Should You Be Worried About The Impact of Blue Light on Your Skin?
Along with parabens, fragrances and essential oils, artificial blue light from digital devices has fast become the next “nasty” to fear, according to the sometimes-questionable world of skincare marketing. Particularly following the increase in screen time throughout the pandemic. But you needn’t worry, as we’re here to give you the facts and quash unsubstantiated claims made to sell you a product out of fear.
So, what exactly is blue light?
Also known as HEV (high-energy visible light) light, blue light is the shortest wavelength of the visible light spectrum. Sunlight is the main source of blue light, but there are also man-made sources such as LED lights, TV screens, smartphones and other digital devices.
It has been claimed that artificial blue light is harmful to the skin, causing oxidative stress that damages skin cells and leads to premature ageing and hyperpigmentation. However, there is currently no scientific data to back this up and context is key here. Compared to natural blue light emitted from the sun, digital devices only emit a tiny fraction of that radiation. In fact, Dr. Ludger Kolbe, Chief Scientist Photobiology from Beiersdorf states: “If you were to spend an entire week in front of a monitor uninterrupted at a distance of 30 cm from the screen, this would be the same as just one minute outside on a sunny summer day in Hamburg at midday.” *
Short-term, controlled use of artificial blue light has even been deemed safe to be used by doctors and dermatologists to treat some skin conditions. For example, it has been shown to have a healing effect on those with psoriasis.
So, while you don’t need to worry about limiting your screen time for the sake of your skin, it is important to protect it from light that is emitted from the sun. You can do this by ensuring you’re wearing sunscreen during the day (which you should be doing anyway!) and using topical antioxidants to fight free radical damage.
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