Most of us know that sunlight contains visible light rays and invisible ultraviolet or UV rays that are responsible for burning your skin. The visible light rays we see contains a range of different-coloured visible light rays that emit different amounts of energy.
Understanding blue light
Let us all try to refresh our memory of physics lessons that we were taught in school. So, we know that there is an inverse relationship between wavelength of a light ray and the amount of energy it emits. This means that light rays that have short wavelengths have more energy and those with longer wavelengths have less energy.
In particular, blue light is in the high-energy visible light (HEV) band in the violet/blue band that ranges from 400 to 450nm in the visible light spectrum. This means that it has short wavelengths and have high energy. Light rays beyond the blue/violet band are invisible and are called UV radiation.
Blue light is everywhere
Blue light is becoming increasingly common in recent years. Various technologies including computers, televisions, and lights contain blue LED light. People are unknowingly exposed to blue LED light via their digital devices and other modern technologies.
Although the amount of HEV blue light emitted from these electronic devices is low, doctors have raised concerns about the excessive amount of time people spend using these devices and the proximity of these blue-light-emitting devices.
Harmful effects of blue light
Our eyes are effective at filtering out UV rays from reaching the retina, which is at the back of the eyeball. On the other hand, blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina without any filter.
This means that prolonged exposure of blue light to the eyes may lead to increased risks of macular degeneration. In serious cases, it can cause permanent vision loss.
Other than causing irreparable damage to your eyes, studies have also shown that blue light from electronic devices can cause degeneration of skin cells, including cell shrinkage and death. Over time, you may notice that your skin may age prematurely even though you may not be under the sun for prolonged periods.
Blue light has also shown to cause pigmentation. A study found that prolonged exposure to blue light causes more inflammation and pigmentary changes in people with darker skin tone.
Blue light can be beneficial too
Even though prolonged exposure to blue light can have negative effects, it is also beneficial in some ways. For one, we use LED Blue Light to treat mild to moderate active acne. It works by suppressing the activity of the sebaceous glands so that they produce less oil that often plug hair follicles, which may then lead to acne.
In addition, blue light is also effective in eliminating acne-causing bacteria. The pigments in Cutibacterium acnes resonate at about the same frequency of blue light. When exposed to medical-grade LED blue light, the pigments eventually break down the membrane and destroy the bacteria.
How to blue-light-proof your skin
With the closure and travel restrictions in many countries, we are seeing an increased use of digital applications such as FaceTime, Zoom to connect with colleagues, friends and family.
So what can we do to mitigate the harmful effects of blue light?
Use a sunscreen at home
Many people still don’t diligently apply sunscreen outdoors, and even fewer people apply sunscreen when they are indoors.
Always apply sunscreens that contain physical blockers such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These act as a barrier by providing a shield on your skin, blocking, and absorbing blue rays.
Antioxidants are important
Blue light is shown to cause premature ageing of the skin by inducing oxidative stress. Applying sunscreen alone may not be sufficient to protect your skin from blue light.
Incorporate antioxidant serums such as Vitamin B, C, E & Ferulic Acid Serum into your skin care regime, to fight both free radicals and dark pigments.
Take regular breaks at work
Look away from your computer screen for about 1-2 minutes for every 20 minutes of work. Try to look at a more distant view, preferably greenery such as trees or plants. This allows the muscles inside the eyes to relax.
Use some hydrating, refreshing eyedrops to hydrate and lubricate your eyes 1-2 times a day. It helps to refresh the tear film and clear any dust that may have accumulated on the eye surface.