Thanks to Covid, we're now spending even more time staring at our screens. In fact, one survey found that 59 percent of people are on their smartphones more frequently since the pandemic started, and 55 percent are logging more hours in front of the computer. And it turns out that excessive screen time does more than just cause vision problems and make it harder to fall asleep—it damages skin too. Here's the download on how to prevent blue light from screens from destroying your skin.
What is blue light, anyway?Blue light, aka High Energy Visible or HEV light, is emitted primarily from the sun, but also by all our electronic devices. According to Harvard Medical School, it has a wavelength of between 400 and 450 nanometers (nm), and because it contains more energy per photon of light than other colors (red, green, etc.), it can cause more damage to our body cells.
How it harms our skinLike UVA/UVB rays, blue light emitted from screens can cause melasma and hyperpigmentation (dark spots). But when it comes to wrinkles and sagging, blue light can be even more harmful than the sun’s rays. The reason: It penetrates even deeper into the skin, resulting in more damage to collagen and elastin. The effects are cumulative, meaning that you might not notice changes right now, but eventually all of that screen time will catch up to you, and leave you looking as weathered as a chronic sunbather. Ugh! There isn’t a ton of research explaining the exact mechanisms of how blue light harms the skin, but one study that appeared in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity indicates that chronic blue light exposure generates free radicals, which causes the skin to prematurely age.
Blue light blocking strategies
First and foremost, limit your screen time. But since we know that advice isn’t very helpful there are other, more practical options.