Everybody spends more time than ever watching videos, browsing social media, and swiping their lives away on their tablets, laptops, and smartphones. According to a new study by market-research group Nielsen, American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to, or simply interacting with media. We use it for fun, stay connected to our friends, shop, work, read, almost everything, literally. And most people are aware of the adverse effects of the screens. It has consequences on our sleep, memory, eye-sight, and even metabolism. But, lesser-known is how it affects our skin. Experts will tell you to reduce the time spent in front of a computer or on the phone, but, it’s not always possible. So, we aimed to discover for you how blue light affects your skin and what are the best protection measures.
What is blue light?
All your electronic devices, such as a laptop, TV, or phone, have one thing in common: They all transmit blue light. But what exactly we’re talking about? The human eye sees the light as a specific color when it hits a certain wavelength. So, blue light is precisely that: light with blue wavelengths. There are two main sources of it: the sun and screens. It is yet unclear from which source most of the exposure to blue light comes from. Sun is a stronger source. But we stand closer to screens, and we are exposing ourselves to it for hours.
Does blue light have a bad effect on the skin?
We are all aware that too much exposure to blue light can cause health problems such as eye conditions and insomnia. But how many of us are conscious it can also stimulate skin aging? It is natural for our skin to age with time, and it simply cannot be stopped. But some factors are accelerating it. Is one of them the blue light? Research on this topic is ongoing, and we don’t know all yet. But what we do know so far doesn’t look good. Effects on the skin aren’t visible right away. The damage is growing over time. According to a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, blue light can interrupt skin cells’ circadian rhythm. That means that skin’s regenerative cycle can get thrown out of whack and cause increased damage.
Another study from 2010 claimed that blue light that comes from the sun causing more pigment, redness, and swelling than comparable levels of UVA rays. To put it in context: ultraviolet light (UVA / UVB) can penetrate the skin’s first and second layers. Blue light can reach up to the third layer. As the dermatologists said in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, blue light has a critical role in our health, as it regulates our body’s circadian rhythm.
In 2015 the research Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity alleged that exposure to blue light stimulates the creation of free radicals in the skin, which can quicken the aging. While free radicals are building, the production of collagen is reduced. This is important due to the collagen’s purpose. Collagen is responsible for youthful, elastic, and shining skin. In case of it insufficient generation, the skin loses elasticity and ages rapidly.
What experts say?
To understand all this better for you, we spoke to an experienced dermatologist from the city hospital in Hungary, doctor Ljiljana Trklja. “The connection between blue light and skin is complicated. New research has shown that long-term exposure to high levels of blue light may be associated with a less ideal skin condition. That is, blue light exposure leads to pigmentation problems, such as dark and age spots,” she said. The very thought of dark circles and wrinkles does not cause pleasure for women. I’m sure you agree with me, ladies. For men, yet, it is a bit different, but they should also be careful about it.
“My colleagues and I did a test in our hospital. We exposed some testers to blue light and some to UVA. More redness and swelling were on the skin exposed to blue light than to a UVA light source. When exposed to blue light, your skin is under stress, which causes inflammation and leads to cell damage. Then, damage of cells leads to aging, wrinkles, and loss of collagen. Although some research suggests that it also leads to skin cancer, I wouldn’t agree that theory is yet well-proven, “doctor Ljiljana added.
How to protect the skin from blue light?
“Drink plenty of water and eat healthly. This means eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, eggs, and dairy products. These foods are rich in antioxidants that protect the skin from the bad effects of free radicals. And of course, use the right cosmetics,” doctor Ljiljala suggested.
It is interesting that the plants are also an excellent technique for improving skin health. Plants such as cactus and type of lily (Latin name Spathiphyllum wallisii) are known to clean the air and absorb harmful radiation. That’s right, they improve your health, and at the same time make your home more beautiful and decorative.
Cosmetics against hyperpigmentation and aging
“Pick a facial cream and wrinkle cream. It should be according to your skin’s type and age. Also, you should use serums with vitamins and minerals. All that will help you against skin aging. Creams and serums are always a good choice because they restore the skin’s lost shine, radiance, and elasticity. They regenerate it, keep it healthy and give it vitality. Sunscreens are also well recommended,” doctor Ljiljana discovered to us.
So does that signify we should wear sunscreen even if we don’t have any plans of stepping foot outside? Yes! Sunscreens are made to help filter out visible light. That means it doesn’t only block UV rays, but blue light as well! “Wear a physical aka mineral sunscreen that contains zinc oxide. This ingredient is excellent at helping protect skin against blue light and UV rays,” doctor Ljiljana concluded.
In the end, we would like to suggest you an extra tip! Use moisturizers to refresh the skin and give it an even tone. With moisturizer, the skin is soft, shiny, and smooth. So, next morning, before you turn on your electronic devices, apply our recommendations and save your health and beauty!
4 Best Blue Light Skin Protecting Products
Chantecaille Blue Light Protection Serum
This serum does a fantastic job at shielding your skin from the effects of blue light pollution. Infused with a combination of botanicals that offer long-lasting hydration and a blend of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weight, increase skin moisture even more, improving plumpness. The addition of alga extract that mirrors the hyaluronic acid’s effect smoothens your skin, helping reduce the look of fine lines.
L’Occitane Moisturizing Aqua Réotier Cream
Or you can try L’Oocitanes’ fresh melting cream that leaves your skin hydrated, protected, and soft all day long. Made with hyaluronic acid and Réotier water, rich in minerals, especially calcium — an essential element in skin hydration — this cream is excellent for thirsty skin. Rich consistency, but not greasy, it makes your skin feel fresh, plumped and helps it retain its hydration barrier throughout the day with a natural glow.
Priori Skincare Face Cream Blue Light Defense
Specially created to defend the skin from blue light and pollution, Priori face cream is an absolutely hydrating skin booster. Formulated with hyaluronic acid and retinol, DNA repair enzymes from algae, mustard seeds, vitamin C, and E, intended to fight dehydration and hyperpigmentation. The tip of the iceberg? It’s enhanced with butterfly bush, which acts as an antioxidant, blocking the effects of high-energy visible light (HEV) from everyday electronics.
Coola Organic Skin Care for Blue Light Defense
With 15% non-nano zinc oxide, it provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, niacinamide to soothe and soften skin, and a blend of antioxidants and plant-derived actives that help mitigate the effects from blue light exposure and pollution. Oil-free, SPF 30, airy-light, with 70% certified organic ingredients, this is a multi-tasking modern cream masterpiece that does it all. And yes, it’s reef-friendly!
You might also want to read:
- How Antioxidants Protect Against Photoaging: Best Antioxidants
- UVA vs. UVB — What’s the Difference & How Do Them Affect Your Skin
- Start Your Day With Ice Cubes Facial: Why Should You Do It?