While clients can reap the benefits of short-term blue light exposure from professional beauty treatments, they need to be careful to protect themselves from long-term exposure in everyday life.
“Continued exposure to blue light from mobile devices can lead to changes in skin cells that speed up the ageing process. Research has shown that even exposure of just 60 minutes can trigger the changes,” says Jane Saint, national trainer for +maskology.
Blue light has a short wavelength, meaning that it’s high energy; blue light is also commonly known as HEV light, or high-energy visible light.
The high-energy emission from blue light means that it can penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers – visible light can even penetrate deeper than UV light.
Once it reaches the dermis, blue light can cause cell damage. “Blue light has been shown to impact skin structures including fibroblasts, keratinocytes, melanocytes, and the protective lipid layer,” explains Lorraine Perretta, head of nutrition at supplements brand Advanced Nutrition Programme.
She continues: “Fibroblasts and keratinocytes are two of the most abundant cell types present in the skin. They secrete collagen proteins that help maintain the structural framework of tissues. Blue light damages these skin cells, which results in the lines and wrinkles forming and accelerating skin ageing.”
“Melanocytes are another type of skin cell targeted by blue light. They are a cell in the skin that produces and contains the pigment called melanin. When they are damaged, they cause discolouration, pigmentation, and brown spots.
“Furthermore, blue light damages the lipid layers between skin cells, compromising the skin barrier function, causing skin to be red, reactive and sensitive.
“The ageing impact of blue light may be even more powerful than UVA and UVB rays found in sunlight because it penetrates deeper into the dermis.
“Research suggests free radical-induced damage from blue light takes place deep in the skin, potentially causing longer term, structural damage and more visible impacts. Pigmentation caused by blue light is thought to be darker and harder to reverse than UV-induced pigmentation, although the mechanism causing this remains unknown.”
There are a number of easy fixes to reduce exposure to blue light, including putting films or filters on devices and placing them in night or dark mode.
Skincare can also play a role in protecting your clients from blue light damage. As always, SPF use is crucial, and vitamin C can help to protect against damage from free radicals.
Peretta also recommends vitamin E, biotin, lutein, zeaxanthin and olive fruit extract.