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October 08, 2020

Most of us digital workers know that wearing blue light glasses is important for protecting the health of our eyes and our circadian rhythms, cortisol levels, and more. Many, however, don’t know the effects blue light can have on our skin health, as it’s a relatively new concept to us all. If overexposure to blue light is so harmful to our eyes and overall health, what about our skin? We know that the UV rays coming from the sun damage our skin, but did you know that the blue light given off from our screens is damaging to our skin as well? Though the effects may not be as obvious as the sunburns we get from UV rays, its unseen effects can be just as damaging. Blue light may not burn you, but it is absorbed by a chemical in your skin in a process that leads to the destruction of the collagen in your skin.

Now that we’re spending more time inside due to quarantine, you may have thought you could take a break from your daily sunscreen applications–but you shouldn’t! Your remote work routine should include grabbing your drink, finding a quiet place, making sure your laptop charger is close, and applying sunscreen in anticipation of hours spent in front of a screen. Begin your day with a few pumps of lumasol and reapply between meetings (or every two hours). lumasol’s most important feature is the protection from your screen that it provides for your skin’s precious collagen, but the feature that separates lumasol from other options is its make-up friendly reapplication.
 

What is blue light?

Unlike UVA and UVB rays which are invisible, blue light is a color in the visible light spectrum that can be seen by human eyes. Otherwise known as High Energy Visible Light (HEV), blue light has a very short wavelength, which means that it produces higher amounts of intense energy. Though labeled “blue light,” we perceive blue light as a cool-toned white light. Blue light is everywhere in our world. Years ago, the only source of blue light was from the sun. And although blue light from the sun still remains our biggest source of blue light, there are more contributing factors now. Now, we have brought blue light inside by way of digital screens — TVs, smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, gaming systems, electronic devices, LED lights, fluorescent lights, and more. With our screen times increasing, this source has become a substantial contributor to our exposure. 

light spectrum 

What is the difference between natural blue light and artificial blue light?

Blue Light Wavelengths

  • They are everywhere, constantly surrounding us.
  • They are the reason the sky appears blue to the human eye. These short blue wavelengths collide with air molecules and cause the blue light to spread, making us process the sky as blue.
  • They are also a natural form that helps to regulate the body’s sleep and wake cycles, otherwise known as your circadian rhythm.
  • Moreover, blue light can help to boost your alertness, heighten your reaction times, elevate your moods, and increase your overall feeling of wellbeing.

Artificial Blue Light

  • Artificial blue light sources include electronic devices and certain types of lighting.
  • Increasing the amount of blue light we are exposed to can actually cause damaging effects on the body. 
 

How can blue light affect you?

As one of the shortest, yet highest energy wavelengths in the light spectrum, the blue light flickers easier and longer than other types of weaker wavelengths. This flickering casts a glare that reduces your visual contrast, affecting clarity and sharpness. Moreover, studies show that exposure to blue light can cause:

  • Eyestrain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Damage to the skin, and more 

How does blue light damage skin?

Blue light is absorbed by a chemical in your skin, called flavin, in a process that produces unstable oxygen molecules. The exertion of these molecules essentially pokes holes in your collagen and leads to the decimation of the collagen in your skin. It also has visible effects like redness and pigmentation. 

 

Is blue light as much of a threat as UVA/UVB when it comes to skin damage and skin aging?

Blue light does not cause damage to the DNA of our cells like how UV light does, but it does cause the breakdown of the cells that are essential to maintain the strength and wholeness of the skin such as collagen and elastin.

 

What are some everyday examples of where and when we could encounter overexposure to blue light?

Living in a modern, digital world that revolves around technology, we are constantly being exposed to blue light. Our culture is spending more and more time in front of laptops, tablets, computers, and cell phones each and every day. This is especially true with many of us working remotely in quarantine. We are spending more time than ever before in front of screens and Zoom calls, rather than meeting people in rooms. The screens we use every day, and have very close to our bodies, are a large source of blue light. Our overall day-to-day exposure is constantly increasing, which can cause skin damage over a lifetime. Taking the proper precautions to protect your skin can help you in the long run.
 

What can be done to prevent blue light damage?

Limiting screen time is helpful, but unrealistic given how ingrained technology is in our everyday lives. So, being conscious and adjusting the light level on your devices especially before bed time can be extremely helpful. Moreover,  It’s very important to wear sunscreen every day, no matter what time of year it is or whether you’re inside or outside. Broad spectrum sunscreen provides the most complete protection for your skin from harmful rays. The coverage and properties can help mitigate HEV light, which is necessary to block UV light that comes through your windows. Using broad spectrum sunscreen like lumasol can help reduce damaging effects of blue light from your screens. lumasol’s broad spectrum formula was designed for complete protection so application (and reapplication!!!) is just as necessary for your skin’s protection from a computer screen as it is for protection from the sun.

 

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