Blue light is high-energy visible light (HEV) that is both high-frequency and high-energy intensity. This light is primarily from the sun, but it’s also emitted by smartphones, tablets, televisions, fluorescent bulbs, and computer screens.

The high energy of blue light allows it to penetrate more deeply into the dermis of the skin over wavelengths with lower energy, which ultimately is more likely to cause cell damage. Whilst blue light can cause damage, it is not associated with conditions such as skin cancer, which are more the result of UV exposure however it is known to cause skin to age prematurely and form age spots and hyperpigmentation.

Discoloration isn’t the only effect – skin firmness and elasticity may also be implicated by blue light.

Like UV rays, blue light generates free radicals. These free radicals cause skin cells to produce enzymes that break down collagen and elastin in the skin. This damages skin cells, which results in inflammation and faster aging due to the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Prolonged exposure will eventually weaken the outermost layer of the skin and delay the recovery from daily stressors.

Now that we know what the impacts can be, it is important to understand how best to reduce your exposure to blue light damage. Here are some tips:

Limit screens before bed

We know that at night, our skin prioritises cell repair far more rapidly than throughout the day. Not only do screens impact our circadian rhythm, but it will also can ultimately confuse our skin cells when they are unable to distinguish between night and day, causing significant delays to repairs. The best way to prevent this is to limit your exposure to screens a few hours before bed. Instead, try some breathwork, tea, stretching or reading. If you need to use a screen prior to your sleep time, it would be important to wear blue light-blocking glasses and enable night mode on your device.

Mineral sunscreen

During the day, it is best to protect our skin from both UV rays and blue light which can be done so via a good mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen. Physical blockers such as zinc oxide have the ability to reflect light rays and may also reflect HEV light.

Products with antioxidants

Use facial products with antioxidants to help protect your skin from blue light damage. It is best to use antioxidant products a few times a day instead of just in the morning because the antioxidant supply gets depleted during the day and since we are on our devices longer, we should replenish them during our day and evening.

Mindful eating

We must ensure a diet high in antioxidants. Some of the best foods that have either been researched in connection with photoprotection or are simply rich in one or more of the elements above to include in a photoprotective diet include:

Dr Marina Christov is currently working on refining a topical product that will serve to help protect the skin against the negative effect of blue light damage. With the right skin routine, lifestyle habits and rest you can help protect yourself from the impact of blue light.

Dr Marina Christov, Chinese Medicine Practitioner, The House Of Life