Today’s modern technology has exposed our eyes and skin to longer hours of using our devices, from our phones to our tablets, laptops, and TVs. One of the increasing exposure almost all of us encounter have been artificially emitted light, most especially blue light or HEV (High Energy Visible). But experts recommend that using blue light sunscreen can protect our skin against its damaging effects.
In this article, let’s discuss what blue light is, the harm it poses to humans, and the role of blue light sunscreen in protecting our skin.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is a color found on the visible light spectrum radiating from computer screens, phones, TVs, and also part of regular sunlight. Visible light or radiant energy that can be recognized or seen with our eyes includes various ranges of multiple colored light rays.
Moreover, when the lights are combined, like sunlight and artificial light coming from street lamps, light bulbs, and LED screens, the colors are now seen as ‘white’ light. And among these different colored light rays, blue light has the highest energy of all components of blue light.
It has almost the same amount as some ultraviolet (UV) rays, often linked to skin cancer, cataracts, and other eye health problems.
Although blue light has a lesser amount of energy than UV rays, it can penetrate deeper into the eye, all the way through the light-sensitive retina behind our eyeballs. This is why blue light can cause damage to the retina cells responsible for our vision according to a study .
Blue Light Health Risk to Humans
Now more than ever, people are more exposed to blue light due to the excessive use of devices with light-emitting diode (LED) technology.
Although the initial focus of studies about blue light was on eyesight and sleep cycles, more studies focus on its effects on the skin. Smaller studies have shown that blue light emitting from the sun can lead to melasma and hyperpigmentation .
What’s bothering researchers is that higher levels of exposure to blue light or High Energy Visible (HEV) light have posed major skin health concerns. This includes DNA damage and cell and tissue death . The study also highlights the downsides of modern life, where people are not getting enough natural light during the day. Instead, overexposed to high levels of artificial light.
Furthermore, the study has shown that exposure of human skin cells to artificial light, even for as short as one hour, may lead to higher levels of free radicals in our body.
Ongoing larger-scale studies want to find out if the blue light from our mobile devices and computers also contributes to skin health concerns. Although it is yet to be proven, some stories of patients who experience worse hyperpigmentation and who are holding their phones more often contribute to blue light as a huge factor.
Do Blue Light Sunscreens Help?
Dermatologists and skincare enthusiasts are now suggesting having a blue-light skincare routine. It can take many forms, from sprays, creams, and gels to blue light sunscreens, which aim to block blue light while rejuvenating our skin.
But one might ask this: does blue light sunscreen work?
Blue light sunscreens are more specialized than the regular sunscreens available today. Regular sunscreens do not cover blue light and tend to get through those chemical and mineral sunscreens.
Meanwhile, blue light sunscreens work to block UV rays and blue light, something that regular sunscreen cannot do. However, dermatologists also advised that tinted sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 and higher can protect the skin from blue light, including ultraviolet A-rays (UVA) and ultraviolet B-rays (UVB).
Tinted sunscreen has iron oxide pigments, an antioxidant with visible light protection. Furthermore, dermatologists also recommend using the dimmest possible setting on phones and computer screens and hands-free options for phone calls to lessen the exposure to blue light.
But experts know that most people rely on their mobile devices for work, so preparing the body and skin with vitamins aside from sunscreen with iron oxide is another way to protect ourselves from blue light. Taking vitamin C helps minimize damage from blue light and possible skin repair, too.
Bottomline: Blue Light Sunscreen and Its Efficacy
Blue light or High Energy Visible (HEV) is a color found on our mobile devices such as phones, tablets, laptops, television, and in sunlight. The initial study suggested that blue light can harm our eyesight and sleep cycle, but recent studies are also looking at the possibility that it can also harm our skin.
Experts have suggested taking preventive measures such as using blue light sunscreens or skincare products with iron oxide pigments, taking vitamin C, and less screen time to minimize the risk of skin aging and other worst skin condition.
Although the study about the impact of blue light on the skin is still non-conclusive, almost anyone can benefit from using less of their mobile devices. Connecting more with family members at home or doing tasks away from our devices can be a proven method to lessen the risks of any possible health risks, be it in our eyes, skin, or any other parts of our body.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Zhao ZC,Zhou Y,Tan G,Li J.Research progress about the effect and prevention of blue light on eyes.Int J Ophthalmol 2018;11(12):1999-2003,doi:10.18240/ijo.2018.12.20
- R. Campiche, S. J. Curpen, V. Lutchmanen-Kolanthan, S. Gougeon, M. Cherel, G. Laurent, M. Gempeler, R. Schuetz. (2020, June 1). Pigmentation effects of blue light irradiation on skin and how to protect against them. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ics.12637
- Arjmandi, N., Mortazavi, G., Zarei, S., Faraz, M., & Mortazavi, A. R. (2018). Can Light Emitted from Smartphone Screens and Taking Selfies Cause Premature Aging and Wrinkles? Journal of Biomedical Physics & Engineering, 8(4), 447-452. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6280109/