YOU SHUN THE SUN AND CHOOSE NATURAL PRODUCTS OVER CHEMICAL, BUT A SIMPLE NETFLIX BINGE COULD ACTUALLY BE DOING THE MOST DAMAGE

WHAT IS BLUE LIGHT?

Blue light refers to the high-energy wavelengths that sit on the blue end of the visible light spectrum. Much of the blue light we’re exposed to comes from the sun, however it’s also emitted by LEDs — such as those found in our phones, TVs and laptops. According to recent research, Australians are spending more than one- third of their day in front of these devices.

WHAT DOES IT DO TO MY SKIN?

Blue light isn’t all bad – at the right wavelength, it can actually be harnessed to kill acne-causing bacteria. But while relatively harmless in small doses, the issue arises from the frequency and close range at which we’re exposed to our screens – and given the fact that most of us scroll, tap and swipe until we sleep, it’s safe to say we’ve moved beyond casual exposure. Jocelyn Petroni, the skin expert behind some of Australia’s most famous complexions, warns that blue light can infiltrate the skin even further than the UVA/UVB rays we’ve been so smugly averting. “Blue light can penetrate right into the skin’s dermis, causing oxidative stress in the skin and premature ageing,” she says. It can also generate free radicals, which cause the natural collagen in our skin to break down. What we’re left with are elements of photo-ageing in the form of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and decreased skin elasticity. And if you’re regularly falling short of your beauty-mandated eight hours of sleep? According to Petroni, you’re even more susceptible to the harmful effects.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF?

Thankfully, the beauty industry has heeded our call, with a surge of blue light- protection products hitting shelves recently. Look for hydrating, antioxidant- rich formulas to defend against and minimise harm from free radicals. Petroni recommends vitamin A (retinol) as it “evens the skin’s natural desquamation [peeling] process, creating a smoother texture and reducing the appearance of pigmentation and fine lines that can be caused by the blue light”. A broad-spectrum SPF that protects against UVA and UVB is also essential, as well as hyaluronic acid to maintain optimum hydration levels.

HOLD THE PHONE

While it’s hardly realistic to swear off technology altogether, we can minimise the damage by addressing the tech itself. These days, some smartphones have a night mode that switches blue light to yellow light, which is much kinder on the eyes and skin. Blue light-filtering screen protectors are also an inexpensive option, or you could commit to cutting down on electronic devices. They’re already garnering blame for our ailing memory retention, unhealthy sleep patterns and worsening eyesight, so perhaps a digital detox wouldn’t go astray (if only just for the weekend).

“BLUE LIGHT CAN penetrate RIGHT INTO the SKIN’S DERMIS, CAUSING PREMATURE AGEING”

Q. I’VE NOTICED MY SKIN IS LOOKING A LITTLE LESS FIRM THESE DAYS. WHAT STEPS SHOULD IADDTOMYAT-HOME BEAUTY ROUTINE?

A. Firstly, losing a little firmness happens to everyone. As we age, the collagen stores that were once plumping out our skin begin to wane and go into early retirement – and when we say early, we’re talking from about age 25. What’s worse, free radicals and atmospheric skin aggressors (pollution,
UV damage, even stress) can accelerate the process, which means many of us deal with slackening skin much earlier than we should.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to downshift the speed at which your skin gives in to gravity. It’s no surprise that good nutrition and drinking lots of water play a role, but facial massage is another easy option that requires little more than an internet connection and a quick YouTube tutorial. A few gentle strokes around the contours of the face can help to tone facial muscles and boost circulation, so you can expect soft edges to sharpen up over time.

Alternatively, you can take a shortcut by enlisting a potent serum. In researching the new Le Lift Sérum, the brains at Chanel ascertained that black peppermint could counteract the oxidative stress that we face every
day. The outer skin layers are strengthened, too, which helps to block the potential aggressors from getting in there in the first place — kind of like
a botanical barrier for the face. For bonus points, after applying the serum, use facial massage to gently push the product into the skin. A few weeks in and your complexion will be looking firmer, smoother and reinvigorated. 

Words by Pema Bakshi & Kate Lancaster for ELLE Magazine