The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Effects of Blue Light

wtf is blue light, and why is it giving me wrinkles?

If you think “iPosture” is the only beauty evil bestowed by your phone or television, it’s time to think again...

We all know by now that exposing our skin to the sun and other outdoor polluters can cause considerable damage. What you may not know, however, is a little thing called HEV - more commonly known as blue light. 

Blue light is by no means a recent discovery as it has always existed in daylight. Although, it had remained unproblematic until society’s recent obsession with screens. Emitted by fluorescent lighting and LEDs from your TV, smartphone, tablet and computer, blue light can have similar if not worse effects on your skin as sun damage.

Proving to be just as problematic as skin care acids, there are cases both for and against the exposure of blue light. While the vast majority of conversations being had now point to evidence suggesting that the high-energy, short-wavelength qualities of blue light penetrates the skin, causing inflammation, hyperpigmentation and breakdown of collagen and elastin (which are integral to healthy skin), there are just as many conversations proving how the exposure of blue light can treat and prevent acne. 

The Good

Not too long ago, light masks were a major beauty trend. Featuring both red and blue light technology, phototherapy is billed as skin-enhancing devices with the potential to improve acne, decrease oil production, and even soothe inflammation. While red light has been shown to stimulate collagen, blue light penetrates the skin’s hair follicles and pores which harbour the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes aka acne. 



The Bad

Every day our eyes process light. When we're looking at sunlight or natural light, our eyes see a combination of different coloured rays with various wavelengths. Rays on the red side of the spectrum have longer wavelengths which have less energy. Whereas, rays on the blue side of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and more energy. The blue light emitted from the screens of our phones, computers, TVs, etc. can be especially harmful to our vision and eyes. Our cornea and lens, block and filter the majority of the rays from daylight, however, blue light permeates almost directly to the retina which is super sensitive to light, therefore, damaging your eyesight entirely.




The Ugly

Until now, the main fear surrounding blue light has been associated with eyesight, memory loss and sleep but now, the conversation has since shifted into skincare. So much so, that some of our favourite brands have launched products which combat blue light rays, similar to how SPF fights harmful rays from sun exposure. Blue light can contribute to pigmentation and advanced signs of ageing as it penetrates the skin deeper than UVA and UVB rays. This can, therefore, break down elastin and collagen and act as a free radical, also causing hyperpigmentation and redness.

Main image by victoria.dyo on Instagram

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