If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that time away from our screens can only be a good thing. In addition to being a strain on our eyes, it’s well documented – scientifically and anecdotally – that our screens don’t do a whole lot of good for our skin. The blue (or high energy visible) light they emit can penetrate to the deeper layers of our skin (the same as UVA rays from the sun) and “break down collagen and elastin, which accelerates ageing and inflammation in the skin cells”, explains skin expert Jasmina Vico. Scientific research supports this too, with one 2018 study showing molecular and cellular changes in human skin cells which had been exposed to artificial visible light, similar to that emitted by our electronic devices. “The changes observed included mitochondrial damage (mitochondria are our cells’ “powerhouses”), and impairment of cell growth, ATP (energy) release and collagen production,” explains consultant dermatologist and medical director of Eudelo, Dr Stefanie Williams.
Essentially, our skin cells either shrink, die, or at the very least, don’t work to the best of their ability. Read more: The Best Blue Light Glasses According to a 2010 study, the effects of blue light are worse for those with Black or brown skin tones, with findings showing this group experienced an increased likelihood of hyperpigmentation compared to lighter skins. Whatever your skin type, studies also show that 30 hours of exposure to blue light from a smartphone or laptop screen can increase inflammation levels in skin cells by 40 per cent. The science all points to a need to be on our guard when it comes to our skin. READ MORE Dimethicone Is The Ingredient To Know For Smooth Skin And Shiny Hair BY LISA NIVEN-PHILLIPS AND HANNAH COATES article image Since it also meddles with our natural melatonin levels, blue light impacts our circadian rhythms, which in turn affects how we sleep.
While ostensibly that’s another problem for another day, actually this also impacts the blood flow to – and the temperature of – the skin, and can also cause transepidermal water loss (or dehydration). Add to that the fact that it is while we sleep that our skin restores and repairs itself, and blue light becomes an even more pressing concern. So what can we do about this omnipresent evil? Here are five simple ways to mitigate it now. Invest in a blue light screen shield The closer you are to a screen, the more blue light damage you’ll experience – so your television is typically a lesser evil than your phone or laptop. For day to day screen use, look to screen shields that block blue light from reaching you in the first place.
Meanwhile, turn on your phone’s “night” mode, which switches the hue of your screen to a warm, yellow light. Ocushield Anti Blue Light Screen Protector with Privacy Filter 5 Easy Ways To Protect Your Skin From Blue Light WATCH Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Guide To Metallic Eye Make-Up Most Popular Image may contain: Human, Person, Clothing, Apparel, Female, Face, Elka Graham, Outdoors, and Sleeve ARTS & LIFESTYLE Bella Mackie: It’s A Joy To Be Flirting With My Husband Again BY BELLA MACKIE FASHION Oscars 2021 Red Carpet: The Best Dresses From The Night BY KERRY MCDERMOTT NEWS Zendaya Scores
Use a sunscreen – even at home “A lot of people now protect their skin outdoors but what is less widespread is using sunscreen indoors, which is something that can help fend off blue light,” advises Vico. “I recommend sunscreens that contain ingredients like zinc oxide, as this acts as a barrier by sitting on top of the skin and blocking and absorbing damaging rays.” While chemical SPF formulas won’t do much in the way of protecting skin from the visible light spectrum (just UV), physical ones can help, however if you don’t like mineral sunscreens, many chemical SPFs (like the Supergoop! one below) contain blue light-neutralising ingredients, so seek them out. Vico believes that in the future it will become mandatory for all sunscreen formulas to protect from HEV light, too.