What does blue light do to your skin?
We're spending more time than ever on our screens which emit blue light and it can have an impact on our skin. Read on to understand how blue light emitted from screens can affect your skin and how you can screen-proof your skincare routine.
What is blue light?
Blue light is a type of high-energy visible light that we can see with the naked eye. It's why we see the sky as blue because that's visible light being reflected back to us. It's a short wavelength light that has a high amount of energy. It's close to ultra violet (UV) light on the light spectrum.
Where will I encounter blue light?
The sun emits blue light but there's also more sources of blue light in daily life that you're being exposed to including from your smart phone, LED lighting, TVs and computer screens.
How harmful is blue light?
Blue light produces free radicals which are one of the biggest contributors to skin damage and it can penetrate our skin to the same extent as UV rays. It also causes oxidative stress, cell damage, can affect sleep patterns (when the body recovers and repairs), our eyesight and slows down collagen and elastin production. Essentially blue light can impair the skin's ability to recover so concerns you see on your skin could potentially take longer to disappear if you have high blue light exposure.
Studies by The Journal of Investigative Dermatology have shown that exposure to blue light for over 30 hours increases inflammation in skin cells by over 40% and that people of colour are more likely to experience hyperpigmentation as a result of blue light exposure.
But it's not all bad. Spending time outdoors in visible light can boost our wellbeing and some blue light therapies have been developed for skin issues like acne.
How to spot blue light damage?
Much like sun damage, blue light damage shows itself on your skin as pigmentation whether that's age spots or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
What ingredients can provide blue light skincare protection?
Whilst suncream is well known to protect the skin against UVA and UVB rays, it's not so simple for blue light protection; although wearing SPF daily always makes good skincare sense. There are plenty of natural skincare ingredients that can help provide a level of protection against blue light as well as alleviate the appearance of blue light damage. Look for anti-oxidant rich ingredients like the ones below that will help fortify your skin barrier.
Tomato Fruit Extract
Tomato has been studied and found to help protect against free radical damage. It's also very anti-oxidant rich and contains a high amount of palmitic acid.
Zinc oxide and titanium oxide
Known to brighten skin, help stimulate collagen and elastic as well as help manage the effects of pigmentation, vitamin C rich natural skincare ingredients is a good staple for your blue light skincare.
Aside from the ingredients in your skincare and your diet, you can also try to limit the amount of screen time you have, lower your screen brightness or get a protective screen for your devices, and even use headphones when making phone calls to keep your phone away from your face.