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Artificial lights: silent aggression to the skin

With the sun getting hotter, it is quite common for you to be reminded at all times of how important it is to use sunscreen on your face and body to protect yourself from the damage caused by the sun’s rays.

What few people know is that this sunscreen routine is vital even for those who are not so exposed to the sun, as artificial lights (known as visible light) also damage your skin, as they alter the skin’s DNA (like the sun does, causing blemishes and accelerating aging). Moral of the story: even if you go from home to the office and barely get the sun on the way, your skin suffers too.

Natural X artificial light

The effect of visible lights is not as alarming as that of the sun (about 67% of the free radicals in our skin are generated by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, 33% are generated by artificial lights), but they are also responsible for premature aging and by the appearance of blemishes, as they alter the pigmentation of the skin.

Being exposed to artificial light for 8 hours is equivalent to about one minute and 20 seconds of sun exposure on a summer day. Therefore, the effects are not as desperate as those caused by the sun’s rays, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid preventive care. Whiter and more sensitive skins are the ones that suffer the most.

Any light bulb is bad?

Lamps that heat up, such as dichroic lamps, widely used at home because they are cheaper, emit rays that are quite harmful to the skin. Fluorescent lamps are less aggressive and represent only a minimal portion of danger, even so our skin is not 100% immune to it, which forces you not to neglect the protector.

And don’t forget: in addition to ceiling lamps, refrigerator lights, table lamps, dental office reflectors and computer, all these can damage your skin, to a lesser or greater degree, it depends on the period of exposure and if they are too close to the face.

the unknown factor

As the general concern is with the sun, there is little information about the damage caused by artificial lights, that is, most filters available on the market only block the sun’s rays and do not offer adequate protection against the light emitted by the lamps. The most appropriate, in this case, is to associate the sunscreen with the use of foundations with an SPF above 30, as they guarantee a physical barrier against the light, keeping the radiation away from your skin. That way, you avoid developing melasma.


This is the worst of all artificial lights, even the radiation from the lamps can be more harmful to the skin than exposure to the sun. Resorting to artificial tanning does not save you from suffering problems such as skin cancer, stains, aging and even serious burns. Worse still, it even increases and accelerates these risks.

How to choose a visible light shield

The only type of product that blocks the effect of visible light on the skin are physical filters, which reflect and disperse light energy, building a physical barrier to solar radiation.

In this case, you can choose a foundation or a thicker filter (which leaves white), which has zinc particles and works as a protective film, preventing radiation from passing through the skin. But remember: your dermatologist can help you in this choice, bringing more security.

Your skincare routine

For those who work indoors and do not sweat so much throughout the day, the ideal is to apply the sunscreen twice a day: first thing in the morning and after lunch. This is both on the face and on the arms, hands and other areas that are exposed, without the protection of clothing, for example.

If you work on the street, with direct exposure to the sun, the most guaranteed thing is to apply the filter every two hours or after perspiring a lot, ok?
Use a filter suitable for the face (it is more concentrated and protects better) and another for the body. Those who are whiter should opt for an FPS above 30 and the more brunettes are already protected with a factor of 20 or 30.

Daniela Hueb

Dermatologist with specialization in Aesthetic Medicine, graduated in Medicine from the University of Alfenas/MG. Affiliated to the Brazilian Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology, she constantly participates in national and international courses and congresses on dermatology.

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