HEV Light Ages Your Skin

It’s a lesser-known aggressor that’s quietly causing damage.

While most sunscreens provide protection against UVB and UVA rays, there is another form of light that actually penetrates deeper layers of skin. High Energy Visible (HEV) light has yet to receive the same attention likely because, unlike other rays, the damage it causes doesn’t appear in the form of a tan or sunburn. Instead, HEV light can cause premature aging and hyperpigmentation that you don’t notice right away, explains New York City-based dermatologist Jennifer MacGregor, MD. 

“As the HEV energy penetrates, reactive oxygen species (unstable molecules that damage DNA) increase inflammation and tear up healthy collagen and elastin,” says MacGregor, which leads to wrinkles and loss of skin firmness. “The skin also tries to defend itself by producing pigment in the form of brown patches or blotches.”

What’s also alarming is that unlike UVB and UVA rays, which are produced by the sun, HEV light is also emitted by screens, though there isn’t conclusive research on whether or not screens produce enough light to cause serious damage. 

People should still make UVB and UVA protection their top priority, which most sunscreens account for. The majority of sunscreens do not shield against HEV light, but products that do have been popular in Asia for years and are starting to appear in other markets. Add one of the following to your skincare routine to provide another layer of protection.

Photo: Getty Images