Our face is daily exposed to light waves which can damage and age the skin. But it’s not just the sun causing problems – now some scientists are claiming light from laptops and smartphones can be dangerous too. Electronic devices emit high energy visible (HEV) blue light, which some studies have shown to be as harmful as UVA and UVB rays, penetrating deeply into the skin.
One study has suggested exposure to blue light could affect the skin’s ability to heal – a key factor in speeding up the ageing process, and they’ve created a product to help combat it. A recent study from Mary Logue at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, found holding a device like an iPhone or MacBook on a sunny day could increase the skin’s exposure to UV light by up to 75%.
While sunscreen may help protect against UV rays, it won’t protect the skin from blue light. Clinical facialist Kate Kerr said: “HEV (high-energy visible) light, which is emitted from our phone and computer screens, is as damaging if not more so than UV light from the sun, penetrating more deeply than UV light and has a negative impact on the DNA within the cells as well as causing oxidative stress and inflammation. This all accelerates skin ageing.”
Is it really bad?
Studies had shown blue light interferes with the body’s circadian rhythm – which regulates sleep – and it’s when we sleep that our bodies take the opportunity to repair cellular damage.
“Anything which interferes with sleep affects the body’s ability to heal,” he said. “In skin, this means it affects its ability to repair itself which leads to accelerated ageing.”
What to do?
If you’re worried about your levels of blue light exposure you can try a specialist cream designed to block HEV light. Also use an antioxidant serum for protection, a serum at night to stimulate collagen production and stabilize the melanocytes which cause pigmentation. Wearing a good SPF sunscreen will also help limit the effects from reflected UVA and UVB rays.
But experts agree the best prevention is to avoid using your phone for long periods outside.