Move over UVA, there’s a new threat in town and it’s coming at you from your electronic devices! New research now indicates that HEV (high energy light, also known as “blue light”) may actually be as damaging to your skin as the sun – and it’s all around us. It’s hard to escape cause it’s coming from our laptops, tablets, cell phones, TVs and even our LED lighting.
Not quite ready to unplug? You can still fight back.
Although most of us are well aware of the damage to skin caused by UVA and UVB and, although certainly controversial, more and more evidence suggests that light emitted from our tablets, cell phones, computer screens, etc. may also be prematurely aging our skin.
High energy visible light, also known as blue light, is a high frequency wavelength emitted by TV screens, smartphones, tablets and computers. Although highly controversial, studies suggest that a veritable smorgasbord of unpleasantness such as sleep disruption, damage to your eyesight, premature aging and increased risk of hyperpigmentation are some of the suspected effects caused by chronic exposure.
Emerging studies documenting this phenomenon presented evidence that chronic exposure (which most of us encounter daily) caused a significantly higher frequency of hyperpigmentation in even darker skin types, with visibly affected areas lasting up to three months after initial exposure. In addition, one study also noted a significant increase of keratinocyte necrosis, or thickened layer of dead cells on the surface of the epidermis, giving a dull, dry lackluster appearance to the skin. Finally, it is believed that HEV exposure may weaken the skin’s barrier function, making it more susceptible to free radical damage and thus, premature aging.
The bad news is in – your phone, tablet and laptop can damage your skin. The good news? You can fight back.
What to do?
Protect, protect, protect.
Remember that old Ben Franklin axiom “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” It’s so much easier to prevent damage from exposure than it is to correct it once the damage has occurred. Exactly as you would protect your skin against other forms of radiation exposure (we’re talking UVA and UVB here) a mineral based, full spectrum sun protectant is your best friend. Sanitas Solar Block is the perfect finishing step to your morning skincare routine and provides a full spectrum dose of non-toxic protection in a base of antioxidants. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: wear your sun block every day.
Fight back with topical antioxidants.
Need a quick refresh on free radicals? These disruptive, free-wheeling agents of decay are caused by mutation in cellular atoms which in turn, cause subsequent mutation that leads to the brand new free radical attacking healthy cells. Think of them as the cellular zombie apocalypse. One free radical can cause a cascade of damage that can lead to everything from prematurely aged skin to even cancer.
But you can fight those cellular zombies. A high dose of lipophilic vitamin C (Sanitas Vita C Serum contains 25% vitamin C) does a standout job of combatting free radical damage by helping filter out harmful light rays and strengthening the skin from the inside out. The benefits of vitamin C can be significantly bolstered by adding vitamins A, E, K and D (Sanitas VitaRich Serum has a 100% active, antioxidant blend) to the mix.
Diet can help!
Believe it or not, the health of your skin is heavily influenced by what you eat. The best prevention strategy against the harmful effects of free radicals is a well-regulated lifestyle. Eating a diet rich in vitamin C, carotenoids (plant pigments) and omega fatty acids all play an important role in nutritional skincare. So load up on foods like salmon and avocados (healthy fats), strawberries and broccoli (high in vitamin C) and carrots and yellow peppers (loaded with carotenoids)to help fight those free radicals from the inside out. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to get all of those fruits and veggies in every day, so supplementing with antioxidants and Sanitas EFA complete can help.
This thing? It’s called a book.
We get it – you can’t unplug from the day-to-day necessity of being online, but you can take an active, mindful approach to managing your blue light exposure. Use earbuds instead of holding the phone up to your face. Your bedroom isn’t a charging station – it’s for rest and reprieve. Try disconnecting from all devices 30 to 60 minutes prior to turning in and swap your PM Netflix lineup with a good, old-fashioned book. Reading helps slow the mind at the end of the day leading to a better night’s sleep and by default, healthier skin.
You could go big and ditch your devices altogether but for most of us, that’s just not realistic or feasible. Instead, try to limit your exposure as much as possible. Do you really need to check your Insta feed or email all day long? Of course not.