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Blue Light - Sources, Benefits, Side Effects on Skin, and Safety Precautions

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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.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Dhepe Snehal Madhav

Published At September 9, 2022
Reviewed AtMay 9, 2024


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,

  • Hyperpigmentation.

  • Redness.

  • Swelling.

  • Skin aging.

  • Skin laxity.

  • Wrinkles.

  • Disturbed sleep thereby leads to dullness, redness, and dark under the eyes.

  • Blue lights are used in combination with photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy. In certain cases, it may lead to side effects such as:

  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Blue Light Harmful and Why?

Blue light is one of the distinct colors of the visible light spectrum, and it has higher energy and low wavelength. So, it is also referred to as high energy visible (HEV) light. The sources include tablets, smartphones, laptops, televisions, and light bulbs. Long-term or consistent exposure to blue light over time can damage the retinal cells of the eyes, resulting in vision problems. The long term exposure is considered harmful as it could sometimes cause eye cancer, cataracts, and certain growths.


What Are the Significant Effects of Blue Light?

Blue light possesses a range of effects on skin, eyes, sleep, and memory.

- Exposure to blue light on the skin can cause redness, swelling, hyperpigmentation, skin laxity, wrinkles, skin aging, and sun sensitivity.

- It can lead to dry and irritated eyes, causing vision problems.

- Blue light can prevent the release of melatonin (sleep harmony), causing disturbed sleep.

- Blue light can cause certain depressive symptoms.


Does Blue Light Harm Eyes?

Consistent exposure to blue light with time can damage the eyes' retinal cells, causing vision disturbances. It tends to cause dry and irritated eyes, resulting in blurry vision. It is also attributable to the following eye problems.

- Cataracts.

- Eye cancer.

- Growths over the white part of the eyes.


Which Light Is Considered Good for the Eyes?

The warm light category is considered good for eye health, including natural light. The clinical studies say that warm light is the best for the eyes and is more efficient. This comprises filtered natural lights and those lights made by LED light bulbs and incandescent lights. Certain findings say that the incandescent light seems pure and soothing.


Which Light Induces Good Sleep?

The effective night light colors are red and amber for sleep. This is because they are warm and have certain soothing properties. This helps in promoting a good quality night's sleep. In another way, the lights that resemble the red color on the visible light spectrum are known to precipitate the production of the melatonin hormone. Red light tends to possess lower color temperature when compared to the sunlight and thus food for sleep.


How to Protect the Eyes From Blue Light?

Here are certain ways to protect oneself from blue light,

- Decrease the time on the screen of mobile phones, laptops, and other electronic devices.

- Use the blue light shield for the systems.

- Use sunscreen for protection against sun damage.

- One can avoid exposure to bright light during day time.


Is Preventing Blue Light Harmful?

Blocking or preventing high exposure to blue light during daytime can be as bad as more exposure to blue light. The lack of blue light during the day strongly relates to low mood concerns. Nevertheless, healthcare professionals consider blue light exposure might damage the eyes but only with persistent and constant exposure. One can try blue light lenses as they effectively prevent or absorb damaging blue light.


Can Blue Light Improve Memory?

One significant cognitive function benefiting from blue light exposure is memory enhancement. Scientific researchers identified an enhanced working memory performance in people exposed to the effective proportion of LED blue light screens. Therefore, blue light helps improve working memory, learning skills, and attentiveness. So, the blue light has the potential to improve memory part.


Is Blue Light Good During Nighttime?

Blue light is not considered good at night and red light is beneficial during nighttime. This is because blue light prevents or reduces the release of melatonin hormone (sleep hormone) in the body. So, this light enhances wakefulness during day time while it is pointless at nighttime when one tries to sleep. Red light improves melatonin production and is considered beneficial for sleep.


Which Color Lights Are Relaxing?

The following eight lights aid in relaxation while making the atmosphere calm.

- Blue light.

- Green light.

- Red light.

- Laser light bulbs.

- Portable laser lights.

- Skylights.

- Ambient lights.

- Projector laser light.


Does Blue Light Enhance Mood?

Blue light sorts with the different colors of the visible light spectrum possessing higher energy and low wavelength. Blue light helps alert the brain while preventing sleepiness during the day. This is because blue light tends to suppress the melatonin hormone (sleep hormone) in the body. So, it can improve overall mood by making the individual less likely to sleep during the day.


Does Blue Color Light Improves Memory?

Blue light helps to improve working memory, learning skills, and attentiveness. Moreover, one significant cognitive function advantage of blue light exposure is memory enhancement. The clinical findings show that student performance has increased with the illumination of blue light in the classroom. Exposure to bright light aids in activating the brain aspects responsible for improving alertness and cognitive performance.


Does Blue Light Help Lift Mood?

Blue light is a colored light of the visible spectrum with a short wavelength and greater energy. Low and high exposure to blue light is considered good. So, adequate exposure to blue light could lift one’s mood. In addition, it helps in improving attention and reaction times. So, it can make one happy by lifting the mood during the day.


Is It Possible to Use LED Light on My Face Every Day?

The Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights are used in treating various skin concerns including acne, psoriasis, and fine lines. This light therapy's purpose is to control bacteria's activities. So, it is recommended to use LED light to a certain extent. Clinical researchers suggest using LED light daily on a clean face since makeup could influence light penetration.

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Dr. Dhepe Snehal Madhav
Dr. Dhepe Snehal Madhav



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