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What is HEV light and why should I protect my skin from HEV?
By Hanna Oltmanns - November 1, 2022
As we all know sunlight is composed of various frequencies. It’s made up of visible and invisible light – UV rays and infrared light are both invisible for example. Visible light accounts for 50% of the sunlight spectrum and is the only part which we can see with the human eye.
The cool thing is that sunlight contains all the colors of the rainbow, including blue and violet colours. This is visible light which has a particularly high energy level and is known as High Energie Visible (HEV) or blue light. Blue light is part of the sunlight and is the main reason why on a cloudless day we see the sky as blue. However, blue light (HEV light) is not only part of the sun’s spectrum it is also present in any digital device with a screen, meaning that regardless of the time of day we’re exposed to it 24/7.
“We’re exposed to HEV light regardless of the time of day!”
Why should you protect your skin from HEV light ?
UV rays and HEV light affect the skin differently. Compared to UV rays (consisting of UVA and UVB rays) HEV light penetrates the skin even more deeply. UV rays have the potential of causing DNA damage, linked to skin cancer, while HEV light is linked to premature skin againg. In line with causing a too early aging process, HEV light can cause hyperpigmentation which may lead to sun spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Similar to UVA rays, HEV light generates free radicals which are also know as ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species). These free radicals cause skin cells to produce enzymes that break down collage and elastin, both of which are responsible for a youthful skin appearance. This process is also known as oxidative stress. When our body is put under stress while the levels of antioxidants in our body are not high enough to counteract the damaging effects of free radicals a process of skin aging starts.
Additionally, blue light that is contained by the sun’s rays is known to result in changed skin cells, e.g. the shrinking of skin cells. As we get a double exposure to HEV light – both from the sun light and from screens – it is even more important to protect yourself from it to keep your skin youthful.
“HEV light generates free radical which can lead to oxidative stress resulting in premature skin aging”
How can you protect yourself from HEV light?
A great first step is to incorporate a daily beauty routine. You’re exposed to HEV light independent of the time of day and regardless of whether you are inside or outside. For this reason, sun protection should be part of your daily skincare routine. As we’ve already learned, premature skin again is linked to oxidative stress. Make sure you look for sunscreens containing antioxidants such as Vitamin E and Coconut Oil that will help to protect your skin’s youthfulness.
A recent study has shown that sunscreens formulated with Iron Oxides provide enhanced protection against HEV light, especially when combined with Zinc Oxide.
What’s great to know about Suntribe sunscreens is that quite a few of our products contain a combination of Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, mineral Iron Oxides as well as antioxidative Vitamin E and Coconut Oil – which is ideal to protect you from UV rays as well as HEV light! Check out for example our All Natural Body & Face Sunscreen SPF 30, All Natural Mineral Day Cream SPF 20, All Natural Zinc Sun Stick SPF 30 in Retro Red and All Natural Face & Sport Zinc Sunscreen in Retro Red.
To summarise: Choose a sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, and make sure that it contains antioxidants. The antioxidants will help to reduce oxidative stress caused by HEV light. This type of sunscreen will be a great choice to prevent premature againg and hyperpigmentation!
“Suntribe sunscreen with Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides and antioxidants offer both broad spectrum coverage and enhanced protection against HEV light”
Other impacts of HEV light
As with most things in life, HEV has both positive and negative effects.
Benefits of blue light can be that it promotes alertness and helps boost memory and cognitive function. It can help to elevate our mood and regulates our circadian rhythm. With blue light being part of natural sunlight, it helps our bodies to wake up in the morning and supports our system in releasing sleep hormones (Melatonin) once the sun goes down. Yes, exactly, HEV light is the reason why most of us wake up when the sunlight reaches our bedroom!
When we’re exposed to blue light at unnatural times of the day, our circandian flow can be disturbed and our sleep patterns can become irregular as a result. As blue light is a short step away from ultraviolet light on the electromagnetic spectrum, it is associated with serious eye issues like macular degeneration.
To help give all around protection and to regulate blue light to its beneficially effects, consider enabling the “night mode setting” on your digital devices permanently. It significantly reduces blue light in favor of harmless yellow light. Be sure to wear large sunglasses with darkend lenses that have a UV rating when you’re outside and potentially think about getting some “computer glasses” with a yellow tint that block blue light from most modern-day monitors if you are on a screen several hours a day.
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about the author
Hej, I’m Hanna. I love the outdoors and I am the first one to enjoy every beam of sunshine possible. Through traveling several countries over the past few years, I have become more and more aware of the great need for sustainability in every aspect of our daily life. Through working with Suntribe I am joining the movement of sustainable production of organic cosmetic and help to raise awareness about the issue of harmful chemicals in personal care products for humans and nature alike.