Does Blue Light from Screens Affect Your Skin?

Young woman using smart phone at night in bedroom

Every day, we rely on our digital devices for many aspects of our lives.

From catching up with friends to virtual meetings, the typical adult averages over 10 hours of screen time per day. But could all that time with technology affect your skin?

Digital screens emit blue light, also known as high-energy visible light or HEV. Blue HEV rays are the highest energy rays on the visible light spectrum. This means they penetrate your eyes and skin more deeply than other colors we can see such as red, orange or yellow. Most HEV exposure comes from the sun during daylight hours. Artificial sources of blue light include smartphones, computers, tablets, television sets and fluorescent and LED light bulbs. 

Blue light has been linked to both positive and negative effects. On the plus side, moderate daytime HEV exposure promotes attentiveness, increases reaction time and boosts your mood. However, prolonged exposure may affect your eyesight and cause difficulty sleeping.

Some studies have also found a possible link between blue light and skin damage associated with premature aging. Let’s take a closer look at how all that screen time may be affecting your skin and some ways to protect yourself. 

How does blue light affect your skin?

HEV exposure may be a factor in a number of skin changes, including hyperpigmentation, swelling and premature wrinkles. 

When HEV rays penetrate the skin, they influence the generation of reactive oxygen species. A 2015 study found a link between high doses of blue light and production of free radicals. These unstable molecules damage your skin’s DNA, resulting in a loss of collagen and elastin. 

More recently, a randomized, double-blind study found that exposure to blue light may cause hyperpigmentation. HEV light appears to disrupt melanocytes, which damages pigmentation and contributes to photoaging. 

When you use digital devices at night, blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm, resulting in poor quality sleep. This leads to a dull complexion, along with redness and dark circles under the eyes. 

How can you protect your skin from blue light?

There are many ways to minimize the effects of blue light on your skin. 

First, apply an effective sunscreen every day. Although research shows that most sunscreens do not help protect against blue light, there are sunscreens that do. Choose a product with either zinc oxide or titanium oxide to block HEV rays. You can find effective products such as SkinBetter Tone Smart Lotion or EltaMD Restore at Cayce Dermatology. There are also some antioxidants like SkinBetter AltoDefense and SkinMedica Lumivive that have complete blue light protection as well. 

Second, reduce blue light exposure while using your devices. Enable night mode on all screens and place a blue light shield on your computer. If you wear glasses, choose lenses with blue light protection. Use headphones or earbuds to avoid holding your smartphone screen near your face for long periods of time. To improve sleep quality, stop using devices a few hours before bedtime.

Finally, apply antioxidants like vitamin C to reduce oxidative stress that may be caused by blue light. Antioxidants help to reduce hyperpigmentation and photoaging. Retinoids boost collagen production and increase cell turnover. 

By following these easy tips, you can protect your skin while still enjoying the benefits of using your favorite digital devices.

If you’re looking for a personalized skin care plan that helps you look best, book your appointment with Cayce Medical Spa today!