Time and time again, a new research piece or study pops up and tells us that using our electronic devices is bad for our health, damages our eyesight, disrupts our sleep cycles, takes a toll on our concentration levels and memory, or even causes cancer in the long run. And more often than not, we brush off these warning messages or put in little to no effort in limiting our usage of our phones and laptops.
But, fellow ‘vainpots’ and beauty enthusiasts out there: bad news. A recent scientific study has surfaced and shows that the HEV rays emitted by our precious devices might be wreaking havoc on our skin by contributing to the signs of premature ageing. Here, we will find out if exposure to HEV rays is indeed bad for our skin and what precautionary measures we can take to save our skin.
What Exactly Are HEV Rays?
HEV Rays, also referred to as High Energy Visible light or blue light, potentially harm the skin through free radical damage and oxidative stress. Like exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, blue light can accelerate ageing within our skin by inducing the breakdown of collagen. Research has also shown that blue light can penetrate deeper into the layers of our dermis in comparison to the sun’s UV rays, which means that it actually poses a much significant risk to our skin than previously thought. Long-term exposure to HEV rays at night can also disrupt our sleep patterns, which gives rise to insomnia and other sleeping disorders. If you are guilty of scrolling through Instagram on your phone before bed, you might find that it is indeed harder to fall asleep as compared to putting your phone away prior to going to bed. Not getting enough sleep is also a risk factor for premature ageing, so snuggle up in bed with a book instead to avoid further exposure to blue light at night.
How Does Blue Light Compare to UV Rays?
It is known that the sun’s rays can cause some pretty harmful effects on our delicate visage, like sunburn, sun spots, skin cancer, and premature ageing. Such rays include UVA and UVB rays, which cause photo-ageing and sunburn respectively. UVB rays affect mainly the epidermis, which consists of the surface layers of the skin, and is linked to causing skin cancer in the event of long-term exposure. On the other hand, UVA rays can penetrate deep within the skin’s layers to break down collagen and elastin of the complexion, which ultimately speeds up the ageing process. Blue light is very much similar to UVA rays in that sense since it can infiltrate the dermis and induce accelerated signs of ageing. Although it is not linked to skin cancer as UVB rays do, it is still vital to prevent extended exposure to blue light and keep skin woes at bay.
How Do They Affect The Skin?
Blue light has been shown to cause wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation, which can pose a huge obstacle in your journey to achieving a brighter and clearer visage. Since it is equipped with the ability to enter the deepest layers of the skin, it can worsen melasma and other pigmentation issues due to photo-ageing as well as the breakdown of elastin. Since the HEV rays produce free radicals that may lead to oxidative stress, it can certainly stimulate skin discolouration and induce the formation of wrinkles. Aside from that, exposure to HEV rays at night can also impact the skin’s natural circadian rhythm, which affects the skin’s repair process at night and result in dark under-eye circles as well as loss of firmness.
What Steps Can I Take To Prevent Damage?
With millennials checking their phones an average of 130 times a day (not including the time spent in front of our work laptops), it is clear that we are exposing our skin to blue light way more than we do from the sun. However, fret not! There are indeed some precautionary measures in which you can take to prevent extended exposure to those pesky HEV rays. If you are using a smartphone, do check if your phone has the night mode feature to dim out blue light and reduce the effects of its rays.
What About Skincare?
To fight the war against blue light, a fortified skincare regimen is an absolute must. Even if you are not going to see the light of day, do apply a smidge of sunscreen on your visage to protect against the photo-ageing effects of blue light. Do keep an eye out for HEV-blocking ingredients such as melanin and topical lutein for all-rounded protection. Another thing to note is that antioxidant-rich skincare products can work wonders for preventing the harmful effects of blue light by warding off free radical damage and adding a strong layer of protection across your complexion.