Are you suffering from screen skin? Here’s how to stop blue light damage...
Let me set the scene: my 7am alarm sounds and I go straight to my screen. First up is a scroll of Insta and emails to ensure it’s safe to abandon my trusty tablets for a five minute shower - screen separation anxiety is real. I do my makeup in front of a YouTube video (winged liner is particularly tricky to nail with one eye on the latest Shay Mitchell vlog), check the public transport schedule Google Maps offers, and then start an episode of Nashville in a bid to calm myself when said public transport is running late.
My eyes are glued to the screen until I hit my desk (god forbid making eye contact with a stranger on the bus), where I then settle in for a solid 8-hour sesh of computer time (besides, of course, my lunch break, where I make the sensible decision to opt for a podcast, then undo aforementioned smart choice by scrolling through celeb news articles as I listen). Even after the day is done, I fall asleep to an episode of Gilmore Girls in a masochistic bid to subject my skin to screen light even during shut-eye, and thus the dreaded screen cycle starts over with barely a minute of refuge.
So, if our screens are silent skin-ageing attackers and newfound culprit ‘blue light’ is hiding in every single one of our devices, how can we stop our faces from suffering? (Yes, we’re making it sound like a horror movie villain, because it basically is). Well, there are two options: toss our devices off a bridge in the name of prevention, or, educate ourselves on how to protect our mugs whilst maintaining the lifestyle of a 2019 techie. Feel free to go for the hurling-into-the-abyss option, but just in case you’re leaning toward the latter, we’ve enlisted some top experts, Dr. Hope Dinh of Hope Dermatology and Elise Synnott, Senior Brand Manager at RAWW Cosmetics, to school us on screen skin prevention strategies. After all, even if our skin is at stake, weeks before the series finale of Suits airs is no time to ditch technology…
What exactly is blue light?
“Light is made up of many different colours and these colours contain different levels of energy. Blue Light refers specifically to the blue, indigo and violet colours found in light, which contain more energy than the reds or oranges of the spectrum”, says Elise. “Blue Light can come from natural resources like the sun or manmade devices such as fluorescent and UV lighting, computer screens, TV, tablets and mobile phones.”
What are the effects of blue light on our skin?
“Blue light can have negative effects on the skin with long-term exposure,'' says Dr. Hope. “In comparison to UV light, blue light is not carcinogenic to humans, i.e. it does not cause skin cancers. The negative effects of blue light to skin are age related, in that repeated, excessive exposure to blue light can make the skin appear ‘older’ whilst most of us want to look ‘younger’. The damage caused from blue light manifests as photo ageing in forms such as pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles,” she explains.
Can restricting screen time minimise the effects of blue light on the skin?
“Limiting screen time will obviously reduce the amount of blue light you are exposed to, but in our technology driven world it is almost impossible to avoid all blue light”, Dr. Hope explains. “The smaller the screen, the less blue light will be emitted, so smaller screens and less brightness will aid the issue”, she advises. Elise also offers these top tips; “try not to hold devices too close to your face, try to avoid looking at screens in dark rooms and add a blue light filter to your smart device screens. Most devices [also] have a night vision activation that I can’t recommend enough”, she says.
Which products should we look for to prevent blue light damage?
“[The damage] is preventable by using appropriate products to block the blue light from entering the skin and reducing the amount of blue light you are exposed to. SPF/sunscreen products which protect from all invisible and visible light on the spectrum will be your best defence”, says Dr. Hope. “Products such as Rationale B3-T tinted superfluid which blocks all light on the spectrum is ideal protection. This product not only protects against UVA/UVB but also the solar spectrum, reducing the absorption and effects of blue light that we are exposed to on a daily basis and as a bonus contains active, anti-oxidant ingredients to minimise and protect us against the ageing effects of light”, she tells us. Elise suggests RAWW’s new blue-light blocking oil (hitting shelves in early September) as an option for easily incorporating protection into your everyday routine. "Our Day Warrior Light Facial Oil naturally blocks out Blue Light, [utilising] the natural Blue Light blocking properties of ingredients that contain Lycopene, otherwise known as Tomato Extract, believe it or not! The red colour found in Tomato Extract actually counteracts the Blue Light we are exposed to throughout the day and helps to block it from entering the skin”, she explains. So if your face is feeling blue (sorry), be sure to apply one of these complexion protectors before settling in for your next stretch of screen time.
bh loves: Rationale B3-T Tinted Superfluid SPF50 ($75, rationale.com), RAWW Cosmetics Day Warrior Light Facial Oil (lauching in September, rawwcosmetics.com), The Jojoba Company Ultimate Day Cream ($49.95, thejojobacompany.com)
Main image credit: Getty Images
How much time do you spend in front of screens per day? Will you be investing in blue light protective skincare to protect your face?