Skip to content

Blue light on your skin. Good or bad?

Maybe neither good nor bad: it is there and we live in a world where blue light is part of the solar spectrum. And yes, there is enough energy in blue light and its intensity (outdoors) is high enough to contribute to both skin aging and carcinogenesis. But that’s life. There are molecules in our body that can absorb blue light and produce ROS* and the secondary effects that come with them. It does not matter, we still have to go out! But don’t let the merchants of LEDs “sell you” on the benefits of blue light to your skin. That’s silly (and they know it).

Our bodies have evolved to cope nicely with sunlight, and they will do equally well with blue light from our TVs and computer monitors. We have a fantastic antioxidant system centered around glutathione and some extraordinary proteins and you can even top it up with Skin Actives special proteins and ROS BioNet. Just don’t go and buy “home devices” that promise skin youth when all they can do is add to the accumulation of damage done by ROS* to our DNA, proteins, lipids, etc.

Our skin ages and there are two main types of factors that influence skin aging: intrinsic, which have to do with the way our body functions (decrease in hormones, shortening of telomeres, accumulation of damage by free radicals formed during respiration, etc.), and extrinsic, that have to do with the way the environment affects the skin.

Nowadays we have active ingredients that can help with both sides of the equation.

From the extrinsic factors, ultraviolet light in the sun (and sunbeds) are the most important. UV light generates reactive oxygen species (ROS*) when it reaches the skin and a number of biochemical changes result in the breakdown of proteins like collagen and elastin by proteases, polysaccharides like hyaluronic acid, destruction of lipids that are crucial to cell survival and damage to DNA, including permanent damage of our skin stem cells.

Recently there has been more interest in a different part of the light spectrum, blue light, the visible light that has almost as energy as UV light. Blue light can also penetrate as deep as the layer of fat that is so important to the changes in the shape of our face that occur as we age.

Blue light is not only present in the sun but is also emitted by electronic screens like computer monitors, tablets and smartphones. Research shows that the effects of blue light are not too different from those of UV, and it makes sense that we should look at the same solutions to prevent damage by blue light and we have some excellent products.

The main resource to prevent damage by UV light is antioxidants, both low and high molecular weight because our own antioxidant systems lose power as we age. Topping up our own antioxidant proteins, like superoxide dismutase, glutaredoxin and thioredoxin should be a priority. Advances in biochemistry made it possible to apply these proteins topically, and in conjunction with the usual antioxidant armamentarium (vitamin C, vitamin E, astaxanthin, etc.) they will go a long way in protecting us from the deleterious effects of blue light on our cells.

In my opinion, you should worry first about the effect of the sun on your skin, then the effect of too many hours on the computer on your brain and, lastly, the effect of your screen time on your skin. But that’s just my opinion.