by Masha Nova
It feels as if our perfect baby skin glow needs a constant kick back from radicals, in the style of eminent wonder woman meme (lights and golden bracelets intact). From the UV rays (regardless of the season), to pollution and an inventory of harmful chemicals we do not allow anywhere near our IG perfect pink jars, the list just goes on. Screen ageing is the new hype in town, and as always, we investigate, while poorly attempting to cut our screen time in half (yes, impossible, but no harm in trying).
Besides the general blues we are definitely getting every winter, the dangers of the blue light from our screens and the term ‘screen ageing’ is something we have only discovered recently. Surely, the high-energy visible light (also known as HEV) is not as savage as UVA/UVB light, but since we are glued to our devices now more than ever, we do not wish to tempt premature signs of ageing (this study from the Journal of Biomedical Physics and Engineering is to blame).
Due to the beauty of modern lifestyle, humans are not exposed to adequate natural light during the day (hence vitamin D being just as important as any fancy serum on our shelfie). On the contrary, the overexposure to light emitted from electronic devices we are getting is relatively high (check your smartphone screen report, we dare you). It would not be as daunting, if only HEV did not interact with human cells and just go by its business. Even on a small-scale interaction it can increase the generation of reactive oxygen species. In human language meaning oxidative stress – the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body.
The science is inconclusive so far (can the ‘blue light’ also cause pigmentation and skin darkening? Acne? Uneven skin tone?), but Jaga Giebultowicz, a researcher in the OSU College of Science who studies biological clocks, led a research collaboration that examined how fruit flies responded to daily 12-hour exposures to blue LED light (similar to the prevalent blue wavelength in devices like phones and tablets) and turns out, the light did accelerate ageing! Not only the blue light shortened their life span, it also influenced their retinal cells and brain neurons.
In short, screen ageing might take a while to run its course but we won’t take our chances (*shuts the laptop, makes a dramatic exit).
The Hype of Anti Blue Light Skincare
Even though there is little to no research at all regarding how the creams with UV broad spectrum (SPF) could protect from other sorts of light, and while we are certainly reluctant to be covered in sunscreen in front of our Zoom meetings, some advice to make use of it.
Without doubt, the beauty industry jumped on the bandwagon of screen ageing, when we gave up on the notion of living smartphone free. So, what is out there on the market, besides the promises of sunscreen protecting us from laptops too? If you desperate to splurge, Chantecaille dropped a Blue Light Protection Serum, formulated with hyaluronic acid and fermented algae extract, which vaguely guarantees to activate the skin’s photosensors to repair against blue-light damage (not prevent but repair is the key word here). Gen-Z beauty brands followed shortly with similar promises, in the likes of One Ocean Beauty Blue Light Protection Hydration Mist (which boasts active ingredients from algae extract to peptides) to Volition’s Screen Time Extra Mist (with marigold extract, which the brand assures it hinders absorption of HEV rays).
While the formulation of such products are indefinite, simply going for an antioxidant serum might add up to your choice of preventative screen ageing care. Activate your skin cells natural defences with healthy lifestyle choices, alpha-lipoic acids and Vitamin C in your jars.
We spoke to Los Angeles based licensed esthetician, Suzie Soghoyan, to get a better idea as to which products are safe and sufficient, especially for the precious eye area that gets the most strain from our tablets and phones.
“The eye products I always use are the eye serum by Agent Nateur & the CBD eye cream by Haoma”, these Suzie alternates and does not mix together. For the clients she suggests “using eye serums because they are more easily absorbed than creams and don’t cause milia around the eyes (small bumps that occur due to an excess of keratin or clogged pores – OhBar),” her go-to’s include serums from Tatcha and Biossance. To open up and re-fresh the look Suzie swears by Gua Sha “I’ll use the pointy side of my cold gua sha tool to drain any fluid in the mornings which helps the puffiness”, she confirms.
Besides buying an alarm clock (no phones in the bedroom), investigating new serums, massaging rose quartz crystals into our faces and putting blue light blocking glasses in our online shopping carts, we sure hope to have the strength to set up a timer for our screen time (and respect it too).