Could blue light be damaging our skin?

What is blue light?

Blue Light is the high energy visible (HEV) light at the ultraviolet end of the light spectrum with the low energy, long-wavelength infrared light at the other. It is emitted by the sun, fluorescent lighting, and products using LEDs, including TV screens, smartphones, tablets, and computer displays. As it’s the high-frequency, shorter wavelengths of light in the violet-blue band of the visible spectrum, it can penetrate deeper into the skin than light at the red end of the spectrum.

Most of our exposure to blue light comes courtesy of the sun, naturally regulating our sleep patterns. Increased use of devices, such as mobile phones, emitting blue light long after the sun has set, multiplies any effect that it has on the skin. Also, when using these devices, we’re fundamentally closer to the light sources. Could it be the disturbed sleep cycles or the effects of the light itself, or both, that are affecting the health of our skin?

Although the way light pollution affects the skin is not well understood at the moment, clinical research is already underway into the impact on healthy skin of exposure to light and there is now some suggestion that darker skin types could experience worsening skin pigmentation after exposure to visible light. There is also increasing evidence that exposure to blue light could trigger, worsen or make it harder to treat Melasma. Prolonging exposure through the use of smartphones and the like can only exacerbate the problem.

It is believed that exposure to HEV light can be as damaging to the skin as UVA and UVB combined. To protect yourself, reduce your exposure to natural light as well as the man-made variety emitted by technology. Broad-spectrum SPF50 sunscreens are readily available to protect the skin from UV rays and more products are coming to market formulated to specifically shield the skin from blue-violet visible light. Physical blue light filters are also available to be fitted to devices emitting the light to cut down on levels reaching the skin. Lastly, a diet rich in antioxidants and fatty acids to reduce against inflammation can help as will antioxidant-rich creams such as Vida for You products which contain these filters reducing free radicals caused by light exposure.