By now, most people have heard of blue light. Sounds meditative and divine, almost, but it’s not the best for your skin. (Of course, it isn’t! Because everything enjoyable isn’t good for skin, right? Cocktails… sun… and now this!). A few things can be done to prevent the blue light effect on the skin.
The visible spectrum of light includes blue light, along with all the other colors of the rainbow you may have seen spelled as ROY G BIV—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
Although blue light is bright, pretty, and part of our natural environment, it’s not without its consequences. We’ve known that it can damage eyesight, and now we know that it can affect the skin as well.
Blue light isn’t just emitted by the sun—it’s also found in LEDs, fluorescent light bulbs, phones, computers, and tablets. So what are the blue light skin effects? Let’s find out how this wavelength of light can accelerate aging.
Why Does Blue Light Matter for Your Skin And What It Is?
Blue light is part of a category of light called High Energy Visible (HEV) light. Any light with a 380-500 nanometers wavelength is considered HEV light, also called blue or ultraviolet (UV) light. Although the sun is the key source of blue light rays, reflective surfaces such as snow, water, and even sand can be sources of HEV light.
UV rays (UVA and UVB rays), which we know as the rays from the sun that can cause burning and aging. They are about 100-400 nanometers, which makes them part of the visible light spectrum, in particular blue light. HEV light also reaches the hypodermis so that it can cause collagen breakdown as a blue light effect on the skin. Here, the hypodermis is the layer of the skin below your dermis.
Damage Blue Light Can Cause
Does blue light damage skin? Just because blue light is natural doesn’t mean it can’t cause damage. The blue light emitted by the sun, as well as from electronic devices, can cause damage to skin and eyes.
- Research shows that blue light can accelerate the skin aging process by increasing DNA damage, cell and tissue death, skin barrier damage, and photoaging.
- Blue light may promote free radical damage in the skin, which is the oxidative process by which skin and other things in our environment age.
- There is evidence that blue light can increase your risk for hyperpigmentation, resulting in darker, discolored areas on your skin.
In addition, visible blue light may also disrupt the natural life cycle of cells. Skin repairs cellular damage at night, while skin cells are more focused on protecting themselves during the day.
Blue light may disrupt this process, preventing them from engaging appropriate protective and repair mechanisms, mainly when you use your phone frequently at night. Essentially, with more blue light exposure, skin cells may think it’s daytime and spend less time repairing skin damage, which can “ultimately accelerate aging.”
However, blue light isn’t inherently evil. We can use it to cure psoriasis, acne, and certain types of cancer. The damage comes when we get too much exposure to blue light. It can lead to skin effects of blue light such as hyperpigmentation, photoaging, and cell damage, as well as skin barrier damage.
Skin Damage Caused by Blue Light and How to Prevent It
You can prevent blue light from damaging the skin. Although there isn’t a singular blue light skin protector, you can do a few things to help avoid blue light’s effect on the skin.
- Install blue light filters on all of your electronic devices. Some phones already have settings that you have to activate. But you may need to install third-party software for computers or tablets, such as f.lux. At the very least, dim the brightness on your devices as night mode.
- Wear sunscreen: Yes, sunscreen can act as a blue light skin protector. Keeping light from damaging your skin while you’re out in the sun and on your digital devices like cell phone or computer.
- Take advantage of skincare ingredients such as vitamin C and niacinamide. In fact, niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, may help protect against hyperpigmentation from blue light.
To minimize visible light skin effects, you should also be taking breaks from your computer and phone. Even if you work on the computer all day, try to take a 10-minute break every hour to reset your eyes (and, you know, protect your skin)!
Products Specifically Targeted for Blue Light
If you’re searching for a blue light skin protector, there are products out there that are specifically targeted to help with blue-light-related skin damage. Here are a few of our favorites to help prevent blue light from damaging skin and repairing existing damage!
Daughter Earth Bakuchiol Serum
Designed as a blue light rescue serum, this product uses plant-based retinol alternative bakuchiol and 40 different botanicals to reduce the appearance of aging and hyperpigmentation and improve complexion. With argan oil, green tea extract, and adaptogens ashwagandha and wild turmeric, this serum can help skin look brighter and less stressed by blue light.
Colorbar Skin Shield Serum Oil
This serum is designed for blue light protection throughout the day while promoting a natural glow. With argan oil, rosehip oil, and carrot seed oil, this serum nourishes skin while providing a protective layer against blue light emissions.
Earth Harbor SAMPHIRE Sea-Retinol Digital Serum
The star ingredient in this serum is sea samphire, a plant-based alternative to retinol that can help rejuvenate skin. Not only does this serum help repair damage from blue light, but it also helps protect skin during the day. With hyaluronic acid, coconut water, and Persian lilac, you can use this serum day or night.
Kora Organics Noni Bright Vitamin C Serum
It’s widely known that vitamin C can help protect against blue light damage and heal blue light damage. Best used in the morning, this vitamin C serum features vitamin C from Kakadu plum, acerola cherry and oranges, and lemons. Olive leaf and sodium hyaluronate also make guest star appearances in this serum.
Have You Heard of Blue Light Skin Damage?
So does blue light damage skin? The answer is yes! Whether it’s from the sun or your phone, blue light can accelerate skin aging and even increase your risk for hyperpigmentation. Do you know your skin type to choose the suitable blue light skin protector? Unlock gorgeous skin now with this free skin type quiz!