Remember when your parents warned against using the computer or phone too often as it strains your eyes? Well, screen time can do more than just that — the blue light emitted from our devices can cause skin damage silently. The link between aging and oxidative stress is well documented with studies done to show that blue light from the Sun can cause damage to the skin by increasing oxidative stress and production of free radicals, thereby damaging the skin cells and causing skin aging.
Sunlight is the main source of blue light (High Energy Visible Light), and being outdoors during daylight is where most of us get most of our exposure to it. However, there are indoor sources of blue light as well. Fluorescent and LED lighting, mobile devices, computers and televisions.
Did you know? Blue light can increase the production of free radicals that cause skin damage. It can also produce enzymes that breaks down collagen in the skin, impair skin barrier and cause skin pigmentation. This is why being indoors during the Circuit Breaker does not mean you should skip sunblock in your routine.
The entire light spectrum goes up to 700 nm. UVA and UVB wavelengths range from 100 nm to 380 nm. Next on the spectrum is visible light that ranges from 380 nm to 700 nm. Blue light or the high-energy visible (HEV) is known as visible light ranging from 380 nm to 500 nm.
There are studies conducted in the laboratory that show that when skin cells are exposed to blue light emitted from the digital devices, for an hour at a distance of about 1 cm, it can actually generate free radicals. And it can also cause skin cell damage, and it can also cause skin aging.
Blue Light can result in generating:
Besides causing harm to our skin, Blue Light could cause adverse effects to our bio clock and eyes as well. Due to our busy lifestyle, we are not exposed to adequate levels of natural light from the sun during the day. Instead, we are exposed to relatively high levels of artificial light at night. Sources of artificial lights include LED light, smartphone displays, computer monitors, TV screens – known as blue light. The body uses the natural blue light from the sun to distinguish between day and night and to regulate our biorhythm or biological clock. Thus, excessive artificial blue light at night can affect the biorhythm and disturb the phases between wakefulness and sleep. When we don’t get enough rest, both our body and skin will tend to suffer.
Furthermore, studies have shown that while blue light helps to maintain normal biological rhythms, excessive blue light radiation exposure leads to vitreous floaters (dark spots in our vision). Incidence of these floaters is high among digital device users, electronic screens such as smart phones, iPad, and LCDs. Further research is needed to clarify the effects of blue light on the vitreous.
According to a global research done by We Are Social in 2019, 92 million people are active Internet users. The research also found that Singaporeans spend at least 7 hours and 2 minutes every day online with 2 hours and 8 minutes for social media platforms. Additionally, Facebook has reported an increase of over 50% in usage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Therefore, it is imperative to look into products that could help combat the adverse effects of blue light.
In some anti-blue-light skincare products, there are some companies and brands that actually use a Fernblock® extract, known as polypodium leucotomos which can help to block out the blue light. But products containing this Fernblock®, known as polypodium leucotomos is only effective against blue light when taken orally.
Polypodium leucotomos is able to repair DNA damage caused by the high energy visible light and the infrared light. But, the studies are for the oral form of the Fernblock®. By far the products that block blue light is polypodium leucotomas found in fern, that are effective against blue light when taken ORALLY.
Heliocare 360 Oral Capsules contains Fernblock® (Polypodium Leucotomos Extract) that provides broad spectrum coverage against blue light, infrared radiation-A and UV rays with anti aging benefits.
A study found that Fernblock® in topical sunscreen is effective against blue light while protecting DNA. It also found that with the presence of Fernblock®, Heliocare topical sunscreen offers significant advantages with respect to other commercially-available sunscreens.
Other active ingredients to look out for are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are found in mineral sunblock or physical sunblock, may provide some form of protection against the blue light if these products are applied topically on the skin.
Find out more about the treatments and products to beat the effects of blue light with our doctor and therapists at Ageless Medical.
Yuya Nakashima, Shigeo Ohta, Alexander M. Wolf. Blue light-induced oxidative stress in live skin. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Volume 108, 2017, Pages 300-310, ISSN 0891-5849, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2017.03.010.
Frank Liebel, Simarna Kaur, Eduardo Ruvolo, Nikiforos Kollias and Michael D. Southall. Irradiation of Skin with Visible Light Induces Reactive Oxygen Species and Matrix-Degrading Enzymes. Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2012) 132, 1901–1907; doi:10.1038/jid.2011.476
H.-J. Kim, E. D. Son, J.-Y. Jung, H. Choi, T. R. Lee, D. W. Shin, PLoS ONE, 2013, 8, e73678