With 60%2 of people now spending more than six hours a day in front of a digital device, five working days can have the same impact on the skin as spending 25 minutes in midday sun without any protection.
How blue light effects skin health
The blue light emitted from screens not only affects the skin but can also disturb our biological clocks. Blue light can penetrate the skin far deeper that UV light, passing through the epidermis and dermis to the subcutis layer.
It can induce both immediate and persistent pigmentation, which can still be present after three months. In addition, these rays can inhibit melatonin generation, increase stress hormone levels, and excite nerves, which in turn disturbs sleeping pattern and circadian rhythm. 30 hours of exposure to blue light from smartphone or laptop screens can increase the inflammation level in skin cells by 40%3.
Samantha Tucker-Samaras, Global Vice President Science & technology, Beauty & Personal Care explains: “Long-term exposure to blue light has the potential to have a significant negative impact on people’s wellbeing, and we’re concerned people are simply unaware of the risks. It is highly likely that exposure to blue light has increased this year, as many previously office-based workers have increased their time in front of a screen, as face-to-face meetings have moved to virtual. People should be looking for skincare products loaded with antioxidants, as well as niacinamide and zinc oxide. Limiting screen time also helps, not only for our overall skin health, but our general wellbeing too.
“Unilever’s 5,000 experts across the world work to bring science and innovation insights to products which benefit people’s health and wellbeing, and we have a duty to let people know how best to protect themselves from the impact of blue light exposure.”
How to Beat the Screen Blues
To protect against blue light, Unilever’s scientists recommend using products which include ingredients that minimise or neutralise blue light, as well as restore skin. Look for products which include the following ingredients:
- Products with optics minimise visible light to prevent skin tanning. For example, BB cream is scientifically proven to minimise the effects of blue light by 80%.
- Zinc Oxide, which creates a protective barrier for the skin.
- Vitamin C protects and recovers skin cells from blue-light-induced oxidative damage.
- Vitamin B6 combats visible-light-induced antioxidant depletion and effectively supresses oxidative stress caused by visible light.
- Niacinamide restores skin surface cells from blue-light-induced oxidative stress and provides strong protection against skin damage caused by blue light.
 According to a poll of 1318 consumers conducted by Unilever in August 2020