Wandering down the skincare aisle, a bewildering array of creams and sprays and so many other products promise to protect us from various threats to your skin. However, a lot of us noticed skincare companies that claim their products can protect you from the effects of blue light.
So, what is blue light?
Also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light, blue light is a color in the visible light spectrum that human eyes can see. Wavelengths of visible and non-visible light are measured in nanometers (nm), and in general, the shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy. Aside from that, it actually comes in a short wavelength which produces higher amounts of energy.
Blue light is actually all around us. The sun emits it. Fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs emit blue lights. So do mobile phones, computer screens, and flat-screen televisions.
What are the risks?
Mounting evidence exists that blue light can have a harmful effect on the skin, eyes, and your internal clock. Studies also investigate the impact of solar radiation on the skin and focus on ultraviolet radiation, particularly UVB which is responsible for sunburn.
Exposure can have a significant increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS), a highly reactive chemical formed from oxygen.
According to researchers, it can cause cell dysfunction through the action of reactive oxygen species on DNA. Basically, too much ROS can damage DNA and key enzymes that are usually responsible for DNA repair, increasing your risk of cancer.
The Kathmandu Post researched and showed that it can induce pigmentation (tanning) across skin types.
Meanwhile, many people consider a deep tan remains a desirable trait. But, it is actually a marker of skin damage and ROS. Researchers also found skin tans from visible light which includes blue light, had darker pigmentation that lasted longer. Especially, compared to ultraviolet radiation exposure.
It appears to be less potent than ultraviolet radiation which remains accounted for by the relatively larger amounts of blue light that reach us. Although there are benefits of blue light, the harmful effects remain likely to outweigh the positives for healthy people.
It can damage the skin.
However, it’s less clear which sources of blue light remain harmful to humans. The blue light, on the other hand, is responsible for a fraction of the blue light doses that we get. Research shows screens from devices can increase ROS production.
A German skincare manufacturer did research about it. According to the study, an entire week’s worth of exposure to blue light from a screen at a distance of 30cm remains equivalent to one minute of midday summer in Hamburg, Germany.
Journal of American Academy of Dermatology also did another research about the short-term exposure to blue light from electronic devices. It fails to trigger melasma, causing patches of skin discoloration, in patients who have the condition.
Skincare against blue light exposure.
The cosmetics industry has started developing a wide range of skincare products that brands claim prevent blue light damage. However, the regulated or standardized test doesn’t exist to assess a product’s ability to prevent damage from it.
Companies carry out scientific tests on these products. However, they can use any number of assessments in their work. Of course, this remains very different from the regulations around sunscreen and sunblock that contain SPF.
The lack of regulation for it claims makes it impossible for consumers to make informed choices. Especially, about the level of protection offered and differences between products. This lack of regulation remains unlikely to become dangerous for consumers. However, the benefit from the products may become limited.
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.