That's not even including the digital hours from watching TV and scrolling computers! But, while it is shocking, a lot of good can come from looking at screens. It's where we work, talk to loved ones, and plan events & holidays (during normal life).
But one thing that isn't great about screens is blue light. You might have heard about blue light from adverts about anti-blue light glasses or in exploratory articles, and it can be damaging when over-exposure occurs; especially to the skin.
Find out more about blue light and premature ageing in this guide.
What Is Blue Light?
Visible light is made up of a whole spectrum of different coloured light rays. When these colours are combined together they make 'white' light, which is the light we see from the sun, light bulbs, LED screens, and everything else. Blue light is one of these colours, and it's in every single light source the human eye can see - including our digital screens.
So, what's the big deal?
Blue light is by far the highest energy-containing colour of the light spectrum. It has almost as much as ultraviolet rays, which are linked to things like cataracts and skin cancer. Not exactly friendly!
Though it has less energy than UV, it can also penetrate deeper into the eye, which is a little concerning. Because the digital age is still fairly new, there's little research into how this might actually affect us, but there's more looking at how it's affecting our skin.
How Does Blue Light Affect Skin?
Overexposure to blue light (which 44 years of your life definitely would be) has been associated with premature ageing of the skin. The light is known to create oxidative changes in the skin and reduce the concentration of antioxidants in the epidermal layers, leading to an increase in free radical damage that results in:
- Fine lines
- Dark spots
This isn't just hypothetical, either. There have been tons of studies looking into the short-term effects and a lot of evidence that points in this direction. In short, everyone is coming to the same conclusion; overexposure to blue light damages the skin.
This is just measuring the short-term results, too! Who knows how blue light will be affecting skin after 30, 40, even 50 years of use? We use our digital products, from TV screens to smartphones, more than ever now, and if we're already seeing damage then the future doesn't look bright (or perhaps too bright!).
What Can You Do About It?
There are a couple of ways you can start to prevent damage to your skin caused by blue light. The first, of course, is to limit your time spent looking at screens. If you work at a laptop then some screen time will be unavoidable, but if you can limit the time you spend on your phone or watching TV outside of work, then you're preventing further damage!
Let's be real, though, no one wants to quit their digital devices for good. This is where your skincare comes in. By being careful with the products you put on your skin and being mindful of the damage caused by blue light, you can start to protect your skin from the outside and keep ageing at bay.
Let's take a closer look at the world of anti-blue light skincare with some of the ways you can start protecting your skin.
Start Wearing Sunscreen Every Day
If your skincare routine doesn't already include suncream, now's your sign to start wearing one! Suncream can protect your skin from harmful UV rays from the sun, which are currently the number one cause of premature ageing. But, certain suncream can also protect you from blue light, too!
To ensure your cream is going to be soaking up the harmful light emitted from your devices, opt for a mineral suncream. These contain ingredients like zinc oxide, which are great at soaking up a broad spectrum of light rays, while chemical suncream is more focused on UV rays.
Try out Super Sun SPF50, designed with blue light as well as UV rays in mind. Full of evidence-backed ingredients, like zinc oxide, and free of all the nasties like chemical UV filters and parabens, it sits on your skin and acts as a barrier, preventing harmful light from coming in contact with your face. It's also packed full of nourishing ingredients so your skin gets its glow on while you browse!
Try an Antioxidant Serum
We mentioned earlier that blue light causes oxidative stress on your skin and your antioxidant concentration decreases because of this, leading to all of those pesky premature ageing problems. To combat the oxidative stress that blue light puts on your skin, top-up with an antioxidant serum. Ingredients like ferulic acid, vitamin C, and phloretin are all great antioxidant ingredients to look out for in skincare.
These will help fight free radicals which can cause the skin to deteriorate. For the best skin care, try an antioxidant serum that is packed full of great ingredients rather than a product that just happens to contain antioxidants. Typically, you should use this serum at the end of your skincare routine before your sunscreen, or as the last product in your evening routine (aside from retinol), but it's always best to consult a dermatologist if you're unsure.
If you have darker-toned skin, look out for azelaic acid in products, too. It will help with hyperpigmentation and dark spots, keeping your skin flawless for years to come.
Give a BB Cream a Try
A lot of people love wearing BB creams for the sheer I-woke-up-like-this glow that they give. It's the ideal base for a no-makeup makeup look! But, did you know that a BB cream could also be protecting your skin from premature ageing?
BB cream is designed to reflect light particles, which means it works as a kind of barrier against blue light. Of course, this isn't a 100% foolproof barrier, so don't skimp on the suncream if you're wearing a BB cream!
It's also good to note that even a BB cream with SPF won't contain enough to keep you safe. Any product that isn't a standalone SPF isn't going to work as well, usually because you just won't use enough on your face to get the coverage you need. You should be using at least half a teaspoon, ideally more, to get full protection and apply it regularly throughout the day, neither of which you're likely to do with a BB cream!
So, while a BB cream isn't going to be a be-all and end-all blue light barrier, it's going to add an extra layer to your defence which we wouldn't say no to!
Look After Your Skin Barrier
Your skin has a natural barrier to prevent harmful things from getting past the epidermal layers and protect against transepidermal water loss. If that barrier is damaged, your skin will be more at risk from outside threats like blue light.
To protect your skin, try and keep your skincare routine as simple as possible while taking care of your problem areas. For normal skin without any severe issues, that would be:
- Face cleanser (a double cleanse if you're wearing makeup)
That's it! You can also make sure you're protecting your barrier by choosing a great serum, like niacinamide or hyaluronic acid. Both of these will actively help your skin to repair from oxidative stress caused by blue light and boost your skin's natural barrier.
If you suffer from acne, simply add a BHA exfoliant as an additional step between your face cleanser and serum, and opt for moisturisers and cleansers that target acne without stripping your skin or disturbing the natural barrier.
Use Reparative Skincare Overnight
After a digital-heavy day, you settle in for bed (after a pre-sleep Instagram scroll, of course) but your skin is doing anything but sleeping! Overnight is the time when your skin is working to repair itself, so give it a boost with products that will help. Vitamin A, for example, is a great choice as it helps boost cell turnover and encourage collagen production, two things that are essential to skin repair and preventing premature ageing.
If you do use Vitamin A, start with a less concentrated serum applied every few days, and only at night. Wear sunscreen during the day and watch out for irritation as your skin gets used to it. If you have sensitive skin, consult with a Skin Professional before use.
Get Your Sunscreen On!
Now that you know all about blue light and how you can prevent its damage, there's no use for digital-induced wrinkles! Just follow the measures we've laid out and your skin should start to look better than ever.
If you're on the hunt for a great sunscreen, be sure to check out the story behind Sunny Skin and learn more about why our product is the one for you. If you have any questions, get in touch with our team today - we're always happy to help!