You might wear sunscreen throughout the year to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, but have you considered the potential damage caused by your smartphone and other technological devices?
New data suggest that blue light emitted from our personal electronic devices are having long-term effects on our skin.
According to one survey, the average person checks their smartphone almost 60 times per day, spending 3 hours and 43 minutes a day on their devices – that’s an eye-watering 50 days every year glued to phones.
One dermatologist, Dr Murad, argues that sending four eight hour workdays in front of a computer screen exposes you to the same amount of energy as 20 minutes in the sun, so if you work in an office role and then spend time on Instagram and TikTok on an evening, you could be putting your skin at increased risk of premature ageing: hello lines and wrinkles!
Below, we’ve put together everything you need to know, as well as some advice on how to cut your blue light consumption.
Spoiler alert: it means spending less time on your phone!
Why is blue light bad for your skin?
Blue light, in large doses, can pose skin harm due to free radical generation.
Blue light has been shown to induce oxidative damage and damage to the skin, which can contribute to ageing in the same way as UVA lights.
What’s particularly concerning dermatologists is that blue light can penetrate deeper into the skin – all the way down to our dermis, where our collagen and elastin live – which could result in the loss of tightness and an increase in lines and wrinkles as a result.
In other words, the more time you spend in front of a screen, the more you need to consider investing in anti-ageing solutions such as the Oralift device.
Blue light is known to cause pigmentation, and because it can disrupt our natural circadian rhythm, it can mean we find it difficult to sleep. That’s because blue light affects the level of the sleep hormone melatonin. And you guessed it: sleep deprivation speeds up the ageing process, so we recommend turning off your phone an hour before bed to properly unwind.
An independent study from Estée Lauder demonstrated that blue light exposure before bed can impact your skin cells’ circadian rhythms, too, which causes our skin to think it’s still the daytime. This can impact their usual nighttime repair process, which results in more visible signs of ageing, as well as dark circles under the eyes, dehydrated skin, and more to boot.
We’ve talked about the effects of blue light on our skin, but it’s also worth noting that blue light can damage our eyes, and it can cause anxiety, stress, and depression in some cases.
How to prevent blue light skin damage
Although there are a number of treatments to reduce the impact of blue light on your skin, it’s first worth addressing the way you use technology and consider cutting back on your screen time.
Sure, it’s pretty hard to perform at work without sitting in front of a computer, but do you really need to spend four hours every evening flicking through mind-numbing TikTok videos when you could take a walk, see your friends in person, or work out to your favourite music?
If you simply cannot cut your screen time, it might be worth investing in a blue light shield that acts as a screen protector. These screens also include a privacy filter, which is ideal when you’re working out of Starbucks and don’t want prying eyes to see what’s on your screen.
You can buy anti-blue light screen protectors from a number of well-known retailers such as Amazon, and there are products for virtually every device, including iPhones, Macs, and iPads. If you don’t want to spend a small fortune kitting out each of your devices, you could instead buy a pair of anti-blue light glasses, which are prescription-free and shield your eyes from the damaging wavelengths. They’re available from brands such as Specsavers.
If you want to be protected using skincare products, then look for ‘smart shield’ products that contain antioxidants. Look for sunscreens that offer a broad spectrum of protection and are at least SPF 30, and replace antioxidants such as vitamin E with topical antioxidant skincare products. You can also eat a diet rich in antioxidants by topping up on fresh fruit and veg.
Do you have any tips on reducing blue light exposure? Let us know on Twitter @Oralift and check back to our site regularly for more advice on looking and feeling your best, every day.