Blue Light Exposure: Skin Damage & Aging

Over the past 10-15 years, cellphone and laptop usage among both youth and adults has increased. For many of us, our cellphone is the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we look at in the evening. Whether it be reading articles, using social media outlets or even face-timing, we are constantly on our cellphones and/or laptops.


There are recent reports over the past few years over concern that the blue light emitted from cellphones and laptops may in fact damage our skin. Is this true and how can we protect our skin from these visible light rays?!





What is blue light?

Blue light is part of the visible electromagnetic spectrum (which differs from the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum). Blue light represents 400-500nm wavelength of light that is emitted.


Blue light has been used in the treatment of acne as a result of its antimicrobial activity and when combined with photosensitizing topical or oral agents may be used in the treatment of precancerous lesions on the skin.


The effects of blue light on the skin:

There is a growing body of evidence revealing that blue light exposure may cause oxidative stress on the skin resulting in premature aging (i.e. fine lines, wrinkles, age spots). Studies have shown that blue light may also cause damage to our skin cells (also referred to keratinocytes and melanocytes), which may lead to textural changes and dyspigmentation or discoloration of the skin.


Products that protect our skin from blue light:

Sunscreens:

Implementing products containing iron oxide into sunscreens and moisturizers is recommended for protecting your skin from blue light exposure as iron oxide absorbs visible light. Many tinted sunscreens contain iron oxide which provides the ‘tint’ in the tinted products.


An easy trick is to also mix your facial moisturizer with your sunscreen to add in iron oxide and protect your skin from blue light exposure.


Antioxidants:

To protect our skin from the oxidative stress from blue light exposure, add products that contain antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin F into your daily skincare regimen. For example, adding a topical Vitamin C (i.e. ascorbic acid) serum, powder or cream into your morning skincare regimen will not only help lighten and brighten dark spots, but also help prevent further photoaging.


Limit exposure to blue light:

During this pandemic we are becoming more reliant on screen time and less on in-person interactions. It is important to take breaks, reduce screen time and cellphone usage to prevent excessive blue light exposure.

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