What is blue light?
In addition to being emitted naturally by the sun, blue light is found in the artificial lighting that surrounds us: televisions, cell phones, tablets, as well as in most LED bulbs. This light has been the cause of irritated eyes, insomnia, poor memory, and has even been associated with disrupting circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry examined around 100,000 middle-aged people and found that the group that experienced the highest level of disturbed sleep patterns are those who use their cell phones in the middle of the night or within an hour before going to bed.
The prominence of blue light has unleashed a change in the beauty industry. More cosmetic brands are showing their interest in creating products that protect the skin from UV rays in sunlight, as well as phones and computers.
How does it affect the skin?
At the moment, there is no precise information supported by science on all the effects that it can have on the skin, however, it's known with certainty that it causes inflammation and redness. Blue light can also send skin cells into an oxidative process which induces skin-colored cells called melanocytes to produce more pigment. Therefore, blue light can stain the skin, make it worse, or even trigger hyperpigmentation in people prone to these effects.
"At the moment when the cells go into an oxidative process, the collagen fibers can be affected, an issue that experts are currently investigating to verify that this causes premature aging," comments dermatologist surgeon María Barrera. If positive, blue light could even contribute to the loss of firmness and elasticity.
How to avoid it?
It is essential to protect the skin with sunscreen, specifically sunscreens that serve against UV rays. The most common or conventional components are zinc dioxide or titanium dioxide, which protect the skin from UVB and UVA rays. These help against visible light as long as their particles are thicker and can bounce light off. Iron oxide is also a great auxiliary agent, which can generally be found in tinted sunscreens and moisturizers.
Today, it's recommended to eat a diet rich in antioxidants and fatty acids to reduce and treat against inflammation and free radicals from pollution. “Currently, studies are being done on the veracity of several facts, such as that certain combinations of antioxidants help reduce the damage caused by visible light. There is still a long way to go to verify all the theories, but some are already succeeding,” concludes Dr. María Barrera.