How blue light from cellphones is triggering pigmentation

Thursday, 17 January 2019

“Blue light” seems to be the hot topic of the moment, and with good reason. Part of the spectrum of visible light, blue light is a high-energy, short wavelength light. The main source of blue light is the sun, followed by the digital devices we use in our everyday life, like cellphones, computer screens and televisions. Considering the amount of time we spend using these devices every day, it’s safe to say that the average person is getting a lot of blue light exposure. But what exactly are the effects?

Blue light has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin than UVA and UVB rays do. In fact, it can penetrate all the way to the dermis (the deepest layers of the skin), and there’s been a lot of evidence to suggest that it causes oxidative stress in the skin. The dermis is where the skin’s collagen and elastin lives, so in essence, blue light penetration in this area means faster wrinkling and sagging. Plus, studies have shown that blue light induces photo-ageing at a greater rate than UV light, leading to pigmentation. So in a nutshell, prolonged exposure to blue light causes inflammation and the breakdown of healthy collagen and elastin, as well as hyperpigmentation. Scarily, you may even find that over a long period of time, pigmentation is more noticeable on the side of the face where the cellphone is typically held.

So if the sun is by far the main source of blue light, why are we concerned about the minimal exposure from our devices? Firstly, because of how often we use them (consider how many hours you use a computer per day at work and how often you use your cellphone), and secondly, because of much closer they are to us than the sun (especially your cellphone – it’s literally against the skin when you’re on a call!).

It’s impossible for us to quit technology and avoid the sun completely, so what realistic measures can be taken to minimise the skin’s exposure to blue light?

  • By now you should be well into the routine of applying SPF daily, and if you’re not, now is the time to start! Apply a broadspectrum SPF that protects against all forms of light, including blue light. We recommend Heliocare 360, this range protects against the entire UV spectrum as well as visible light.
  • Invest in a blue light shield for your cellphone or change your screen display settings to night mode (this is also much easier on the eyes!).
  • Incorporate antioxidant-rich skincare products into your regime to counteract the effect of free radicals caused by blue light. Skin Renewal stocks a variety of antioxidant skincare products from various different brands, such as Skin Ceuticals, Lamelle and Neostrata. Their therapists can assist you in finding the product best suited to your needs.
  • Use a hands-free kit whenever possible to minimise the amount of time your cellphone spends against your skin. This will help lessen breakouts too as cellphones are notorious for carrying loads of breakout-causing bacteria.
  • This may be easier said than done, but take a break from technology as often as possible. Every now and then, swap out that evening movie for a good book, spend more time with people around you and less time on social media and take a break from your screen during the day (stop eating lunch at your desk!). Try find a balance between time spent with technology and time spent without.

If your skin is already showing signs of photo-ageing, or if you’d like to take preventative steps, book an appointment at your nearest Skin Renewal branch for a consultation with one of their qualified therapists and doctors.

This post was sponsored by Skin Renewal. 

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  1. Gervase

    Oh my gosh. This is so scary. I feel like my cellphone is permanently attached to me … from chatting to playing games, i even read my ebooks at night because its easier and convenient to hold a phone than a book (not that I dont love reading a physical book). Serious lifestyle changes need to be made #2019 goals

    2 months ago •

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