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The SHOCKING Thing Blue Light Is Doing to Your Skin
iPhones have a feature called "Screen Time" that shows you data about your phone usage.
Well, I just checked my data…
Last week, I was on my phone for an average of 3 hours and 49 minutes per day!
Yikes!!! I can't help but think of all the other things I could've been doing with my time.
Unfortunately, Screen Time told me what I already knew: I'm on my phone wayyyy too much (but so is everyone else).
You've probably heard being on your phone too often impacts your health in several ways, including your sleep cycle, brain function, and attention span.
But did you know that it can affect your skin (and how you age) as well?
This might give you another reason to step away from your screens!
In this article, I will explain what blue light is, what it can do to your skin and body, and how you can protect yourself.
Keep on reading!
What Is HEV Light? And What Does HEV Light Stand For?
First, I want to clarify that HEV light is the same as "blue light," so those terms can be used interchangeably.
HEV light stands for high-energy visible light, which occurs in the violet/blue band of the visible light spectrum.
Its wavelength ranges from 380 nanometers (nm) to 500 nm, which is among the shortest in the spectrum
Fun fact: HEV light rays make the sky look blue when they strike air and water molecules in the atmosphere.
HEV light is emitted by:
- The sun
- Fluorescent bulbs
- At-home light devices for acne
The sun emits the most amount of blue light; digital devices emit only a tiny amount in comparison.
However, with all the time we spend on our TVs, phones, and computers, this exposure can start to add up over time.
That's what has some people concerned about the effects, and why I wanted to write this article!
Why Is Blue Light Bad for Your Skin?
Since dermatological research is ongoing, the jury's still out on whether HEV light is officially confirmed as "bad" for your skin.
However, one 2010 study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that exposing skin to blue light emitted by the sun versus comparable levels of UV rays caused more pigment, redness, and swelling.
And a small study from Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity suggested that exposure to blue light might stimulate the production of free radicals in skin, which can lead to premature aging signs.
In case you need a refresher, free radicals are present in our environment and can lead to DNA damage, inflammation, and loss of collagen and elastin.
Ultimately, these studies show that blue light has the potential to be damaging and to produce visible skin changes, including:
- Dark spots
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Thinner, weaker skin
This research also suggests that the more time we spend on our devices, the worse off our skin may be.
Whoa! While aging is unavoidable, I don’t think any of us want to speed up the process.
I choose to err on the side of caution, as I personally struggle with melasma and do not want to risk making it worse.
If you’ve read my blog before, you’re probably familiar with my mantra that prevention is easier than treatment!
So, one way to approach blue light in the skincare sense is to stop aging signs before they have the chance to start.
You can do that with a few products from my skincare line!
My facial cream ups your skin's defenses against stress caused by the environment and modern-day technology. Retinol, microalgae, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals work together to nourish your skin and prevent further formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Formulated with antioxidants, 10% zinc oxide, and 5.5% titanium dioxide, my broad-spectrum SPF deflects UV rays that can cause signs of premature aging and cellular damage. Bonus: It's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes so you can enjoy your time at the pool!
My moisturizer provides just the right level of hydration to rejuvenate your skin and has 20% vitamin C to brighten the appearance of dark spots, even your overall skin tone, and encourage collagen production.
What Does Blue Light Do To Your Eyes?
Have your eyes ever become tired after staring at a digital screen for too long?
I know mine have!
Well, fortunately, it's just eye strain -- not anything permanent.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there is no current scientific evidence that HEV light from digital devices causes eye damage.
However, HEV light does affect our body's circadian rhythm (our natural wake and sleep cycle).
Because it is stimulating, too much HEV light exposure at night can make it harder to get to sleep.
Not only is sleep crucial for your overall health and functioning at your best, but it's when our skin repairs itself.
So, blue light can indirectly affect your skin in this way.
It’s true -- you really DO need your beauty rest!
HEV Light Skin Protection
I definitely recommend incorporating antioxidants into your morning or evening skincare routine so you won’t have to worry about time spent in front of screens.
Every product below is packed with them!
Apply my retinol and CoQ10 facial oil before bed to wake up to a glowing and moisturized complexion with fewer fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
This unique combination of lotion and toner fights signs of fine lines and wrinkles while removing dirt, impurities, and excess oil production to balance your skin tone and keep it looking its best.
This fast-absorbing hydrating serum is infused with botanicals and peptides to balance your skin's texture, moisture content, oil level, and pH.
Skincare Tips for the Digital Age
Our devices can have more impact on our skin than we realize!
First of all, I make sure to keep my phone clean as it's pressed to my face throughout the day when I'm making calls.
I keep Lysol wipes handy in my office, purse, and car.
I also recommend using speakerphone, a headset, or talk to text!
We put our phone on so many different surfaces without realizing it, and then that bacteria gets transferred to our face, hands, and even our bed (if you sleep with your phone).
Not only can this make us sick, but the buildup of oil, makeup, and environmental debris can clog pores and cause breakouts.
The same cleanliness concept applies to our tablets and laptops.
We type and tap away at our keyboards and screens, then touch our face without thinking about it.
Second, “tech neck” is another problem we experience when we’re constantly looking down at our phone.
I’m sure you’ve seen others straining their neck and hunching their shoulders forward to see their screen.
This repetitive action can cause neck pain, posture changes, drooping jowls, and wrinkled, sagging skin.
Bring your device up to eye level and don’t forget to include your neck and decollete as part of your skincare routine!
Finally, adjust your text settings so you can easily read your screen without having to squint!
Repeated squinting is one surefire way to get fine lines and wrinkles.
This is why a good eye cream, like my Anti-Aging Peptide Eye Cream, is so important.
This lightweight formula improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and tired skin with its moisturizing and firming action.
Other HEV Light Protection Methods
Besides using skincare products to prevent HEV light damage, there are several ways you can lessen its impact on your overall health.
First, I recommend adjusting the lighting settings and/or adding a blue light filter on your digital devices.
Many phones and computers automatically come with a "nighttime mode," and I personally use this filter.
Second, you can purchase blue light glasses and sunglasses to protect your eyes from strain.
Who else loves to accessorize? There are some really cute and fashionable choices out there!
Third, take breaks and limit your screen time!
The American Academy of Opthalmology recommends the "20-20-20" rule: Look away from your screen every 20 minutes and focus on an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
They also recommend staying off your digital devices 2-3 hours before bed.
If you need some ideas for occupying your free time, I'm LOVING self-care lately.
Instead of playing on your phone or binge-watching as many TV episodes as you possibly can before bed, try journaling, meditating, reading a book, or talking with your significant other!
If you decide to try this, I'd love to hear its impact on your daily routine.
Blue Light Isn't ALL Bad
I never intend to scare you, beauties.
I simply want to provide the most accurate information so you can make educated decisions about how you take care of your skin.
With that being said, blue light does have some benefits.
In an interview with Allure, Meenakashi Gupta, assistant professor of ophthalmology, said, "Blue light elevates mood and helps memory and cognitive function."
During the day, it can actually help keep us alert!
And, you can use blue light for acne.
Great for all skin types, this FDA-cleared device helps you get clearer skin in a flash!
I also love the Foreo UFO Smart Mask Treatment.
It gives you three targeted photofacials in one at-home device as red, green, and blue light wavelengths effortlessly rejuvenate your skin.
I do want to clarify that you can only get these acne-combating benefits from such devices, not your screens.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, light therapies "show great promise in treating acne."
In a 2004 study, adults with facial acne who underwent 8 sessions of blue light therapy over the course of a month experienced nearly 65% improvement in acne lesions.
How does it work, you ask?
Well, blue light is able to kill acne-causing bacteria on skin, thus reducing existing breakouts and preventing future ones from occurring.
Plus, this method is easy and fast with very few side effects.
I hope this helped you answer the question, “What does blue light do?”
Although helpful, I definitely think digital devices fall under the umbrella of "too much of a good thing can be a bad thing."
While research is still ongoing, I personally believe that it’s better to be safe than sorry by protecting your skin.
I will say that I'm still going to wear my Environmental Protection Nourishing Cream every day, as I don't want to give pesky free radicals a chance to give me fine lines, wrinkles, or worsen my melasma!
And I think that we can all agree that limiting our time on digital devices is ideal for our overall physical and mental health!
Are you worried about HEV light exposure? Are you going to do anything about it? Share with us in the comments!
Your article is very useful and informative because very few people know that blue light is very harmful to our skin. So stay away from these types of lights and protect your skin. Thank you for this article.
Thanks for sharing this skincare beauty routine. On my part, I make it a point to choose all natural beauty solutions that contain no toxic ingredients that may cause bad effects on the skin.
Well researched & thoughtfull article . even i had no idea that blue light had such a effect on your skin. thanks for sharing.
I spend more than 10 hours in front of the laptop and I never knew that this blue light is harming me in so many ways until I read your article. Thanks for sharing it.
I will try that product against stress.
Hopefully your recommendations help.
thank you beauty :)
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Thanks Alana, your blog is superb. I really glad to see this. Thumbs up!!
Thank you! :)
Thank you! :)
That was really a nice article.
I noticed your Article and read it. I just loved the way you wrote.
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Such an eye-opening article! I knew about the had no idea that blue light had such a negative effect on skin. Which of these products would you recommend starting off with if you tend to have dark circles?
I wasn’t aware screen light can be bad for our skin :O. I work with computer and also spend a lot of time on the phone, so I need to start preventing it, you right!
Really amazing article and even more interesting products. I was searching for such article and I have ended up here. I ’m looking forward to reading this kind of more articles in the future as well. Thanks for sharing such interesting stuff with us!
Hey Alana, this is really eye-opening and something that I suspected has been affecting my skin lately. I have the dubious distinction of averaging about 3 hours per day on my phone too, plus another 8+ hours spent behind a computer screen. I first tried the nighttime mode to filter blue light but I find it more difficult to work with it switched on.
I suspect you’re right that there are several reasons for this and not just a single factor. However, I’m sure squinting too much is a big part, especially as screens seem to dry out my sensitive eyes.
I’m going to take your advice and try the anti-aging peptide eye cream but I just had one question: is daily use still important for someone in the late-20s-early 30s age bracket? Or can I get away with using e.g. every other day?
I would highly recommend PCA pHaze 13 Pigment Gel. It will help you brighten those acne scars/spots and also exfoliate your skin to give you a nice and glowy even-texture. You read their reviews at makeupalley and amazon.
Thanks for sharing the nice stuff. If you want your face remain young then must try a face mask.