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Blue Light and Your Skin

Protecting the skin against ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) is an important part of skin care. However, this may not be enough as there is another threat to skin health that is often overlooked and this is blue light. Blue light penetrates deep to the skin, causing severe and long-lasting damages. Knowing more about blue light can help you better protect your own skin.

What is Blue Light?

Blue light belongs to the visible light, a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be seen by the human eye. Its wavelengths range from 380 to 500 nanometers (nm). As blue light has a very short wavelength, it produces high amount of energy. Thus, it is also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light. Blue light is now known to be an important wavelength that causes skin pigmentation.

There are many sources of blue light. Most of the blue light comes from the sun but there are other artificial sources indoors such as from electronic devices, fluorescent bulbs and LED lights. Blue light from electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions are less intense than those from the sun. However, it can affect the circadian cycle as well as cause eye strain and macular degeneration.

Blue light plays a vital role in promoting good health. Exposure to blue light during the day plays a vital part in regulating the circadian rhythm, the body’s process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle. It also elevates mood and boosts memory.

However, over exposure to blue light can cause some health problems. You might have heard that blue light is bad for your eyes, but it is certainly harmful to your skin too.

How Does Blue Light Damage the Skin?

Recent scientific studies suggest that, aside from ultraviolet radiation, blue light can lead to some health hazards, including oxidative stress and increased pigmentation.

Exposure to blue light can cause oxidative stress or the imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals in the body. Oxidative stress can lead to accelerated skin aging, which leads to skin problems including skin dryness and wrinkles formation. Moreover, oxidative stress can disrupt the functions of collagen fibers and skin cell, which makes skin more vulnerable to diseases including erythema, psoriasis, and cancer.

Blue light can also lead to changes in the skin cells that cause hyperpigmentation. When the cells producing melanin, gets damaged by factors such as too much blue light exposure, production of melanin goes out of hand. This can lead to hyperpigmentation, a condition wherein patches or spots of skin become darker than surrounding areas e.g. melasma and age spots or sun spots.

Recent studies showed that people with darker skin who were exposed to blue light had a more intense and prolonged hyperpigmentation than people with lighter skin who were exposed to similar levels of blue light. Blue light is also shown to worsen melasma and causes relapse.

How Can You Protect Your Skin from Harmful Effects of Blue Light?

It is important to take blue light protection seriously even as you stay indoors. The best way to protect your skin from blue light is to include in your daily skincare routine a sunscreen that is specifically designed to protect against blue light. You can also use blue light filters over your electronic devices indoors and set your electronic devices to warm lights in the evenings

Is your regular sunscreen enough to protect you from blue light?

Most sunscreen products in the market today are broad spectrum sunscreen which will protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. However, they do not protect you from the harmful effects of blue light. To completely protect your skin, you need a physical sunscreen which have blue light filters that provides protection against blue light at the cellular level.

A sunscreen product that does this is TDF® Blu Voile Sunscreen, which gives protection against Blue Light, UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen filters out more than 90% of blue light and provides protection and prevent photodamage and hyperpigmentation like melasma.

TDF® Blu Voile Sunscreen also effectively protects skin against both UVB and UVA rays as it is rated SPF50 (for UVB protection) and PA+++ (for UVA protection). It is dermatologically-tested and is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic. Unlike most physical sunscreen, it is light in texture, easy to apply, oil- and alcohol-free, and suitable for all skin types.

It’s time to assess your skincare regimen by keeping in mind the possible damages that blue light can do to your skin. Make sure your sunscreen is protecting your skin against both UV rays and blue light.

An Expert Opinion by:

Dr Joyce Lim

Dermatologist, Joyce Lim Skin and Laser Clinic
290 Orchard Road, #11-16/20 Paragon Medical Suites
Singapore 238859