Are Electronic Devices Aging Your Skin? Why HEV Light Matters
November 20, 2017
by Brigid Anderson
Using electronic devices is an instrumental part of our lives. We've become a society addicted to and reliant upon these devices for every aspect of our lives. We're constantly on our phones, using our tablets, our computers, or binge watching Netflix on our huge TVs.
We've all heard that these things could be causing cancer, destroying our eyesight, and our attention spans, but a new reason to be terrified of our device addiction (other than having to wait another year for the next season of “Stranger Things”) is HEV light and IR light, or High Energy Visible light and Infra Red light.
We all know about the dangers of UVA and UVB rays generated by the sun and we have had the importance of protecting our skin from them nailed into our psyche, but UVA and UVB are only two of the many spectrums of light. HEV light is a visible spectrum of blue to violet light that is emitted from fluorescent lights and all of our electronic devices.
So why does HEV matter? For one, blue light has been shown to keep the brain alert and therefore messes up our sleeping habits. Secondly, there is now a growing concern that HEV light is just as dangerous to our skin, if not more so, than UVA and UVB rays.
Studies have shown that HEV light does penetrate the skin more deeply than both UVA and UVB light. Though we may not feel the effects of over exposure from HEV like we do from UVA and UVB rays, the theory is that the damage caused by our constant exposure to HEV causes non-reversible aging.
Before you freak out and swear off Snapchat for good, there has been very little data to back up the claims that HEV does in fact speed aging. More research does need to be conducted in order to firmly state that the claims are 100% accurate and our devices are genuinely giving us wrinkles. However, we do know that despite a lack of scientific data to back something as fact does not automatically mean that it isn't.
Onestudy found that certain skin types do indeed have a higher percentage of hyperpigmentation when exposed to HEV than UVB light. Anotherstudy, funded by a cosmetics company called Lipo Chemicals says “results indicate that HEV light may significantly affect the skin’s inflammatory cascade and its progression to healing, barrier recovery, cell cycles and melanogenesis. The results may explain the variety of previously described effects of HEV light on skin and shed new light on the understanding of what is believed to be the harmful impact that leads to accelerated skin aging”. Granted, this study funded by Lipo Chemicals has the potential to have a confirmation bias since they then formulated a product to manufacture and market as protection from HEV light.
Lipo chemicals aren´t the only ones on the HEV protection bandwagon:
MAKE Beauty offers a black primer (yep, it is indeed black) called Moonlight Primer that protects from HEV light, as well as a neck repair serum, Moonlight Repair, formulated to repair damage to the neck from constant device use. Both are products I have recently purchased and am excited to review in an upcoming post.
Though the aging effects of HEV and IR light have not been proven, “HEV Protection” is likely the next big buzzword in the beauty industry. Don't be surprised when you see more and more products protecting from HEV hitting the shelves.
Though these products may circumvent any damage done by HEV, unless they state otherwise (like Soap & Glory) these products do not contain sun protection, therefore sun protection must be worn in addition.
For now, continue protecting your skin from UVA and UVB and keep an eye out for more data relating to HEV's effects of the skin. If HEV is a concern for you, you may want to pick up one (or all if you're paranoid like me) of the products above or cut back on your selfies.