Even if you aren’t that particular about your skin health, chances are that you might know the ill effects of ultraviolet (UV) light, emitted by the sun, on your skin. Not only does it damage the skin cells, but it also causes premature aging. What if we tell you that there is another component of sunlight that causes much damage to the skin. That component is the blue light.
Unfortunately, that is the same light that comes out of your TV, computer, and mobile screens. Until now, we knew how they impact our eyes, but they have damaging effects on our skin too. And with technology advancing rapidly, these devices have become indispensable in our lives. From that first work e-mail in the morning to being hooked on social media to catching up on our favourite show on Netflix, we are perpetually surrounded by these devices. What has made the matters worse is the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only have TVs and smartphones became our go-to source of entertainment, but more and more students got exposed to computer screens as virtual classrooms became a norm.
Being the consumers of these devices and the blue light emitted by them, we need to understand their ill effects too. For this, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr Manu Singh, Associate Consultant, Dermatology at Paras HMRI Hospital in Patna, Bihar.
What Is Blue Light?
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As we all know that the sun’s white light is composed of seven colours: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red, more commonly known by its acronym, VIBGYOR. The spectrum from violet to blue colours is known as blue light. It has a smaller wavelength and high frequency. It is the same light because of which the sky appears blue to us.
How The Blue Light From Screens Affect The Skin?
According to Dr Singh, blue light, also known as high energy visible light, has several detrimental effects on the skin:
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- It penetrates way deeper into the skin as compared to UVA and UVB rays and causes oxidative damage. This leads to a loss in proteins collagen and elastin, which causes premature aging of the skin. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, which holds the body together. And elastin is found everywhere where the body expands and contracts. Aging occurs when these two proteins break down faster than they are made.
- Blue light also causes skin pigmentation, marked by a change in the skin’s colour.
- Exposure to blue light in the night disrupts the circadian rhythm, the body’s wake-sleep cycle. This affects the skin’s natural nighttime repair process, which can lead to visible signs of aging, as well as dark under-eye circles.
Tips Against Blue Light For Better Skin
Here are some tips as shared by Dr Singh:
- Due to an increase in screen time, blue light has become a potential hazard to our skin, eyes, and even sleep patterns. First and foremost, we need to restrict our screen time as much as we can.
- When using a device, you can cover your screen with a blue light shield.
- Make it a habit to not take your devices to bed with you. Do not use your phone or laptop at least half an hour before you go to bed, otherwise it would affect your sleep.
- If using the phone at night, switch on the night mode, which will limit your exposure to blue light.
- Also, use sunscreen even when indoors to limit exposure to blue light. Mineral sunscreen is the one that will protect you from all the harmful rays including blue light.
So, follow these tips and minimise the bad effects of blue light.
(With inputs from Dr Manu Singh, Associate Consultant, Dermatology at Paras HMRI Hospital in Patna, Bihar)
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