You might be pretty shocked to find out that you’re surrounded by something that can cause wrinkles, decrease collagen in the skin, and even kick-start hyperpigmentation. It’s even more shocking to realise that this something is also emitted from our favourite devices - smartphones, tablets, and computer screens.
We’re talking about blue light.
In studies, blue light has been shown to harm the skin in the same way that UV rays can. What steps can we take to protect our skin from excessive blue light exposure?
What is Blue Light?
So, what is blue light in the first place? Is it just light that’s… blue? Blue light refers to a certain wavelength of light from both the sun and technology screens. This wavelength is actually what’s responsible for making the sky appear blue. In normal, natural circumstances, the amount of blue light exposure the average person gets from daylight isn’t a problem.
However, what makes blue light a problem for our skin is that we now have so many unnatural sources of blue light that we spend hours and hours looking at every day.
This includes the computers we work at, the TVs we watch, and worst of all, the blue light-emitting devices that live right in our pockets: our phones.
Think about how long you spend endlessly scrolling on your phone. If you have a smartphone, chances are it will tell you exactly how many hours you spend on your device - and all the worse if those hours continue late into the night. Here’s why you’re going to regret all that late-night binge-watching!
How Does Blue Light Affect Skin?
Studies have found that blue light causes negative changes in skin cells, causing premature signs of ageing. Specifically, high-energy, high-wavelength blue light is associated with DNA damage, skin barrier damage, and photoaging (the fancy word for skin ageing caused by light exposure).
The thing is, photoaging is normally associated with excessive UV light exposure. Fortunately, blue light doesn’t have the same potential for skin damage that results in cancer as UV light does. However, the effects of premature wrinkles and hyperpigmentation caused by blue light are still concerning. Studies have found that such hyperpigmentation takes much longer to fade than dark spots caused by UV light.
There’s one more way blue light could indirectly affect your skin, too. Blue light exposure disrupts your natural sleep and wake rhythm. By staying up late watching movies or on your phone, you’re not only exposing your skin to the harmful effects of blue light.
Your disrupted sleep cycle could cause other skin issues. Lack of sleep is linked to skin issues such as thinner skin, more sensitive skin, and dryer skin. So, stop using your phone until the wee hours of the night - your skin will thank you!
How Can I Protect My Skin from Blue Light?
Protecting skin from blue light exposure is a combination of prevention and protection. Sunscreen and antioxidants are the best way to protect your skin from the harmful effects of blue light.
Specifically, sunscreen that has organic filters, such as zinc, titanium, or iron oxide. These natural sunscreens are ideal for reflecting blue light away from the skin, protecting it from long-term damage.
Antioxidants can also help to mitigate the effects of blue light on the skin, up to a point. A study found that combining seaweed-based antioxidants and niacinamide could lighten dark spots from blue light.
Protecting your skin from blue light also starts with looking at your screen time habits. Long hours spent looking at your phone could be harming your skin. If you can, take a break from all screens from time to time to reduce the impact of blue light on your skin!
Or, if you're still at the stage of trying to create a skincare routine, try our skin analysis. You'll get tips tailored to your skin type, plus a free mini routine to try!
- Dermalogica Biolumin-C Gel Moisturizer
- iKOU Phyto + Antioxidant Day Creme
- Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF30
- Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum
- Dermalogica PowerBright Moisturizer SPF50
- Grown Alchemist Invisible Natural Protection SPF30
- Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Brightening Night Capsules