BOLT FROM THE BLUE

What’s your screen do­ing to your skin?

Fashion Quarterly - - Contents -

If you’ve ever been tempted to try a dig­i­tal detox, now might be the time. Just when you’ve learned the dif­fer­ence be­tween min­eral and chem­i­cal sun­screen, and adopted a char­coal scrub to re­move the day’s build-up of par­ti­cle pol­lu­tion, it’s fairly dis­qui­et­ing to learn there’s a new ‘en­vi­ron­men­tal’ ag­gres­sor said to be im­pact­ing the health of your skin.

The up­side is that you’re read­ing this on a printed page, rather than a phone or com­puter, be­cause the lat­est beauty in­tel is enough to make any­one want to toss their tech in a lake.

Re­search from sci­en­tists and der­ma­tol­o­gists has sug­gested that the HEV (high-en­ergy vis­i­ble) light — some­times re­ferred to as ‘blue light’ — that’s emit­ted from the screens of de­vices such as com­put­ers, smart­phones, lap­tops and tablets could be even more dam­ag­ing to skin than the sun.

Now, we’re not yet com­par­ing a selfie to a day in the sun — the key words here are “could be”. Large, wide-scale stud­ies on the long-term ef­fects of HEV are yet to be un­der­taken, but re­cent anal­y­sis de­serves some con­sid­er­a­tion.

“Vis­i­ble blue light (any wave­length the eye per­ceives as blue to vi­o­let) has one of the short­est, high­esten­ergy wave­lengths, able to pen­e­trate the skin more deeply than UVB and UVA rays,” says Asia Pa­cific global ed­u­ca­tor for Mu­rad skincare David G Whyte, whose state­ments are backed by sev­eral stud­ies pub­lished in rep­utable med­i­cal jour­nals.

“This light from our phones, tablets, com­put­ers, lap­tops and TVs has also been shown to gen­er­ate more ROS (re­ac­tive oxy­gen species) than UVB and UVA com­bined. Some­times re­ferred to as free rad­i­cals, these ROS at­tack healthy cells and lessen these cells’ abil­ity to re­pair them­selves.

“Ex­ces­sive blue light ac­cel­er­ates the ox­i­da­tion process,” ex­plains Whyte. “It stim­u­lates the skin caus­ing hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion and in­flam­ma­tion, and dam­ages the skin bar­rier mak­ing it more prone to signs of age­ing.”

While the light is proven to make these changes, the se­ri­ous­ness of the health risks this poses is still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated. A study con­ducted by Mu­rad’s par­ent com­pany Unilever sug­gests that spend­ing four eight-hour work days in front of a com­puter ex­poses you to the same amount of en­ergy as 20 min­utes in the mid­day sun.

Be­cause stud­ies are on­go­ing, with some com­mis­sioned by skincare com­pa­nies, it’s hard not to won­der about bias, or to give de­fin­i­tive rec­om­men­da­tions. One sug­ges­tion gath­er­ing steam is to use a skincare prod­uct with in­gre­di­ents de­signed to block the HEV light. Mu­rad’s an­swer is its City Skin Age De­fense, which pro­tects from a wide range of en­vi­ron­men­tal aggressors, such as the sun and pol­lu­tion par­tic­u­late, as well as HEV. The key in­gre­di­ent here is lutein, an an­tiox­i­dant carotenoid pig­ment ex­tracted from marigold petals. How­ever other prod­ucts, of­ten from der­ma­tol­o­gist’s own brands, and this time con­tain­ing melanin frag­ments (also de­signed to shield from HEV) are emerg­ing too. This kind of pro­tec­tion is look­ing in­creas­ingly likely to be a skincare fo­cus in 2018 and be­yond.

An­other way to min­imise dam­age from HEV light is to use skincare with an­tiox­i­dant in­gre­di­ents that help com­bat the im­pact free rad­i­cals can have.

Won­der­ing what hap­pens on those skincare-free du­vet days when your lap­top is your bed­mate, or those evenings after cleans­ing when you spend an hour or more in the dark with your phone inches from your face? Yep, prox­im­ity com­bined with lack of pro­tec­tion is an is­sue too, ac­cord­ing to Whyte.

“Ob­vi­ously, the closer you are to the de­vice, the more likely you are to get a con­cen­trated dosage,” he says. But blue light emit­ted from a TV screen across the room can still have an im­pact.

Given blue light has also been linked to eye strain and sleep dis­rup­tion, an­other sug­ges­tion is to in­stall a blue-light fil­ter on screens you use reg­u­larly, or im­ple­ment func­tions such as Night

Shift on an iPhone so the screen emits less blue light.

All this on top of al­ready re­ported phe­nom­ena such as tech neck, cell­phone squint and RSI, and it’s enough to make you pick up a book in­stead.

Four eight-hour work days in front of a com­puter ex­pose you to the same amount of en­ergy as 20 min­utes in the mid­day sun

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.