Blue Light Skin Damage – Causes, Effects & Treatments

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Blue Light Skin Damage – Causes, Effects & Treatments

Exposure to atmospheric pollutants is well known to cause a number of skin health issues. Activating cutaneous stress and inflammatory response, consequently leading to Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) formation and a decrease in antioxidant skin defence.

Although the application of sun cream has become normality for the majority to protect against UVA and UVB rays, it seems there needs to be protection against blue light too.

This comes during a time where our digital usage is significantly increased, where we rely on our mobiles, tablets, computers and TVs every day, unaware of the damage it is doing to our skin.

What is Blue Light?

Blue Light, also known as High-Energy Visible (HEV) light, is a short wavelength light which comes primarily from the sun, similar to UVA and UVB rays. However, blue light is also emitted from our digital screens and indoor lighting.

Aware of eye strain that can be caused from this, there are a number of other effects that can harm our bodies which are being looked into.

Effects of Blue Light Skin Damage

It has been found that HEV light has the ability to penetrate deeper into our skin than UVA and UVB light. In fact, it can go deep enough to reach our collagen and elastin. This therefore increases skin aging, visible lines, plus results in loss of firmness

Additionally, similar to other environmental pollutants, blue light can also induce the formation of ROS, causing skin inflammation and hyperpigmentation. Studies suggest it can actually be more active in inducing these effects compared to UV rays.

Finally, specifically referring to ‘screen time’ at night, blue light disrupts our natural circadian rhythm. This is due to the effects it has on our melatonin levels which ultimately impacts our skin regeneration.

Blue Light Skin Treatments

One of the ways in which we can offer our skin protection against both atmospheric pollutants and HEV light is to rebuild our antioxidant skin defence.

By applying topical antioxidants, such as products that are formulated with vitamin E, and eating an antioxidant-rich diet, we can provide the protection our skin needs.

AFA-GS as Blue Light Protection

A new, multifunctional cosmetic active ingredient called AFA-GS has been developed as another protective method against blue light.

Obtained through an internal extraction process from alga Klamath (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae), AFA-GS is Ecocert and COSMOS approved and has been scientifically tested for its protective potential.

Studies have shown that keratinocytes that were pre-treated with AFA-GS showed an effective reduction in the ROS formation. Over 10% reduction means that it successfully reduces the damage of environmental pollution on skin physiology.

Cosmetic Industry Tackling Blue Light Skin Damage

Managing external environmental effects on skin, whether its HEV light or urban pollution, is challenging to say the least. They are uncontrollable and unpredictable, plus different skin types react differently to the same environmental conditions and formulations.

Individually, we have the ability to control our exposure to ‘screen time’ and alter our diet to help build our skin’s defence but finding the right formulation and personalising it for every consumer is a balancing act.

Driving innovation within the cosmetic industry is an encouraging start though and, at Jarvis, we are always working towards a better understanding of how we can protect our skin. If you would like to share your insights with us today, please get in touch.


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