Although ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a primary contributor to skin aging as well as the exacerbation of some skin conditions, increasing concerns have recently been placed on the potential skin-related effects of high energy visible (HEV) blue light from personal electronic devices. A review article in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology suggests that although short-term exposure to low-energy blue light may prevent and treat some skin diseases, longer-term exposure to high-energy blue light can increase DNA damage, cell and tissue death, skin barrier damage, and possibly photoaging.
Blue light, often termed HEV light, is part of the visible light spectrum and is emitted in wavelengths between 400 to 500 nm. Although the primary source of blue light is the sun, digital screens (computers, TVs, and smartphones) also emit blue light. Researchers are questioning whether long-term exposure to this light from personal devices could contribute to deleterious effects on users’ skin and skin barrier function.
Researchers from the University of Toledo conducted an Internet search via the Google scholar database to identify relevant literature regarding blue light and skin.
Some studies, according to the investigators, note that blue light generates reactive oxygen species and produces oxidative damage in the skin, an effect similar to that seen after exposure to UV. But the longer wavelength and lower energy of blue light vs UV light suggests that blue light may penetrate deeper into the skin layers and induce DNA damage and cellular dysfunction. The researchers suggest this can further contribute to photoaging and inflammatory skin conditions.