Our lifestyles have changed a lot in the past few months and it’s likely that you’re spending more time in front of the computer screen, television and phone than ever before.
It’s wonderful that our devices can keep us so well connected but could all this extra screen time be taking a toll on your skin?
You’ve probably heard about Blue Light – which is emitted by the display screens on televisions, computers and smart devices – and how it can impact your eye health. Studies have found that blue light is a definite contributor to digital eye strain and may even increase your risk of developing macular degeneration. These findings have led to blue light filters and specialised computer glasses to help counter the impact of blue light on our eyes.
Now, researchers are starting to look at whether blue light exposure impacts our skin, and a small body of studies is starting to suggest that it may indeed accelerate the ageing process.
How Blue Light indirectly impacts the skin:
We can confidently say that blue light exposure indirectly impacts the skin’s innate hydrating and healing functions by disrupting the body’s natural circadian rhythm. This change to the rhythm has been proven to impact the quality of our sleep, which is vital to helping skin heal and repair itself. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your skin is sure to look drier, duller and less firm; so switch off those devices at least an hour before bed.
How blue light might directly impact the skin:
Recent studies have shown that exposing our skin cells to the light emitted by electronic devices – even for as little as one hour – can generate an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. This imbalance is suspected to cause damage to our skin’s proteins and may even cause cell death, which impacts our skin health. Furthermore, blue light seems to accelerate apoptosis – or the natural death of skin cells – and necrosis – the premature death of skin cells. You can imagine that if we’re experiencing a much higher rate of skin cell death; and reducing our sleep quality, which is vital to our skin’s natural ability to repair itself, we’re going to see a definite impact on our skin’s appearance.
So how can you counter the impact of screen time on your skin?
The obvious first step is to reduce your exposure to light from electronic devices, particularly at night when it is most disruptive to your circadian rhythm. Try turning off the TV and putting down the phone an hour before bedtime and consider turning off some of your social media notifications so you don’t feel compelled to look at your phone every 10 minutes.
High quality skin care products and targeted skin treatments that increase collagen and healthy cell generation are also incredibly important. The best way to determine the right products and treatment for you are to speak to a skin care professional.