What is a mineral sunscreen? Sunscreens can be separated into two categories; physical (or mineral) and chemical. According to Cinzia, “Zinc oxide is a micro-fine mineral that offers broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.” Mineral sunscreens are safer, better for the skin and also help to protect against blue light (or high-energy visible light) which is emitted from electronic devices. What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays? UVA and UVB rays affect the skin in different ways. Cinzia says, “While UVB rays affect the skin’s top layer (they’re the ones that cause sunburn and skin…Read more
Raise your hand if your screen time has gone through the roof recently. Disclaimer: this a no-judgement zone (mainly because I just checked how many pickups of my phone I’ve done today; 137). Well, it turns out its not just a severe Instagram addiction we need to worry about.
Blue light, emitted from our electronic devices, can cause damage to our skin. We spoke to all-round skin expert and Training Manager at Murad, Andrea Craig, about the effects of blue light on the skin and – more importantly – how to protect ourselves.
By Beth Ludolf
What is blue light?
We all know about UVA and UVB rays (and wear broad-spectrum SPF every day to protect ourselves, right?). Think of blue light in the same family. “Blue light is a spectrum of light that is emitted mainly by the sun, but also by our digital devices,” Andrea explains “as our use of such devices increases, so does our exposure to blue light”.
How does blue light affect the skin?
Again, think about how UV rays penetrate the skin at different levels. “Blue light has one of the shortest, highest-energy wavelengths which means it can penetrate the skin more deeply than UV” Andrea points out. It has also been shown to generate more ROS (reactive oxygen species) than UVA and UVB combined, “a build-up of ROS can cause damage to skin cells”.
What are the effects of blue light on skin?
Long-term or excessive exposure to blue light can cause visible damage to the skin. According to Andrea, “it accelerates the oxidation process which is directly linked to photoaging and causes hyperpigmentation, inflammation and weakening of the skin’s barrier”. Basically, it can lead to dehydration, sensitivity and premature ageing.
What are the effects of blue light on the body?
Exposure to blue light at night suppresses melatonin production (the hormone that makes us tired) so it can interrupt sleep. Remember, the biggest source of blue light is the sun – that’s why exposure from electronic devices can trick the body into thinking it’s daytime. Some exposure in daylight can lift your mood though, just like a sunny day.
How can I reduce blue light exposure?
Let’s start with your tech – and no, we won’t say cut down on Netflix time (we’re being realistic here). Most smartphones have a setting – ‘Night Shift’ on iPhone – that limits the blue light emitted by its display by making it warmer in tone. It reduces the strain on your eyes but also the damage to your skin. You can also buy blue light shields for all devices.
How can I protect my skin?
SPF is a pretty good place to start. Not all sunscreens protect against blue light though so look for mineral formulas containing zinc oxide. Andrea also recommends incorporating products that are rich in antioxidants into your skincare routine. Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Lutein are perfect for this, “antioxidants help to protect the skin from free radical damage caused by blue light exposure but they also help the skin to heal”.
During this uncertain time, we’ll be continuing to create the content you love – whether for distraction, inspiration or to give guidance on wellbeing. If there’s anything you’d like to see (or not see) please contact us on Instagram @treatwell_ie. We hope you keep safe and healthy.