How Your Selfie Game Is Ruining Your Skin (And How To Fix It)


Source: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

We hate to break it you but the rumors are true… Your selfie game is messing with your skin. Obviously, not the selfie itself, we’re sure that’s straight fire, but the blue light that’s emitted from your smartphone could be permanently damaging your skin. And since the average millennial (and everyone else no doubt) checks their smartphone over 150 times a day – it’s definitely something to be mindful of, and proactive about. Here’s everything you need to know about how blue light impacts your skin and how to prevent it.

How Blue Light Affects Your Skin

Blue light affects our skin in a number of ways. Studies show that blue light causes oxidative stress in the skin, as it causes free radical damage that our skin is unable to counterbalance with antioxidants. In simple terms, it stresses out your skin and causes premature aging – eek! Unlike UVA and UVB rays, blue light penetrates deeper into the skin reaching all the way to the dermis (below the epidermis), where collagen and elastin are created, thereby potentially increasing the risk of sagging skin and fine lines. Blue light can also increase the production of melanin (what gives our skin color) resulting in uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation. And that’s not all, it disrupts your beauty sleep as blue light affects our levels of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy. Less sleep means less time for your skin to enter the nighttime reparative state.

How Blue Light From Your Computer Compares To Sun Damage

If you’re wondering how blue light is different from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, let’s start with the good news… Digital blue light only emits a fraction of the amount of radiation caused by sun exposure. However, what makes it problematic is the proximity it has to your skin; so how close we hold our phones to our face. In fact, spending four eight-hour sessions (the average length of a workday) in front of the computer exposes you to the same amount of skin damage as approximately 20 minutes in the midday sun. There have even been studies that suggest that blue light may have a greater impact on inducing pigmentation than UVA and UVB light.

blue light Source: Sjale/Shutterstock

How To Prevent Blue Light Damage

If you’re thinking “wow this is mega-depressing”, don’t worry girl, we got you! Thankfully, there are so many bomb products that offer protection against blue light. While the obvious solution of cutting down on screen time isn’t always viable – Hello, office jobs! – you can turn off the blue light on your laptop and phones. Turn your laptop or handheld device to nighttime mode round the clock; your screen will have a yellowish tint and you’ll probably not notice much difference, so it’s worth it.

When looking for ways to protect your skin from damage, the key thing to look for is antioxidants. Your skin already contains natural antioxidants; however, there’s often not enough to counteract the damage from UVA, UVB, and blue light. So, apply topical antioxidants and eat an antioxidant-rich diet to help your skin defend itself against environmental damage. Check out this post to find out our fave skin-loving foods. 

blue light damage Source: Paula’s Choice, Estee Lauder, Sisley

Luckily, there are tons of products that are literally bursting with antioxidants, so always check the inkey list for vitamins like A, E, K, and C, which provide a high dose. We’re currently using Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex, $62, which helps repair skin and prevent the damaging effects of blue light. Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Serum, $32, just like the name suggests, provides a surge of both plant and vitamin-derived antioxidants. Sisley has even created a product targeted at millennials, to help protect their skin from blue light damage. The product named SisleyYouth Anti-Pollution, $198, is a potent cocktail of anti-free radical and protective active ingredients.

How long do you spend on your phone and do you use the blue-light settings?