We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen to protect against harmful UV rays and more recently, we've started to more seriously consider damage from environmental stressors like pollution. But what we often fail to acknowledge an even more pervasive skin aggressor: blue light.
Yes, blue light-also called HEV (High Energy Visible) light-emitted from electronic devices like our smartphones, tablets, and TVs may be leading to premature skin aging and skin damage. "Blue light is thought to contribute to wrinkle formation and skin discoloration," warns board-certified dermatologist Ainah Tan, MD, FAAD. HEV light is also found in the sun's rays, but even if we're careful about our time in direct sunlight, we're constantly exposing ourselves while indoors. We spend most of our waking hours staring at screens, and, unfortunately for us, blue light penetrates more deeply than UV rays.
While much of the initial concern surrounding blue light was focused on eyesight and disrupting sleep cycles, we're beginning to understand its effects on the skin. "Small studies have shown that blue light from the sun contributes to melasma, hyperpigmentation of the face," notes Tan. "Larger-scale studies are needed to see whether the blue light emitted from our phones and computers also contribute to this issue, although the small-scale studies and anecdotes-such as worse hyperpigmentation on the side that people hold their phones-does look like blue light is a contributing factor."
Tan recommends using the dimmest setting possible on phones and computer screens (without straining your eyes) and to use hands-free options for phone calls. Beyond following these precautions and limiting screen time (which oftentimes isn't possible if your job requires you to be on a computer), we can minimize blue light damage by prepping our skin with products that combat its effects.
"Most sunscreens, unfortunately, do not help protect against blue light, but this is why I specifically recommend sunscreen with iron oxide, which does protect against visible light," explains Tan. "In addition, the use of products with antioxidants and vitamin C help minimize damage from blue light as well as possibly repair skin." Here are seven products that protect your skin from blue light damage.
This tinted black primer (the color disappears once applied) enriched with marine algae fights against free radicals, tackling outdoor and indoor stressors at the same time. In addition to protecting your skin against age-accelerating pollutants, the formula helps to hydrate and fill fine lines.Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++ $68Shop
This multitasking mineral sunscreen protects your skin from the five main causes of damage: UVA, UVB, pollution, infrared radiation, and blue light. Your skin gets a boost from the inside out as the color-correcting tint evens your skin tone, vitamin C helps to brighten, and an advanced polymer matrix fights against the penetration of environmental toxins.
A dermatologist-favorite formulated with chemical-free active ingredients, this weightless sunscreen delivers powerful sun and HEV light protection while also combating skin-aging free radicals from UV and IR radiation.BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Defense Radiant Protective Veil $35Shop
Stop pollution-including digital pollution-from taking its toll with this all-in-one hydrating veil that protects skin from indoor and outdoor damage. Sustainably sourced cacao extract helps defend skin against the damaging effects of blue light while sugar molecules create an invisible barrier that prohibits carbon particles and heavy metals from adhering to the skin.Coola Full Spectrum 360В° Sun Silk Drops SPF 30 $46Shop
This fast-absorbing, organic formula is a blend of plant stem cells and patented technology to defend against lightwaves. Plus, it works to prevent visible signs of aging from both outdoor and indoor aggressors. The solution protects against broad-spectrum UVA/UVB, IR (infrared), and HEV light-meaning you can go from the office to out-of-office without a change to your skincare.Cover FX Water Cloud Primer $38Shop
To protect against a triple threat of environmental stressors (free radicals, heavy metals, and blue light), opt for this cooling mousse primer equipped to defend the skin throughout your day with its skin defense complex made from plankton extract and exopolysaccharide.Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 $32Shop
Supergoop! offers an exciting lineup of sun care necessities. This antioxidant-rich primer not only offers broad-spectrum SPF 40, but thanks to red algae, it also combats harmful blue light damage. Prep skin for makeup with the formula's velvety finish and rest assured that your beauty look will stay put while your skin stays protected from blue light.
Now that you've taken care of blue light damage, here are ten protective products that pollution-proof your skin.