imit your screen time – The negative effects of smartphone addiction are well known on the body and mind. But new research suggests it has an equally damaging effect on the skin. Our favourite electronic devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets release Blue light or High Energy Visible light, which can accelerate ageing. Long-term exposure, which happens with the average person checking phones over a 100 times a day and spending seven to eight hours daily in front of the computer screens, can cause pigmentation, inflammation and weakening of the skin.
Decreases collagen production
Blue light has the ability to penetrate the skin deeper than UVA and UVB radiation. Subsequent to the continued exposure to this light, skin releases free radicals and Reactive Oxygen Species, says Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar, MD Skin, Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Trasi’s Clinic and La Piel. “These cells are known to damage the skin by causing premature ageing, by decreasing the collagen and elastin production in skin and leading to fine lines and wrinkles. It also increases freckles and pigmentation of the skin,” mentions Dr Shefali. There are various ways to protect the face by using sunscreens, both physical as well as oral and products containing vitamin C. Apart from that excessive screen time should be reduced.
Blue light (or visible light) is not just a problem due to exposure to screens but also the sun. They did not factor this in when developing SPF, and so we are learning about the impact now, says Dr Aneesh Sheth, Dermatologist and founder Dr Sheth’s. “The research is still developing, but one thing is clear, Blue Light in Indian (or dark skin) can make it darker. It could increase the severity of the current pigmentation especially in skin of colour. Studies are still underway to understand the complete impact. Using a special indoor protection mist can help. Also, apply make-up that contains pigments that are iron-oxide derived,” he suggests.
Humans follow a biological clock called the circadian rhythm based on a 24-hour cycle. During the day, exposure to light stimulates and awakens senses and at night in the absence of light, the hormone melatonin is stimulated which induces sleep. So if at night there is too much light, this suppresses the melatonin leading to lack of sleep and increasing chances of depression, diabetes, cancer etc, says Dr Shuba Dharmana, Dermatologist, Lejeune Medspa. “Even dim light is bad because table lamps emit light that exceeds the limit that is considered safe to not affect sleep. Whilst Blue Light is more effective at disturbing this rhythm than any other light, LED Blue Light from devices is much more capable of doing so. This has effects on the skin too because it can induce oxidative stress in the skin producing free radicals that cause inflammation. Simply put, it causes ageing, wrinkling and sagging,” she emphasises.