The Detrimental Effects of Blue Light on Your Skin

UVA and UVB are no longer the only rays our skin needs protection from. Thankfully, a new class of female-founded skincare is tackling the detrimental effects of blue light that radiates from computers and smartphones alike.

By Zoe Schaeffer

By now, we’re all well versed on the importance of wearing sunscreen on a daily basis to protect ourselves against the sun’s harmful rays. But if the great outdoors calls for a great amount of skin safety, what of our skin when it comes to working from home, or even mindlessly scrolling through Instagram? A new class of skincare is tackling indoor hazards from blue light that radiates from computers and smartphones alike. With a growing attachment to our screens, it’s important to become aware of blue light’s effect on our skin—and how we should be protecting ourselves.

What is blue light?

“Blue light is a high energy, short-wavelength light, and our main source of exposure is the sun,” says Vivien Sylvester, creative director of One Ocean Beauty, a non-toxic line of fueled marine actives. “But due to proximity, blue light from our devices appears to be worse for our skin and can even damage the dermis on a deeper level.” As these rays penetrate the skin, they induce oxidative stress that leads to DNA damage, inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and the breakdown of collagen; not to mention that it may affect levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Sylvester explains, “The disruption to our circadian rhythms can affect the skin’s natural nighttime repair process and cause visible aging.”

How can I protect my skin?

But how concerned do we need to be? While research has yet to determine how much exposure to our devices we can withstand before the effects start to show on our skin, it is better to be safe than sorry. An appropriate first step is to adjust the brightness level on your screen or to turn on your phone’s “night mode,” which emits a warmer tone. Save(urpretty)face has made this step even easier by offering an “IRL” blue light filter to attach to your phone screen. But considering the booming beauty industry in combination with American screen consumption, it is unsurprising that the market is also beginning to flood with topical blue light armor.

One Ocean’s newest launch, Blue Light Protection Mist, can be liberally spritzed throughout the day and uses red algae extract from the Celtic Sea to help hydrate along with a peptide to strengthen the skin’s natural biome. Antioxidants, which are the key ingredients in Juice Beauty’s Antioxidant Serum, can neutralize free radicals caused by blue light and thus reduce the effects of oxidative stress and potentially help minimize the effects of exposure to help repair the skin. And if you’re looking for a sunscreen that can help protect against both blue light as well as the sun’s UV rays, research suggests that products with iron oxide are the most protective, which is generally what is used in tinted sunscreens, like the Daily Correct CC Cream by Supergoop! or Unsun’s Mineral Tinted Sunscreen.

Whether you’re spending time in the sun or logging hours in front of your laptop or smartphone, keep in mind that environmental aggressors that wear down your skin extend far beyond the beach. And while we may not yet know the severity of blue light’s impact, we’re not taking any chances.

Save(urpretty)face Blue Light Blocking IRL Filter

A tempered glass iPhone screen filter to shield your face from the majority of blue light.; $34

One Ocean Beauty Blue Light Protection Hydration Mist

A natural mist made with red algae extract helps preserve hydration, soften the skin, and prepare for blue light exposure.; $58

Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum

A lightweight serum made with vitamins and antioxidants from certified organic juices and is clinically proven to prevent free radical damage up to 87%.; $48

Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream

A color-correcting CC cream that provides light to medium coverage that’s available in four different hues.; $36

Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen

A mineral tinted facial sunscreen that also works as a color corrector is available in two hues, covering a range of skin tones from olive to dark chocolate.; $29

Every product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through one of our links, The Helm may earn a commission.

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