When it comes to extrinsic skin ageing, we know that one of the main causes of this is exposure to ultraviolet light, specifically UVB and UVA.
In recent years, we have become aware of other atmospheric factors such air pollution that can cause premature ageing of the skin and this includes smog, ozone, vehicle fumes and smoke from factories and other industries like coal-fired power stations.
What has now been added to this growing list of environmental aggressors is infrared radiation and visible light – these both cause skin damage which is similar to photo-damage caused by UV light. When outdoors, the skin is exposed to the full solar spectrum, including Visible light (VL).
Visible light (400-700nm) makes up 40% of solar radiation that reaches the surface of the earth. It is damaging to the skin as It is not only able to penetrate the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis but also the deeper layer of the skin, the dermis. In short, it has a chronic effect on the skin. Here a complex cascade of reactions occurs deep within the skin inducing a pro-inflammatory response and oxidative damage to the skin cells which can trigger solar urticaria, actinic dermatitis, phototoxic and photo-allergic reactions in the skin.
Indoors, visible light is any kind of light that is visible to the human eye and this includes indoor lighting, televisions, tablets such as iPads, computer screens as well as cell phones.
Studies have shown that people with darker skin types and especially those who have multiple exposures to VL, are more prone towards pigmentation, making it darker and more permanent.
There are ways to lessen visible light exposure and these include spending less time outdoors in direct sunlight, wearing UV protective clothing and hats and even resorting to using an umbrella. If your skin is at risk of developing pigmentation, you would seriously need to consider how much time you spend outdoors and also how much screen time you are exposed to in your daily life.
Thankfully there are newer therapeutic and protective measures that have been developed to protect the skin from visible light. Topical antioxidants when indoors and the combination of an advanced sunscreen together with an antioxidant when outdoors.
The best way to minimize damage caused by visible light is to be meticulous in your use of a high factor, broad-spectrum sunscreen that includes high-energy visible light (HEVL) and an antioxidant which has been developed according to the Duke Parameters of Stability.
The main criteria when considering the best antioxidant is whether the product is able to penetrate into the skin so that there is a measured action with visible benefits. When a product has been correctly formulated and undergone clinical trials, you can be sure that they meet these criteria. If in doubt, you can speak to one of our experienced Dermastore® skin therapists.
Reference: J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;17 124-137