When outdoors, the sun is the main source of blue light that comes into contact with our skin but when indoors, the most exposed blue light comes from electronic devices. Blue light is the short wavelength blue/violet range of the visible light spectrum. Researchers and dermatologists are increasingly looking at the possible effects on the skin from our daily use of electronic devices. Concerns about blue light and skin care can be traced back to recent research showing changes in skin cells when exposed to blue light over a period of just 60 minutes. Skin cells shrink and some die. Blue light can also cause collagen and elastin fibers to weaken and increase the production of free radicals, all factors that can accelerate skin aging. Pigmentation changes, redness, and swelling mostly in dark-skinned individuals have been observed. More research is needed to determine the effects of blue light on skin. If you want to be vigilant about protecting your skin against premature aging or other possible effects of blue light, here are some things to think about.

See your exposure

A recent survey found that the average American spends 11 hours a day exposed to digital media. That includes smartphones, which are often held close to the face; Tablets, laptops, desktops, and TV screens all emit blue light. Always know how much time you are using and the distance between you and your devices.

Signs of overexposure can include redness, swelling, premature wrinkling and pigmentation changes.

Ability to protect

While there’s no consensus on a safe threshold for screen time, here are some ways to protect your skin from the possible effects of blue light.

first. Wear a mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to block blue light when in front of a screen. Added antioxidants are a plus.

2. Use your hands-free phone to keep the device away from your face. This may involve Bluetooth headsets, headsets, or voice-activated devices.

3. Cut down on your device time. Take frequent breaks.

4. Add a screen saver to your device to block or dim blue light.

5. Reduce screen brightness. This is especially important at night if you want a good night’s sleep. Remember, sleep is good for your skin.

6. Apply skin care products that contain antioxidants (vitamin C). Antioxidants fight the oxidative stress that visible blue light can cause.

Human skin has been exposed to lots of different light for millennia. The long-term biological effects of chronic blue light exposure are still not fully known, but premature aging of the skin has been shown in several studies.

(photo: masha raymens | pexels)

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