Is Blue Light Damaging For Your Skin?

With all of today's modern technology such as computers, tablets, TVs, and smartphones, you're probably staring at the screen almost all day. It's hard to go without checking Instagram after all. People everywhere spend long periods of time staring at these screens on a daily basis. Sometimes, it can even be a part of your job to do so. According to Blutech, research has shown that 43% of adults have jobs that require tablet or computer usage, and 74% of teenagers from 12 years old to 17 years old use electronics occasionally. Because of this, it was found that blue light has the potential to cause eye strain. In fact, 63% of adults and 80% of teens who use these electronic devices on a regular basis have reported some form of eye strain, per Norwalk Eye Care.

This exposure to blue light has now brought up the question of it possibly having damaging effects on your skin. Plus, if it is, in fact, bad for your skin, how can we combat any potential health risks? Let's jump into it.

What is blue light?

Blue light is a visible light in the color spectrum that is emitted by both the sun and LED indoor lighting or electronic devices. It is also known for being H.E.V. — high-energy visible — because it is the highest-energy light on the visible spectrum of light. "Blue light is a portion of the visible light spectrum (380 to 500 nanometers) that is contained in sunlight, but it is also given off by indoor lighting [and] common electronic devices, like computer screens and smartphones," facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Jason Bloom, M.D. tells Everyday Health. This type of H.E.V. light is mostly found in the sun, but now your electronic devices may be emitting it, too.

In its natural form, blue light can help regulate your circadian rhythm, the natural process of your sleep and wake cycle, because it usually comes from the sun, per Blutech. Additionally, it can boost your mood and alertness, heighten your reaction times, and elevate your overall well-being. According to Blutech, it is the blue light wavelength molecules that collide with the air molecules. Their scattering helps you perceive the sky as blue. On the contrary, artificial blue light, found in electronic devices or indoor light bulbs, has been linked to eye strain and, now, skin damage.

How it affects your skin

Research linked to blue light skin damage is limited, but it has been found to cause premature aging, age spots, melasma, and hyperpigmentation, per research published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. It has not, however, been linked to skin cancer, which is often caused by harmful UV ray exposure. As the highest-energy light, blue light can penetrate deeper into your skin's layers. According to WebMD, exposure to blue light for as little as 60 minutes can make these changes occur to your skin.

"Like U.V. rays, H.E.V. light generates free radicals, or reactive oxygen species," board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D. tells "These free radicals cause skin cells to produce enzymes that break down collagen and elastin in the skin." As you expose yourself to blue light every day, there are ways you can protect yourself and minimize damage as much as possible. For your eyes and the skin around them, consider using blue light-blocking glasses, or add a screen protector with a protective layer to your phone or tablet. Be sure to wear SPF every day, which will not only protect you from the sun's harmful UV rays but also from the blue light on your electronic devices (via CNET). 

"In the morning, I apply an antioxidant serum to help protect my skin from free radicals from UV, blue light, pollution, and any other sources," Dr. King tells "I then apply a tinted S.P.F. moisturizer that contains iron oxide, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide to help protect my skin from U.V., as well as visible light." Ultimately, using skincare products with antioxidants can play a key role in your overall daily protection.