As the amount of time we spend on screens increases, what’s the cost to our skin? Read on to find out.
It’s common knowledge that we need to protect our delicate skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and that exposure to too much sun is likely to cause skin damage and pigmentation. Wear a high factor sunscreen, with UVA and UVB block and we’re protected, right?
Wrong. Recent studies have shown that sun is not the only reason your skin suffers from pigmentation and the other culprit is much closer to home. Did you know that visible light, known as blue light, emitted by electronic devices like your phone, tablet, computer screens, and even energy-saving light bulbs, is having a bad effect on your skin? With a 2018 study of 2000 adults finding that nearly a quarter of the population spends upwards of 10 hours a day looking at a screen, we’re getting substantially more blue light exposure than we used to from the sun alone. That’s right, our beloved screens have now been shown to actually cause signs of ageing and be a pigment-causing factor.
What is Blue light and why is it harmful?
Not all colours of light have the same effect. Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown. Being exposed to blue light at night can disrupt melanin production causing us to not fall asleep, and throw skin’s natural circadian rhythm off, meaning skin cells ‘believe’ it is daytime. This impacts their natural night repair process, which can lead to visible signs of ageing, and even dark under-eye circles.
Staring for long hours at screens has also given rise to what’s known in the industry as ‘computer face’, the name given to the frown people usually have while staring at their screen. Hello permanent wrinkles. But not only does blue light affect your beauty sleep, and expression, cosmetic scientists have found that visible blue light can also cause other signs of ageing and in particular pigmentation as blue light has been shown to induce oxidative stress in skin.
How can you protect yourself from blue light?
1. Combine your sunscreen with environmental protection
The best way to protect against all sorts of harmful light is with a sunscreen that combines both protection against UVA and UVB rays and environmental aggressors and can also defend you from blue light. New Anthelios Pigmentation SPF50 is clinically proven to deliver on all fronts to decrease hyperpigmentation.
This unique product contains a synergy of ingredients against hyperpigmentation, including XL protect technology to protect against UVB as well as long and short UVA, coloured pigments to protect against visible (blue) light and Procread to inhibit melanin synthesis and decrease inflammation. The addition of La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water provides a powerful antioxidant complex to protect against damage induced by infrared radiations. In a study that exposed 20 subjects to visible light daily over a period of 12 days, one group was treated with Anthelios Pigmentation, while another was untreated. The former showed significant efficacy in reducing the development of visible light-induced pigmentation with results in just 4 days.
2. Invest in a screen protector that is anti-glare
Whether for your computer or phone, a screen that has anti-glare technology will also filter out some blue light so not only will you be protected from exposure but it will also be less strenuous for your eyes meaning you’re likely to feel less tired after work and also squinting less which in itself is significant for ageing and wrinkles.
3. Allocate yourself ‘screen time’
Reduce time on your phone or computer screen and this will have a huge effect on your exposure to blue light. Allocate yourself specific times to go on devices and be strict about not constantly checking your phone. Ideally keep your phone out of your bedroom altogether so that you’re not tempted to check it before you go to bed.