Is Blue Light From Your Screen Ruining Your Skin?


This article originally appeared on *GloWell Mag* on July 21, 2020

Written by Christina Heiser

You already know how important it is to protect your skin from ultraviolet light when you’re out in the sun. After all, exposure to UVA and UVB rays can lead to signs of premature aging as well as skin cancer.

But the sun isn’t your only source of damaging rays; it turns out it’s just as important to shield your skin from the blue light coming from all your screens.

What is Blue Light—and How Does it Affect Your Skin?

Blue light, also known as high energy visible (HEV) light, is a short wavelength, high-energy light on the visible spectrum that penetrates more deeply into skin than UVA and UVB rays, says Dr. Marie Hayag, MD, dermatologist and founder of Fifth Avenue Aesthetics in New York City.

Dr. Hayag adds that high doses of blue light and long-term exposure to it can generate “reactive oxygen species,” which break down collagen and elastin, two building blocks of healthy, youthful-looking skin. That said, Dr. Hayag notes large, long-term clinical trials are needed to know just how much blue light damage contributes to aging and disease.

Wear Sunscreen, Even Indoors 

The best ingredients to look for in sunscreen to block blue light are mineral sun filters (like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), iron oxides, and antioxidants (like vitamin C and green tea), says Dr. Hayag.

Here are some of the best sunscreens to protect against blue light, according to Dr. Hayag and Dr. King:

Now, a word on all those products you’ve seen in Instagram ads claiming to block blue light:

While they might work, it’s easiest to use a blue-light-blocking sunscreen vs. applying a blue-light-blocking serum and then an SPF on top. “We should all be protecting our skin from UV rays on a regular basis, so a product that combines UV protection with blue light protection is ideal because it means you don’t need to add an additional product,” says Dr. King.

Use a Blue Light Shield on Your Devices

Ocushield, a favorite of Dr. Hayag, has several filters to fit a variety of devices. You can also enable “night mode” settings on your devices permanently. “This significantly reduces the blue light in favor of harmless yellow light.”