Blue light is unavoidable: It comes from our screens (hence the burgeoning market of blue light glasses), indoor lighting, and, most significantly, the sun. And, according to board-certified dermatologist Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, it can have lots of negative effects, including eye strain, photo-aging (think wrinkles and hyperpigmentation), and even acne flare-ups. And because blue light penetrates deeper than UVA and UVB light, explains Dr. Houshmand, it can affect the dermis where collagen and elastin are present, potentially leading to wrinkling and sagging.
Although in its early stages, research has also shown links between visible light and skin cells being stimulated to produce pigment, which can lead to hyperpigmentation or melasma. "I learned that blue light exposure at night impacts the natural circadian rhythm of skin cells themselves," she says of recent findings at the World Congress of Dermatology in Milan, adding that it causes the skin cells to act like it's daytime, impacting the nighttime repair process.
In other words, even the best sleeping masks are no match for blue light. All is not lost, however. Dr. Houshmand recommends buying blue light shields to cover your screens and potentially minimize the effects of blue light. She also suggests permanently enabling nighttime mode on your phone. Exchanging blue light for yellow light is easier on your skin and can help with eye strain and skin damage.
To take it a step further, add a topical antioxidant into your routine, which helps to boost skin's defense against environmental damage. Dr. Houshmand recommends opting for a pure vitamin C serum paired with a physical sunscreen, and looking for products that specifically protect skin from UV and high-energy visible light (HEV), another term for blue light. Doing all three diligently will help to minimize blue light's effect and protect your skin, but, if all else fails, you could just go off the grid, something that sounds more appealing every day!