With more of us working from home during this pandemic, it seems that no matter how stripped down our beauty routine is – sunscreen still remains essential, and for good reason too. One of the main concerns with working from home is the added screen time and whether blue light damage should be a concern.
What is blue light?
Blue light, which has often been demonised, is also known as High Energy Visible (HEV) light. HEV light has been shown to penetrate deeper into the skin compared to UVA and UVB rays and can cause damage which shows up in the form of wrinkles and pigmentation. It has a wavelength which ranges from 380 nm to 500 nm and is also used for blue light therapy treatments as well. That is because blue light is not inherently bad for you. Research has shown that exposure to HEV light can boost mental alertness and elevate your mood.
There are also treatments and gadgets which harness blue LED light to treat the skin. The difference lies in the wavelength of these lights and how much you are exposed to. Blue light therapy, which is beneficial for skin, uses blue LED light with a wavelength between 405 nm to 420 nm to target acne.
But the problem comes from over-exposure to blue light in the form of computer and mobile phone screens.
How is blue light harmful to our skin?
Unlike UVA and UVB rays, which disappear after the sun sets, the threat from HEV light extends well into the night. As with most things in our lives, balance is the key when ascertaining if blue light is good or bad for you. Blue light can be both a friend and a foe. If you spend long hours in front of your computer or mobile phone screen, it may be wise to consider some form of protection against the risk of over-exposure, be it putting on a pair of yellow-tinted glasses for your eyes or applying skincare products which can shield your skin against HEV light.
Do you really need blue light-protecting products?
While there isn’t enough research to look into the long-term effects of blue light, there is no harm in being preventive in your routine. For one, the Anti-Pollution Research Center of Amorepacific‘s R&D Center recently published a research paper looking into the harmful effects of blue light on the skin. Their findings concluded that blue light with a wavelength of 456 nm causes skin pigmentation.
Another study in 2018 concluded that short-term exposure to light emitted from electronic devices like our iPhones and iPads from the manufacturer’s recommended reading distances and at 1 cm on human skin cells increases the generation of reactive oxygen species, which are linked to skin-ageing.
Model Photography Franco Schicke Styling Carolina Orrico, assisted by Maria Montane Hair Kiri Yoshiki Makeup Yuii Vision ModelLiza O/System
This article first appeared in Women’s Weekly.