What is Blue Light Doing to Your Skin?
Have you ever wondered how blue light affects your skin? What impact does it have on your body? In this article, I will take this harmful type of radiation under the microscope and advise you on handling this problem.
Scientists are crystal clear that blue light emitted by our smartphones, laptops, tablets, TV sets, or even lightbulbs, harms people’s skin, sleep quality, and sense of well-being.
Nowadays, there is no doubt that people spend at least a couple of hours a day in front of various screen types and electronic devices.
All the more so due to the pandemic times, which forced millions of people to work remotely, and kids continue learning in virtual classrooms.
Even though modern electronic devices come with special protective filters on their screens, the light that’s coming from them – known as the blue light or HEVL has an enormous influence on your body.
What is HEVL?
High Energy Visible Light (HEVL) is short-wave and high-energy light radiation. It has the most significant ability to scatter in air and water. The higher its level, the bluer the sky. This radiation comes by another name - Blue Light.
Blue light has a wavelength in the range of 390-500nm and is emitted by the sun, smartphones, computers, tablets, and televisions. That is to say, everything that you surround yourself with every day.
Why do you need to protect your skin from Blue Light?
There is a new trend in cosmetology, and it refers to new cosmetics in the market that protect the skin from Blue Light radiation and help to cope with the so-called Digital ageing.
What hides behind this term? Digital ageing is accelerated ageing of the skin caused by an urban lifestyle, constant use of computers and mobile devices.
Those electronics are responsible for transmitting harmful radiation, which is highly aggressive because its penetration into the skin is more significant.
Recent scientific studies have confirmed that HEVL is exceptionally harmful to the skin.
First of all, it releases large amounts of free radicals, which are considered one of the main factors in accelerated skin ageing. It manifests itself through so-called oxidative stress, which negatively affects the skin's protective layer.
It turns out to be responsible for 50% of oxidative stress, which is the same as that generated by UVA - 46% and UVB - 4% together.
This stress manifests itself in roughness, dryness, increased tendency to irritation, inflammation, or erythema.
Besides, it causes indirect damage to DNA, destroys the support fibres responsible for the skin's elasticity and youthfulness, i.e., destroys collagen and elastin. It promotes the formation of discolouration and, by damaging the DNA of skin cells, can increase cancer risk.
How can you protect yourself from Blue Light?
The first wave of cosmetics with HEV filters is reaching the market. Some of them provide the skin with what is called broadband protection, meaning that they simultaneously protect against four types of radiation: UVA, UVB, HEV (VIS), and IR (which is the infrared radiation emitted by the sun that you feel on your skin as a pleasant warmth), so it would be best if you were on the lookout for those.
What’s more, it is also worth enriching your daily care with cosmetics containing antioxidant ingredients, especially with high vitamin C concentrations. Such a protective set effectively protects against photo-ageing but also smog and pollution.
Protect your eyes
What you also need to know about how harmful blue light radiation is that it destroys sight. Irreversibly. It turns out that under the influence of this radiation, the light-sensitive receptors on the retina begin to secrete toxic molecules. Their action can cause macular degeneration, an incurable disease of the central part of the retina, responsible for sharp vision and colour distinction. The receptors on the retina are unable to regenerate. You can find more details about this subject in this article published on Nature.
How can you help your eyes in the fight against this invisible enemy? You can download applications that filter blue light on your device or get your hands on the protective Blue Light Glasses.
Look after your rest
HEVL also disrupts our circadian rhythm and sleep. What does this mean? Why does this happen? The answer is hormones. Changes in the production of hormones, such as cortisol, are responsible for generating a circadian rhythm that makes us more energetic during the day and quieter at night. Blue light emitted by electrical appliances, on the other hand, disrupts natural fluctuations in cortisol levels. It causes a drop in energy during the day and arousal at night.
What’s the solution?
You should watch your circadian rhythm, go to bed regularly every day, and perform evening rituals like small children who quiet down before bed, take a bath, and read a book.
Cortisol levels should be at their lowest after 11 p.m when the pineal gland begins to secrete melatonin, a powerful antioxidant hormone that signals that it's time to sleep. Under the influence of melatonin, your body slows down, your blood pressure and body temperature drop, making you feel sleepy.
Unfortunately, Blue light disrupts this rhythm very easily, and you feel the effects the next day - you are unrested and irritated. You can also see it taking its toll on your skin. Please turn off your electronics before bedtime or switch them to night mode. Not everyone can afford an evening detox from the digital world, so really try to limit your time in front of electronics in the evenings.
As you can see, Blue light can significantly harm your skin, health, and well-being. Luckily, you can take actions to minimize the damages. Let’s start with a conscious and responsible use of electronic devices.