All of our screens emit primarily blue light—televisions, computers, smartphones, all of them. We already know that blue light at night can mess with our circadian rhythms by destroying deep sleep and suppressing melatonin production. It’s just not a good idea to look at screens anywhere near your bedtime, if you want a restful, restorative night.
Blue light is a natural component of the light spectrum. Shine any prism outside (or even indoors) and you’ll see a splash of blue spill out the other side. But our addiction to tech is completely flooding our systems with a dull blue glow, and that much blue light may actually be damaging more than your sleep cycles.
BLUE LIGHT AND YOUR SKIN
Some doctors are convinced that the blue light emitted from our screens can potentially contribute to signs of accelerated aging like increased pigmentation, prematurature wrinkles, and general skin inflammation.
Current research is pretty thin, but over the short-term, excessive blue light does subtly change the way the skin behaves, even it’s not directly related to accelerated aging. But in real life, we are looking at screens long term, and the lack of research makes blue light’s effect on skin health uncharted territory.
Let’s be clear—blue light is not as dangerous as UV rays. No need to pile on spf 45 every time you tune into Netflix. While blue light is generally recognized as safe, it does penetrate deeper into the skin than UVA or UVB rays.
In that deep tissue, it promotes the production of free radicals. Free radicals break down wrinkle-thwarting collagen and elastin while increasing inflammation, oxidation, and hyperpigmentation. Blue light even damages mitochondrial DNA, meaning it accelerates skin aging on a cellular level. Odds are, that’s not something you want to promote when you’re zoning out in front of your t.v. or computer screen after a long day.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM BLUE LIGHT?
What fights off free radicals? Antioxidants, of course! Make sure you consume a diet rich in antioxidants—aim for enjoying the entire colorful rainbow of produce every day.
To take it even one step further, using an antioxidant-rich moisturizer can bring protective nourishment straight to the source. Look for a product rich in lutein and beta-carotene, or try a few drops of antioxidant rosehip oil to lock moisture in and promote cellular regeneration.
The easiest tactic to avoid the aging effects of your blue haze? Simply dim your screen brightness. You can also use night mode or f.lux during the day while you are working to reduce blue light emissions.
While much more research is needed to confirm how these high levels of blue light affect our delicate skin, it doesn’t hurt to act preventatively. Your skin protects you from literally the entire world. It can pay off to give it a little extra attention—especially when using your tech!