Everyone from your yoga teacher to your mom tells you that you spend too much time looking at a screen. Even sleep therapists say you should unplug in order to get the best night’s sleep possible. Turns out, dermatologists have something to say about your screen addiction too. Put down the smartphone: that unearthly blue light that your laptop and phone emit might be making you look older.
The blue light from screens is a combination of infrared light and HEV light or high-energy visible light. Because computer screen exposure hasn’t really been around for all that long, research is still ongoing, but most experts agree on one thing: HEV light emitted from your devices penetrates skin more deeply than UV rays. Studies on how HEV light affects your skin suggest that the wavelengths of visible light from screens rev up your skin’s melanin production, leading to darks spots, collagen degeneration, and wrinkles.
The good news is that while visible light like HEV might increase your wrinkles, it does not cause cancer. In fact, most dermatologists are far more concerned about your sun exposure than your screen exposure. While your Instagram addiction might slightly increase photoaging in your skin, it is far less of a threat to your complexion than a day spent without sunscreen at the beach.
The good news is that chemists are beginning to research what combination of ingredients works the best to counteract the effects of HEV light. If, like most of us, you spend the majority of your time sitting in front of a computer or glued to your iPhone, your best options for protection are daily sunscreen and antioxidant-rich serums. You can also prevent dark spots from forming by using brightening peels infused with gentle acids like my TCA Multi-Acid Face Peel.