The potential effects that blue light has on your sleep and eyes are well-established, but what about your skin?
According to research, protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays is no longer enough. You need to remain mindful of blue light, especially in relation to skin damage and premature aging.
While exposure to blue light isn’t new, since blue rays are emitted from the sun, it is society’s heavy reliance on digital devices that has become a growing concern. As reported by Stanford News, based on the new working-from-home-economy, 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home. This means that as a society, we’re facing more screen time than ever before.
While it’s important to be aware of this potential cause-and-effect relationship, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are steps you can take to protect your skin for many years to come.
What Is Blue Light?
Blue light is a high-energy, short-wavelength light that’s part of the visible light spectrum — which is the segment of the electromagnetic spectrum that the human eye can see. These colors include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Collectively, they produce the white light you see when the sun shines. Rays on the red end of the spectrum have less energy, whereas rays on the blue end of the spectrum have more energy.
Although the sun is the primary source of blue light, smartphones, laptops, tablets, TV screens and indoor lighting also emit blue light. Much like UV rays, blue light has also been shown to affect your skin. Since digital devices are such a major part of everyday life, prolonged exposure is causing concerns.
The major issue today is that humans are not exposed to adequate levels of natural light during the day and are overexposed to high levels of artificial light in the evenings. While the sun emits much more blue light than everyday devices, the amount of time people spend using these devices and the proximity of these screens to the user’s face is the issue.
What Are the Problems With Blue Light and Your Skin?
One of the major reasons that blue light is an issue is because of how often we are exposed to it. Some estimates state that we now spend 50 percent of our lives in front of screens. A study by Qualtrics and Accel found millennials check their phone an average of 150 times a day.
Unfortunately, research shows that blue light can alter your skin cells. Being exposed to blue light for periods as short as 60 minutes can cause these changes, which are linked to an accelerated aging process. These effects and the resulting damage is cumulative, which means the effects aren’t noticeable right away. The impact that blue light has on your skin is ongoing.
In a 2014 study, it was found that although blue light did not lead to signs of cancer growth, which is the case for UVB exposure, blue light led to significantly more hyperpigmentation — in other words, skin damage.
The relationship between blue light and skin health is complex, as shown in this 2019 study. Just as blue light can impact your sleep cycle, it may also through off your skin cells’ circadian rhythm. Since blue light can reach deeper layers of the skin compared to both UVA and UVB light, there are concerns surrounding oxidative stress.
There is also mounting evidence that blue light contributes to:
- A breakdown of healthy collagen and elastin
- Increased inflammation
While the research on blue light is still in its early stages, and it’s too early to draw definitive conclusions, early clinical studies suggest a fairly high potential for skin damage.
How to Protect Your Skin From Blue Light Damage
Since blue light comes from both indoor and outdoor sources, you must consider both when aiming to protect your skin.
Since most of us require our phones in our personal and professional lives, it’s important to start here. Some smartphones now come with a night mode. For example, Apple’s Night Shift. This will change blue light into yellow light. While the goal is to make the screen easier on your eyes, this shift in color may also help protect your skin. Health experts recommended enabling this mode on all of your devices at all times.
One of the best ways to protect your skin against blue light inside and outside is to invest in a quality mineral sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen that contains ingredients such as zinc oxide or iron oxide. Not only will these products physically block the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, but also minimize the impact of blue light.
The best sunscreen products will also be made with antioxidants, such as rosehip oil and green tea extract. These ingredients help restore and revitalize your skin. All Good’s Sport Mineral Sunscreen is an excellent example, which pairs perfectly with Get Glowing Lip & Cheek Tints.
Last but not least, add lip care to your skin regimen. The skin on your lips is thin and highly susceptible to damage. Invest in chemical-free lip balms that protect and moisturize.
Tips on How to Prevent Blue Light Skin Damage
- If possible, limit screen time.
- When using laptops and smartphones, use the dimmest setting without straining your eyes.
- Wear blue-light blocking glasses to protect the sensitive skin around your eyes.
- Wear SPF daily. Chemical sunscreens cannot block blue light, whereas physical sunscreens might.
- Tinted sunscreens that contain iron oxide offer added protection because they increase the spectrum of light blocked.
- Don’t forget your lips!
Take a proactive approach to protect your skin, using products that are All Good!