We’re willing to wager that you’ve been spending a lot of time in front of your laptop, phone, tablet and TV. Because during the circuit breaker, what else is there to do other than to work from home, tag your friends in memes, watch their TikTok videos, have a Zoom party or catch up on some of the popular crime or K-dramas? But between your laptop, tablet, phone and TV you’ve racked up damage from blue light.
What is blue light?
Blue light, which is also known as High Energy Visible (HEV) light, is emitted from the sun. HEV light has been shown to penetrate deeper into skin compared to UVA and UVB rays, and can cause damage which shows up in the form of wrinkles and pigmentation. And while blue light is not inherently bad for you—research has shown that exposure to HEV light can boost mental alertness and elevate your mood—the problem arises from over-exposure to blue light emitted from of computer and mobile phone screens.
How is blue light harmful to skin?
While sun exposure is the cause of some damage from blue light, our mobile phones, tablets and laptops are much closer to our skin—and the hours spent in front of them much longer. Some statistics show that millennials check their phones up to 157 times a day. This kind of exposure can cause the skin to release free radicals. Because blue light penetrates the skin deeper than UVA and UVB rays, it also degrades collagen and elastin in the deeper layers of the skin and that translates into premature signs of ageing like fine lines and loss of firmness. And excessive exposure to blue light has also been shown to contribute to hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
While it is highly unlikely that you’re about to limit screen time—especially now—you can reduce some of the damage by turning on the blue light filter or night shift mode on your laptop, tablet and mobile phone and turning them down to the dimmest possible setting (without straining your eyes). You can also shield your skin from damage from blue light be using skincare that is full of antioxidants and nourishing ingredients.
Check out our best skincare picks to protect your skin against overexposure to blue light damage in the gallery below.
Text: Arissa Ha / Women’s Weekly / November 2019
Additional text: Smita DeSouza