July 22, 2023
The answer is yes! And it’s not just your phone that is the only culprit. Also involved are your tablet, your computer screen, whether laptop or desktop, your television and any other electronic device which emits blue light. Let’s get a closer look at this and what you need to know to prevent skin damage.
Blue light is a natural component of the visible light spectrum from sunlight, making up about a quarter of sunlight. Many people confuse blue light from the sun with ultraviolet light (UV), but blue light actually has a longer wavelength than UV light. Blue light in itself is not all bad news, as exposure to blue light can support your memory and cognitive function. Blue light also helps to wake you up and increases your alertness in the morning by suppressing your body’s production of melatonin, known as the sleep hormone. Exposing your face to the sun’s early morning rays will help you shake off that groggy feeling and get ready to start your day. But blue light at night from electronic screens has just the opposite effect and may make it hard for you to fall asleep if you use your electronic screens too close to bedtime.
Besides suppressing melatonin production, research also shows that blue light is not all that great for your skin. Studies have discovered that exposure of your skin to blue light can also cause the promotion of wrinkles as well as fine lines. This is thought to be due to the production of free radicals in the skin that speed up the appearance of aging. Free radicals are compounds that are formed naturally by your body as a result of metabolism, and can not only accelerate aging, but are also responsible for cell damage as well as causing disease.
But, besides making it hard for you to fall asleep and aging your skin, there are other worrisome effects of blue light exposure, including negatively affecting your internal biological clocks, leading to a disruption of your natural circadian rhythms. These internal clocks regulate everything from cellular processes to the timing of the release of hormones and other substances in your body, and more and more research is pointing to these kinds of disruptions as the base cause for many of our modern diseases. These diseases include macular degeneration, involving a loss of central vision, and is the major cause of vision loss and blindness for those aged 65 and over.
So, given the prevalence of the nearly constant use of electronic screens in today’s world, what can you do to help stave off or prevent blue light’s negative effects?
Fortunately, there are some easier fixes to this problem than having to resort to quitting using your phone and other electronic devices! One of the quickest things you can do is to install a blue light filter on your devices. Many newer phones and tablets have these built into their settings but if not, there are a variety of free ones to choose from, both for iPhones and Android phones. Just search for blue light blocking software. In addition to a filter, you should also invest in a good pair of blue light blocking glasses to wear when you are working on your computer. You can also get these in your eyewear prescription if you wear glasses.
Another way to prevent overexposure to blue light from your screens is to take breaks while working. Follow the 20:20 rule by taking a break from your screen every 20 minutes and looking at an object at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds. This practice helps to reduce eye strain as well makes you much more conscious of your continued exposure to blue light.
November 24, 2023Read More