Phones cause wrinkles, ‘detrimental effects’ from blue light

Staring at your phone is causing you more than eye strain, it’s giving you wrinkles.

Dermatologists have long understood that ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun damage the appearance and overall health of the skin — but the harmful effects of blue light emitted by LED screens, such as on smartphones, televisions computers and other gadgets, are still being revealed .

But a new study found that whether outside on a sunny day or inside in front of a screen, light is aging us — and the damage is far worse than previously thought.

The latest findings released Wednesday have indicated that “excessive exposure to blue light … may have detrimental effects on a wide range of cells in our body, from skin and fat cells, to sensory neurons,” Oregon State University scientist Jadwiga Giebultowicz said of the study , published in the journal Frontiers in Aging.

“Our study suggests that avoidance of excessive blue light exposure may be a good anti-aging strategy,” Giebultowicz added.

Unfortunately, researchers noted, “humans in advanced societies are exposed to blue light through LED lighting” — from phones, computers, TVs and ambient lighting — “during most of their waking hours.”

Aging occurs in various ways, but on a cellular level, we age when cells stop repairing and producing new healthy cells. And cells that aren’t functioning properly are more likely self destruct — which has ramifications not only in terms of appearance, but for the whole body. It’s the reason why the elderly take longer to heal, and their bones and organs begin to deteriorate.

“Our study suggests that avoidance of excessive blue light exposure may be a good anti-aging strategy,” said Oregon State University scientist Jadwiga Giebultowicz.
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The new study identified metabolites as an “essential” indicator of cell function. In their statement, Giebultowicz said the work is “the first” to show that these “signaling” chemicals, which are naturally occurring during cell metabolism, are significantly “altered” by blue light exposure. More specifically, they saw that levels of succinate, or succinic acid, in fruit flies increased under excessive blue light, while glutamate decreased.

“High levels of succinate after exposure to blue light can be compared to gas being in the pump, but not getting into the car,” Giebultowicz explained. “Another troubling discovery was that molecules responsible for communication between neurons, such as glutamate, are at the lower level after blue light exposure.”

Oregon State researchers previously demonstrated that stress-protective genes spike in fruit flies exposed to light, while those who remained in darkness lived longer. It’s also been previously declared that “too much screen use has been linked to obesity and psychological problems,” a press release noted, conditions that could lead to early death.

As for the current study, the insects make an appropriate analog for humans because we share the same signaling chemicals in cells, they said.

“Humans in advanced societies are exposed to blue light through LED lighting during most of their waking hours,” said Giebultowicz. However, the flies were subjected to “a fairly strong blue light,” more intense than what humans regularly endure. “Future research involving human cells is needed.”

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