If you are the seventies or eighties child, we can assume safely that the only IT support you had was a single landline with a receiving phone set that was used by everyone at home. The children of the cellular era are ignorant of these simple facts; this is how rapidly and deeply the cell phone got integrated into our lives.
The digital cohort is also affected by different kinds of quandary and dilemmas, which were unknown to the seventies times. These include tech addiction, sleep disruptions, social apathy, lack of concentration, cellular acne and aging due to cellular phones, yes you heard it right.
Is it only a myth spread by the oldies to divert your attention from the screens to themselves or a fact that requires our serious consideration? Text neck, cell phone elbow and screen face are some of the new terms that are a result of digital dependence and as we trust science more than anything else in today’s logical world so to know what science has to say about this, read on.
The link between aging and cellular phone
Blue light, the High Energy Visible light, is the connection between aging effects and cellular phones. However, cellular phones are not the only source of blue light around us.
The sun is the primary source; it is the frequency of blue light from the sun that makes the sky appears blue.
“High-energy visible light refers to the higher-frequency, shorter wavelengths of light in the violet-blue band in the visible spectrum,” says Andrew Birnie, a dermatologist and skin-cancer specialist at the William Harvey and Kent and Canterbury Hospitals. “HEV is present in daylight, but it’s also emitted by fluorescent lighting and LEDs, including TV screens, smartphones, tablets, and computers.”
Nevertheless, the difference between them and the sun is that sun is quite far away from our skin and does not affect us the way the minor sources of blue light impinge on our health. On the other hand, the amount of time being spent in front of the earthly blue light emitting objects is forcing the dermatologists, photo therapists and researchers to look into the matter with some serious considerations.
A 2016 study states that the young individuals of the current millennium check their cell phones 150 times per twenty-four hour period in comparison to the older cohort who might pick up their phones only 30 times in a day.
According to the Center for Disease Control, almost nine people are killed every day and about 1000 injured in road accidents.
Almost half of the US adults admit to reading or sending a text while driving, a study, done in 2010 by Pew Research Center reveals.
How does blue light affect our skin specifically?
Contrary to the hypothesis, blue light does not cause skin cancer and science has confirmed it. Dr. Patricia Ceballos, a licensed dermatologist reveals to our knowledge
“Blue light itself, unlike solar UV radiation, does not contribute to skin cancer, because it doesn’t induce DNA mutations the same way the sun does. But one study detected increased pigment production in skin exposed to blue light, which means that it’s theoretically possible that chronic exposure to our smartphones and other electronic devices carries an increased risk of pigment disorders such as hyperpigmentation.”
However, the research regarding pigment changes in our skin is still in infancy; blue light supposedly stimulates the production of free radicals in our skin causing disruption in the lipid layer. This lipid layer is responsible for the retention of moisture and warding off impurities from the environment entering into our skin. The loss of this important function initiates a cascade of reactions within the skin layers that causes fine lines, wrinkles, sensitivity, age spots and hyperpigmentation, some of the hallmarks of aging.
A cautious tone from another dermatologist, Howard Murad warns;
“Excessive blue light accelerates the oxidation process, which elicits inflammation and damages the skin barrier, making it more prone to signs of aging, increased uneven skin tone, dullness, pigmentation, and fine lines and wrinkles.”
Word of counsel
There is no smoke without a fire; similar red flags are being raised on a majority of platforms. Learning and awareness is the first step towards up gradation and change and that is why in addition to wearing a screen against sun damage, ‘screen-screen’ is the catchphrase of latest skin care protocols.
Even if you do not belong to the selfie-generation, here is what you can do to protect yourself from the HEV blue light.
- Wear a broad spectrum, five star UVA sun protection every day.
Dr. Andrew Birnie suggests, “Many people still don’t realize that UVA can penetrate through glass and is consistent throughout the year, not just in summer.” He adds, “If you’re sitting in front of a computer all day, and your monitor is next to a window, I think you should be more worried about the window than the computer.”
- Change the settings on your laptops, add a screen filter on your PCs and add the blue light filter on your mobile phones, these simple procedures can not only protect your eyesight, sleep patterns but can be a great aid in preventing premature aging.
- Adopt hygienic cellular phone practices; wipe it clean at least once a day with a Lysol wipe and try using speaker whenever convenient for a lesser direct contact with your skin.
- Clear your smartphones of unnecessary apps and use it as a communication device rather than a social one.
- Check your emails and facebook alerts while on your PC, and keep the screen time for your computer exclusively limited to the daytime.
- Digitally detox yourself via balancing your priorities.
- Upload yourself with antioxidants via dietary items as well as direct intake, in addition to the topical application.
Some of these are
- Vitamin C increases cell turnover.
- Vitamin E boosts collagen production.
- Retinol helps clear acne and even out the skin tone in addition to improving the skin elasticity.
- Green tea contains catechins, a host of agents that are not helpful when taken as a tea but its topical application aids in combating sun damage and free radical production.
- Coffeeberry reduces collagen damage, fights wrinkles in addition to delivering anti-inflammatory effects.
- Lycopene found in red fruits inhibits the DNA damage and boosts collagen production thereby helping fight against wrinkles.
- Resveratrol protects against UVB induced skin damage and inhibits oxidative stress caused by these radiations.
- Grape seed extract is more potent than vitamin C and E in counteracting the free radical damage.
- Genistein is another strong ingredient against the UV-induced oxidative DNA damage.
Cutting back on screen time has many health benefits for your physical, cerebral and psychological form. However, it seems too daunting a job but let us assure you, it is not impossible. It is all about setting your priorities in life and managing your time around them.