If you’re spending more time in front of digital devices, you should know how the blue light from them affects you. While there are positive effects on the body from blue light, it’s important to be aware of the potential negative effects it can have on your skin. This article will help you to understand and protect your skin from blue light.
Blue light is important to understand from a skincare perspective because it can contribute to hyperpigmentation and photoaging. Photoaging is premature aging of the skin caused by the sun and some artificial light sources.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment in clean skincare, make sure you’re reducing your exposure to sources of potential skin damage in your environment. Let’s start with what blue light is and why it’s important, and then we’ll cover to how to protect your skin from it.
What is Blue Light and Why is it Important?
Blue light, also called HEV light, is a high-energy, short-wavelength light. It is part of the spectrum of visible light and is emitted from digital devices like computer and cell phone screens, as well as the sun. With increased working from home, virtual meetings, and staying in for movie nights in the era of social distancing, blue light exposure is significantly increasing for many people.
How Does Blue Light Affect Your Body?
Blue light has both positive and negative effects on the body. It helps regulate your circadian rhythm and improves your mood. Unfortunately, it’s also linked to macular degeneration in the eyes. Exposure to significant amounts of blue light on the skin has the potential to cause:
- DNA disruption
- increased inflammation
- hyperpigmentation or melasma
In a study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity in 2015, researchers found that exposure to blue light may stimulate the production of free radicals in the skin. Free radical production can accelerate premature aging of the skin. Signs of aging can include wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and loss of skin elasticity.
If you want your skin to look its best without makeup, one of the keys is to reduce your exposure to things that cause hyperpigmentation of the skin. Hyperpigmentation occurs when patches of skin appear darker than the surrounding areas due to increased melanin production. This is why we’re always advised to wear sun protection every day.
Liver spots, or sunspots as they’re also known, are a type of hyperpigmentation. Melasma is another type of hyperpigmentation that can be caused by hormonal changes.
How to Protect Skin from Blue Light
Protecting your skin and eyes from blue light emitted from your screens can be simple. Here are five easy ways to prevent potential photo-aging while you’re working or watching Netflix.
- The quickest way to reduce your exposure to blue light is to decrease the brightness to 50% or less on your device screens. Set up a blue light filter or night-mode to reduce their brightness at night.
- Look for a physical sunscreen that contains iron oxide to block blue light and UV radiation. This protects your skin from photo-aging from the sun and your digital screens.
- Use an antioxidant serum in the morning that’s formulated to protect your skin from pollution and free radicals. Antioxidants are important to help prevent your skin from these things and to help prevent premature aging.
- To reduce your risk of hyperpigmentation, use a hands-free Bluetooth device.
- Don’t forget to protect your eyes and circadian rhythm! A pair of blue light blocking glasses, designed to prevent eye strain in gamers, can help protect your eyes from blue light. They have the added benefit of reducing the blue light’s effect on your circadian rhythm whether you’re gaming, scrolling or watching TV at night.
While research in this area is new, we do have some studies that point to blue light’s negative effects on the skin. To avoid premature aging and hyperpigmentation, protect your skin and eyes from prolonged exposure to blue light from your device screens and the sun. Remember to cut down on the wear and tear of your skin so that you’re giving your skincare products the best chance they can to keep your skin evenly toned and looking youthful.
Reactive oxygen species are generated when the skin is exposed to HEV light. 2015. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity Journal.