Blue Light from electronic devices - why should we care?
Posted on November 23 2018
A modern lifestyle
Screens are part of our daily life.
In 2014, Nielsen’s Digital Consumer Report recorded that US consumers own 4 digital devices on average and spend 60 hours a week consuming content through digital media. This is said leaving aside the time spent in front of screens for work and professional activities.
The effects of increased screen exposure on eyes or on sleep quality start to be well documented. It is now admitted that too much time spent in front of screens at night induces growing difficulties to fall asleep, by disruption of our circadian rhythm. Moreover, screens are responsible for eye strain and could even cause eyesight disorders.
Understanding the effect of artificial visible light on the skin
The effects of artificial visible light impacts cell viability, ATP synthesis, procollagen I secretion levels, cell proliferation capacity, cellular mitochondrial damage, etc.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the main energy source for all intracellular processes and most of body functions. Because ATP cannot be stored, mitochondria continuously work for providing ATP synthesis and its distribution.
Restricted ATP production leads to broad changes in the transcription factors network and activation of stress signaling in human dermal fibroblasts. For instance, reduced ATP content is reported in a wide spectrum of diseases associated to mitochondrial function alteration. During aging, dermal levels of ATP decline and create an energy deficiency, thereby affecting skin maintenance.
Screen emitted light acts as an additional environmental stress, resulting in increased cellular fatigue, and disrupted morphology and behavior of key skin cells, the fibroblasts.
Firstly, the exposure to screen light damages the energetic machinery of the cells.
The mitochondrial network, which is in charge of the production of the cells’ fuel in the form of ATP, is altered. More precisely, after light exposure the network is fragmented leading to a significant decrease of ATP production.
Secondly, screen emitted light weakens the mobility, communication and proliferative capacities of fibroblasts. Exhausted and isolated, they are less able to produce key matrix components and less functional to interact with their environment, hindering proper matrix remodeling process.
As a result, skin vitality is reduced.
Figueiro, M G, et al. “A Train of Blue Light Pulses Delivered through Closed Eyelids Suppresses Melatonin and Phase Shifts the Human Circadian System.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 4 Oct. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24124400.
Sroykham, W., & Wongsawat, Y. (n.d.). Effects of LED-backlit computer screen and emotional selfregulation on human melatonin production. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24110034.
Kuse, Y., Ogawa, K., Tsuruma, K., Shimazawa, M., & Hara, H. (2014, June 09). Damage of photoreceptor-derived cells in culture induced by light emitting diode-derived blue light. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24909301