Have you been applying sunscreen? We often hear this reminder when stepping out in the sun during summer. While protecting our skin from the sun's rays is important, we must also consider the effects of blue light.
Dr Mudasir Rashid Khan, a Consultant Dermatologist and Cosmetologist at Sanjeevani Hospital in Jasola, New Delhi, explains that blue light is emitted from digital screens such as computers, phones, tablets, and televisions. It is part of the visible light spectrum, which is visible to the human eye.
With increased screen time due to the lockdown, we are exposed to more blue light. Not only do we use digital devices for work, but we also spend time watching movies or series. Even children are dependent on phones or laptops for studying and entertainment.
Dr Khan explains that blue light affects the skin in two ways. Firstly, it increases the production of melanin, which can lead to melasma or pigmentation. Secondly, it can create free radicals that cause skin inflammation and break down collagen and elastin, resulting in skin ageing.
So, which sunscreen should you apply? The right sunscreen not only protects us from ultraviolet rays when we are outdoors but also shields us from blue light emitted by screens. Dr Khan suggests two key points:
Dr Khan also highlights the effects of blue light on the eyes. Prolonged exposure to blue light can increase the risk of macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss. Blue light can damage the light-sensitive cells in the retina and contribute to early ageing.
Excessive exposure to blue light can also disrupt sleep, cause eye strain, and lead to dry eyes. Furthermore, it can result in premature skin ageing and pigmentation within just three months of excessive exposure, affecting individuals of all skin types.