Are your phone, computer and TV screens ageing you?
Right now you’re most likely reading this article on either a smart phone or a computer screen. Did you know that as a result of this you’re exposing yourself to a hidden skin aggressor which could be causing your skin to age prematurely? While many of us are already aware that blue light can impact on our sleep patterns, it’s less widely known that this modern problem can also wreak havoc on our skin.
What is blue light?
Also known as high energy visible light (HEVL), blue light sits adjacent to UV light on the spectrum, and falls within approximately 390 and 500nm on the spectrum. It has a small crossover with UV light, but penetrates deeper into the skin than its neighbour. (Stick with us; we promise this all gets easier to understand!)
Most of the blue light we are exposed to on a daily basis comes from electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, computer screens and even the old idiot box. LED lights, which are common in our homes and offices, also emit blue light.
What does blue light do to your skin?
Blue light degrades enzymes within the skin which results in damage to your existing collagen fibres, which then also decreases your collagen production. When you consider that your body’s collagen production begins to drop off as we age, this is certainly less than ideal. Further to this, it also increases skin pigmentation because it stimulates tyrosinase, stimulates the production of melanin, and causes oxidation of lipids in your skin which cause free radicals.
In simple terms; it damages your existing collagen, decreases your production of new collagen, and stimulates premature skin ageing symptoms!
How much blue light are you exposed to each day?
Now that you know what it can do to your skin, let’s pause for a moment and think about how much time you honestly spend in front of a screen each day. Sure, there are going to be those of us who can truthfully say ‘Very little!’, but for the millions of office workers out there who spend an 8-hour shift in front of a screen every day, it’s a lot. For starters, just your working hours mean you’ve spent 1/3 of your day bathing in blue light!
To illustrate the true extent of our blue light exposure, we’d like to introduce you to ‘Sue’. We made Sue up, but we based her on ourselves, and we think she’s pretty average.
Each day Sue wakes up, grabs some breakfast, then sits in front of the TV to eat it while she scrolls through her social feeds on her phone for 15 minutes.
Sue then heads to work; it takes her 20 minutes on the train and she passes the time on social media. Once she arrives at work, Sue sits at her computer working from 830am to 1230pm. Lunch time! Sue grabs her salad from the fridge, and heads to a park across the street for half an hour to eat while she checks out her social feeds again.
After her break, Sue heads back inside and spends another 4.5 hours in front of the computer before she jumps on the train to head home, again passing the time on her phone.
Once she’s home, Sue sets up her tablet in the kitchen so she can see the recipe for tonight’s dinner while she cooks up a storm for the next half hour. Once that’s done, she takes up residence on the couch and catches the latest episodes of her favourite TV shows. According to this article by the ABC, in 2018 Aussies were spending an average of 18 hours watching TV each week. Seeing as Sue is pretty average, we’ll say she therefore spends 2.5 hours in front of the box each night.
While she’s watching TV, Sue also texts her friends and family and has a bit of a scroll through her socials.
Before she starts to get ready for bed, Sue jumps on her laptop to reply to some personal emails and pay a few bills she has due. Let’s say this takes her 20 minutes.
Once she’s in bed, Sue spends another 15 minutes texting and doing a final scroll through her social channels.
On this fairly average day, ‘average Sue’ has been exposed to more than 13 hours of blue light from different screens, sometimes from multiple sources at once.
How can I protect myself from blue light?
Before you decide to move to a tent with no screens or light bulbs, let’s just be rational for a second. Blue light is just one environmental aggressor; the UV you’re exposed to from the sun each and every day is just as damaging to your skin, as is urban pollution. Rather than trying to eliminate blue light from your life, it’s easier to be aware of it and take measures to protect yourself from it, just like you would with UV.
While we’ve known about the effects of UVA and UVB on our skin for some time now, blue light is only just starting to crop up on some peoples’ radars. Unfortunately, while normal broad-spectrum SPF will protect you from UVA and UVB, it doesn’t do anything against blue light. But there are other ingredients which do!
At Alpha-H, we currently offer three different products which contain an ingredient to protect your skin against the effects of blue light.
Meet your anti-blue light wardrobe
Essential Skin Perfecting Moisturiser
This next generation moisturiser primes, protects and perfects your skin on the daily! Thanks to its broad spectrum SPF 15 protection alongside peptides, antioxidants and protection against both blue light and pollution, this little tube is going to be your skin’s new best friend!
A ground-breaking alternative to dermal fillers, this intense hydrating serum visibly firms, plumps and revitalises the complexion, while also shielding your skin from modern day skin aggressors thanks to the addition of multiple blue light and pollution protection ingredients.