By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0 Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

Blue Light Exposure Can Harm Your Whole Face, Not Just Your Eyes

CNet spoke to dermatologists to discuss the best ways to protect your skin from blue light.

As a whole, we spend a lot of time in front of screens.

Here are the statistics: 43 percent of adults have jobs that require the usage of a tablet or computer, and kids in the US between the ages of eight and twelve spend four to six hours a day watching or using screens while US teens spend up to nine hours using screens. More screen time means more exposure to blue light.

As screen time continues to rise, experts are now becoming concerned about the effects of blue light on skin, and whether our screens can damage our entire faces, not just our eyes. This isn’t something older generations had to worry about, but Generations X, Y (millennials) and Z have all spent years in front of screens — Gen X as their careers became more digitally driven, millennials as computers became more prevalent in schools and universities and Gen Z as tablets and phones became more common forms of childhood entertainment.

According to Dr. Michele Farber of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, “[Blue Light is] generally defined as visible light from 380 to 500 nanometers. Other types of visible light fall below that on the electromagnetic spectrum, and UV light, which is invisible radiation, falls above blue light with wavelengths of 100 to 380 nanometers. “

This type of light is very prevalent in screens for laptops, tablets, and phones.   It can be bad for your skin.

Emerging studies show that blue light can cause generation of reactive oxygen species. A reactive oxygen species is an unstable molecule that contains oxygen and reacts with other molecules, according to the National Cancer Institute. These unstable molecules damage skin cells, which results in faster aging due to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, Dr. Farber explains.

If you spend a lot of time with a screen an investment in blue light blocking glasses is a must.  You can get these online and can also get blue light protection added to most prescription lenses.  Also a lot of devices offer a way to eliminate or reduce blue light.   I have my tablet set to turn off the blue light at 8:00pm since this frequency of light can cause sleeping problems as well.   There does seem to be a benefit to distance.  A television across the room is less problematic than a screen right in front of your face.

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William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.

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