Exposure to sunlight or UV rays is not the only one that can hurt and damage your skin. The light emitted by your phone, laptop, and other electronic devices, also known as blue light, can be as dangerous as sunlight and can wreak havoc on your skin.
While the sun is the main source of blue light we are exposed to, we also get a significant amount of it from indoor lighting and electronic devices. Besides, our phones and gadgets are much closer to us than the sun, which then puts us at a higher risk of blue light exposure every single day.
The overuse of technology exposes our eyes to blue light, which then compromises our sleep and strains our eyes. And then, there’s also the “tech neck”, which refers to the pain and wrinkles on the neck caused by repetitively looking down at a phone, laptop, tablet, and other electronic devices.
What exactly is blue light?
Blue light, which is a part of the high energy visible (HEV) light spectrum, is a very short-wavelength light that produces a high amount of energy. It is associated with oxidative stress, which is known to compromise skin health and quality. High levels of exposure to it can contribute to premature aging and skin pigmentation.
What’s even worse is that blue light can penetrate deeper into the skin than UV rays which can cause pigmentation. In fact, studies suggest that spending 12 hours in front of your phone may also cause as much damage as 12 hours of being out in the sun.
What is the difference between HEV and LED lights?
Bear with us as we explain to you these acronyms – HEV (High Energy Visible light) and LED (Light Emitting Diode).
- HEV Light
To learn what HEV light is, it is important to understand first the sunlight spectrum, which consists of UV, visible, and infrared light. Visible light (or what the human eye can see) accounts for 50% of this spectrum and is made up of the colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV), with varying wavelengths.
This visible light spectrum has a blue/violet band, with a particularly high energy level, thus the name high energy visible (HEV) light. This is also referred to as blue light, and primarily comes from the sun, but is also emitted by electronic devices such as your phone, tablet, laptop, and other screens.
Exposure to daylight means you’re exposed to HEV light. The concern about this light, however, is more about its presence in our daily routines. This is because most of us are glued to our phones or spend most of our time looking at screens or working in front of a computer.
- LED Light
LED or light-emitting diode is a mix of red, green, and blue LEDs, which then makes white light. It emits visible light with the presence of an electrical current. Compared to other lighting sources like fluorescent lamp and incandescent, LEDs are more energy-efficient, last longer, and provide better light quality.
LEDs emit visible light in a specific direction, as well as very little heat, and are commonly used in residential and commercial settings. It is also used in treatment, referred to as LED therapy, which includes red (for regenerating the skin) and blue (for killing acne bacteria) LED light technologies.
therapy, LED utilizes of colors to treat various depths of the skin layer. It also uses long light waves that can safely penetrate deeply into the skin.
Why blue light from phone hurts the skin while (blue) LED heals acne?
- Blue light and skin
Studies suggest that long-term exposure to concentrated sources of blue light can damage skin, including the formation of wrinkles, worsening skin laxity, and pigmentation. It produces oxidative stress in the skin, which then contributes to or the type of premature aging caused by exposure to the sun and other light sources.
The research on blue light and how it damages the skin may be less conclusive, but scientific data suggests that exposure to blue light, in general, can contribute to premature aging and skin pigmentation. Dermatologists also believe that daily exposure may contribute to the development of dark spots and even worsen your pigmentation.
- LED light and acne
Doctors used to heal pimples with UV light that comes from sunlight. While it is true UV light can help clear acne, but it can also damage the skin and cause cancer. This is why dermatologists use safe and clinically proven waves of LED blue light to kill acne-causing bacteria without damaging your skin.
The reason why LED blue light helps heal acne is that the bacteria in your skin and pimples are sensitive to this type of light. LED causes substances to form on the skin that are toxic to the bacteria which targets and kills it. Blue light therapy works on mild to moderate acne.
You can check out our previous blog to learn how LED Skin Therapy Facials can remove acne and rejuvenate your skin.
What can you do?
A quick fix to minimize the damage is to cover your phone screen with a blue light screen protector, which has a special coating and prevents blue light damage from phones and other devices. It is also a good idea to:
- Limit your screen time (less than two to three hours daily, unless you need it for work).
- Put your phone on the night shift mode or use a blue light filter.
- Use serums and skin care products with antioxidants.
- Protect your eyes during the day (whether from sun exposure or light from your phone).
What if you’re already showing signs of aging (like pigmentation and dark spots)?
Here at Cutis Laser Clinics in Singapore, we offer a number of non-invasive aesthetic treatments that can help you achieve a younger-looking appearance. These include procedures for dark spots, sunspots, pigmentation, and melasma. Here are some solutions worth considering:
This non-invasive skin lightening treatment uses intense pulse light (IPL) to target problems that occur on the skin surface such as sun damage, redness, and pigmentation. You can use Limelight on any part of the face, neck, and décolleté with brown spots, redness, or tiny veins.
Limelight works by delivering intelligent pulses of light that is safe and customized to your skin tone. This targets pigmentation and draws the darkened spots on the top layer of the skin, which will then scab and fall off after three to five days. Read our previous post and learn how Limelight can help remove spots and freckles.
Skin Lightening Creams
Topical medicated creams with hydroquinone (a safe skin-lightening ingredient) are effective in fading dark spots over time. Obagi is one skin care brand that has topical products with prescription strength of 4% hydroquinone, which is considered a simple, safe and effective way in treating dark spots.
Be reminded, however, that using such products require a prescription from an aesthetic doctor. You also need consistent follow-up and supervision to make sure that your skin is reacting well to the product.
Cutera Pearl Laser Resurfacing
Cutera Pearl is a FDA-cleared non-surgical laser resurfacing procedure that can help minimize solar damage, lessen wrinkles, and correct uneven texture with fewer treatments and less overall recovery than other treatments. It combines the power of resurfacing lasers with the gentleness and safety of non-invasive procedures to treat sun-damaged skin.
It treats the top layer of the skin using pulses of light in a pre-selected pattern. The laser then simultaneously sends heat to the deeper layers of the skin to stimulate collagen growth. The skin will immediately form a protective dressing, which will peel off after three to four days, revealing a healthier and even-toned skin.
Check out our previous post to find out how you can unveil radiant and youthful skin with Pearl Resurfacing.
Schedule a Consultation
Protect your skin from blue light damage and don’t hesitate to consider aesthetic treatments to fade spots and hyperpigmentation.
Contact Cutis Laser Clinics today and schedule a consultation with our Harvard-trained aesthetic doctor, Dr. Sylvia Ramirez, to find out which skin lightening solutions suit you best.