Artificial blue light emitted by cellphones, computer screens and TVs has a dark side.
You’ve heard me talk about how overexposure to this blue light can cause insomnia and vision problems like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. It can even increase your risk for certain cancers.
But did you know blue light can also damage your skin?
Blue light penetrates even deeper into your skin than UVA and UVB light… passing through the epidermis and dermis all the way to the subcutaneous layer. This innermost layer is made up of fat, collagen and elastin. Damage to this level can actually change the shape of your face.
One study found that 30 hours of blue light exposure can increase inflammation in your skin cells by 40%.1 A second study found that DNA-damaging free radical production starts after only three hours of exposure.2
The average American spends almost 11 hours a day staring at one screen or another. This exposure can lead to:
- Hyperpigmentation and age spots
- Accelerated photoaging
- Collagen breakdown and wrinkles
- Sagging skin
- Skin cancer
The most effective way to heal the damage caused by blue light – and bring back ageless skin – is with a powerful enzyme called superoxide dismutase, or SOD.
SOD is your body’s master antioxidant.
It works by neutralizing the most dangerous free radicals in your body – superoxide radicals or “anions.” Overexposure to UV rays from the sun creates these nasty anions. And so does blue light. In fact, blue light starts to create anions in seconds.3
Each of your cells suffers about 10,000 “hits” a day from these free radicals. Superoxide free radicals burn holes in cell membranes. They destroy enzymes, proteins, fats and DNA molecules. They alter the way cells code genetic material. They cause inflammation.
Most antioxidants can’t touch these superoxide radicals. Only SOD is strong enough to take them on. In fact, it has 3,500 times the antioxidant power of vitamin C.
SOD triggers the conversion of superoxide radicals into hydrogen peroxide, a less harmful oxygen-based free radical.4 In other words, they become harmless oxygen and water. SOD then remains on site to extinguish the fiery inflammation that follows.
The best source of topical SOD comes from an unusual source – snail serum. You see, “snail goo” is similar to human skin. And it contains a complex mixture of chemicals that help the snail regenerate after injury. In fact, clinical research supports just how effective snail serum is at building healthy human skin.
One study published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology shows that along with its antioxidant protection, snail serum improves signs of photo-aging and promotes skin cell creation and survival.
And in two recent studies, researchers looked at the effects of snail serum on skin cells exposed to severe air pollution. They found that treating tissue with snail serum protected the skin by as much as 30%5 and prevented apoptosis — or the death of existing skin cells.6
The cosmetic name for this slimy excretion is snail filtrate. To protect skin, look for a serum that lists Helix aspersa Müller as one of the first few ingredients. That way, you know you’re getting enough.
2 More Super Sources of SOD
It’s important that your body break down free radical superoxide before it creates cellular damage in your skin. To increase SOD levels, I recommend supplementing with two fruit extracts.
- Chokeberry. Rich in anthocyanins, this Native American berry can neutralize free radicals. In a human study, patients supplementing with aronia berry a day saw SOD levels increase by 29% in two months.7 I recommend taking 300 mg daily. Chokeberries are also known as aronia berries.
- Melon extract. Made from cantaloupe and honeydew, this supplement has been shown in animal studies to boost SOD 38% in only 12 days.8 Look for a product with 10 mg of this concentrated melon pulp.
1. Schlabach J. Report: 64 of Consumers Unaware of Blue Light Impact on Skin. Global Cosmetic Industry. Published September 3, 2020. Accessed January 27, 2021.
2.Godley B, et al. “Blue light induces mitochondrial DNA damage and free radical production in epithelial cells.” J Biol Chem. 2005 Jun 3;280(22):21061-6.
3. Noh B, Spalding E. “Anion channels and the stimulation of anthocyanin accumulation by blue light in Arabidopsis seedlings.” Plant Physiol. 1998 Feb;116(2):503-9.
4. Faraci FM, Didion SP. “Vascular protection: superoxide dismutase isoforms in the vessel wall.” Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004;24(8):1367-73.
5. Valentina G, et al. “HelixComplex snail mucus as a potential technology against O3 induced skin damage.” PLoS One. 2020;15(2):e0229613.
6. Trapella C, et al. “HelixComplex snail mucus exhibits pro-survival, proliferative and pro-migration effects on mammalian fibroblasts.” Sci Rep. 2018;8:17665.
7. Broncel M, et al. “Aronia melanocarpa extract reduces blood pressure, serum endothelin, lipid, and oxidative stress marker levels in patients with metabolic syndrome.” Med Sci Monit. 2010 Jan;16(1):CR28-34.
8. Lalles JP, et al. “A melon pulp concentrate rich in superoxide dismutase reduces stress proteins along the gastrointestinal tract of pigs.” Nutrition. 2011 Mar;27(3):358-63.