We’ve been reading about blue light quite a bit lately – specifically, how it can rob us of sleep and how it negatively impacts our vision. And now some experts say, it can damage our skin.
Like many of you, I spend time in front of a computer screen and use a cell phone and that means I’m also exposed to blue light, the artificial light emitted from these electronic devices, as well as energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs and LED lights.
Blue light occurs naturally outside as light from the sun travels through the atmosphere. Your body uses this natural blue light to regulate your sleep and wake cycles, heighten reaction times, elevate moods, and increase alertness. Artificial blue light with its shorter wavelengths flickers more easily than longer, weaker wavelengths and creates a glare, possibly causing the eyestrain, headaches and fatigue associated with long hours of sitting in front of a computer screen.
What about blue light and the potentially damaging impact on your skin? Well, studies1,2 have shown that visible light, including artificial blue light like that emitted by phones and computers, penetrates deeper than some forms of ultraviolet light, possibly accelerating the visible signs of aging, such as dark spots, wrinkles, and saggy or loose skin. Research3,4 shows on an average day, we spend 10 hours in front of a screen and look at our phones 52 times. Do the math, and you can see the potential for skin damage and premature aging is a real lifestyle hazard.
We know that blue light and other environmental stressors are all around us and can’t be avoided. However, there are new products that can help protect against blue light damage and fight the signs of aging. At my office, we help educate our patients about preventative measures and work together to formulate a plan for optimal skin health, including new skin care products and treatments, which can potentially protect against blue light aggressors and restore some of the lost collagen and elastin from the skin.
I believe shielding your skin against environmental stressors from any source, artificial or natural, is an important step in your overall well-being. Fortunately, protecting your skin can be as simple as routinely applying a skincare product.
Marcelo Antunes, M.D. is an award-winning, fellowship-trained, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon with The Piazza Center.