Is your smartphone causing premature skin ageing?

It’s no secret that the harsh UV rays from the sun can cause serious damage to unprotected skin, from sunburn and premature ageing to the all too scary possibility of developing melanoma. But have you ever considered the damage that other light we are exposed to on a daily may have on our skin?

Blue light, also known as High Energy Visible Light (HEV) is something we come into contact with every day. It's the type of light emitted from smartphones, tablets, TV's and computers and is virtually unavoidable in the modern world where we're surrounded by screens.

Recently the beauty industry has seen products popping up claiming to protect us from these harmful rays just as SPF does with suns rays, but are these really necessary or is it just another beauty industry money making racket preying on our fear of not having flawless wrinkle-free skin until age 90?

Unlike UV rays, blue light doesn't cause DNA mutations meaning it does not increase your likelihood of developing skin cancer. However, some studies claim that overexposure to this light can cause cellular inflammation of the skin - damaging the collagen and elastin in the skin, causing what some have dubbed ‘screen face’. The skin becomes prone to signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, a dull complexion and a loss of elasticity.

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With limited research to support these claims, on a trip to L’Oréal’s Biological Advanced Research Department Lab in Paris, IMAGE Beauty writer Holly O'Neill put the question to Françoise Bernard, a photobiologist who studies the effects of light rays on the skin. Her response; ‘'there's no evidence of blue light having an effect on the skin, only the eyes are sensitive to blue light. We're looking at it at the moment and right now, there's no solid scientific evidence to support the claim that the light emitted from the computer or phone does any damage to the skin."

So the jury’s still out. The limited research that is available is leaning towards it causing some accelerated ageing of the skin, however, the expert says there's nothing to be concerned about. Either way, I'll hold off on the €70 ‘screen face’ protecting cream.

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