Blue Light is No Match for Tinted Sunscreen

Blue Light is No Match for Tinted Sunscreen

Published by Earth Mama on Sep 26th 2019

Unless you’ve renounced all technology and moved to a cabin in the woods (and if so, we respectfully bow down – can we come over?), you may have heard about the hazards of digital screen time — specifically regarding the light emitted from those screens. Known as blue light, it’s been linked to a variety of questionable effects on our eyeballs and circadian rhythms.

But did you know it’s been linked to skin damage, too? Yep. Recent studies show that blue-light emissions from our digital screens for as short as 1 hour can cause oxidative stress on our skin — the kind of stress that’s been shown to cause extrinsic skin aging (aka, wrinkles).

However. One hour of screen time, friends, is actually a drop in the bucket. Get ready for this fun fact: the average American spends more than 11 HOURS A DAY exposed to blue light waves from screens — and as digital technology advances, those waves will only become stronger.

A QUICK PRIMER ON BLUE LIGHT

High Energy Visible (HEV) light is a higher-frequency light, with shorter wavelengths, in the violet-blue band on the visible spectrum of light. Hence the name blue light. And let us be clear: not all blue light is bad. The primary source of blue light is the sun — it’s actually why the sky is blue (feel free to go ahead and put that in your back pocket for your toddler’s question-everything phase). Blue light from the sun helps your body regulate its natural sleep and wake cycles, and makes you feel good and peppy and energized.

Then, there’s the man-made sources of blue light: fluorescent lighting, LEDs, TV screens and screens on smart phones, tablets and computers. And prolonged and/or excessive exposure to blue light (see the 11 hours above) has been linked to macular degeneration, heightened eyestrain, eye fatigue, blurred vision, sleep disruption and migraines. And now, skin damage. There’s mounting evidence that blue light can contribute to photo-aging skin, including: visible skin change in darker skin tones, including redness and pigmentation; possible stimulation of free radical production in skin — aka, premature aging — and the triggering of melasma.

Gross.

Here’s the thing: the strength of the radiation emitted from screens is absolutely, positively, far less than that of the sun. But it’s still radiation exposure, and research is still emerging on short- and long-term effects. In the recent past, there’s been a drastic difference in how much exposure we now have to our digital devices. You might say it’s gone up light years (YEAH, WE SAID IT) — and scientific studies haven’t quite caught up.

SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?

Yes, we can all do a better job parenting ourselves and limiting our own screen time (the iPhone’s screen time setting is a great start). But … raise your hand if you work on a computer for 8 hours a day. Screen time is a fact of life; so it’s up to you to give your eyeballs a break and keep those screens out of the bedroom.

As for your skin, well…guess what: we’ve got good news. Mineral sunscreens protect against blue light! But heads up: that chemical sunscreens DO NOT. Physical barriers with non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, block visible light transmission(*). Adding a visible light absorber such as iron oxide to mineral sunscreens substantially lowers blue light transmittance. But here’s the best part: the addition of pigments to physical sunscreens greatly enhances photoprotection.(*)

Here’s what all this science-y speak means: tinted, non-nano mineral sunscreen will help protect your skin against that ever-present blue light. Like, you know, Lady Face™. It’s the tint — which we achieve by simply combining iron oxide with non-nano zinc oxide — that’s key.

So it turns out, the push to wear sunscreen every day isn’t quite the whole story. Yes, you should wear sunscreen every day, but in these techno-centric times, the gold standard is TINTED, blue-light-blocking mineral sunscreen. And, since Lady Face is like a foundation stick disguised as sunscreen, protecting your face couldn’t be easier.

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