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. Since the pandemic we've spent 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 especially since these days most jobs require 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." Below are 14 products that protect your skin from blue light damage.
This nighttime treatment from French brand Payot's blue light-protecting collection works overtime to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Other than containing hyaluronic acid for maximum hydration, it's also made with a nocturnal micro-algae that helps regenerate your skin. After cleansing, the melt-in gel should be applied your entire face, neck, and décolleté before going to bed. When you wake up in the morning, expect to be greeted by skin that looks incredibly refreshed and rested.
SeneGence’s new lightweight serum protects your skin against visible signs of aging related to blue light. It contains a potent ingredient complex that works to energize, hydrate, and refresh fatigued skin.
This refreshing gel works overtime to protect your skin from infrared light (IR), HEV blue light, and pollutant skin damage. Its key ingredients include tara fruit pod extract and sunflower sprout extract, which block screen and light-induced skin damage. Another plus? The Urban Defense Gel also boosts your skin’s moisture and refines pores–leaving you with a dewy, fresh complexion.
This radiance-boosting serum is infused with a powerful antioxidant derived from sesame seeds called SesaHelio™ and 11 other clinically proven actives (like peony, summer snowflake, gold seaweed). It combats fine lines and wrinkles by shielding your skin from infrared and blue light, free radicals, and pollution.
Cocokind’s new mineral-based SPF is formulated with reef-safe zinc oxide, blue phytoplankton, and microalgae to ensure that your skin is fully protected from UVA and UVB rays, blue light, and pollution damage.
The Anti-Tech Serum combines the effects of a natural retinol cream, antioxidant-rich vitamin c serum, peptide treatment, anti-inflammatory agent, and a blue light & pollution protectant into one product. It contains skin-loving ingredients like Bakuchiol, Vitamin C, and Cacao Seed Extract that work to protect your skin from blue light and signs of aging.
This nighttime moisturizer is formulated with Marrubium plant stem cells that help to detoxify your skin by neutralizing daily exposure to pollutants, free radicals, and excessive screen time. The hydrating cream also contains nourishing botanicals that plump up the skin and vitamin C, which works to brighten your complexion.
This daytime booster was made to be used in combination with your existing skincare products. The Blueberry Booster uses protective compounds like carotenoids to aid the absorption and dispersion of damaging energy that comes along with blue light. It sold out during BYBI's U.S. drop earlier this month (the brand is a UK-favorite), most likely due to its Zoom fatigue fighting-powers, but it's back in stock. Did we mention it's made with 100% cold-pressed blueberry seed oil?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! 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.