If you’re serious about keeping skin healthy as you age and protecting skin from environmental aggressors, you probably already know about the importance of sunscreen. You probably also have a general understanding of UVA and UVB rays. What you may be less familiar with is blue light and its impact on skin. At Skin Health Experts, we’re passionate about helping you keep skin healthy. In this blog, we reveal what blue light is, its impact on skin, and how to shield yourself from its deeply penetrating rays.
What Is Blue Light?
Sunlight creates all kinds of light, including UV, visible and infrared. Half the sunlight spectrum consists of visible light. The other half is made up of UV and infrared light. The blue/violet band of the visible spectrum is known as High Energy Visible Light or HEV Light.
Light is measured in wavelengths. Ultraviolet A (UVA) is made up of wavelengths 320 to 400 nm (nanometers) in length. Ultraviolet B (UVB) wavelengths are 280 to 320 nm. And blue light is made up of wavelengths 380 to 500 nm. These wavelength measurements correlate to how deeply each can penetrate skin. UVB rays, which have shorter wavelengths, are absorbed by the epidermis, or top layer of skin. These are the rays responsible for causing sunburn and some forms of skin cancer, including malignant melanoma. UVA rays are absorbed into the dermis, or middle layer of skin. UVA rays are responsible for prematurely aging your skin, causing wrinkles, age spots and some cancer formation. Blue light has the longest wavelength and is known to penetrate the hypodermis, or deepest layer of skin.
How Blue Light Impacts Skin
Emerging research reveals that blue light can cause oxidative damage, which may accelerate cellular aging (Source: Blue Light Induces Mitochondrial DNA damage & free radical production in epithelial cells). Blue light exposure also creates free radicals while decreasing antioxidants (Sourse: Vandersee article) in skin. Blue light can increase inflammation and slow skin barrier recovery (source: Densa_Sheiseido).
Blue Light Is Also Generated By Electronic Devices
Blue light isn’t just created from the sun. It’s also generated by electronic devices, including computers, laptops, Smart phones, and tablets, which makes it all the more influential on the look of skin and skin health.
Think about how much time you spend in front of a computer, on your smart phone, or other electronic device on any given day. Hours upon hours, right? These electronic devices constantly emit blue light, which accelerates photoaging. Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, your skin is being exposed to and potentially harmed by it. So how can you best protect your skin from blue light damage? Enter your daily sunscreen. Yes, that lotion or spray you pack on beach days is actually an essential step in your daily defense against the premature signs of aging. But not all sunscreens help shield against blue light. Our Kate Somerville Daily Deflector™ does. This mineral sunscreen is expertly formulated with non-nano Zinc Oxide to protect against harmful, aging blue light. It’s also got a Ceramide Complex that strengthens & restores skin. Additionally, the formula helps shield skin from UVA & UVB rays. This lotion-based SPF 50 sun care product works well under makeup as the final step in your morning skincare routine and can be reapplied every few hours to maintain that blue light protection. Additionally, our SPF setting spray is a great option for those looking to maintain their makeup look while protecting their skin from harmful UV rays.
While blue light research and studies are relatively new, as Skin Health Experts, we’re on a mission to keep you informed and educated. Our positions are grounded in medical and scientific research, and we will continue to share relevant peer-reviewed journals and published studies as they emerge.