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Can Blue Light Damage My Skin?

Can Blue Light Damage My Skin?

If you’ve been browsing and snagging cyber deals this week, you’ve had some extra spurts of screen time. Whether you actually got a good deal or not, you may have done harm to more than just your bank account. We know too much blue light from laptops or phones can cause eye strain and headaches, but new research shows a potential negative affect on your skin. Before you grab your phone to panic-buy skincare products, let’s dig in to the findings.

Blue light is the highest-energy light in the visible spectrum. While ultraviolet rays and their harmful effects on the skin have been studied extensively, research on the potential hazards of blue light exposure is still fairly new.

One study has shown that blue light can generate something called reactive oxygen species, an unstable molecule that may cause damage to DNA, RNA and proteins if they build up in the cells. When skin cells are damaged, the breakdown of collagen and elastin could result in faster aging. Another has shown some connection between blue light and pigment changes in the skin.

A study from Oregon State University this summer used fruit flies to determine that blue light could damage cells and tissues, which in turn could accelerate aging. While studies using fruit flies are common, experts caution that this model isn’t directly applicable to humans, but does show promise for further studies in this field.

Another thing to consider is that blue light can interfere with your circadian rhythm, possibly disturbing your sleep patterns. Not getting enough sleep can negatively affect the skin, from dullness and puffiness to redness and dark undereye circles.

While research continues on the effects of blue light on the skin, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Try to spend less time on screens, especially that mindless scrolling when you’re watching TV
  • Use night mode on your devices all the time to reduce blue light
  • Check out new products aimed at protecting against blue light damage. The jury’s still out on whether they will help or not, but if the products contain antioxidants, they could be a helpful skincare product regardless.