Is blue light harmful to skin?

Modern technology is amazing, but staring at a screen all day comes at a cost. Recent research shows that the blue light emitted by phones, tablets, and computers can actually damage our skin and eyes. 

Blue light, also known as high-energy visible light (HEV), stimulates photoaging, causing skin discoloration, inflammation and fragility of the skin surface over time. Read on to learn more about this modern attacker and learn how to protect yourself. 

What is Blue light? Blue light is everywhere. It is found in daylight but is also emitted from fluorescent lights and LED devices such as computer screens, televisions and smartphones. 

Sunlight is the largest source of blue light we are exposed to, and digital devices emit only a small fraction of the radiation. But since we hold our phones too close to our faces and check them constantly throughout the day, the risk increases. 

According to statistics, Millennials check their smartphones an average of 157 times a day. This number is more than five times higher than among older adults, who on average only check their phones thirty times a day. 

Therefore, Millennials are at a much greater risk of being exposed to blue light on a daily basis. There is visible light and then there is invisible light. 

Visible light is light you can see, such as sunlight or the light emitted by a cell phone. However, invisible light, such as UVA and UVB rays, cannot be seen by the naked eye. Among other things, this radiation can cause burns and be harmful to health. 

If you look at a spectrogram, you'll notice that the wavelengths of UVA and UVB rays vary between 100 nm and 400 nm (nm stands for nanometer, the unit of measurement used to measure light). The next color in the spectrum is blue light with wavelengths from 380 nm to 500 nm. 

Blue light with wavelengths between 380 nm and 400 nm has been shown to be harmful to the skin. The risk appears to decrease as wavelength approaches 500 nm. 

What can I do to limit the harmful effects of blue light? We highly recommend getting a blue light screen protector for your phone. 

It's a cheap but effective solution that allows you to use your phone or tablet without having to worry about skin care or wearing sunglasses to limit the damage. 

Some smartphones also have a setting that turns off blue light and provides more yellow light (often called night mode). Continued use of this setting is gentler on your eyes and is a great way to prevent skin aging. 

Whether the light comes from the sun or your smartphone, be sure to protect your eyes. Use polarized sunglasses to prevent damage from long-term exposure to light. If you don't have a screen protector with a blue light filter, it might be helpful to view your phone from an arm's length away. 

There are some studies showing that blue light therapy can have a positive impact on certain skin conditions. However, unless your doctor prescribes a blue light facial, you should always protect your skin from potential blue light damage. In addition to smartphone filters, a good broad-spectrum SPF and antioxidant-rich skincare products are the best ways to reduce the negative effects of blue light. If you already use these products, you don’t need to worry anymore!
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