15 Best Blue Light Skin-Care Products in 2023 to Guard Your Complexion | Allure

By Nykia Spradley and Jennifer Hussein

At this point, just about everyone has a phone, computer, or TV screen shining in their faces at least once per day — and our skin may be feeling the negative effects of it. Blue light from our cell phones and laptops may be disrupting some of the work you've put into caring for your skin, and stealing the shine from those skin-care products you finally got around to trying. Awareness of blue light is important, but with the best blue light skin-care products, the negative effects of it are also preventable. UV Invisible fluorescent pigment

15 Best Blue Light Skin-Care Products in 2023 to Guard Your Complexion | Allure

Protecting skin from damaging light — UV rays from the sun being number one — should always be a top priority. A life of daily Zoom calls and doom-scrolling now also requires consideration of blue light, also known as High Energy Visible Light (HEV), according to Julie Karen, MD a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. It's present in visible sunlight and in illumination from our screens. "I do think there is a place for blue-light protection within skin-care routines, especially if you spend a lot of time in front of digital devices," Loretta Ciraldo, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Miami, previously told Allure. Kenneth Howe, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, adds that the wavelength of blue light is a little bit shorter in wavelength than ultraviolet light (UV), the latter being notorious for causing skin cancer and skin aging. "We're all just used to blue light because we see it constantly," he says. "Its sheer familiarity makes it seem harmless."

Howe says that, unlike UV light, blue light is not known to cause skin cancer, but there is research to indicate that it potentially contributes to skin aging. "It does this by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the skin," says Dr. Howe. "These ROS, or free radicals, in turn, cause oxidative damage within the skin." The antidote is antioxidants, which protect the skin by "quenching" or neutralizing these ROS before they can do their damage. In contrast, and for some context, UV light from the sun harms skin both through the generation of free radicals and by directly damaging the skin's DNA, Dr. Howe further explains.

But blue light isn't all bad. Ellen Marmur, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, says that some levels of blue light can, in many ways, actually help us. "Blue light is good for your brain by restoring circadian rhythm, improving mood, energy, and alertness, and enriching cognitive function," she says. Dr. Marmur also notes that it helps the skin's microbiome and has been used to combat skin concerns like acne by reducing inflammation.

And even more good news is that protecting skin against blue light actually doesn't require that major of a skin-care shakeup. If you're already in the habit of wearing sunscreen, then you're on the right track. Many of the same serums and SPF products that we've come to know and love have actually been working double-duty to protect against blue light as well as UV rays. Ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do some of (but not all) the necessary blocking, while antioxidants like vitamin C and variations of green tea keep free radicals from wreaking havoc.

Howe also suggests switching your smartphone to night mode. He says that studies have confirmed that this change reduces blue light exposure significantly. And if you put it on timed mode (do this through settings to set the time that the colors in your display will adjust), it can minimize blue light exposure at night without interfering as much with your sleep rhythms. When you're awake, before getting in a work groove, it's important not to skimp on skin care.

Start your day with one of these 15 dermatologist-recommended products that will help shield skin from potentially aging blue light. Many of these also block out UVA and UVB rays, too, because yes, you still need to wear sunscreen, even if you don't have any plans of stepping foot outside.

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SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is a skin-care gold standard, dermatologist-favorite, and three-time Allure Best of Beauty winner for many reasons — and now you can add blue light protection to its many benefits. Howe says that this is the best antioxidant formula out there to do the free radical-quenching that he mentioned earlier. A potent form for vitamin C neutralizes the reactive oxygen species (or free radicals) before they can do any damage.

Erum Ilyas, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, says that the BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream is one of her top recommendations for any skin type. This SPF 30 moisturizer guards skin against UV rays and blue light from screen time, all thanks to titanium and iron oxides, according to Dr. Ilyas. "It has lightweight coverage with a broad range of tints to choose from, so most skin tones can find the coverage they need," she says. "This also contains glycerin, an important source for hydration in skin-care products."

EltaMD's range of sunscreens have consistently ranked high among dermatologists and Allure editors for their UVA- and UVB-blocking benefits, as well as how smoothly and trace-free they go on. Dr. Marmur says that anything with zinc oxide can also protect against blue-light damage. The UV Clear version has zinc oxide along with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and lactic acid, which are ideal for calming acne-prone skin and those with rosacea or hyperpigmentation.

Dr. Zeichner explains that antioxidants like vitamin C act like fire extinguishers to put out inflammation in the skin caused by free radicals. Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex 30% contains a powerful concentration of vitamin C, along with prebiotics to maintain skin barrier health.

Morgan Rabach, MD a New York City board-certified dermatologist, concurs that the most effective protection against HEV is a combination of both potent antioxidants topped with a traditional sunscreen. For the first layer of protection, she recommends SkinBetter Alto Defense Serum, which you can get from a dermatologist's office. It's formulated with vitamins C and E, plus 17 additional antioxidant ingredients like turmeric and grape-seed extracts. Top it with a mineral sunscreen to cover the UV-blocking aspect of your routine.

Another tinted sunscreen that Dr. Ilyas suggests for deterring the effects of blue light is the Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30. This sunscreen lotion provides SPF 30 UV protection, blue light protection with added iron oxides, and moisture replenishment from glycerin. It also treats your skin with raspberry seed oil, a conditioning additive that supplies much-needed antioxidants to prevent premature aging aggravated by oxidative stress.

According to Dr. Karen, Isdin's Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion is one of the more effective, broadest-protecting sunblocks available. The SPF 50 formula incorporates mineral-based, blue light-protecting ingredients like zinc oxide and vitamin E. It also has photolyase enzymes, which, according to the brand, has been shown to repair sun damage that has already occurred within the skin.

Mineral sunscreens rely on two main ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. "These physical agents work by reflecting light — whether it's UV radiation or visible light," Dr. Howe explains. He makes the comparison to white paint, which says looks white because it contains titanium dioxide. The titanium dioxide reflects all incident light, throwing it back at our eyes so that the painted surface looks white.

It's the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in Brush on Block Mineral Sunscreen that's causing this same effect. "Titanium dioxide sunblocks will do the same thing when applied on our skin: they'll reflect visible light away," says Dr. Howe. This powder sunscreen is particularly useful if you want to reapply without messing up your makeup.

If you're looking for an under-$20 option, Dr. Ilyas says to look no further than CeraVe's Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen with Sheer Tint SPF 30. "It contains all the right ingredients: physical UV filters and iron oxides for UV and blue light protection and ethylhexylglycerine, which is derived from glycerin," she says. This multitasking formula is also infused with niacinamide to mattify the skin and ceramides to replenish moisture.

Both internally and externally, our eyes in particular are taking the brunt of the blue-light damage caused by staring at screens all day. In addition to considering picking up a pair of blue light glasses or a device screen, treat the perimeter of your eyes with Dr. Loretta's antioxidant-rich (this formula includes the antioxidant lipochroman), dark circle-fading, and HEV-shielding Tightening Eye Gel.

"Mineral-based sunscreens that contain ingredients like zinc oxide form a protective seal over the skin to reflect away blue light," says New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. He recommends Solara Suncare Time Traveler Ageless Daily Face Sunscreen because the zinc oxide in the formula keeps blue light from penetrating deeply into skin, which can cause free-radical damage and promote dark spots and fine lines. He adds that the sunscreen rubs into skin seamlessly without leaving a white cast behind.

Both Dr. Morgan and Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, agree that SkinMedica's Lumivive System is a smart choice for full-day protection. All the work is pretty much built right in. The day formula is made with antioxidants, like cacao seed extract and green tea, to keep free radicals from causing fine lines and dark spots. The night treatment repairs skin while you sleep, thanks to a formulation of CoQ10 called mitoquinol mesylate, in addition to niacinamide and squalane. "SkinMedica Lumivive has impressive data to support its use as a topical UV protector," says Dr. King.

Similarly to CeraVe's formula, Dr. Ilyas says that the Neutrogena Purescreen+ Tinted Mineral Sunscreen contains blue light-guarding iron oxides and conditioning ethylhexylglycerine. But what makes this tinted sunscreen stand out from the rest of the bunch is vitamin E, which is infused into this formula to prevent environmental aggressors from damaging your delicate skin.

Howe says that zinc oxide sunscreens are sufficient protection from blue light. A non-nano version of it is found in this Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF 30. The smaller particles allow the formula to go on sheer, and not chalky, without compromising on how well it's protecting against UV and HEV light.

Out of all the products specifically made with blue light-blocking in mind, Dr. Howe says Chantecaille's Blue Light Protection Hyaluronic Serum is his favorite. It uses six different botanicals, including rosa damascena and nasturtium flower extract, as the protecting and damage-reversing base, while different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid hydrate and plump any existing fine lines.

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15 Best Blue Light Skin-Care Products in 2023 to Guard Your Complexion | Allure

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