Covid 19 and Social Isolation
The Covid-19 Pandemic has caused chaos and many tragic deaths across the world and we are deep in battle against it. Epidemiological and historical lessons have taught us that social isolation, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, quarantine and closure of non essential services are the weapons we need until a vaccine or cure becomes available. In Australia, these measures are working and we are adapting to our new normal. For some, it is unchanged but for many it has caused major changes to business and personal lives. This translates with being at home more, budgeting and using our devices to stay connected with the world and perform our work roles.
In 2014, the average adult was on there smart device for an average of 2.5 hours per day. This statistic is no doubt on an upward trend, even before the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the Pandemic and the enforced lock downs around the world and social distancing this screen time has increased by between 25-50 % at least for the author of this blog. In Australia, the social distancing and restrictions on non-essential business are working and we will get through the pandemic and become stronger as a united front.
What can we do about screen time? This question can be deeply philosophical or quite technical. Obviuously working from home and increased boredom lends itself to occupy our time in front of the screen. This is not good long term as it tires us, removes our attention from loved ones and is simply not sustainable. We will adapt to the new normal. What you implement on a daily basis can help. Restrict screen time to certain parts of the day for example but further suggestions are beyond the scope of this blog.
Screen time has been shown to be harmful in may ways as I will outline below. The blue light that is emitted during screen time is what causes the harm. What can we do to minimise blue light’s harmful effects? Below you will learn what we can do.
What is Blue Light?
Light travels from the sun through our atmosphere to the intended target (structures on earth). If you recall in High School physics much debate occured amongst scientists historically if light was a particle or wave. It is accepted that light is both a particle and wave and transmits electromagentic radiaton.
Invisible light such as ultra violet light is dangerous as it causes skin cancer, premature ageing and is harmful to the eye (100-350nm). The beginning of the visible light spectrum from 350 to 700nm is where blue light or violet light exists. Specifically blue light is 400-450nm and it is here where the wavlength is both short and has high energy. This is termed High Energy Visible (HEV) light.
HEV Light otherwise know as blue Light is emitted by sun light and a number of modern devices. These devices include LED screens, fluoresecent lighting, iphones, smart phones, tablets and other devices. With the increased use of such devices by the average person the amount of blue light exposure has increased exponenentially in the last 5 years. To put it into perspective, the average adult spends 53 minutes on social media a day so the amount of blue light direct expsoure is well over an hour a day and increasing.
HEV light is high energy in the 400-450nm (Violet/Blue) visible light range, hence the “blue light” labelling. See the figure below outlining the spectrum of light.
Does Blue Light Cause Photogenic Ageing?
Blue light has been shown to cause retinal damage in rats. The mechanism of damage is the formation of free radicals that cause oxidative stress and direct damage to the retina. While these results cannot simply be extrapolalated in humans, the formation of free radicals and therefore cell damage can. There are a number of scientific studies currently in progress to learn more about blue light and the effects on skin and the human eye.
To place in perspective UV light is between 100-300nm and this is well known to cause photo genic ageing and skin cancer. HEV or blue light is 400-450nm and early reports from some skin studies in the USA suggest it may penetrate deeply into the skin structures to cause ageing, much like UV light does.
The formation of free radicals has been implicated in a number of disease processes such as Hypertension, High Cholesterol, Atherosclerosis, Cancer and Cell ageing. Free radicals are atoms or molecules containing an unpaired electron. They are extremley active and short lived. Free radicals can attack cell molecules and cause direct damage. This damage in skin leads to solar keratosis and weakens the structure of skin. This leads to premature ageing.
From a scientific point of view there is yet to be firm evidence suggesting a link between blue light and skin ageing, however what is not disputed is that blue light can cause the formation of free radicals and this does lead to ageing. It is a matter of time before firm evidence presents itself.
What can we do about the blue light?
We can use our devices less if possible. The use of blue light blocking glasses is effective, and these are available at a number of retailers (more as a fashion statement-blue spectales). Specific eye lenses can be made or purchased to filter out blue light.
Other options are turning the screen brightness down on our devices, some devices allow the colour to be changed to a dim grey.
Take more frequent breaks from the screen and remember to blink more.
What products are available to protect us?
There are beauty products available that protects against blue light. Babor has the perfect glow ampoules which are exclusivley available at Artiste Plastic Surgery. These ampoules contain a cacao peptide as an active ingredient that is know to have anti oxidant properties. It also produces an amazing glow.
At Artiste Plastic Surgery we are pleased to offer these Babor ampoules at our online shop for only $92 to protect your skin and give it a glow during these iso times.
Disclaimer: At Artiste Plastic Surgery, our Plastic Surgeons led by Dr Jack Zoumaras have been trained to the highest possible degree. All surgery has risks and it is always advised to get a second opinion. Risks are very real and we cannot guarantee any result. Results are illustrated as a guide only. All risks are managed and any need for revision surgery or complications (1-5%) can be managed by our specialist plastic surgeons.
Any statements on how you will feel is based on Level V Evidence:
Level V: How you will feel after plastic surgery varies between individuals, depending on psychological and physical factors. Our internal research is based on how patients in our practice feel after surgery.
The blogs are not a substitute for a medical consultation and do not form as part of the doctor to patient relationship.