The way light, natural, or otherwise affects the human body and interacts with us and the world around is quite fascinating and really complex. It has been well established by researches that despite being invisible Ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB) poses great risks to our skin. But that is not the only light that the sun emits.
The sun is also responsible for emitting large amounts of blue lights that make the sky look blue.We are exposed to blue light emitted by our electronic and digital devices like cell phones and computer or TV screens too but we don’t notice it much or as intensely as the sky’s blue colour. But we should because we are much closer to our phones and other devices and spend much more time on them than in the sun. So think it that way and you will realise the damage, though it calls for more studies and research, is up, close and personal.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light like those infamous UVA and UVB rays are also of short wavelength. Also known as Artificial Visible Light of High Energy Visible Light, blue light is the spectrum of light whose wavelength ranges from 380nm to 500nm while that of UVA and UVB range from 280nm to 400nm. So they are closer to each other on the Light Spectrum that goes up to 700nm.
The Impact of Blue Light on Our Skin
In today’s world, we are too much addicted to and dependent on electronic devices, especially phones and computers or TV screens. When we come to think of it, an average person like me depends not more than 30 minutes to an hour away from the laptop, or phone, keeping aside the time you are sleeping. A millenial checks his or her phone 150-160 times a day while older people check their phones 30 times on average. That shows that the younger generation is more greatly exposed to the risks of skin damages caused by the onscreen time. The Covid19 has pushed up our screen time to an astronomical amount. We are isolated, cut off physically from the world, touching, meeting, interacting face to face is no longer an option. Work meetings, happy hours, get-togethers, workouts everything is a matter of zoom calls now. Movies and gamings are our allies and social networking time has gone up to 70% more than pre Covid times, as per a Facebook report. All this time our eyes and skin are exposed to our devices that can cause more than just straining our eyes.
Blue light has a short wavelength but has high energy and that is why it is capable of penetrating deeper into your skin layers. The damage is real and deep. It is not with certainty that one can assert it definitely causes skin cancer but that’s mostly because of the limited studies on the subject. We can’t rule out the risk of skin cancer. Long exposure of our skin cells to blue light is greatly damaging. It can damage the lipids and proteins responsible for holding moisture, keeping impurities out, and repairing the skin. In simpler words, it destroys the natural ability of our body to protect the skin from damages. Blue light causes more swelling, redness and hyperpigmentation than UVA. It worsens further when the exposure to blue light is for a long term. It can cause skin damages that include but not limited to colour changes, inflammation and weakening of the skin’s surface. More simply put, it promotes and boosts stressors in skin that cause photo-aging, that is aging because of exposure to light. The skin aging appears in forms of loss of skin’s elasticity, tone, suppleness, lustre, and causes fine lines, wrinkles and tech-neck. This HEV penetrates skin more deeply than UV, damages collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin. It even disturbs the circadian rhythm, the natural sleep/wake cycle of our body. Less and poor quality of sleep leads to greater health risks and doesn’t let the body recover and repair itself from fatigue, pollutants and damages caused due to exposure.
What to Do to Protect Your Skin and Eyes
The sun is greatly responsible for emission of HEV, however it is the “close-up exposure” of phones that is mostly the reason of our worries. So what should we do?
The most simple solution is covering your phone with a blue light screen shield b2ecause you can’t always wear sunglasses while using your phone and tablet.
You may also try using night mode or nightshift mode on your smartphones. It is gentler to your eyes and skin. If this is available in your phone setting it would be a great help to your eyes and may ward off the aging risk for the skin. Also, it will improve your sleep. Wearing anti glares can reduce the strain on eyes while working inside on phones and computer or TV screens and polarised sunglasses while outside can protect your eyes.
To protect yourself from fine lines and wrinkles and tech-neck that is irreversible damage, your skincare is another essential measure. Conventional sunscreens can block UV rays but they are not effective against blue light. In addition to sunscreen, look for serums loaded with antioxidants and follow a skincare routine with proven ingredients that keep airborne pollutants at bay. An antioxidant-rich broad-spectrum sunscreen will help you shield yourself from the most concentrated portion of UV and blue light. Besides skincare, you should also add antioxidants rich produce to your diet or supplements.
Last but not the least, try minimising the skin exposure time to phones and screens. It is not the easiest thing to do but a conscious usage can be very rewarding. You can’t eliminate the exposure but you can cut on it judiciously. It will also help you from adversely affecting your circadian rhythm and quality of sleep. A sound sleep is essential to fight skin damages and aging problems.