We all know that unprotected exposure to sunlight can cause damage to the skin including age spots and wrinkles as well as increase the risk for skin cancer. But new research has found that the blue light emitted by devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers may also be gradually speeding up the aging process of the skin. In response to this new concern, the cosmetic industry has created a host of new products that claim to protect skin from a full spectrum of damaging rays.
According to a recent report in the Daily Mail, blue light or High Energy Visible light, given off by our electronic devices can penetrate the skin to a deep level that damages cells and the collagen and elastin that keeps our skin firm and smooth. Although blue light damage isn’t visible the way a suntan or burn might be, the effects over time can result in premature wrinkling and hyperpigmentation.
Studies have found that blue light does not appear to increase the risk for skin cancer but it may contribute to increased pigmentation. However, the intensity of HEV light from devices is low, and researchers are not convinced it should be a cause for concern.
It is estimated that the average adult spends more than six hours each day exposed to HEV light, which may not only hasten skin aging, it can interfere with healthy sleep patterns. Try to limit screen time, especially in the hour before heading to bed, and set your phone or tablet to night mode, which uses yellow light, in the evening hours. A blue light shield can also be fixed to your devices.
The skincare industry has caught up to speed with blue light research producing many products that claim to protect against HEV light as well as ultraviolet sunlight. Look for sunscreens that specifically protect against a full spectrum of light, including blue light. While experts suggest that protection against UVA exposure is a greater immediate concern, using a high-quality broad spectrum SPF daily that is also designed to shield skin from blue light won’t do any harm.
Read more about blue light and skin aging by following this link to a recent research article published in the Journal of Biomedical Physics and Engineering.