It’s time to go to battle against our screens. They not only harm our eyes, disrupt our sleep, and cause poor posture, but now research is confirming that they also damage our skin :-0.
I was so freaked out reading about the effects of blue light on our skin that I had to stop and restart this article many times. I cannot believe that I hadn't heard more about it. I will do my best to provide actionable solutions, and not belabor the dangers which can lead you down a dark path thinking about all the time that you’ve spent on your devices.
I am optimistic that we CAN live a balanced life with technology—we just have to be educated, mindful, and take precautions. Let's continue to make healthy changes, and take care of and protect our largest organ, our skin.
Here is a brief, high-level summary of blue light and its effects on our skin:
Blue light, or high energy visible light, produces the most energy of light that we can see.
The primary source of blue light is from the sun, but we are increasingly exposed to blue light with the frequent amount of time we spend on our screens (often near our faces).
Blue light permeates and damages the dermis of our skin, likely causing premature aging.
Blue light is particularly harmful to individuals (like myself) who are prone to hyperpigmentation (developing dark spots) and acne.
Many dermatologists agree that current sunscreen standards fall short and should include blue light blockers (in addition to the existing protections against UVA and UVB rays).
Okay, now for the good news. There are easy and simple ways to protect your skin from blue light:
Utilize the blue light filters on your devices: many computers and smartphones have a ‘night mode’ that you can enable under settings. You can also purchase screen protectors that block blue light.
Keep your phones and screens at least a foot away from your face and take periodic breaks from your devices.
Wear glasses that block blue light to further protect the delicate skin around your eyes. I recommend wearing them in the evenings for improved sleep and eye health anyway.
Use an antioxidant serum twice a day. This may help your skin combat free radicals caused by blue light (as well as other environmental factors).
Wear mineral sunscreens with iron oxides—zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—to increase the spectrum of light blocked. Tinted sunscreens may offer added protection since many contain iron oxides.
It’s time to level up our skin care routine—both outdoors AND indoors! As more companies come out with products that address blue light, (and sunscreen regulations hopefully evolve), let’s take an active approach to combat the effects of oxidation and free radical damage, and block additional blue light. I plan on adding my tinted moisturizer to my skin care regimen as I continue to shop for sunscreens and products that address blue light exposure.