Is your phone making you look older?
We all know about the harmful effect of UV rays on skin, but now dermatologists are warning of the dangers of 'blue light', writes Dominique Temple
There's no question about it, we are all addicted to our phones and spend way too much time on them.
Whether it's answering emails, checking in with loved ones, using apps to calculate how many calories we have burnt or simply making a phone call, our phones have become an intrinsic part of our lives and, arguably, our personalities.
But did you know that your mobile phone is estimated to contain 10 times more bacteria than a loo seat? And on that disturbing note, when was the last time you cleaned your phone?
What is blue light?
When talking about protecting our skin, dermatologists, skin experts and brands tend to focus on the damaging effect of UVA/UVB rays, with beauty houses and brands constantly launching products to defend against the nasty rays.
More recently the rise of anti-pollution products has seen the beauty industry become saturated with anti-pollution creams and lotions. The latest healthy skin inhibitor is HEVL: high energy visible light, aka 'blue light', that is found on our phones, computer screens and TVs. The beauty industry is ploughing money into products that claim to protect against screen-face and blue light exposure.
According to market researchers Mintel, "In the UK, 38pc of women aged 16-24 years and 54pc of US women look for anti-ageing products that even out skin tone caused by too much exposure to blue HEVL. Like SPF was in the 90s, HEV is set to become the new beauty buzzword to shop, with super brands such as Lancome, Soap and Glory and bareMinerals already choosing to market and promote the HEV-blocking properties on their product labels."
To put things into perspective, skin expert and founder of skin brand Paula's Choice, Paula Beth Begoun explains: "UVA rays have a wavelength of 220-440 nanometres, UVB has 280-370 nm and blue light has a length of 380-500nm."
Sunscreen protects up to and including a wavelength of 400nm, proving the proximity and exposure of blue light to be severely damaging to our skin and higher than sunscreen can protect you from.
"The severity of blue light and its effect is the proximity and prolonged period of time that we are exposed to the rays," advises Begoun. We sit in front of our screens for an average of eight hours a day and if that's not enough, we then go home and spend our evenings scrolling through Facebook and online news sites, which can mean in one day you have spent around 90pc of your waking hours in front of blue light. If you dare, tap into your phone's settings to find out how many minutes you've spent on your phone - the figure is quite scary.
How can you protect your skin from blue light?
"The best way to protect your skin is by using a broad spectrum SPF," advises skin expert Bianca Estelle.
"Look to a serum or treatment cream that contains alpha arbutin which is clinically proven to treat hyper pigmentation and prevent pigmentation from forming - a side effect of over exposure to blue HEVL."
Amp up your skin armour with an anti-oxidant rich serum, anything including vitamins ACE as "these will prevent free radical damage that are linked to cancer," advises Estelle.