BLUE LIGHT: What it is, how it affects the skin, and what we can do to protect ourselves
Our exposure to blue light is constant, it is closely related to our daily habits, and has damaging effects to our skin.
Teleworking, with long online meetings in front of the computer screen has become, and continues to be, for most people, a new way of living. Relaxing on the couch in front of the TV screen -even when we are not actually watching- has turned into our favorite practice, while the endless scrolling on social media from our smartphone has become our new hobby!
But what is blue light, how exactly does it correlate to our daily routine, what damage does it cause to our skin, and how can we protect ourselves?
What is blue light?
Blue light is everywhere, as it is one of the colors of the visible sunlight spectrum, which is responsible for the blue color of the sky. It is divided into two categories: natural blue light and artificial blue light. The two main sources of blue light emission, also known as HEV (High-Energy Visible light), are:
sunlight – natural blue light: Natural blue light is responsible for regulating the sleep and wake cycle, so it decreases as a percentage of sunlight until the afternoon. Prudent exposure to natural blue light helps to alert our body and boosts our mood.
technological devices / digital screens – artificial blue light: Artificial blue light is emitted by smartphones, computers, tablets, some TVs, and LED lamps. It is emitted at higher levels than those emitted by the sun.
How does blue light affect our skin?
Like ultraviolet radiation, blue light rays also penetrate the skin deeply, causing either short-term or long-term skin damage. The difference, however, is that during our exposure to blue light, in fact, we cannot realize its harmful effects, as unlike UV radiation, it neither warms us nor burns our skin.
– Photoaging: The rays of blue light affect the youthful appearance of the skin, as they disrupt the production of collagen.
– Oxidative stress: It is caused due to the excessive production of free radicals that weakens the antioxidant mechanisms. Free radicals are chemical compounds produced in the body after its exposure to certain external conditions or pathological situations.
– Weakening of the skin barrier: Excessive exposure to blue light can cause roughness to the skin, disrupting its normal balance and defense against external threats.
– Formation of skin discolorations: Blue radiation can cause pigmentation, a form of skin discoloration, due to the stimulation of melanocyte function to produce melanin.
How can we protect our skin against the blue radiation of digital devices?
Taking technology devices out of our lives, seems – and is indeed – unrealistic. However, we can follow some steps to protect our skin daily, thus reducing the harmful effects of blue radiation.
– Review your display brightness setting: Make sure that the brightness of the screen you are using, whether it is a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, is low.
– Do not forget to take breaks: Frequent breaks will not only help your mind to relax, but will also “relieve” your skin from blue radiation.
– Change your habits: What if instead of spending your free time (again!) in front of a screen, you started walking or cycling? The season is ideal!
– Set limits: Make a schedule of the time you intend to spend during the day scrolling through social media or watching episodes from your favorite series and… stick to it!