Not so great news for those of you currently crashing through Making a Murder Season 2!
We all know the feeling: You're on the fifth episode of your favorite new show, and you know you should just turn it off but you can't quiiite bring yourself to stop watching. Well, fellow binge-watchers, I've got some bad news: On top of taking up a whole lot of time, taking in too much TV can do some serious damage to your skin.
If you’re serious about preventing premature ageing, it seems protection from UVA and UVB rays is no longer enough, as evolving research confirms that blue light – emitted from the sun and our digital devices – is also bad for our skin. #FML!
Dr Justine Hextall, Dermatologist on behalf of The Harley Medical Group explains how binge watching your favourite shows can affect your skin.
'There seems to be emerging evidence that light from cell phones and computer screens, which is referred to as high energy visible (HEV) light, can in fact penetrate into the deeper levels of the skin.
'This results in free radical damage that is upregulating an enzyme MMP-1.
This enzyme breaks down skin collagen and elastin, the structures that keep the skin firm and youthful, leading to the development of fine lines and wrinkles, not to mention sagging skin. Using a laptop or phone outdoors causes an increase in exposure to UVB and UVA light due to the reflective qualities of the screen.
'This increased concentration of UV exposure along with the exposure to HEV light is prompting experts to strongly recommend covering up skin and wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen whilst using them outside.
'When choosing a sunscreen it is important to consider its broad spectrum qualities to protect against UVB and UVA but also longer wavelengths we see with visible light.'
With millennials checking their phones an average of 150 times a day, and a 2017 report finding UK adults clock up more than 10 hours of screen time daily, we’re getting significantly more blue light exposure than we used to from the sun alone. Dr Murad, the influential dermatologist behind his eponymous skincare brand, explains that, “spending four eight-hour workdays in front of a computer exposes you to the same amount of energy as 20 minutes in the mid-day sun. To put this in perspective, "seven minutes of sun exposure at 1pm is powerful enough to induce immediate tanning”.
“Blue light has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin compared with both UVA and UVB light”
Blue light also compromises our beauty sleep by way of disrupting our natural circadian rhythm. “If exposed to significant amounts of blue light at night for example, you may find it more difficult to fall asleep,” says Dr Murad - (hands up who watched Netflix and scrolled trough their phone in bed last night). It’s because, he explains, blue light “affects the level of melatonin, our sleep hormone”.
Not only this, but new research from Estée Lauder demonstrates that blue light exposure at night impacts the natural circadian rhythm of skin cells themselves. Dr Nadine Pernodet, Estée Lauder Companies’ scientific spokesperson, explains the findings of their testing: “Results indicate that exposure to blue light at night can throw skin’s natural circadian rhythm ‘out-of-sync’, causing skin cells to continue to ‘think’ it is daytime, impacting their natural nighttime repair process, which can lead to visible signs of ageing, and even dark under-eye circles.”
BUT - Is all Blue Light Bad?
Acne sufferers use blue light as a beauty treatment, which is recommended by many skincare dermatologists and experts. There is research showing that, in small bursts, blue light is an effective therapy for certain skin disorders such as breakouts and can also assist with killing bacteria in the deeper layers of the skin. The levels of Blue Light emitted through LED Light masks are not damaging compared to prolonged periods of screen time.
So how do you Protect your skin from Blue Light Damage?
Clearly one needs to take an indoor and outdoor approach given that both sunlight and our digital devices emit blue light.
Before you tweak your skincare regime, address your tech and cover your phones and computers with a blue light shield. It’s a cheap fix and eliminates the need to worry about skincare or sunglasses when using your phone or tablet, advises Some smartphones have a setting that disables blue light in favour of yellow light (often called 'night mode' or 'nightshift'), which makes it easier on your eyes and on your skin. If your phone has this feature, use it all the time as a great anti-ageing and eye-saving method. Easy.
Topical antioxidants are an absolute must
When it comes to protection from products, take cover with a ‘smart shield’ sunscreen packing antioxidants. The new bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Defense is a broad spectrum, non-chemical mineral SPF 30, loaded with antioxidant-rich cocoa extract said to help protect against the damaging effects of blue light from devices.
So it's not all bad news folks - just remember to stock up on your antioxidant skincare and your pretty much good to go. I mean, lets face it, we are all still going to be religiously watching our fav TV shows tonight and I, for one, am addicted!...