You might’ve heard warnings about how the blue light that emanates from your computer and phone can throw off your circadian rhythm. Well, turns out, it may affect more than just your sleep. In fact, some experts think that overexposure to the blue light on your devices can affect your skin too.
Should you be limiting your screen time? Are there any preventative measures you can take? Two experts help us uncover the truth about blue light’s effects below.
What is it?
Blue light is exactly what it sounds like – blue wavelengths. “Blue light is very close to ultraviolet light in energy,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe. “Therefore, while it’s not as damaging as UV light, it’s thought to damage skin more than other colors, such as red.”
How does it affect the skin?
People have said contradictory things about blue light’s effect on the skin. Some warn that it can accelerate skin aging while others actually use it as an ingredient in face masks claiming to combat acne. Believe it or not, both of these claims are true, says Emilia Javorsky, a physician-scientist and former dermatology researcher at Harvard Medical School.
“Blue light is a high-energy type of light that comes right after UV light on the light spectrum,” she explains. “As a high energy form of light, it can cause oxidative or free radical damage to cells.” This can be the desired effect if the cells it’s damaging are bacterial cells that cause acne, but not so much if they’re your own cells. There’s research showing that blue light from the sun can cause oxidative stress, the type of damage associated with skin aging, Javorsky says.
What are some preventative measures?
While there are blue light glasses to help prevent blue light’s effect on sleep, there isn’t anything like that for skin, says Javorsky. Some beauty products advertise themselves as anti-blue light, but they’re usually for preventing further damage after you’ve been exposed to blue light; they don’t prevent exposure from happening in the first place.
According to Rowe, all you can really do is turn down your brightness and limit screen time. However, he adds, “The jury is still out as far as the detrimental effect of blue light on the skin, so stay tuned.”
xx, The FabFitFun Team
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