How to protect your skin from blue light damage

Posted by
Lucy Partington
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Research found that the blue light emitted from screens can cause damage similar to the way the sun’s rays affect our skin. So, we looked into the products that are specially designed to protect it.

We hate to break it to you, but the blue light that’s emitted from your laptop, phone and tablet is actually more damaging than you’d think. We already know about how it affects our sleep and the contrast in colours contributes to eye strain. Some research even suggests that it could lead to retina damage over time. But, I’m sure none of us predicted that your skin could be impacted too.

Blue light has been linked to premature skin ageing and irregular pigmentation. In fact, two in three (64%) people are unaware of the effect blue light can have on their skin, a study by Unilever has found. Scientists believe with 60% of people now spending more than six hours a day in front of a digital device, five working days a week could have the same impact on skin as spending 25 minutes in midday sun without any protection. So what exactly is it and how does it affect our skin? 

Blue light (AKA high energy visible light, HEVL) is part of the visible light spectrum,” explains Stefanie Williams, dermatologist and medical director at Eudelo. “It’s the electromagnetic radiation that sits between ultraviolet and infrared radiation, and it consists of different colours with blue light being the closest in wavelength to UV light.”

Sounds complicated, but the most important thing to note is that blue light is emitted from electronic devices like televisions, computer screens, laptops and tablets… the list goes on. Even some fluorescent bulbs and LED lights can emit it. “And, of course, the sun emits blue light, too,” adds Williams.

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While it has long been known that blue light can interfere with our circadian rhythm, Williams says that there is increasing data on the potential long-term harms of visible light, particularly blue light.

In fact, previous research discovered molecular and cellular changes in human skin cells exposed to artificial visible light, similar to the light emitted by electronic devices. “The authors concluded that that may impede normal cellular functions and contribute to premature skin ageing,” Williams explains.

So, with that in mind, brands are starting to create products to help protect skin from potential harm. Here are three of Stylist’s best rated…

  • Elemis Daily Defence Shield SPF30 Sunscreen

    Not only does this cream offer broad spectrum SPF30, but it also shields skin against pollution and high-energy visible light. The super-lightweight formula. quickly and easily absorbs into skin and is virtually untraceable under make-up.

    Elemis Daily Defense Shield SPF30 Sunscreen, £46

  • Make Moonlight Moisturizing Primer


    While most primers are developed to help keep your base in place, this Make option goes one huge leap further. The silicone-free gel-cream formula is black upon application (don’t worry, the colour fades once you blend it in) and was specifically developed to protect against the harmful effects of HEVL and infrared light.

    Make Moonlight Moisturizing Primer, £50

  • Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50


    This Murad SPF has a soft peach tinted formula that blends into all skin tones for a subtle boost of radiance. Plus, it’s 100% mineral, doesn’t pill under make-up and according to Murad’s research and testing, shields skin from 89% of blue light from screens.

    Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50, £60

  • Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex Synchronized Recovery II

    Artificial blue light can make skin think it’s daytime, inhibiting the overnight renewal process. This cream helps skin recharge as it should.

    Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex Synchronized Recovery II, £46

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Lucy Partington

Freelance beauty editor Lucy Partington is obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she'll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

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