- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Dermatologists Say Sunscreen Can Protect Us from Blue Rays
If light did not exist, we would cease to exist. But light is so complex and intriguing that most of us don’t even know what it comprises of. There are many layers and depths to understand light rays. Some rays are good and some are bad. The worst one that harms the skin is the blue light. It can come from both natural source (sun, candle) and unnatural source (electricity). Let’s understand what blue light is and why it’s so dangerous!
What Is Blue Light?
Light consists of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves. These waves emit energy - the shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy. Each wavelength is represented by different color and together these wavelengths make an electromagnetic spectrum.
There are many categories of spectrum - gamma rays, ultraviolet rays, x-rays, radiowaves, etc. but the one part of spectrum human eye is sensitive to is the visible light. Visible light can be seen as various colours: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Since blue light has very short wavelength, it therefore possesses a higher amount of energy. Exposure to the blue end of the light spectrum can cause long-term damage to your skin and eyes.
So now that you know what blue light is, let’s tackle the main problem- what does blue light do to my skin?
Before we get to the bad news, let’s start with good one. Blue light is a part of visible light, not solar UV radiation, which means it does not contribute to skin cancer. It does not trigger DNA mutations in the same way as the sun does. Therefore, exposure to blue light will not encourage skin cancer. Told you it was good news!
Now for the worst - Blue light, according to various studies, can cause hyperpigmentation and accelerate aging. Sounds terrible, we know. The science behind this catastrophe is that “blue light” or high energy visible (HEV) light can penetrate deep into the layers of skin and speed up aging, thereby causing premature aging. It damages by releasing cell damaging free radicals and it affects more than UVA and UVB rays. Blue light hits the layers where collagen (or hyaluronic acid) and elastin reside. The substance that holds the skin together giving its youthful and plumpness starts to decline, and it is replaced with wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin.
Blue light has also proven to increase pigment production. It’s bad enough it causes aging, but hyperpigmentation too? Well, excessive exposure to blue light carries greater risk of pigmentary disorders such as hyperpigmentation and skin darkening.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Skin?
And the winner is… let the drum rolls begin…. SUNSCREEN. Yes, something as simple as sunscreen will protect you from blue light. As the title clearly suggests, dermatologists recommend sunscreen to shield blue light from our skin. Sunscreen contains active ingredients such as Cinoxate, Dioxybenzone, Ensulizole, and Homosalate that help filter UV rays and defend our skin from mutation and other skin diseases.
Remember to purchase sunscreen with ingredients such as Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide to receive full and thorough protection.
Another important tip to be remembered is - always apply sunscreen even when you are sitting at home because blue light can come through your windows, emit from your LED/ fluorescent lights, and your electronic devices. Sunscreen must be applied every day, even when you are indoors and even during the evening. It may sound drastic, but your skin deserves the best.
Besides sunscreen, there are other ways to protect your skin from this harmful light.
- Using a screen shield/ blue light filter on your phone and laptop will greatly aid in prevention and protection.
- Wearing gloves and long sleeves will protect your arms from harmful sunrays.
- You can wear sunglasses before you step outside.
- You can even hide yourself under an umbrella, if needed.
Where Can Blue Light Come From?
Alas, it has many sources! Blue light can come from sunlight, digital screens (laptops, computers, smart phones, television and tablets), fluorescent lighting, and LED lighting.
So yes, walking around hooked to your smart phone is a very bad idea. Long hours of staring at your screen (be it laptop, phone, T.V or tablet) will aggravate the symptoms. Even sitting under LED tube lights is not going to help.
Living in modern world has its up and downs. One cannot completely avoid using modern gadgets or tube lights. The simplest and easiest solution to prevent and protect our skin is by applying liberal amount of sunscreen every day and every night. Go and purchase the right sunscreen and start protecting your skin before it’s too late.