It’s well-known that ultraviolet sunlight is responsible for a substantial amount of premature skin damage. Based on a growing number of studies, however, the dermatological community is beginning to discover that UVA/UVB protection may not be enough in the fight against visible aging. There’s another type of radiation that could be equally bad for your skin — and it’s hiding in plain sight.
HIGH ENERGY VISIBLE LIGHT
High Energy Visible (HEV) light, also called blue light, sits right next to UV light on the electromagnetic spectrum. With wavelengths ranging from 380 nm to 500 nm, it makes up approximately one-third of the spectrum of visible light.
Unlike ultraviolet rays, which are invisible, visible light is detectable to the naked eye, meaning that your skin is receiving HEV radiation nearly every time any light source allows you to see your surroundings.
DEEP CELLULAR DAMAGE
HEV light penetrates even farther into your skin than UV light, reaching all the way down into the hypodermis, and sunscreen can’t block it. Science shows that concentrated exposure can generate free radicals and trigger inflammation, ultimately disrupting pigment production in your skin as well as impairing cell regulation, healing, and barrier function.
The most prevalent result is discoloration, including dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Studies have also linked HEV to wrinkles, loss of firmness, loss of elasticity, dryness, uneven texture, and other visible signs of photoaging.
BLUE LIGHT IS EVERYWHERE
The largest source of HEV light by far is the sun; however, even indoors and at nighttime, your skin is exposed. Smartphones, computers, fluorescent lights, LEDs, flat-screen televisions, and other man-made lighting are all sources of blue light. Although these digital devices emit a much smaller amount of HEV than the sun, they’re much closer to our faces, and — unlike the sun — we look right into them on a frequent basis. Research is demonstrating that in this modern age, our level of exposure to digitally-emitted blue light can reach harmful levels.
What does this mean for you and your clients?
The right skincare regimen can help protect against UV and HEV-related photoaging. Learn more in our next article, More Than SPF: Building a Complete Photoprotective Skincare Regimen.