How your cell phone could damage your skin

The pandemic has had a ripple effect on almost every aspect of society, including potential impacts on our skin.

An Ofcom report found that the average person spent over 40% of the day waking up on their phone during lockdown, and as we hit dark and cold nights, more time was spent indoors again using technology.

But being glued to our phones can have negative impacts on our skin and accelerate the aging process, thanks to the “blue light” they emit.

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And the stress and anxiety brought on by the lockdown and the pandemic won’t do any favors for your skin, either.

Dr Olivier Amar, leading cosmetic surgeon and marketing director of Uvence, explains how overexposure to blue light can inhibit our ability to take care of our skin – the largest organ in the body.

What is blue light used for?

When we use digital devices such as phones and laptops, we are exposed to what is called “blue light”.

Overexposure to blue light is bad for our skin, and with the rise of technology over the past decade, we are more exposed to blue light than ever before.

This particularly applies to the younger generation who tend to use their phones more frequently than other age groups.

It’s no surprise that during the pandemic, screen time also skyrocketed due to the Zoom boom and reliance on technology to connect with each other, which has increased. exposure to blue light at all levels.

“We are more exposed to blue light than before”

Many people use devices at night, which can disrupt our sleep patterns because exposure to blue light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us drowsy.

During sleep, our body undergoes vital repair and restoration processes, which include repairing damaged skin cells. Excessive exposure to blue light can therefore inhibit our body’s ability to enter its repair mode, which directly affects the quality of our skin.

Studies also show that blue light can induce oxidative stress in the skin, which can contribute to aging like UVA rays.

However, blue light can penetrate deeper into the skin, up to our collagen – the main structural protein found in tissue.

Do we have to look at the screens a certain number per day for this to have an impact?

We not only use screens for work and business use, but also during our downtime to connect with friends and family.

While it can therefore be difficult to drastically reduce the time we spend staring at screens, I would recommend limiting the time you spend on devices, as oxidative stress in our skin cells can occur after so little. than an hour. exposure.

Is it worse to use our phones in the dark?

While many people are aware that screen time and blue light can have a negative impact on the quality of sleep, especially when we use our phones right before bed, which is less well known, this is how lack of sleep has a direct impact on our skin.

When we sleep, our body regenerates itself, which includes processes such as repairing damaged cells and rebuilding collagen in the skin.

Hence, when we have interrupted sleep or complete sleep deprivation, it can lead to symptoms like fine lines, swollen eyelids and dark circles.

As exposure to blue light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin – the hormone that makes us drowsy – this can therefore inhibit our body’s ability to enter its repair mode which directly affects the quality of our skin.

Dr Olivier Amar, leading cosmetic surgeon and marketing director of Uvence, explains how too much screen time can have an impact on our skin

Is this a fairly recent discovery?

When it comes to the long term effects of any health problem, professionals become more aware and better informed over time.

The rise of technology and the consequent increase in screen time over the past 20 years has made blue light a more pressing concern for skin quality, and it is still relatively new. in industry.

What can people do to protect their skin from blue light?

If we try to limit our screen time, we will be exposed to less blue light, which will help ensure a better night’s sleep, which in turn benefits the skin.

I recommended switching your phone to dark mode as it helps reduce exposure to blue light, especially before bed.

Dr Amar recommends switching to “dark mode”

Should people wear an SPF indoors to combat this?

Exposure to blue light from screens is not as intense as that from the sun, so wearing SPF indoors to protect the skin is not as vital as it is when we are in direct sunlight.

However, it can still cause damage to the skin, and so for people who spend long hours on their devices, there are products on the market that can help.

Not all sunscreens and SPFs protect against blue light, so be sure to find one that does.

How does stress affect the skin?

Feelings of stress have become more and more common during the pandemic, which in turn can impact the quality of our skin.

While stress affects everyone differently, visible signs can range from short-term blemishes and acne to premature wrinkles if experienced over an extended period of time.

Dr Amar added: “Since the start of the pandemic, cosmetic industry practitioners and surgeons have noticed an increase in demand for patient treatments, with one of the most common concerns with my patients being texture. skin.

“This growing interest comes from existing patients as well as from people who had never considered cosmetic procedures before.

“After the lockdown, my peers and I saw a resurgence of interest in skin rejuvenation treatments, such as PRP and Uvence, as many people believe the past 18 months have had a negative effect on the quality. of their skin due to stress and aging.

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