Ever thought about the harmful impact of excessive screen time on your skin? No, right? We did not know either, until we came across a post recently shared by Unilever, highlighting the damaging effects of ‘blue light’; we are exposed to this when we use our laptops, desktop PCs, TVs or even smartphones.
No matter how much you try to minimize screen time, if you are a working woman, you are exposed to ‘blue light’ emitted by screens for five working days a week. According to Unilever’s research, this is “as damaging as 25 minutes spent in the midday summer sun”. Can you believe that?
Since tablets, smartphones and laptops have crept into our lives and made a permanent home, there is no way we can steer away the perils of blue light except for incorporating skin care products into our daily routine, that prevent long lasting skin damage.
Ever since COVID-19 happened, we are stuck at home, spending most of our time online and have become dependent on electronic devices. Is this draining our skin? Should we be worried? What can we do to prevent this?
Let’s take a deep breath, and read about what blue light actually is, before delving deep into the anti-blue light skin care products that MAYBE your only savior.
What is Blue Light?
As compared with the understood risks of ultraviolet light that causes cancer and skin ageing, scientists are not really sure or settled on the drastic impacts of the indoor blue light as of yet, reports New York Times. All they know for now is that blue light can cause premature ageing, skin sagging from the jawline and neck area, it can compromise your quality of sleep and can even cause hyper pigmentation.
Here is what blue light actually is, and what are the real risks pertaining to it.
When we talk about harmful effects of light, we mostly think of ultraviolet (UV) light which we can’t see from the naked eye. However, blue light is visible; it is a cool toned light that we mostly see in an LED light bulb.
According to a New York based dermatologist Michelle Henry, “Blue light damages the retina and reduces your excretion of melatonin, so it interrupts your sleep cycle.”
The doctor also emphasized on the factor of ‘Proximity’ and the levels of risk related with it. One is more likely to be harmed by the blue light emitted by the laptop than a TV since TV is father; alternatively, you’re smartphone poses a higher risk than your laptop or TV.
How is Blue light Harming Your Skin?
Blue light ruins collagen in your skin( that keeps your skin plump and tight) through oxidative strain. Flavin is chemical present in the skin that absorbs blue light. The reaction that occurs during that absorption process releases volatile oxygen molecules that have damaging effects the skin.
The blue light exposure has more negative effects on people of color. According to NY times, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, showed that hyperpigmentation was higher in medium to dark skin, while lighter skin was relatively unimpacted.
The screens of our tablets, phones laptops and TV screens emit blue light or high-energy visible light (HEV). The rays travel on a similar wavelength to UV rays, that triggers—pigmentation and dark spots, and causes the skin-plumping collagen to break down faster, leading to accelerated ageing.
Sagging of Skin around Neck & Jaw
Some experts describe the sagging of skin in the neck and jaw area as ‘tech neck’ that leads to a more “jowly” appearance– this is the result of constantly looking down.
Dermatitis or ‘Acne mechanica’
Many dermatologists worldwide are reporting an increasing rise in the number of patients with “phone face”- a kind of contact dermatitis or ‘acne mechanica’. Skin forms itchy, acne-like bumps that tend to appear on one side of the face where you mostly put your phone. The phone screen itself contains several bacteria and germs; we touch it with our fingers constantly all day and it is exposed to many contact surfaces that aren’t properly cleaned.
Skincare Products to Prevent Skin Damage from Blue Light
Although extensive research is further required, dermatologists recommend avoiding blue light exposure by using a blue light filter on your laptop and incorporating an HEV protector into daily skin routines.
This means that one must invest in sunscreens that have physical ray blockers, as opposed to chemical ones; this means they have must as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, moisturizers, skin serums, primers that contain the new ingredient called Liposhield HEV Melanin, aka phyto-melanin.
In addition, mineral sunscreens with iron oxides are the best for blue light protection. Iron oxides have been proven to be more protective against visible light than zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
One skin product recommended by dermatologists is the Skinbetter Science Sunbetter Tone Smart SPF 68 Sunscreen Compact, for $55; this is a mineral sunblock. The formula contains and iron oxide, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and it blends perfectly even on skin of color.
To fight off the harmful effects on collagen in the skin and thus prevent fast ageing, toning face creams such as YSL Forever Youth Liberator Y-Shape Creme for $250 are the best skincare product to invest in and incorporate in your skincare.
The product contains proven collagen-building ingredients such as retinol, vitamin C and niacinamide. Don’t forget the neck area and keep it moisturized as well.
You could also try looking down less, even though that becomes very difficult at times.
The simplest and most important tip is to have the option of “night shift” or night mode in your phone that helps control the light being emitted from your screens for a warmer screen tone.
Monitor Wipes & Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is known for taming acne, so invest in serums and face washes to keep phone face acne afar.
Also, another very useful tip is cleaning your phone regularly—use wipes or such as pre-moistened Monitor Wipes for $13, to prevent your device from damaging your skin.
Below are a few other skincare products that are known to prevent blue light skin damage
Perricone MD High Potency Classics: Face Finishing & Firming Moisturizer, $69, contains alpha-lipoic acid and vitamin C.
Did you know screen time damages your skin? What changes will you bring about in your skin routine now?
Stay tuned for all the latest news and updates!