Over the past few decades, everyone from New York to Sydney has been spending more and more time exposed to screens as work, socializing, and relaxing have become almost entirely mediated by our digital devices. We know this might not be good for our social skills or our mental health, but did you know that your screen habits could also be adding years to your face?
According to a 2021 study, the average American adult spends 3 hours and 43 minutes per day on their phone alone. Combine this with time spent at your computer for work and the hours spent streaming Netflix episodes, and that's a whole lot of screen time.1
Recent research has discovered that our digital devices are a source of blue light which has similar effects to UV light in causing certain skin conditions. Similar to the way in which the sun emits invisible UVA and UVB rays that damage our skin, our devices emit a type of visible light that can cause photo-aging.
But is blue light really as bad as the sun's harsh rays? And if it is, what can we do to protect ourselves?
Luckily, a good skin care routine and some sensible screen habits can help protect against skin damage from blue light. This article explains what blue light is, what it's doing to your complexion, and the very best ways to help protect your skin from harm's way.
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What Is Blue Light?
There are two types of natural light: invisible and visible. The ultraviolet (UV) light emitted by the sun is invisible and comes in the form of UVA and UVB rays. All other light from the sun follows a visible light spectrum that we know from elementary school as the colors of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
All light can be rated in terms of electromagnetic radiation, with blue light being second only to ultraviolet light in terms of high energy and radiation. Red, orange, yellow, and green visible light is low energy and not considered damaging.
Blue light is categorized as High Energy Visible (HEV) light on this light spectrum, meaning it is a type of visible light that has the potential to damage our skin in a similar way to UV rays.
The primary sources of exposure to blue light include:
The sun – emits all forms of light, including blue light
Computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones – the main source of blue light that we are exposed to at close proximity on a daily basis
Television screens – most modern televisions have LED screens that emit blue light
Indoor lighting – fluorescent and LED lightbulbs also emit blue light
More helpful reading by RenewSkin Inc.: Sun damage & skin
What Are The Effects of Blue Light?
Blue light isn't all bad. It can make you more alert, help your memory and brain function, and improve your mood. Blue light is what makes the sky appear blue!
Low levels of blue light can even be put to positive use in the form of blue light therapy. Blue light therapy can be used to remove cancerous skin cells, heal acne scars, and even treat depression (particularly seasonal affective disorder).2
Research says that the problem for our health is when we experience prolonged close proximity and overexposure to blue light, rather than the light itself.3
So What Are The Downsides Of Blue Light?
Getting up close and personal with blue light via our smartphones, computers, and television screens can disrupt our circadian rhythm, the body's natural cycle that makes us feel awake in the morning when it's bright and sleepy at nighttime when it's dark.
Watching too much TV or scrolling through social media late in the evening can cause you to feel more awake. This will make it harder for you to fall asleep, as blue light suppresses your melatonin (sleep hormone) levels.4
Disruption to the circadian rhythm and a bad sleep pattern can impact your blood sugar levels and potentially contribute to health problems like obesity and diabetes. Overexposure and close proximity to blue light can also cause eye problems including strains, cataracts, and glaucoma.
There is also evidence that skin problems like premature aging and hyperpigmentation are related to blue light exposure.
More helpful reading: Feel good hormones.
How Does Blue Light Damage Skin?
Let's take a closer look at the connection between blue light and skin damage like premature aging. Blue light damages your skin by:
1. Disrupting Your Skin's Repair Cycle
Did you know that your skin cells have their own circadian rhythm?
Our skin cells naturally repair themselves during the night while we rest, which is why we consider beauty sleep to be so important for our complexions. When blue light disrupts the circadian rhythm, our skin cells may not heal themselves properly at night and this can lead to a tired, dull complexion prone to fine lines and wrinkles.5
2. Damaging Collagen & Elastin
Thanks to its high energy wavelengths, blue light can penetrate deep into our skin where it reaches our collagen and elastin supplies.
Prolonged close contact with blue light generates a process of oxidative stress. When our skin absorbs blue light, it triggers the production of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) in our body. These free radicals are unstable molecules that attach to our collagen and elastin, weakening our skin's structure in the process.
Excess free radicals are the enemy of youthful skin, leaving our complexions more prone to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
More helpful reading: How to get rid of forehead wrinkles
3. Increasing Pigmentation
This process of oxidative stress can also lead to skin conditions like inflammation, swelling, pigmentation, and melasma.
Blue light emitted by our digital devices is similar to UV rays in that it can trigger melanin production in the skin, leading to dark spots. Research suggests that this hyperpigmentation of the skin is often darker and more persistent than that caused by UV exposure.6
This pigmentation may be particularly prominent in areas of the skin that are closely exposed to blue light on a regular basis, such as the side of your face where your phone is commonly held. Research also suggests that hyperpigmentation caused by blue light exposure is more common in darker skin types.7
6 Ways To Protect Your Skin Against Exposure to Blue Light
Luckily for us all, there are ways you can protect your skin from the effects of blue light.
Discover the best means of blue light protection with these top tips:
1. Reduce Screen Time
The number one way to prevent skin damage due to blue light exposure is to reduce your screen time altogether.
While we know it's not possible to stay away from screens entirely, make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day, and try to keep a distance of at least 10 inches to save your eyes from strain. And, finally, try to avoid using your digital devices in the late hours before bedtime.
2. Add A Blue Light Filter To Your Computer & Phone
Screen time is pretty unavoidable these days, between working from home and staying in touch with friends and family there's really no way around it. Luckily there are some gadgets available that offer blue light protection while you use your digital devices.
Look for a blue light filter for your computer screen and your phone, these work to block harmful rays and can help save your skin from blue light damage.
3. Use Your Phone's Night Mode
Most smartphones have a "night mode" which uses more yellow light and less blue light rays. You can set it to come on in the evenings so your eyes are not strained, which will help you to fall asleep more easily come bedtime.
For even more protection, you can use it all day to significantly reduce your blue light exposure.
4. Wear Sunscreen
While the main source of our closest exposure to blue light is our phone or computer, the sun also emits blue light throughout the day.
Protect yourself from sun exposure and blue light by including a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen in your daily skin care routine. The most effective mineral sunscreen for both UV and blue light will contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide. Iron oxide is specifically good at protecting your skin against blue light.
More helpful reading:
5. Use Antioxidants
Antioxidants are without a doubt the very best protection for your skin against free radical damage and oxidative stress. They help boost your skin's defenses against environmental toxins, sun damage, and blue light too. This means that they should be go-to ingredients in your skincare routine all year round!
Antioxidants work by balancing out free radicals, in turn protecting your skin's collagen supplies and promoting more youthful, bright skin. Glutathione, vitamin C, vitamin A, niacinamide, resveratrol, and lycopene are some examples of antioxidants to look out for in your skincare products.
More helpful reading:
Boost Your Antioxidants From Within With Taut Bright
For a powerful defense against the effects of blue light and excess melanin production, try adding an antioxidant supplement like Taut Bright into your skin care routine.
Our potent formula contains 7 antioxidants and active ingredients designed to protect against cellular damage, inhibit melanin production, and fade dark spots for lighter, brighter skin. Taut Bright can help boost your skin's defenses against UV and blue light damage while fading the existing effects that may already be taking a toll on your complexion.
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6. Replenish Your Skin's Collagen
One of the worst effects of blue light is the degradation of our collagen supplies, as collagen is responsible for the healthy, springy, and flexible structure of our skin. When collagen is damaged, our skin is prone to becoming brittle and dry with less elasticity, allowing fine lines and wrinkles to come into play.
Luckily, there are natural ways to safeguard our collagen supplies and even replenish them as they deteriorate. Collagen supplements are an effective means of replacing lost collagen and improving your overall skin health.
However, not all collagen supplements are equal so you should do your research and choose a high-quality and trusted brand before adding them to your skin care routine. Look for marine collagen over bovine collagen, as this is most effective for improving skin quality specifically. Also, choose a potency above 10,000mg to ensure maximum benefits for your complexion.
More helpful reading on the benefits of marine collagen.
Why Choose Taut?
Taut Premium Collagen Drink is a collagen supplement you can trust.
We only use premium marine collagen peptides, sourced from red snapper fish that are wild-caught in the Indian ocean. Our collagen undergoes an extensive hydrolyzation process to ensure each nano-sized particle can enter your bloodstream almost immediately after drinking, allowing it to trigger collagen production within your dermis quickly and effectively.
Each 1.7 oz. bottle of our collagen drink contains a potent concentration of 13,000mg marine collagen peptides, the highest potency currently available on the market.
Our formula also contains 6 other key active ingredients: elastin peptides, hyaluronic acid, grape seed extract, vitamin C, ceramide, and vitamin B6. Combined, these ingredients work synergistically to provide maximum skin rejuvenation and faster, visible, lasting results.
Even better, Taut Premium Collagen Drink contains no nasty chemicals or preservatives, and it is sweetened naturally with plant sugar (Stevia leaf) for a delicious orange flavor.
More helpful reading: RenewSkin Inc.'s best skin care regimen for 50s
Boost Your Skin's Defenses With Our 24-Day Anti-Oxy Foxy Transformation Program
We recommend that you use our Premium Collagen Drink daily to kickstart your skin's collagen production. After your first few weeks, you can switch to drinking the supplement 3 to 4 times per week for maintenance, and return to a daily dosage any time you feel your skin needs an extra boost.
Our transformation programs provide you with a 24-day supply of our Premium Collagen Drink alongside other products and supplements that can support your skin goals.
If you are worried about blue light and UV damage on your skin, we recommend you try our Taut Collagen Anti-Oxy Foxy program. This program contains 24 bottles of Taut Premium Liquid Collagen and 1 box (50 tablets) of Masquelier French Pine Bark Extract.
Dr. Masquelier's French Pine Bark OPC supplement offers anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergic properties to boost your skin health. Research has shown French Pine Bark to be significantly more powerful than vitamin E and 20 times more powerful than vitamin C as an antioxidant.8
By neutralizing free radicals, this supplement has positive effects on your health including a stronger immune system, better circulation, and improved eye health. For your skin, this powerful antioxidant supplement can protect your skin's elastin and collagen from harm while improving your skin's texture, tone, and overall quality.
By combining one of the world's most powerful antioxidants with our collagen replenishing supplement, this kit is the perfect defense against the premature aging effects of environmental damage, sun exposure, and blue light exposure.
Still not sure? Chat to our team today or try our skincare quiz to find a program that's right for you.