Modern technology is pretty amazing, but it does come with a dark side. Though technology has made it possible to stay connected with people all over the world, you have to wonder what all of that added screen time might be doing to your body.
Researchers have long known about digital eye strain, a group of eye and vision problems related to prolonged use of computers, smartphones, and tablets. It’s no secret that spending too much time hunched over a screen can be bad for your health, but you may not realize that the same blue light emitted by digital devices that can damage your eyes also has the potential to damage your skin.
Here’s what you need to know about blue light exposure and how it can affect your skin. You’ll also receive helpful tips and product recommendations to reverse and prevent skin damage.
Where Does Blue Light Come From?
Global pandemic aside, people are spending more time indoors than ever. As the winter sets in and temperatures continue to drop, a greater proportion of our daily lives are lived indoors and, more specifically, online. Everything from your laptop or desktop computer to your smartphone, tablet, and television emits blue light – even LED light bulbs produce it.
To truly understand blue light, it helps to have a basic understanding of the concept of color. You may think of color as a characteristic of certain objects. For example, the color of an apple is typically red while the color of a lemon is yellow. When you’re looking at these objects, however, what you perceive as color is determined by the way light is absorbed or reflected by the object.
Color is typically described in wavelength which is measured on a scale or spectrum in nanometers (nm). The human eye sees color ranging from about 400nm (violet) to 700nm (red). Blue light falls between 450 and 495nm, so it has a relatively short wavelength – it appears just above violet on the color spectrum. To put things in perspective, red light (620 to 750nm) has the longest wavelength. The primary source of blue light is the sun, but it can also come from computer screens and other digital devices.
Is Blue Light Harmful?
Getting your daily dose of sunlight is essential for optimal health and wellness but you can have too much of a good thing. You already understand the dangers of UV light, particularly for your skin. The challenge is that UV light isn’t visible to the naked eye, which is why it’s all the more important to protect yourself by wearing SPF on a daily basis.
The good news about blue light is that you can see it. The bad news is you can’t count on being protected simply because you’re indoors. Some researchers estimate that we spend as much as 50% of our lives staring at screens.
Though the blue light exposure you get from screens and digital devices is minor compared to the amount you get from the sun, there is some concern about the long-term effects of blue light exposure. The biggest concern has to do with the proximity of the screen and the length of exposure. Numerous studies suggest continued blue light exposure can damage retinal cells which could lead to vision problems like age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Some studies also suggest that blue light exposure at night can interfere with the circadian rhythm and may even contribute to an increased risk for chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
What Does Blue Light Do to the Skin?
Prolonged blue light exposure can be harmful to your eyes and can negatively impact your sleep-wake cycle, but does it have any physical effects? You may have noticed that top skincare brands have begun to release products that fight the effects of blue light. So, does that mean that blue light is damaging your skin? If so, what are the effects?
Though more research is needed, some evidence suggests that blue light may contribute to hyperpigmentation and may accelerate photoaging and the breakdown of collagen. These things, in turn, may increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. One study (albeit a very small one) even suggested that blue light exposure might stimulate the production of free radicals in the skin. Free radical damage is one of the most significant causes of premature aging.
No solid conclusions have been drawn about the negative effects of blue light on the skin, but evidence is mounting. At the very least, blue light has the potential to be damaging to your skin, so it wouldn’t hurt to take a proactive approach to protect your skin against that potential damage.
Yon-Ka Products to Fight Blue Light Damage
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The more time you spend using digital devices, the more you put your skin at risk for damage. Long-term blue light exposure may contribute to photoaging, skin laxity, and hyperpigmentation.
At the moment, researchers have yet to determine a threshold for when blue light exposure starts to show in the skin. Even so, it’s generally best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your skin. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or using handheld digital devices, you may want to include blue-light protection in your daily skincare routine.
Here are the top Yon-Ka products to help you fight blue light damage:
- Nude Perfect Fluide – Formulated with 96% natural ingredients, this beautifying blur primer + moisturizer shields the skin against daily stressors including blue light, urban pollution, and environmental aggressors. Simply smooth it on and see lines, large pores, and imperfections disappear.
- Vital Defense – This vitamin-enriched day cream protects all skin types against environmental pollution and free radical damage to maintain your skin’s softness, radiance, and vitality. Fortified with essential oils and a revitalizing citrus scent, this formula absorbs quickly.
- SPF 50 – Daily UV protection is essential and this SPF 50 broad-spectrum sunscreen is just what you need. This formula filters both UVA and UVB rays to protect against sun damage for all skin types while helping maintain skin hydration.
- Defense + Booster – Boost the protective benefit of your daily skincare routine with this antioxidant-rich facial oil booster. Made with a cocktail of organic plant oils, plus essential oils, this booster helps reinforce the skin’s natural protective barrier to slow the aging process.
Some studies suggest blue light exposure may be more problematic for people with medium to dark skin tones than for people with lighter skin. Regardless your skin tone and type, it’s important to make sure your skincare routine checks all the major boxes.
Visit your local Yon-Ka partner spa to speak to a skincare professional about the risks of blue light exposure for your skin and to learn what you can do to prevent damage.