Are Our Phones and Laptops Prematurely Aging Our Skin?

June 17, 2019

How is blue light aging our skin?

We know how damaging blue light from digital devices can be to our eyes. With corporate jobs requiring hours and hours in front of a laptop/computer and on the phone during our commute to work and binge watching Netflix right before bed (yes, you know who you are), it’s no wonder our devices are the  main cause of digital eye strain in recent times.

What is blue light?

blue light effect on skin

Blue light is everywhere! Blue light is responsible in regulating our body circadian (sleep-wake cycle) rhythm and has a higher wavelength range as compared to UV rays as depicted above.

Sunlight is main source of blue light, but now, we have man-made blue light from indoor sources including fluorescent, LED lighting, laptop screens and mobile phones. Although the amount of blue light emitted is only a fraction of that from the sun, the time we spend looking at these devices and proximity to the screens may be worse than spending 5 minutes under the sun!

Is blue light damaging to our skin?

In recent years, you may have noticed that there are new skincare products with blue-light-fighting ingredients such as red algae, vitamin C and ferulic acid, which leads us to the million dollar question – is blue light damaging our skin? According to Shari Marchbein, a dermatologist and clinical professor at NYU, there is mounting evidence that supports blue light’s contribution to:

  • skin-aging, including wrinkles,
  • worsening skin laxity (sagging skin)
  • hyperpigmentation
  • discoloration

The main reason why blue light may be so damaging to the skin is due to its ability to penetrate deeper into the skin as compared to UV rays, right down to where the collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin reside. There have also been studies which indicate that it can accelerate oxidization leasing to hyperpigmentation.

Although the effect of blue light on our skin is still inconclusive and requires further studies, we suggest you to err on the safe side to minimize any potential blue light damage to the skin.

Given the necessities of our jobs and the inevitable need to check our phones for news and social media updates in this modern world, it is a surmountable task to completely avoid any artificial blue light exposure.

So, how can you minimize impact of blue light on our skin?

Here are some simple steps you can take:

  1. Use a blue-light filter for your phones (turn on night mode) and computer (screen filter or Night Shift mode on our Mac)
  2. Go hands-free instead of directly placing your phone against your face
  3. Lowering the brightness levels on your screen
  4. Look for serums/essences loaded with antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and consider a skin care routine formulated with ingredients proven to address the visible effects of airborne pollutants.
  5. Always apply an antioxidant-loaded broad-spectrum sunscreen to keep skin shielded from the most concentrated portions of UV and blue light.

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