We discuss what do blue light and ultraviolet have in common, how monitors affect the skin and how you protect your skin from gadgets.
As technology develops scientists are increasingly talking about digital ageing. Screens of laptops, tablets and phones produce blue light, the so-called HEV – high-energy visible. According to a 2008 study published in the American edition of the Reader’s Digest in September 2017, the wavelength of HEV rays can penetrate deep layers of the skin making it invasive. Such an effect is negative and leads to premature ageing and impairment of skin pigmentation. Another study conducted in 2015 proves that blue light leads to hyperpigmentation.
How gadget screens and computers affect the skin?
It’s not only gadgets that produce the blue light, but also the artificial lighting (especially fluorescent or energy-saving lamps).
“Blue light inhibits the production of melatonin, which adversely affects the daily rhythm and leads to disruption of the circadian rhythms of the human body,”
– explains Zhanna Yusova, a cosmetologist at the Beauty Seasons clinic.
Circadian rhythms are all about the correct distribution of energy and the flow of hormones during the day. When working by a computer (or using other gadgets) these rhythms are often disturbed. This includes work in the evening, the habit of not disconnecting the phone two hours before bedtime, work during the night. All of the recovery processes in the body are normally happening during the night (which is why nutrients and remedies are applied overnight to synchronize with the rhythms of the skin), therefore if the circadian rhythms are not in balance, the body simply gets confused. The use of melatonin supplements to normalize the circadian rhythms of the skin works best from the inside, however, there are also medications containing melatonin for external use.
What do ultraviolet and blue light have in common?
On the wavelength scale, the blue light is located next to the type A ultraviolet, which is dangerous and harmful, capable of physically damaging the molecules and causing mediated damage by free radicals. To put it simply, UVA rays not only directly destroy collagen, elastin and DNA molecules, but also cause the appearance of free radicals that injure the skin. Therefore, after staying in the sun for a while it is so important to do the necessary procedures and use the antioxidant products that can stop the production of free radicals.
The main difference between UV light and blue light is that visible light has a much longer wavelength and carries more energy. The waves of blue light carry enough energy to penetrate deep into the skin and knock out electrons from the molecules. The resulting charged particles – free radicals – generate a chain reaction. In the tissues, the struggle for missing electrons begins, leading to oxidative stress and, as a result, to accelerated ageing of cells.
What is included in cosmetics that aim to protect against gadget screens?
A specific filter in cosmetics products that would protect the skin from blue light simply does not exist. The key aim, however, is always to neutralise the free radicals. Everything that has an antioxidant effect can help, stopping the attack of free radicals on the cells. The strongest antioxidant and regenerative effect is cocoa, more precisely a peptide isolated from cocoa. It perfectly copes with the task of restoring proteins.
If we are talking about protection from UVA and UVB radiation, we all remember the sunscreens. However, the ingredients contained in these products do not protect against exposure to HEV light. Among antioxidants, it is recommended to pay attention to the strongest ones – vitamin E, melatonin, glutathione, astaxanthin, lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10.
Since blue light primarily affects circadian rhythms, scientists recently developed a new ingredient – B-circadian, derived from Japanese clover (Korean raw materials). This component works at the gene level, normalising the circadian rhythms, which positively affects the restoration of the protective skin barrier and protection from blue light.
How else can you protect your skin from gadgets?
To date, the problem of full protection against HEV radiation is not completely solved and requires further study. The best way to protect your skin would be to organise digital detox sessions for yourself from time to time. Doctors recommend stopping the use of digital technology two or three hours before bedtime. You can set your smartphone or laptop to, depending on the time of day, independently change the composition of the light emitted by the LCD screen.
Do you organise little digital detox sessions for yourself?
Text: Irina Gorskaia
Images: Allure, Getty