Your Technology is Ruining Your Skin... Wait, What?
Here's a question for you: do you spend more time in the sun or in front of your digital devices? (I can take a wild guess).
According to the Nielsen Total Audience Report for 2018, American adults spent over 9 hours per day in front of a digital device. Yes, you read that correctly... 9 h-o-u-r-s per day! If you're anything like me though, you aren't the average American adult:
I spend 8 hours a day on my computer during working hours; when my work day is over, I head over to YouTube to watch a few videos from my favorite beauty gurus and vloggers; after watching a few videos (or while watching a few videos, I'll be honest) I scroll through my Instagram to see what everyone's up to (a vicious cycle). Combine all this time and I spend close to 12 hours in front of a digital device. Sound like you?
What does this have to do with my skincare routine?
It turns out that our digital devices emit High Energy Visible (HEV) light. HEV light is light in the visible violet/blue band ranging from 380-450 nanometers; this light is just as damaging to the skin as pesky UVA and UVB rays we get from sun exposure.
In fact, HEV light exposure promotes the production of reactive oxygen species or ROS, which are unstable molecules containing oxygen that easily react with other cellular molecules; the amount of ROS produced by HEV light is the same as that produced by UVA and UVB rays combined! Terrifying.
ROS damages our DNA and ruins the fiber network of collagen, elastin and the extracellular matrix within the skin's dermal layer (the second layer of your skin that helps produce sweat, grow hair, make oil and more). The result? Premature aging in the form of hyperpigmentation otherwise known as dark spots or freckles, fine lines and wrinkles!
This effect of HEV light on the skin is "affectionately" known as "screen face!" Next time you visit your dermatologist, try this: ask them to guess in which hand you hold your phone. Generally, a trained eye can tell which side of your face gets the most exposure to HEV light based on the appearance of your skin. With exposure to HEV light your skin actually takes on a dull, sallow and dirty appearance that looks different than your skin's exposure to the sun. As if we don't have enough to worry about ☹
But first, what the he** is fractionated melanin?
Melanin is a photo-protective pigment (contributing to our skin color) found in both plants and animals that absorbs all light wavelengths of the solar emission spectrum.
Melanin is released from melanocytes (your melanin-forming cells that contribute to your skin color) within the skin and is the first line of defense against exposure to damaging light waves and rays.
While melanin is naturally produced in the skin, the ability to absorb light waves within the HEV region is relatively low and cannot effectively protect the skin from HEV light produced from your cell, laptop, tablet, TV, etc..