about browsing on your smartphone or watching TV? The average adult spends about 9 hours a day in front of a screen. In the modern world we live in where we're constantly checking emails, texting, Facebook-ing, and Googling, it’s not all that surprising. While we know that a lot of screen time isn’t so good for our eyes or our sleep, what’s not often thought of is the damage it could be doing to our skin.
Blue Light and Skin Damage
Like UVA and UVB rays, HEV (high energy visible light) is another type of light ray emitted by the sun. More commonly known as blue light, HEV light makes up the blue portion of visible light and is one of the shortest and highest energy wavelengths in in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Although emitted naturally via the sun, blue light is also emitted artificially through devices such as computers, TVs, smartphones, and also LED and fluorescent lighting. While most of us are aware of the damage that UVA and UVB rays can do to our skin, more evidence is now emerging of the harmful effects blue light can also have.
Just as UVA and UVB can cause damage, research now shows that HEV, or blue light, causes oxidative damage and inflammation within the skin. Due to its wavelength, blue light penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin, and over time can result in pigmentation, sagging skin, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles. Many of us work in an environment facing one or two computer screens. This coupled with fluorescent office lighting and staring at our phones half the time is not an ideal recipe for healthy skin – or eyes! Although there is no evidence of HEV light causing skin cancer, it’s still worth protecting your skin from these rays to avoid long-term damage. Fortunately, there are some easy and natural ways to help.
Protecting Your Skin from Blue Light
Whether we’re spending hours in front of a computer screen, simply texting a friend or relaxing outside, our skin is still exposed to blue light. Follow these simple tips to protect your skin and keep it looking and feeling healthy.
1. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide protects against UVA, UBA and HEV rays. If you’re outside or if your seat at work is next to a window, this is particularly important!
2. Alter your display. Many computers, smartphones and tablets have a built-in blue light or night mode filter. This allows you to adjust your screen to a more yellow, warm tone, and limits blue light emission.
3. Invest in a filter. If your device doesn’t have a built-in filter option, you can purchase filters for your screen which will filter out the blue light, without it affecting your display.
4. Up the antioxidants. A diet rich in antioxidants will help to combat oxidative stress. A moisturiser or serum with added antioxidants like vitamin C and E will help to protect and defend your skin.
5. Wear glasses with blue blocker lenses. To protect your eyes, you can get blue light blocking lenses for your glasses. This helps to reduce eye-strain and prevents disruptions in your circadian rhythm.