Who doesn’t love healthy skin? Your skin is the window to your body that reveals the stories of your life.
But when it comes to its health, UV radiation is considered to be one of the most damaging environmental factors. The high energy ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun is one of the most prominent causes of skin ageing. You might be aware of the need to protect the skin from the sunrays, but not many know about the ill-effects of blue light on our skin.
The blue light
Blue light is a part of the visible light spectrum and the sun is the main source of blue light. However, your digital devices including smartphones, tablets, computer screens and even LEDs also expose you to a constant stream of blue light. This blue light not only has ill-effects on eye health but also damages the skin and hastens the breakdown of skin’s vital protein fibers.
From working on computers throughout the day to being hooked to social media till late in the night, many of us spend almost half our lives in front of digital screens. With screen time going up significantly due to the pandemic, exposure to blue light has also increased.
Should you be worried?
So, should you be worried about constantly living amidst blue light? More importantly, can you do something to protect yourself from its effects?
Evidence suggests that prolonged exposure to blue light causes damage to skin cells, slows the skin barrier function and may lead to premature ageing, much like UV radiation does. Prolonged exposure to blue light also hastens the breakdown of collagen and elastin that are vital for firm and youthful skin. The result is skin laxity, premature ageing and loss of firmness and elasticity. Blue light exposure may also induce hyperpigmentation on the skin.
Blue light also disrupts the body’s sleep cycle. It blocks the sleep hormone melatonin and tends to energize the individual who is exposed to it. This is why looking at digital screens till late in the night affects your sleep and may even cause sleep disorders by tampering with your natural body clock. Sleep deprivation in turn further accentuates skin ageing and breakdown of collagen.
What can you do?
While you cannot avoid blue light exposure from digital devices, some conscious steps can be taken to reduce its effects. Limiting non-working screen time is one of the steps. Cutting overall screen time is not only good for the skin but for your overall health.
Blue light shield
Using blue light shields on your devices is another important intervention that can help reduce your overall exposure to blue light. Several digital devices today also come with the option of reducing blue light and switching on the yellow light. If your device has this so-called ‘night mode’, do use it regularly to reduce your exposure.
No devices to bed
Avoid taking your devices to bed at any cost. Remove mobile phones and other devices at least half an hour before bedtime to allow your body to follow its normal sleep-wake cycle. Not only is this good for the body but also for the skin because it is during sleeping hours when the skin repairs and regenerates itself.
Skincare products or treatments that boost collagen generation are another way to deal with premature ageing. Also, zinc oxide based sunscreens also offer protection against blue light. Wearing sunscreens and using antioxidant-rich skincare products also helps.
So, remember that a digital break not only helps your eyes but also your skin.