The Effects of Online Gaming and Blue Light on Your Skin
Did you know that online gaming can take a toll on your skin? Find out its effects and how you can protect yourself.
Based on research from We Are Social and Hootsuite, the average period Filipinos spend online gaming is about an hour and a half per day — and that’s just on gaming consoles. When you add in hours spent browsing through your phone or working on your computer, that’s a lot of screen time!
What you probably don’t realize is this much exposure to electronic screens — which emit blue light — will take a toll not just on your eyes but also on your skin.
What Is Blue Light?
Stepping outdoors into the sunlight, turning a lamp on in your room, or using any digital device — these all result in your eyes and skin being exposed to different visible (and sometimes invisible) light rays. Visible light is composed of different-colored rays containing various amounts of energy. Without getting too scientific, there’s an inverse relationship between the wavelength of light rays and the amount of energy that they contain.
On one end of the visible light spectrum is your reds, oranges, and yellows. These have longer wavelengths and less energy. Meanwhile, rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and the highest energy. Sometimes, they’re called blue-violet or violet light. The invisible rays just beyond the visible light spectrum are called ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Just a few key points you need to know about blue light:
Not all blue light is bad.
Research shows that exposure to some blue light is essential for good health. It can boost alertness, help memory and cognitive function, and elevate your mood. It’s also important in regulating circadian rhythm, the body’s natural wakefulness, and sleep cycle. Exposure to blue light during the day helps maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.
On the other hand, too much blue light at night — such as reading on your tablet or smartphone — can disrupt the cycle, potentially causing sleeplessness and fatigue. If your phone has a feature to switch from blue light mode to warm light mode, be sure to do so!
Your eyes aren’t effective at blocking blue light.
Blue light can pass through the cornea and lens — penetrating all the way to the retina. Laboratory studies have confirmed that too much exposure to blue light can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina.
Because blue light scatters more easily than other visible light, it’s not as focused. This explains why looking at computer screens and other digital devices has an unfocused visual noise that reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain.
Blue light is everywhere.
Sunlight is the main source of blue light, and being outdoors during the day is where you get the most exposure to it. There are also indoor sources of blue light like fluorescent and LED lighting, flat-screen televisions, and other electronic devices like your computers, tablets, and smartphones.
The amount of blue light emitted by these devices is only a fraction of that emitted by the sun. However, the duration you spend in front of your computer or phone is a huge concern to both eye doctors and dermatologists because of its possible long-term effects on your eye and skin health.
How to Protect Your Eyes and Skin During Online Gaming Sessions
Now that you know more about blue light, it’s vital to protect your eyes and skin — especially on days you’re exposed to your computer or phone all day. Here are some helpful habits to prevent blue light damage.
Rest your eyes.
The simplest and most obvious way is to rest your eyes. Be sure to take regular breaks away from the screen. One easy method is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a break from your computer to look at something 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. This can help avoid digital eye strain and serve as a reminder to be conscious of blue light exposure.
Invest in computer glasses.
Taking frequent breaks might not be enough to prevent eye strain. If your eyes are extra sensitive, you can opt to get a pair of computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses to help block blue light.
Put a screen protector on your phone.
Another easy way to limit your exposure to blue light is by putting a special screen protector on your device. Most screen protectors these days absorb the blue light emitted from digital devices, which helps decrease your exposure.
Wear sunscreen daily.
Studies suggest that blue light can penetrate the skin, generate free radicals, and mess up your collagen production — causing you to look much older than your age. To protect your skin from blue light, it’s essential to wear sunscreen daily. Wash your face in the morning with an invigorating facial cleanser, like POND’S Men Energy Charge Brightening + Anti-Dullness Facial Foam, which energizes tired-looking skin that can be brought about by late-night online gaming, then apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
At night, remove all traces of dirt, pollution, excess sebum, and sweat using Master Deep Cleanser Brightening Plus — this helps clean your pores effectively. Following this daytime and evening skincare routine will help keep your skin protected.
Fill your body with antioxidants.
Another way to protect your skin is by supplementing your skincare routine with antioxidants, which help counter free radical damage that occurs from blue light. Some foods rich in antioxidants include strawberries, prunes, apples, dark leafy vegetables, artichokes, and green tea.
Online gaming isn’t a bad thing — if this is your way to relieve stress at the end of a long and tiring day at work, keep playing by all means! Just remember the tips above to keep your eyes and skin healthy and protected.