Thought a disciplined SPF and skincare routine was enough to protect you from the ageing effects of the planet? Think again.
There's an unsuspecting but equally damaging culprit you need to be guarding yourself against: blue light exposure. It turns out those bedtime Netflix binges may also have a lot to answer for when it comes to ageing.
Research indicates we may quite literally be sleeping with the enemy, with studies suggesting blue light can be equally as destructive as UV rays.
"Four days in front of a computer is as damaging to your skin as 20 minutes in the mid-afternoon sun without protection," reveals David Whyte, Asia Pacific Global Educator for Murad.
A natural part of sunlight, blue light isn't a new phenomenon but with the increase of manmade devices, exposure has reached alarming skin damaging levels.
"Blue light is one of the highest-energy wavelengths penetrating deeper than UVA and UVB rays and increasing production of free radicals." Excessive exposure accelerates the oxidation process and causes damage to the skin's barrier, making it more susceptible to environmental aggressors. "Signs of excessive exposure include hyperpigmentation, dullness, fine lines and wrinkles," adds Whyte.
Exposure to blue light is unavoidable in today's world, although some people are more at risk than others. Those who work in front of a computer screen or spend a lot of time on their phone are naturally more at risk.
Thankfully, defensive skincare steps that address pollution build-up and antioxidant-packed products can counteract pollution. Technology has also paved the way for advanced environmental anti-ageing solutions, which shield against pollution and blue light from the outset.
The four step pollution solution:
We all know the importance of cleansing but often in the interest of time, we zip through it and don't give our skin the thorough clean it needs. As a general rule, cleanser should always be left on long enough for the antioxidants to penetrate the skin – try singing the alphabet through and then rinsing it off!
You should cleanse three times a day, with one in the morning and two in the evening. Your night time double cleanse is critical in reducing daily pollution build-up. For an even deeper cleanse use an electronic face brush to loosen trapped build-up and bacteria with high-speed vibrations.
Try: CLINIQUE City Block Purifying Charcoal Cleansing Gel, $46; Shiseido Cleansing Massage Brush, $55; or CLINIQUE Sonic System City Block Purifying Cleansing Brush Head, $33 – formulated with charcoal-infused bristles to detoxify skin and remove pollutants.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the purpose of a toner so here's what you need to know. Toning is the step in your skincare routine that strips any additional residue left behind after cleansing and restores balance in the skin.
The pH level of your skin is measured from 1-14, with the optimal level being 5.5. When pollution enters the skin it puts the pH level all out of whack, which leads to enlarged pores, breakouts and poor cell turnover. This is where toner comes in!
Where pollution and blue light is concerned, it's integral that your moisturiser is packed with antioxidants to strengthen the skin's barrier. Look for uplifting ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and ceramides.
The final step but most important of all – defending against the ageing aggressors! There are now ground-breaking formulas - which act like a second skin - protecting against pollution and/or blue light damage.
Most products are all-in-one formulas that also defend against UVA and UVB rays too. If existing damage is of concern look for an evening repair formula to regenerate skin overnight.
Try: Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $105; Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Hydrating Shield, $115; Niod Voicemail Masque, $69.95; or Murad City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturiser $139 .
Erin is the editor of BEAUTYDIRECTORY and beauty editor of Good Health Choices and Food. You can follow her on Instagram @erinberr.