Our lives are more complicated with technology in the modern digital era. We spend a lot of time in front of screens, whether it's working on computers, scrolling through social media on our smartphones, or watching our favourite shows. However, with this increased screen time comes exposure to blue light, a high-energy visible (HEV) light emitted by electronic devices. Here is where sunscreen plays a great role in saving the skin from harmful effects.
In this blog post, we will explore how sunscreen can help protect our skin from the potential harm caused by blue lights.
What is Blue Light?
- Blue light refers to a type of light that we see as the colour blue. It is emitted by various sources, including the sun, electronic devices like smartphones and computers, and certain types of indoor lighting.
- Blue light has a shorter wavelength and higher energy compared to other colours of light. When we are exposed to blue light, especially for long periods or at night, it can potentially affect our eyes, sleep patterns, and even our skin.
- Prolonged and excessive exposure to blue light, particularly in the evening or nighttime, can have potential impacts on our sleep patterns, eye health, and even our skin.
- Blue light from the sun during the daytime is a natural and essential part of our daily light exposure. However, it is important to be mindful of the potential effects of excessive blue light exposure, particularly from artificial sources, and take appropriate measures to protect ourselves when needed.
Effects of Blue Light on the Skin
Increased Oxidative Stress: Blue light exposure has been shown to cause the skin to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), which causes oxidative stress. Oxidative stress accelerates the ageing process and causes the development of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots on your skin.
Skin barrier disruption: Prolonged exposure to blue light can interfere with the skin's normal barrier process, causing the skin to become more sensitive, dry, and sometimes inflammatory.
Hyperpigmentation: Studies suggest that blue light exposure may trigger an overproduction of melanin, the pigment responsible for our skin colour. This can lead to hyperpigmentation, causing uneven skin tone and dark spots on your face.
Wavelength of Blue Light
Blue light, part of the visible light spectrum, typically has a wavelength ranging from 380 to 500 nanometers (nm). It falls within the shorter wavelength range of the visible light spectrum. This high-energy light is emitted by the sun, as well as artificial sources like LED screens and fluorescent lights.
Its shorter wavelength is what gives blue light its characteristic colour and potential to penetrate the skin deeper than other colours of light.
The Protective Role of Sunscreen
As awareness of the potentially harmful effects of blue light on the skin grows, sunscreen formulations have started to adapt to provide protection specifically against blue light. While traditional sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection offer some level of defence against blue light due to the overlap in wavelengths, there are some additional considerations for choosing sunscreens with enhanced blue light protection
Physical Sunscreens with Mineral Filters: Sunscreens containing mineral filters such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide create a physical barrier on your face. Blue light is refracted and dispersed by these minerals, preventing it from penetrating the skin's deeper layers. These physical blockers not only provide protection against UV rays but also act as a barrier to reflect and scatter blue light away from the skin's surface.
Broad-Spectrum Protection: Opt for a sunscreen labelled as "broad-spectrum." These formulations offer protection against both UVA and UVB radiation, which often overlaps with the blue light spectrum.
Antioxidant-Rich Formulations: Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, green tea extract, or niacinamide are used in the production of some sunscreens. These antioxidants help neutralise the light generated by blue light, reducing potential damage to your facial skin.
Blue Light-Blocking Ingredients: Sunscreen formulations now come with ingredients specifically designed to block blue light. These may include iron oxide, which helps absorb and reflect blue light wavelengths, adding an extra layer of protection. For example, iron oxide is a popular ingredient used to absorb blue light wavelengths effectively.
Consistent Application: Regular and proper application of sunscreen is key to maximising its blue light protection. Apply sunscreen liberally to your face, making sure to cover all exposed areas, and reapply every two hours or as advised by the product.
Always Keep this in Mind
Remember that the effectiveness of blue light protection can vary among sunscreen formulations. It's always a good idea to check product labels.
While sunscreen can provide an additional layer of defence against blue light, it's important to complement it with other strategies such as reducing screen time, using blue light filters on devices, and incorporating lifestyle habits that promote overall skin health.
In today's digital age, where blue light surrounds us, it is crucial to be proactive in protecting our skin. While the full extent of blue light's impact on our skin is still being researched, evidence suggests the need for preventive measures. Sunscreen, our trusted ally against UV radiation, has emerged as an effective defence against blue light as well.
By including sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection, mineral filters, and antioxidant-rich formulations in your skincare routine, you can protect your skin from likely damage caused by blue light. So, let's cherish the power of sunscreen and let our skin enjoy its protective glow!
Q. Does sunscreen protect me from blue light?
Ans. Sunscreen can provide some level of protection against blue light, although its effectiveness in blocking blue light may vary depending on the specific formulation. Some sunscreens are now being formulated with specific ingredients or technologies that aim to block or absorb blue light wavelengths. To enhance protection against blue light, you can consider using physical sunscreens containing mineral filters like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as they have the ability to reflect and scatter blue light.
Q. Does Sunscreen protect from LED light?
Ans. Sunscreen is primarily designed to protect against UV radiation from the sun, not LED light. LED light emits visible light rather than UV rays. While some sunscreen formulations may offer minimal protection due to ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, their effectiveness against LED light varies. It's best to minimize direct exposure to LED light and consider using physical barriers like clothing and sunglasses for added protection.
Q. Does Vitamin C help in protecting from blue light?
Ans. While vitamin C has antioxidant properties and promotes skin health, there is limited scientific evidence supporting its ability to specifically protect against the harmful effects of blue light. Blue light exposure from electronic devices has been associated with potential skin damage, but reducing screen time and using blue light filters are more effective measures. While vitamin C can contribute to overall skin health, it is not a dedicated or proven protection against blue light.