BLUE LIGHT IS AS BAD AS UV Rays

It causes the same harm to your skin. Yet, con­ven­tional sun­screen and skin­care may not pro­tect you enough. This is what you can do.

Herworld (Singapore) - - NEWS -

Your ex­po­sure to it is 24/7. Here’s how to pro­tect your skin.

You al­ready know all about UV rays. How they pen­e­trate the skin, caus­ing hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion and wrin­kles. How they burn the skin. And how they may play a piv­otal role in skin can­cer.

What’s less well known is that blue light, too, is bad for skin. While UV rays are in­vis­i­ble, blue light is on the vis­i­ble spec­trum (the range of wave­lengths of light that let us see colour).

It is both in­sid­i­ous and in­evitable, be­cause it is out­doors and in­doors, com­ing from the sun, our smart­phone screens, our TV sets and other elec­tronic de­vices, and even flu­o­res­cent light­ing.

Should you worry about it? Yes and no.

The amount of blue light emit­ted by de­vices is only a frac­tion of dam­ag­ing rays emit­ted by the sun, says Dr Nisha Suyien Chan­dran, head and con­sul­tant of the divi­sion of der­ma­tol­ogy at the Na­tional Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal. “There is no con­vinc­ing ev­i­dence that blue light is more dam­ag­ing to the skin than UV rays.”

But here’s the caveat: While blue light isn’t more harm­ful than UV rays, the sun­screens we use may not have the in­gre­di­ents to pro­tect skin against blue light pol­lu­tion, says Dr Eu­gene Tan, con­sul­tant at the Na­tional Skin Cen­tre. Also, be­cause we are ex­posed to blue light round the clock, our bare, non-sun­screen­pro­tected skin could be dam­aged even at night.

Blue light harms the skin in two ways. First, it pen­e­trates skin like UVA rays, caus­ing hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion and loss of elas­tic­ity. “Be­cause of the high en­ergy blue light has, it can reach the hy­po­der­mis and con­trib­ute to pho­toage­ing,” says Sofia Gra­cia, direc­tor of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment at sun­pro­tec­tion brand Su­per­goop!.

Se­cond, blue light af­fects your sleep. It sup­presses mela­tonin, the hor­mone that reg­u­lates your cir­ca­dian rhythm (the sleep-wake cy­cle), says Dr Na­dine Pern­odet, vice-pres­i­dent of Es­tee Lauder’s Skin Bi­ol­ogy and Bioac­tives group.

“It sig­nals to the body that it’s still day­time, and that it should re­main alert and awake. This im­pacts our sleep qual­ity, which in­hibits our skin’s nat­u­ral repair, lead­ing to ac­cel­er­ated signs of age­ing,” says Dr Pern­odet. That’s why us­ing blue lightemit­ting de­vices like your mo­bile phone, e-reader, tablet or other elec­tronic gad­gets be­fore bed­time is a bad idea.

How do you pro­tect your skin, then? Try us­ing prod­ucts with in­gre­di­ents that may pre­vent blue light from caus­ing skin dam­age. Su­per­goop!’s Un­seen Sun­screen has red al­gae, which ab­sorbs blue light be­fore it comes into con­tact with your skin. These al­gae live in the oceans at a depth that only blue light can reach, so they sur­vive by ab­sorb­ing it as food.

Vi­ta­min E may also help. In Es­tee Lauder’s new Ad­vanced Night Repair Eye Su­per­charged Com­plex eye serum, the an­tiox­i­dant re­flects blue light away from the del­i­cate eye area. The serum also has a clock gene tech­nol­ogy to jump-start the skin’s night-time repair process each day.

Al­lies of Skin has turned to a flower ex­tract – hy­drol­ysed ver­bas­cum thap­sus – in its 1A All-day Pol­lu­tion Repair Mask. Ap­ply the overnight mask and let the ex­tract turn bad into good by con­vert­ing blue light into a harm­less de­riv­a­tive that in­creases skin lu­mi­nos­ity.

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