Blue light from laptops and cell phones has been shown to damage skin cells and can cause sleep problems. Here are 5 expert tips to help protect your skin from the rays.
With these 5 expert tips, you can protect your skin from harmful blue light
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that taking a break from our screens can only be good. Aside from being a strain on our eyes, it has been scientifically proven that screen light is not good for our skin. The blue (or high-energy visible) light that screens send out can penetrate the deeper layers of our skin (just like the sun's UV-A rays) and "break down collagen and elastin, which accelerates the aging and inflammation of skin cells", explains the skin expert Jasmina Vico.
Scientific research also supports this: A study from 2018 showed molecular and cellular changes in human skin cells that were exposed to artificial visible light, similar to that emitted by our electronic devices. "The observed changes included damage to the mitochondria (mitochondria are the" power plants "of our cells) and an impairment of cell growth, ATP (energy) release, and collagen production," explains the consulting dermatologist and medical director of Eudelo, Dr. Stefanie Williams. Essentially, our skin cells either shrink, die, or at least no longer work optimally.
According to a 2010 study, the effects of blue light are worse for people with black or brown skin. The results show that this group is more likely to have hyperpigmentation compared to lighter skin types. Regardless of your skin type, studies also show that 30 hours of exposure to blue light from a smartphone or laptop screen can increase levels of inflammation in skin cells by 40 percent. Science suggests that we need to take care of our skin.
Since it also interferes with our natural melatonin levels, blue light affects our circadian rhythm, which in turn affects our sleep. While this is ostensibly a different problem for another day, it also affects blood flow - and temperature - to the skin, and can also lead to transepidermal water loss (or dehydration). If you then consider that our skin regenerates and repairs itself during sleep, the blue light becomes an even more pressing problem.
The closer you are to a screen, the more blue light harms you - so your TV is usually a lesser evil than your phone or laptop. For daily use of the screen, you should use a screen protector that blocks blue light from the outset. The VistaProtect Anti-Blue Light Filter for Laptops and Monitors is a worthwhile purchase. In the meantime, turn on your phone's "Night" mode, which will change the hue of your screen to warm, amber light.
"Many people protect their skin outdoors today, but what is less common is the use of sunscreens indoors, which can help block blue light," advises Vico. "I recommend sunscreens that contain ingredients like zinc oxide because it acts as a barrier by sitting on the skin and blocking and absorbing harmful rays." While chemical SPF formulas don't do much to protect the skin from the spectrum of visible light (UV only), physical ones can help. However, if you don't like mineral sunscreens, many chemical SPFs (like the one from Supergoop! Below) contain blue light neutralizing ingredients, so look for them. Vico is of the opinion that in the future it will be mandatory for all sunscreens to also protect against HEV light.
It has been proven that blue light causes oxidative stress in the skin. To counteract this, it is important to supply the skin with antioxidants - sun protection filters alone do not protect them. Dr. Williams recommends incorporating ingredients like vitamin C, ferulic acid, and phloretin into your skincare regimen to help fight both free radicals and pigmentation. At SkinCeuticals, you will find a large selection of excellent serums to protect the skin. People with darker skin should also resort to tranexamic acid to help combat pigmentation. "It inhibits tyrosinase synthesis in melanocytes [which produce melanin]," explains Dr. Williams. "And at the same time, it blocks the transfer of the pigment from the melanocytes to the keratinocytes in the epidermis."
Just as physical sunscreens can help protect the skin from blue light, so can products that contain light-reflective pigments, such as BB cream, which has been shown to reduce the effects of blue light by 80 percent. Think of it as a skincare bargain: glowing skin and (partial) protection from blue light, all for the price of one product.
If you take care of your skin barrier, it will take care of you. Many of us find it difficult to overdo it with the active ingredients and the millions of skincare steps, but keeping it simple can pay off for our skin barrier. Look for ingredients like niacinamide, which are actively helping skin cells recover from oxidative stress and improve the skin's barrier. Other good barrier strengthening ingredients are ceramides, fatty acids, and hyaluronic acid, all of which are good for the skin. Record this.