High Energy Visible (HEV) light or blue light comes from sun exposure but also our digital devices such as our phones, Ipads and tv-screens. With many of us now spending more time in front of these devices, the impact of these rays on the skin is starting to become a concern. Long term exposure to blue light has been shown to not only cause serious skin damage including pigmentation, but it can also promote the breakdown of collagen and can exacerbate existing skin conditions including dry and dull skin or acne or hypersensitive skin and fine lines and wrinkles.
When combined with UVA and UVB sun damage, long term exposure to blue light can have a cumulative effect on the skin, ultimately presenting itself as premature ageing. Research on the impact of this light is scary! One peer-reviewed study of the effects of blue light on the skin, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 2010, found that exposing skin to the amount of blue light we get from the sun caused more pigment, redness, and swelling than when the same person's skin was exposed to comparable levels of UVA rays.
So what can be done to protect ourselves from the damaging impact of blue light?
1. Load up on antioxidants - inside and out.
Antioxidants are the key to defending the skin from blue light damage, this is because they are rapidly depleted the more we are exposed to damaging blue light. By giving the skin a healthy dose of antioxidants you create a "bank" or store of them so they continue to work when you remove your sunscreen.
Broccoli Extract when topically applied has been shown to work inside cells by boosting the production of a network of protective enzymes that defend cells against many aspects of damage, including UV and blue light damage. Powerful antioxidants found in Kale and St Mary's Thistle extracts are also effective at neutralising free radical and environmental damage. These superfoods when applied topically on the skin (and consumed) are known to be potent detoxifiers and repair system stimulants to help damaged tissue and rejuvenate the skin from within.
Vitamin C is also a key nutrient when it comes to defending the skin from the effects of pollution by blocking the formation of free radicals. Look for a Vitamin C serum which is plant-based vs synthetic such as No.3 Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum. The Vitamin C found in this serum is trapped in the plant cells of native Australian extracts such as Kakadu Plum, Riberry and Davidson Plum. This ensures that the vitamin C does not oxidise before being applied on the skin and does not increase skin UV sensitivity.
Loading up on vitamin C internally can also be an effective way to protect our skin and bodies from inflammation. A colourful diet rich in antioxidants including vitamin C neutralizes free radical and ensures that skin is kept firm and elastic, withstanding the effects of damaging air and pollutants.
2. Look out for hero active, Niacinamide
Niacinamide has been shown to even skin tone, help to build a strong skin barrier, but did you know it was also a hero active for protecting the skin against blue light? Its mechanism of action relates to its ability to repair and protect the skin. Blue light increases oxidative stress in the skin by inducing reactive oxygen species (ROS), a damaging process which can destruct skin proteins and lipids. Niacinamide has been shown to reduce the ROS process in response to blue light irradiation. It has also been shown to enhance the repair of DNA damage in human keratinocytes and in human skin.
3. Provide a physical barrier.
Providing a film/barrier across the skin to protect it from external aggressors. Ingredients such as polysaccharides from a net on the skin surface and stop pollutants from sticking, which therefore protects the cells from damage. Skincare ingredients containing polysaccharides include Snow mushroom (found in our Microbiome Calming Milk) along with Honey Locus Seed found in our Bloom of Youth Infusion Mask.
4. Search for ingredients that help to balance your skin's circadian rhythm
Our skin cells contain a circadian clock (body clock) which play a role in the regulation of the circadian rhythm. During the daytime, they are focused on defence whilst in the evening their focus is on repairing cellular damage. Blue light and stress can disrupt this circadian rhythm, leading to the skin being fatigued, prone to free radical damage, predisposed to accelerated ageing. The skin's detoxification pathway also slows down which means the skin's ability to repair itself, hydrate and control sebum production are all impacted.
By Anna Mitsios - Edible Beauty Founder Adv. Dip. Naturopathy. Adv. Dip. Nutrition. B.Com (Honours)