Blue Light and Skin Damage

The Problem

We’ve done quite a bit to educate on the effects blue light has on the eyes, your sleep cycle, and the downstream effects of both. There’s another risk factor associated with blue light exposure that’s important to make known—damage to your skin. With the help of the Allure article, “How Your Phone’s Blue Light Could Be Damaging Your Skin, According to Dermatologists,” we’ll share some insight on that issue. Regarding blue light’s effects on skin according to Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, it “contributes to brown spots on the skin and hyperpigmentation such as melasma, and possibly to photoaging and the breakdown of collagen, which leads to wrinkles and skin laxity.”

What Science Is Beginning to Show

According to Ava Shamban, board-certified dermatologist, “It’s like [sun exposure]— the damage is cumulative.” The article goes on to make the comparison between damage that blue light can do to sleep cycles with the damage it can do to the circadian rhythm of skin cells. Despite skin damage and sleep cycles being radically different concepts on the surface, this is an interesting comparison and shows that too much blue light can throw off the body’s natural rhythm in a few different ways. Further cementing this, according to the article, “skin’s regenerative cycle can get thrown out of whack, potentially causing more skin damage over time according to a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.” Hearing this comparison should bring pause and motivate us to seriously consider what large consumptions of blue light can do to both the eyes and skin without a solution. While the sleep cycles and eye comfort of gamers are at the forefront of the mission of Gamer Advantage glasses, there’s legitimate reason to see what’s happening elsewhere on the body.

Looking at another small, peer-reviewed study from 2010, we see the damage blue light can have on skin in more detail. From the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the article states “exposing skin to the amount of blue light we get from the sun caused more pigment, redness, and swelling than when the same person’s skin was exposed to comparable levels of UVA rays. However, the article does go on to note that “the effects were only observed in people with darker skin tones, but the researchers noted that pigmentation also lasted longer.” Finally, we agree with the articles statement that more research needs to be done, but to this point, the evidence of the effects of blue light is noteworthy.

What’s Happening?

According to Marchbein, “Dermatologists have good evidence to show that visible light triggers certain skin conditions such as melasma, where the skin is stimulated to produce more pigment.” She goes on to note in the article that “There’s also evidence that as blue light penetrates the skin, reactive oxygen species are generated, which leads to DNA damage, thereby causing inflammation and the breakdown of healthy collagen and elastin, as well as hyperpigmentation.”

The article states that for now, there’s no threshold regarding how much blue light exposure it takes for damage to begin to reveal itself. Interestingly, board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo said that “I am seeing a new pattern of hyperpigmentation in some patients that I am concerned is coming from holding a cell phone to their face,” and “Melasma is now often more on the sides of the face than on the central cheeks, where it had been most common.” The article notes that Ciraldo mentioned dark spots after acne being more prevalent on the sides of the face that a phone what held, but that this shouldn’t be as much of a concern for computer screens given their further distance. While her overall claims are a bit more anecdotal than scientific, a board-certified dermatologist recognizing trends as time goes deserves attention.

Bottom Line

Once again, we agree with the article’s position that more research needs to be done regarding the connection between blue light and its effects on skin. However, the evidence is mounting, and we hope the article by Allure that this article is based on allows for more consideration of the issue. Studies and board-certified dermatologists have spoken, and it’s up to us to take their conclusions and thoughts seriously. In terms of dark spots after acne, it’s worth reiterating that the distance away from a computer screen may be relatively safe. Discovering the range from the face that blue reeks the most havoc would be helpful. But if blue light is truly causing as much damage as what may be possible, how long until we start treating it in the same regard as other pressing health challenges?



Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash