By now you’ve probably heard that it's best to shut down all screens at least an hour before bed. But at the end of a long day, who can resist a cozy-in-bed Insta rabbit hole? Or, maybe you’ve seen special screens or other blue light-blocking products advertised on your Amazon homepage but continued to scroll on by (oh, the irony right?).
But real talk: It’s actually paramount to stop and reflect on how the things we mindlessly use daily are actually affecting us. Our eyes and skin are constantly exposed to electronic screens, from our phones to our laptops, to tablets and TVs. We’re facing electricity and artificially emitted light—specifically blue light—at rates far more than any preceding generation. So, what does that mean for us?
A lot of research has been done regarding how blue light can affect our eye health and vision, but there's less evidence supporting how it may affect our skin. And yet, there are blue light-blocking skin care products being marketed to us at a growing rate. But are these products actually necessary and helpful, or simply a marketing ploy? We decided to investigate!
How Does Blue Light Affect Your Skin?
The good news is that blue light doesn't appear to be capable of causing sunburn or skin cancer as UV can. In fact, sometimes, blue light can even be beneficial to our skin—but only in controlled ways.
Controlled use of blue light (aka blue light therapy) is actually used by dermatologists to treat acne, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and other skin conditions. It has also been used to facilitate quicker wound healing and is used in treating superficial skin cancers. However, there are concerns surrounding what everyday exposure from daily electronic devices is doing to our skin.
Although it may not lead to more serious skin concerns, blue light still has degenerative effects. While it does not penetrate into the skin as deep as ultraviolet light, it has been associated with premature aging of the skin. It has also been shown to promote free radical damage which stimulates pigment production and can lead to dark spots. An anti-aging nightmare!
It’s important to note that uncontrolled blue light exposure may induce oxidative changes in healthy skin that might cause premature aging effects, such as wrinkling, and potentially other harmful effects. It’s been shown that exposure to blue light can lead to different levels of damage in human eyes and skin.
There's also a recent study that found that short-term exposure to light emitted from electronic devices (iPhone 8+, iPhone 6, and first-generation iPad) irradiated at the manufacturers' recommended reading distances and at 1 cm on human skin cells can increase the generation of reactive oxygen species, which is linked to skin aging.
Do You Really Need a Blue Light-Blocking Product?
While more research needs to be done, it's worthwhile to take preventative measures. It’s unlikely people’s use of computers, tablets, phones, and other blue light-emitting devices (including televisions) will decrease in the years ahead. And until large, long-term clinical trials can be conducted, it’s impossible to know just how much damage these sources of blue light are contributing to aging and disease.
First things first, it’s recommended choosing electronic personal devices that are “low blue light” certified. The electronics industry is becoming more aware of the potential risks associated with blue light exposure, so they are starting to introduce devices that emit less high-energy blue light in their displays.
(Screen protectors and activating any built-in blue light reducing software can help, too.) But if you’d like to take things a step further, as far as your skin is concerned, protect your skin as you would your eyes. Blue light protection may come in the form of serums or may be provided within your traditional moisturizers with sunscreen. Just as you would wear sunscreen, make sure to protect your skin from high energy visible light each morning.
Final Thoughts on Blue Light Therapy for Skin Care
Our use of electronics and screens likely isn't slowing down any time soon. In fact, it's probably safe to say that as technology evolves, our screen time will only increase. While researchers still have some more work to do to examine how blue light exposure can truly affect the skin over time, what we do know so far is enough to make us think protecting our skin isn't such a bad idea.
By taking preventative steps now, we can continue to keep our skin healthy and show it some extra love while leaving it to the scientists to figure out exactly what we're up against. For the best skin care protection against blue light therapy, check out Wild Naturals full line of face, hair, and body care products! We only use natural ingredients that are rich in hydration and anti-aging properties. Head over to our online store today to discover our amazing skin care and keep your skin healthy the right way!