Blue light, put simply, has the highest energy level in all components of visible light. It’s a step below UV light, which causes sunburn and various skin cancers like melanoma. Blue light is emitted by screens – tablets, phones, monitors, and TV’s ALL emit this type of light. In an age where we are all inundated with looking at screens for a good portion of our days, whether through work or entertainment, we are all exposed to blue light for long periods of time.
Does this actually affect our skin? The short answer is yes. Keep in mind that blue light therapy is used by dermatologists to hasten wound healing, and treating skin cancers, but this is done in a very controlled manner. Research shows that blue light promotes premature aging of the skin. Prolonged blue light exposure results in the creation of more fine lines and wrinkles that are associated with premature aging.
Melanogenesis, also known as discoloration of the skin, also happens as a result of being exposed to blue light for long periods of time. This happens when the skin produces too much melanin, causing an imbalance in people’s complexion. Blue light has also been known to exacerbate melasma, a condition where brown patches appear on your face.
So what can you do to prevent blue light damage on your skin? First and foremost is to wear sunscreen. Protection from UV also protects you from blue light. Make sure to re-apply every couple of hours as the protection does wear off. Second is to try and limit the use of screens. Yes, you may be looking at a screen for work, but disconnect after you’re done. Let your eyes and skin rest from being exposed to blue light for long periods of time.
It’s also well-documented that blue light throws off the body’s circadian rhythm, which can cause sleep disorders. Limiting the amount of time you’re looking at blue-light emitting screens will not only be good for your skin, but also for your eyes, and for your physical health in general.