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Is Screentime Harming Your Skin? Blue Light Protection and the Future of Skin Care.

Published on: 08-03-21

The worldwide shift to all things digital accelerated in the past year. Before the pandemic hit early in 2020, dermatology and aesthetic medicine researchers were already investigating the potential role that blue light emanating from digital devices plays in skin ageing and hyperpigmentation.

A general, global shift toward online work combined with the fact that most people carry smartphones like an extension of themselves, means substantially more exposure to radiation in the blue-light wavelength.

It is well established that blue light may suppress melatonin and contribute to sleep disorders. But what effect is it having on the skin? Does blue light cause the same premature ageing, cellular damage, and increased cancer risks that UV rays do?

While research is ongoing and more investigation will reveal definitive risks, skin experts and product creators are taking initiative to formulate protective, restorative treatments that mitigate blue light damage. Here’s what you need to know.

What Exactly Is Blue Light?

On the visible light spectrum, there are several colours, including blue. The remaining rainbow includes:

  • Green
  • Blue
  • Indigo
  • Violet
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow

These colours combine for what we experience as white light. The sun is our primary source of blue light. LED (light-emitting diode) and fluorescent light sources also give off blue rays linked to growing concern over cellular damage for eyes and skin.

Blue-Violet (400 nm - 460 nm) can trigger melatonin suppression and an increased heartrate so it has been linked to sleep disorders and cardiac issues. High-energy violet/blue light ranging from 400 to 500 nm in the visible spectrum has also been linked to age-related macular degeneration.

Researchers are asking serious questions about eye strain and vision impairment related to blue light as more people report these effects. However, skin changes aren’t as obvious, and we’re only recently beginning to understand cellular changes that increased blue light exposure may cause.

Is Your Smartphone Or Laptop Screen Causing Blue Light Damage?

What does the research say? Some suggest that negative blue light effects are stronger among darker skinned individuals because they are prone to hyperpigmentation. Supporting this are visible pigmentation changes in test participants with dark skin, documented after prolonged, controlled exposure to blue light.

Skin is a major target for oxidative stress, and common signs of ageing such as fine lines or dark spots are linked to light exposure. Since our faces collectively bath in the glow of computer screens daily, we can expect to see fallout in the form of cellular damage over time.

And we do. Recent studies show exposure of human skin to light emitted by electronic devices for as little as 1 hour leads to reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, cell apoptosis, or cellular death. Light sources such as LEDs which have emissions in the blue wavelength (400-490 nm) have been analyzed for short-term skin effects.

Repeated, ongoing effects are still somewhat of a black box, and research continues. In the meantime, skincare companies are becoming savvy to increased consumer awareness and concern in this area.

Read on to learn about next generation skin analysis for blue light damage.

Empower Your Customer to Protect Their Skin From Blue Light

We’re certain no one plans to stop scrolling and snapping selfies on their phones, nor are we moving away from computer screens as a society. However, there protective measures you can recommend to clients.

Some dermatologists suggest wearing sunblock while working on computers at home, just as you would when heading outside. Physical sunscreen containing Zinc Oxide protects against blue light.

You can also offer customers unparalleled, in-depth analysis of their complexion before creating a personalized treatment plan. Many people are unaware of the toll sun-damage and blue light take on their skin. Observ 520x lifts the veil for powerful assessment not possible with the naked eye. Enhance every aesthetic consultation with increased “skin awareness,” unbiased proof of existing conditions and the ability to track the evolution of their improvements. Enhancing the consultation and treatment experience strengthens customer loyalty. You’ll also gain valuable before and after photos for expectation management, illustrating procedures and boosting your marketing

We designed Observ 520x to be lightweight and easy to install. Powered by brilliant skin illumination technology, beauty experts use Observ to diagnose skin abnormalities before they reach the surface.

Your skin consults will be multidimensional, allowing clear treatment planning, tracking, and increased cross-selling of products.

A host of advanced aesthetic procedures, skincare products and cosmetics are now prioritizing blue light protection and repair. Are you combatting the effects of blue light for your customers yet? Contact your local dealer today.

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