How Does Blue Light Affect Your Skin?
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Blue Light - Sources, Benefits, Side Effects on Skin, and Safety Precautions

Published on Sep 09, 2022   -  5 min read


The inevitable consequences of modern life have often led humans to be exposed to blue light. Read the article to learn more about blue light and its effects.


The visible light spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum visible to the human eye. The visible spectrum contains colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, and these colors are visible as white light. Among these, blue light is produced from the favorite screens we keep watching every day, which seriously affects us.

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is one of the colors of the visible light spectrum possessing high energy and low wavelength. It accounts for 50 % of the visible spectrum. It is also called High Energy Visible(HEV) light. Certain waves of blue light vary in degrees of strength and cause visible changes in the skin. Its high energy enables it to penetrate the deeper layers of skin, and thereby an exposure as short as 60 minutes can also trigger serious changes in the skin.

What Are the Sources of Blue Light?

The majority of our exposure to blue light is by the sun. The other sources of blue light are electronic devices such as,

  • Smartphones.

  • Tablets.

  • Television.

  • Laptops.

  • Light bulbs.

What Are the Effects of Blue Light on Our Skin?

The exposure of skin to blue light can lead to,

  • Irritation - After the treatment, skin becomes red, itchy, and has a burnt feeling. Application of cold would help.
  • Peeling - Sometimes, the treated area may appear crusted. Later on, after peeling off, it leaves behind healthier skin.
  • Sun Sensitivity - After the treatment, the individual may become hypersensitive to the sun. So it is better to apply sunscreen.

How Does Blue Light Affect Our Skin?

  • Blue light causes the production of reactive oxygen species. These species are unstable molecules with oxygen and it reacts with other molecules. These unstable molecules are responsible for the damage to skin cells.

  • The reactive oxygen species produced by blue light damage the DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), leading to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which causes skin aging.

  • It induces oxidative stress, thereby leading to inflammation.

  • Blue light disrupts the activity of melanocytes causing uneven and excessive pigmentation.

  • Blue light affects the natural circadian rhythm of skin cells leading to skin aging.

  • It weakens the layers of skin and delays its recovery.

  • Blue light increases stress hormone levels.

  • It penetrates the deep layers of skin and affects the immune cells of the epidermis and dermis.

  • It affects the mitochondrial function of the cell.

  • It causes skin cell shrinkage and death.

  • It produces inflammatory mediators.

What Are the Other Effects of Blue Light?

The other effects of blue light are,

  • Circadian Rhythm: Blue light is responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm. If there is excessive exposure to blue light, it may lead to disturbed sleep patterns.

  • Eyes: It can cause dry, irritated eyes and lead to blurry vision.

  • Sleep: Blue light stops the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, eventually disturbs sleep.

  • Cancer: Individuals who work at night are more likely to get exposed to an excessive amount of blue light and are at a higher risk of prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer.

  • Mental Health: Blue light exposure can lead to depressive symptoms.

How to Protect Ourselves From Blue Light?

  • Use dim red lights for night lights. They assist in shifting the circadian rhythm.

  • Decrease your time on screen. If unavoidable in the case of computer-based jobs, wear blue-light-blocking glasses to protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes.

  • Install an app that removes the high-energy blue light or enables the night mode.

  • Get a blue light shield for your computer.

  • Avoid using computers, mobile phones, and laptops 2 to 3 hours before bed.

  • Try exposing yourself to bright light during the daytime which enables you to sleep at night.

  • Use sunscreens that protect against sun damage.

  • Use skin care products with any of the following ingredients in them.

  • Iron Oxide - Acts as a protective barrier and blocks the Ultraviolet(UV) rays.

  • Antioxidants - Protect the skin from blue light damage.

  • Vitamin C - Protects and recovers cells from blue light damage.

  • Vitamin B6 - This suppresses the oxidative stress caused by visible light.

  • Niacinamide - Restores the skin cells from oxidative stress and provides protection.

  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) repair enzymes such as endonuclease, photolyase provide body’s natural DNA repair mechanisms and boost collagen production, and increase the cell turnover thereby repairing damaged skin cells.

How Is Blue Light Beneficial?

  • Circadian Rhythm: As we know, blue light regulates the natural sleep-wake cycle called the circadian rhythm.

  • Blue Light In The Morning: Helps in memory and cognitive function and elevates mood.

  • Psoriasis: As it has healing properties as well, it is used to treat patches of psoriasis. Research suggests the use of blue light for around 4 weeks will reduce the redness and reduce the patch’s size.

  • Acne Control: Used to treat mild to moderate acne as it controls sebum production.

  • Actinic Keratosis: Used to treat actinic keratosis which is characterized by scaly bumps on the face, ears, and lips due to sun exposure.

  • Cancer: Decreases the number of precancerous patches and suppresses the growth of melanoma.

  • Eczema: Reduces the redness and itching in atopic dermatitis or eczema.

  • Photodynamic Therapy: A combination of blue light with photosensitizing agents can increase the effect of photodynamic therapy. This therapy uses light to activate the drugs and kill the cancer cells.


In this busy day-to-day life, we are never concerned about screen time and what it will cause. Out of 24 hours, more than 14 hours we spend time on our favorite devices. We would have never imagined that a light wave from these devices would be this harsh to our skin. Besides being harsh, it has some therapeutic effects when used in a low dose. Thus blue light is neither a blessing nor a curse, instead, we must learn how to balance its effects.

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Last reviewed at:
09 Sep 2022  -  5 min read




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