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Looking at phone, TV and computer for hours on end can cause 'invisible sunburn'

Staring at TVs, smartphones and computers for hours on end during the coronavirus lockdown can endanger people’s health and cause ‘invisible sunburn’, a leading doctor warns today.

Dr. Barbara Sturm says skyrocketing screen time is exposing people to massive doses of HEV – High Energy Visible light – which can be just as damaging as the ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun.

It can not only cause premature aging, wrinkles and sagging skin, but has been linked in recent studies to an increased risk of cancer.

With people spending an estimated ten hours or more per day in front of light-emitting screens during the crisis, Dr. Sturm recommends using protective eyeglasses, skin products and sitting further away from the TV.

Staring at TVs, smartphones and computers for hours on end during the coronavirus lockdown can endanger people's health and cause 'invisible sunburn', a leading doctor warns today. Pictured: A woman in a face mask looking at her phone in Sydney

Staring at TVs, smartphones and computers for hours on end during the coronavirus lockdown can endanger people’s health and cause ‘invisible sunburn’, a leading doctor warns today. Pictured: A woman in a face mask looking at her phone in Sydney

‘The reality and damage of HEV exposure is akin to sun exposure – you could physically avoid it altogether, but you probably won’t,’ says Dr. Sturm, a renowned Hollywood skincare guru.

Dr. Barbara Sturm says skyrocketing screen time is exposing people to massive doses of HEV - High Energy Visible light

Dr. Barbara Sturm says skyrocketing screen time is exposing people to massive doses of HEV – High Energy Visible light

‘The difference is that everyone knows they need to wear broad spectrum sun protection or risk the consequences – cancer and premature aging.

‘HEV exposure can be just as damaging and it is equally imperative that you protect your skin.’

HEV is more commonly understood as the blue, artificial light that comes off a range of smart phones, computers and even street lights.

Research suggests that exposing yourself to the light late at night confuses the body’s internal clock and triggers the production of Cortisol, a hormone that interrupts sleep.

That disruption has also been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women, according to scientists at the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Here, Dr. Sturm – whose A-list clients include Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss – explains the risks involved and how you can protect yourself. 

Hollywood skincare guru Dr. Barbara Sturm writes wearing specialized HEV light skin cream can help protect against wrinkles 

Although I am a medical doctor focused on aesthetics, my career has been devoted to combating inflammation in both joints and skin. These days I field many questions from customers and patients about what we should change in our skin care regime during the stay at home phase of the coronavirus response.

Skin is more than just a beauty device, and healthy skin is more important to overall health than most people realize. Skin is our body’s largest organ, and it is the first thing that encounters the outer world. Skin is the armor that protects us from pathogens, pollution, UV rays and everything we come in contact with.

With entire countries now working from home and widespread school cancellation, screen time – the time we spend sitting in front of our computers, mobile phones, tablets and flat screen TVs – has predictably spiked up to 50% according to Internet service providers.

Internet viewing is so high that Europe is considering a shutdown of high definition television availability, forcing all Europeans to watch low resolution TV to preserve broadband.

An American Academy of Dermatology study found that all those HEV-induced free radicals destroy the complex cell structures over time, including the skin's collagen and elastin

An American Academy of Dermatology study found that all those HEV-induced free radicals destroy the complex cell structures over time, including the skin’s collagen and elastin

What does your skyrocketing screen time have to do with your skin? All of these devices emit a blue-colored thing you have probably never heard of called High Energy Visible light, or ‘HEV.’ The sunlight spectrum is comprised of UV, infrared and visible colors of the rainbow, each with varying wavelengths. UVA and UVB light from the sun are invisible light, which we all know during daylight hours can harm your skin’s health and appearance. 

Blue HEV light penetrates from 380 to 500 nanometers, reaching all the way to the hypodermis skin layer. HEV can penetrate as deeply and be just as damaging to skin as ultraviolet rays. Recent studies show HEV light generating similar amounts of reactive oxygen species like nitric oxide as UVA and UVB combined, causing oxidative damage to cells and other bodily functions.

An American Academy of Dermatology study found that all those HEV-induced free radicals destroy the complex cell structures over time, including the skin’s collagen and elastin. HEV light exposure from our screens can also cause premature aging, dryness, impaired skin healing, melasma, sensitivity, wrinkles, uneven tone and texture, and sagging skin. HEV is shown in studies to cause the ultimate skin killer – an inflammatory cascade. 

Dr. Sturm writes: 'Get your phone away from your bed; HEV exposure in the night triggers the production of Cortisol, a hormone that interrupts sleep'

Dr. Sturm writes: ‘Get your phone away from your bed; HEV exposure in the night triggers the production of Cortisol, a hormone that interrupts sleep’

The inflammatory cascade in turn affects skin healing, skin barrier function, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and cellular cycles. And the harmful effects of HEV have been shown to be exacerbated by exposure to air pollution. So the reality and damage of HEV exposure is akin to sun exposure – you could physically avoid it altogether, but you probably won’t. 

The difference is that everyone knows they need to wear broad spectrum sun protection or risk the consequences – cancer and premature aging.

HEV exposure can be just as damaging and it is equally imperative that you protect your skin against it using daily skin care with ingredient science that blocks HEV light and helps the body adapt to the aftermath of HEV exposure. 

Here are five steps you can take to protect yourself from the ravages of HEV:

First, limit excessive screen time, which is currently averaging over 10 hours a day, and increase distance between your skin and the screen.

Second, wear blue light filtering glasses, just as you do sunglasses, to protect against eye damage.

Third, get your phone away from your bed; HEV exposure in the night triggers the production of Cortisol, a hormone that interrupts sleep.

Fourth, use skincare products that contain HEV light filters and apply high concentration Hyaluronic Acid regularly – clinical studies show it does double duty keeping your skin hydrated and promoting the skin barrier function that affords you some natural protection against UV and HEV alike.

The quarantine period of the current health crisis is a good time to reflect on the health of our families and ourselves. If you are studying how to do that, including reading this on your computer or mobile phone, you should be using protection against High Energy Visible light

The quarantine period of the current health crisis is a good time to reflect on the health of our families and ourselves. If you are studying how to do that, including reading this on your computer or mobile phone, you should be using protection against High Energy Visible light

And fifth, use the best ingredient science, in oral supplements and skincare, to further protect your face – examples include Cacao Seed, which contain powerful anti-oxidants that combat the free radicals produced by HEV exposure, and Adaptogens, compounds that help the body adjust to the physical stresses of UV, HEV and other environmental stressors. 

The quarantine period of the current health crisis is a good time to reflect on the health of our families and ourselves. If you are studying how to do that, including reading this on your computer or mobile phone, you should be using protection against High Energy Visible light.

Like seatbelts and sunscreen, the public needs to be educated to protect against new dangers it did not previously know existed, both in these quarantine days and beyond. Protect your skin and it will protect you back.  

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Written by Angle News

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