While we have learned the short and long-term effects of UV light and photodamage from the sun, 2020 has been an eye-opener to another form of light-related aging: blue light and blue light skincare.
About Blue Light Skincare
Blue Light is more than being the reason you should step away from your computer every once in a while (as you should!).
Along with eye fatigue, blue light is a unique avenue for skin damage and other effects on the body.
Fortunately, we at SkinStore have had the privilege of asking Dr. Maryam Zamani, founder of MZ Skin and highly respected Oculoplastic Surgeon and leading Facial Aesthetics Doctor, a few questions about this unique skin care concern!
What is Blue Light?
Together with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, blue light is one of the colors of the visible light spectrum. They make white light visible when the sun is shining. Blue light is also called high energy visible light (HEV light) and can potentially cause skin damage by inducing oxidative stress.
Due to the significant amount of daily screen time, we have more blue light exposure than we used to get from the sun alone. HEV (high-energy visible light) has the ability to penetrate more deeply into the skin than UV light, destroying collagen and elastin.
HEV light can contribute to pigmentary changes in the skin and some studies suggest HEV light can be more active in inducing pigmentation than UV light. The oxidative effects of HEV can cause inflammation and damage the skin barrier, increasing the signs of aging, uneven skin tone, dullness, and fine lines and wrinkles.
How does it affect the Skin?
We know that sunlight consists of UV (ultraviolet), VL (visible light), and IR (infrared light). UVA is associated with skin aging and UVB is associated with burning. Think A for aging and B for burning. 40% of solar radiation is visible light, and it can be particularly worrisome for those like myself that suffer from a common pigmentary condition called melasma. To further complicate this, a small subdivision of visible light is high energy visible light which is associated with free radical formation. This high energy visible light is emitted from screens (computer/phones and other electronic devices).
Research shows that blue light causes free radical damage and induces degrading enzymes in the skin, which in turn cause damage to collagen and slow down its production, resulting in aging. It also stimulates tyrosine and melanin production, meaning the increase of pigmentation. When regularly exposed to blue light, skin can become dull and uneven in tone.
There are studies that also suggest that chronic blue light exposure can damage retinal cells and contribute to age-related macular degeneration. Interesting to note is that a new study does show that children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adult eyes, making this very important for our children.