We know that the blue-light exposure we get from being in front of our phone screens and computers can disrupt our body clocks and our sleep, but it turns out that the blue light can also wreak havoc with our skin. Kenneth Mark, a cosmetic dermatologist, told New York Magazine that “eight hours of screen time can be equivalent to 20 minutes of sun exposure.”
And that adds up over time. Most people, on average, spend over three hours on their phones each day, and the top 20% of smartphone users are in front of it more than 4 ½ hours (via Harper’s Bazaar) and that’s not even counting laptop or tablet time. So that screen time can cause premature aging without us even being aware of it.
Kenneth Howe, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, explained to Allure, “[Blue light is] just a little bit shorter in wavelength than ultraviolet light (UV), which we know causes skin cancer and skin aging. We’re all just used to blue light because we see it all the time. Its sheer familiarity makes it seem harmless.” He went on to say it’s not yet known to cause skin cancer, but blue light likely contributes to skin aging by “generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the skin. These ROS, or free radicals, in turn, cause oxidative damage within the skin.”
Mineral and natural sunscreens are what do the trick
However, hope is not lost. Wear sunscreen. But not just any sunscreen. “Mineral-based sunscreens that contain ingredients like zinc oxide form a protective seal over the skin to reflect away blue light,” Joshua Zeichner, New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, told Allure.
Meanwhile, Joshua Ross, a Los Angeles-based celebrity aesthetician for SkinLab, told PureWow, “Blue light protection will become increasingly important as we continue to spend a majority of time working from home on computer screens, cell phones and tablets, which can cause premature aging from HEV light.” Ross recommends a product like Ghost Democracy Invisible Lightweight Daily Sunscreen SPF 33 for both UV and HEV protection.
Another mineral-sunscreen recommendation from beauty product company Tria Beauty is Raw Elements FACE + BODY SPF 30, which along with zinc oxide has ingredients like green tea, black tea, cocoa butter, and organic coffee, all of which are rich in antioxidants (via Raw Elements), helping to counter those free radicals that can be created by blue light.
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