SPF to Protect You From Blue Light
Zoom meetings, right and left swiping, double taps and binge-watching are just a few of the now many slang terms that have become every day in our lives. Thanks to spending two years in a veritable lockdown, we are spending more and more time in front of screens—heck, even most of our dates, job interviews and coffees with friends are accomplished with screen time.
HEV or High Energy Visible light is the light emitted from electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and TVs and it is commonly known as ‘blue light’. It is one of the seven colours in the visible light spectrum and operates on a specific wavelength. While this light range can help inspire productivity, boost mood, and improve alertness, the positive effects of blue light come with some adverse effects.
We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen to help protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays when we’re outside during the summer months. Recently, we’ve also started to more seriously consider the damages to our skin from environmental stressors like pollution and tobacco smoke. But what we haven’t really begun to take seriously enough is blue light as a potential skin assailant.
In recent years, researchers have uncovered some of the potential damage blue light can inflict on your body, including disruptions in sleep (by limiting the body’s natural production of melatonin); vision damage and changes to skin cells. While much of the initial concern surrounding blue light was focused on eyesight and disrupted sleep cycles, dermatologists are only just beginning to look at and understand the effects it can have on our skin.
Studies have revealed that blue light from the sun leads to melasma and hyperpigmentation, and scientists are extrapolating that the same thing can occur with exposure to the blue light emitted from phones and computers. As well, studies of hyperpigmentation on the side of people’s faces where they hold their phones show that blue light is likely a contributing factor to skin damage. The good news is, as we learn more and more about how blue light affects our bodies, we’ve also discovered ways to minimize exposure. From blue-light-blocking glasses and screen covers to blue light sunscreen, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your vision, skin, and general wellness.
First, it’s important to note that the light from our screens isn’t as harmful as a day spent sunbathing. The sun is still the biggest enemy when it comes to long-term dangers like DNA damage and skin cancer while blue light hasn’t been shown to cause skin cancer. That said, dermatologists have started to warn that blue light can increase signs of ageing, which sucks, especially since most of us are now sitting in front of a screen on the daily.
This type of light is also found in the sun’s rays, but while we’re usually pretty careful about protecting our skin during the time we spend in direct sunlight while outdoors, we’re constantly exposing ourselves while indoors. Like everyone else we know, we spend most of our waking hours staring at screens.
To protect yourself from blue light, you can set your screens (phones, tablets and computers) on the dimmest setting possible that doesn’t strain your eyes, limit screen time (which is not always possible) and prep your skin with products that combat its effects. Luckily, there are now sunscreens formulated to block blue light—below are 6 of our favourites:
COOLA Classic SPF18 Refreshing Water Mist
This breakthrough weightless water mist sunscreen helps keep you hydrated, refreshed, and protected no matter where your day takes you. Its alcohol-free formula infuses organic aloe and coconut water to help mitigate the effects of today’s modern skin aggressors.
COOLA Full Spectrum 360 Sun Silk Drops SPF30
These lightweight drops do it all—provide broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and help mitigate the effects of HEV light, infrared radiation and pollution. This nourishing formula can be used solo or blended with your favourite moisturizer or foundation.
Ilia Blue Light Protect + Set Mist
This weightless, 3-in-1 formula hydrates with a burst of refreshing moisture, sets makeup for a fresh look and helps protect against the harmful effects of blue light from tech devices and everyday pollution.
bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream
Combining hydrating skincare benefits with radiant, natural-looking coverage, this is the ultimate 3-in-1. The water-infused, oil-free formula is 98% naturally derived and smooths onto skin and can build from sheer to medium coverage while accommodating a wide range of skin tones.
Derma E Blue Light Shield Protection Spray
This mineral-rich spray is enriched with hydrating lutein to help shield skin from blue light. In a convenient, easy-to-carry package it can easily be used to protect skin all day, at home or at the office.
PUR Out of the Blue Light Up High Shine Lipgloss
Pucker up with this highly pigmented gloss worn alone or over lipstick to add a touch of shine. This antioxidant-rich gloss is uniquely formulated to help keep lips protected against visible signs of ageing induced by blue light.
Here are a few ingredients to look for when adding a blue light sunscreen to your repertoire:
Iron oxides: These micronized pigments, most widely used as cosmetic dyes, help protect the skin from damage caused by blue light.
Zinc oxide: Primarily used to speed up wound healing and prevent diaper rash by creating a protective barrier on the skin. It is also used in mineral sunscreen formulas as it reflects blue light and UV light away from the skin, preventing damage.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants nourish the skin and prevent free radicals and pollutants from causing damage, keeping your skin looking and feeling fresh.
Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid restores your skin’s moisture, preventing signs of aging and helping you achieve a dewy and hydrated complexion.
Written by Jennifer Hamilton