When tiny pollutant particles known as particulate matter first became the buzzword in skincare, they first raised concerns in respiratory health. Due to their extremely tiny size, scientists and doctors were worried about how easily they could enter our respiratory tract and cause serious health implications.
This was followed by worries on their hazardous effects on skin health, as the incidence of skin rashes and allergic flare-ups started to rise. And it wasn’t long before their role in accelerating skin ageing came under the microscope, as big beauty brands caught on this growing concern and dished out new anti-pollution skincare products one after another.
Since then, anti-pollution skincare has become commonplace, as beauty brands offer up antioxidants-loaded formulas promising to fend off free radical assaults that pollution particles bring about. But just when you think you’re doing enough for your skin, the industry throws you another curveball, this time about the potential damage that’s caused to your skin from the long hours that we are exposed to digital devices, and more specifically the blue light it emits. But is it really worth investing in?
For starters, what exactly is blue light? Also known as High Energy Visible Light, or HEV Light, it has a wavelength range of 380 to 500nm, compared to UV rays’ wavelength range of 280nm to 400nm. What this essentially means is that HEV Light is able to penetrate deeper into skin tissue than UV rays to reach the dermis and disrupt collagen production. And while there have been scientific studies to prove that blue light exposure can be linked to an increase in skin sensitivity and pigmentation, these studies did not involve blue light specifically from digital devices. More importantly, the main source of blue light is still the sun. Light bulbs and electronic devices such as television, tablets, computers and our smartphones are just different sources of blue light.
While it remains inconclusive as to how harmful blue light from digital devices are, there have also been concerns raised as a result of how frequent we are exposed to it. If you’re an iPhone user, a quick look at Screen Time tells you how much time you’re spending on your digital device. Factor in the amount of time you spend looking at your computer during work hours and you can a sense of how often your skin is actually exposed to blue light. Besides, these devices are positioned very closely to our skin, which means that intensity of the exposure is much higher than say, watching television.
So what does this all mean? While more research is required to directly link blue light emitted from digital devices to the cause of skin sensitivity and the acceleration of pigmentation, it couldn’t hurt to err on the safe side. And if you choose to take extra steps to protect your skin just in case, here are the latest products you can get your hands on as a shield against the glare of your digital devices.