I just came across a post where several studies mention that visible light can cause damage too

…Do you think the damage could have been caused by computer screen light/HEV light? Or is the aging effect of it minimal compared to UV damage?

Great question! The mechanism behind this is believed to be reactive oxygen species (ROS) being created by visible light (400nm to 700nm) and also infrared light (700nm to 1440nm).

Light is a form of energy, the larger the wavelength the less energy it has.

This is why UVA and UVB light, which has a shorter wavelength than visible light, is so harmful. UVC light which has even shorter wavelengths is incredibly damaging, but luckily it is blocked by diatomic oxygen (O2) in our atmosphere.

This paper in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Open Access) found less ROS in human skin models when a sunscreen with antioxidants was applied versus the sunscreen without antioxidants.

They also found the produced ROS led to an increase in pro-inflammatory chemicals (cytokines) and MMP-1 in the human skin models. MMP-1 is an enzyme that breaks down collagen in the skin.

Other researchers have proposed additional protection factors for sunscreen, such as Immune Protection Factor (IPF). It’s unlikely we’ll see these labels standardized or used any time soon though.

So, should we freak out and use antioxidants and sunscreen all the time?


I don’t think there is an answer to that yet. While we’re frequently told by cosmetic companies and anti-ageing gurus that free radicals and ROS are bad and will age/kill us, they also act as important signalers and mediators and have a beneficial function as well.

Recent studies have shown the function of free radicals, ROS, and antioxidants are much more complex than how it’s often portrayed in mass media

One study found that eliminating free radicals caused by exercise could prevent some of the beneficial effects

Another study with mice bred to produce excess free radicals found that they actually had better wound healing

This study found that antioxidant N-acetylcysteine, when applied topically, enhanced melanoma metastasis in mice

Of course there are plenty of other studies that show beneficial effects of antioxidants.

At this point, unfortunately, we just don’t know the long term benefits or effects. It’s becoming more apparent that the amount and context of antioxidants and free radicals is important in creating a beneficial or negative effect.

It’s also important to remember that many antioxidant chemicals have other mechanisms of action that are beneficial that aren’t related to its free radical scavenging ability!

Hope this helps 🙂


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I’ve shared this post on /r/Asianbeauty and /r/SkincareScience

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