Blue Light Effect on Skin: How Mobile Phones Could Cause Melasma

In our digitally-driven world, we are constantly exposed to various forms of light from screens, gadgets, and even energy-efficient lighting. These devices emit a type of light known as blue light, which has become a significant part of our daily lives. But what exactly is blue light, and how does it affect our skin health?

What is Blue Light?

Blue light is a part of the visible light spectrum that can be seen by the human eye and is known for its short wavelength and high energy. Blue light is naturally present in sunlight and plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythm, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle. However, blue light is also emitted by artificial sources, like digital devices or LED lights, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in our daily lives.

Common Sources of Blue Light in Everyday Life

  1. Sunlight: The sun is the most significant source of blue light, essential for vitamin D synthesis and other biological processes. However, it exposes us to high levels of blue light.
  2. Digital Screens: Devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions emit blue light. Prolonged screen time can lead to a significant increase in blue light exposure.
  3. LED and Fluorescent Lighting: Modern lighting solutions, including LED and fluorescent lights, are energy-efficient but emit considerable amounts of blue light.

The Impact of Blue Light on Skin Health

The concern about blue light’s impact on skin health has been growing, particularly due to the increased use of digital devices. As the wavelength of blue light typically ranges from 420 to 490 nanometers, it can penetrate the skin up to the dermis, deeper into the skin compared to other visible light wavelengths, affecting various skin cells and molecules. 

The blue light effect on skin can lead to several types of skin damage:

  • Oxidative stress: Blue light can increase the production of free radicals, damaging the skin’s DNA, proteins, and lipids, contributing to premature ageing and skin damage 
  • Pigmentation: Exposure to blue light stimulates the production of melanin, potentially leading to hyperpigmentation or dark spots on the skin 
  • Inflammation: Studies suggest that blue light can activate inflammatory pathways in the skin, which may exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea
  • Collagen degradation: Blue light contributes to the breakdown of collagen, a protein that keeps skin firm and youthful, leading to a loss of skin elasticity and the formation of wrinkles

Exploring the Link Between Blue Light and Melasma

Defining Melasma

Melasma is a common skin condition characterised by brown or blue-grey patches, usually symmetrical, on the face. It most commonly appears on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, nose, and chin. While the exact cause of melasma is not fully understood, it is believed to result from an overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to the skin, hair and eyes.

Several factors can contribute to the development of melasma, including:

    1. Hormonal Changes: Often referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”,  melasma can occur during pregnancy due to an increase in oestrogen and progesterone, which can stimulate melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin) to become more active. Birth control pills and hormone therapies that contain oestrogen and progesterone can also trigger melasma.
    2. Sun exposure: UV radiation can cause lipid peroxidation in cellular membranes, resulting in free radicals which can stimulate melanocytes to produce excess melanin 
  • Skin irritation: Certain skincare and cosmetics can irritate the skin, leading to melasma 
    1. Genetic proposition: Individuals with a family history of melasma are more susceptible.  

    Risk factors for Melasma: 

    • Gender: Women are more likely to develop melasma than men 
    • Skin type: Those with medium or dark skin tone, such as those of Latin, Asian, Black or Native American heritage 
    • Genetics: A family history of melasma increases the likelihood of developing melasma 
    • Medications: Certain medications (e.g. anti-seizure medications, birth control pills) or exposure to certain substances can trigger melasma 

    Exploring the Blue Light-Melasma Connection 

    How does blue light exposure affect skin pigmentation and melasma? Recent research has highlighted the significant effects of blue light exposure on skin pigmentation changes causing melasma. Blue light can stimulate melanocytes by activating Opsin 3, a photoreceptor present in these pigment-producing cells. This activation induces an increase in melanin synthesis through a series of signalling cascades pathways, leading to the formation of long-lasting pigmentation.

    Moreover, blue light exposure induces oxidative stress within the skin. Within just one hour of exposure, blue light triggers the photoreduction of intracellular flavins, culminating in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS promote the release of pro-inflammatory mediators in the skin, exacerbating oxidative stress and potentially contributing to pigmentation alterations.

    The development of melasma from blue light exposure can vary based on individual skin sensitivity and exposure levels. While immediate effects may not be noticeable, consistent and prolonged exposure to blue light can gradually worsen existing melasma and contribute to the formation of new pigmentation patches over time.

    Mobile Phones and Blue Light Exposure

    Blue Light Emissions from Mobile Phones

    Mobile phones, like many other digital devices, emit blue light through their screens. The screens of mobile phones use LED technology for screen backlighting, which is highly efficient but also produces a significant amount of blue light. This blue light is necessary to create the bright, vibrant displays that users expect from their devices. 

    Mobile phones are just one source of blue light exposure. Here is a comparison of mobile phones with other common sources:

    1. Sunlight: The sun is the most significant source of blue light and it is much higher than that from any artificial source. While exposure to natural sunlight is beneficial for overall health and regulating circadian rhythms, it emits a broad spectrum of light, including high-energy blue wavelengths which contributes to skin ageing and pigmentation changes
    2. Digital Devices: Tablets and laptops also use LED screens that emit blue light. The intensity and duration of exposure can be similar, especially for those who spend extended periods working or consuming media on these devices.
    3. LED lighting: Many modern light bulbs and lighting fixtures use LED technology which also emits blue light. While the intensity might be lower compared to digital screens, the cumulative exposure from ambient lighting can contribute to overall blue light exposure. 

    Skin Impact from Daily Mobile Phone Usage

    Therefore, how do mobile phone usage and constant blue light exposure impact our skin? Boasting one of the highest levels of digital connectivity and smartphone penetration worldwide, Singaporeans spend approximately 5.3 hours per day on their mobile phones. This usage includes various activities such as social media, messaging, browsing the internet, streaming videos, and gaming.

    Excessive use of mobile phones can lead to several skin issues, primarily due to prolonged exposure to blue light emitted by phone screens. 

    Here are some examples of potential skin damage:      

                            Hyperpigmentation              Oxidative Stress                      Rosacea

    Strategies to Protect Your Skin from Blue Light

    Given the ubiquitous nature of blue light, especially from mobile phones and other digital devices, what are some important steps we can take to protect our skin and eyes?

    • Use Blue Light Filters: Apply screen protectors designed to filter out blue light on mobile phones and tablets. Many devices also offer built-in blue light filters or "night mode" settings that reduce blue light emissions. Lowering the brightness of your screen can reduce blue light emission and minimise eye strain.
    • Take Regular Breaks: Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to reduce eye strain.

    Skin Care to Combat Blue Light Effects

    In effectively managing melasma, MIRIQA® Professional Skin Nutrition Supplement stands out as the perfect formula to combat blue light effects. 

    Made from Olives, Tomatoes with colourless carotenoids and L-Cysteine; all the essential super-antioxidants to build strong, beautiful and healthy skin.

    • Tomatoes With Colourless Carotenoids: Providing a natural shield against harmful UV rays, this ingredient prevents the further darkening of melasma patches. Beyond sun protection, these carotenoids also stimulate skin renewal, aiding in the gradual fading of dark spots and enhancing overall skin texture and skin complexion.
    • Olive Extract: Renowned for its potent antioxidant properties, due to the polyphenols present in it, it serves as a formidable defence against oxidative stress, offering unparalleled protection to skin cells. With antioxidant capabilities surpassing that of vitamin C, olive extract shields the skin from environmental aggressors, helping to mitigate inflammation and redness often associated with melasma. Its anti-inflammatory benefits contribute to a calmer, more balanced complexion, essential for managing melasma-related concerns effectively.
    • L-Cysteine: As a scavenger of free radicals, L-Cysteine combats oxidative stress at the cellular level, preventing damage that could exacerbate melasma symptoms. Moreover, its synergy with olives and white tomatoes enhances skin tone, working harmoniously to lighten pigmentation and promote a brighter, more uniform complexion. By addressing underlying oxidative stress and supporting skin rejuvenation, L-Cysteine plays a pivotal role in the comprehensive management of melasma.

    By incorporating MIRIQA® Professional Skin Nutrition Supplement into your skincare routine, you can harness the potent benefits of these key ingredients, paving the way for clearer, more radiant skin.

    Preventing and Treating Melasma

    Preventative Measures for Melasma

    Other than skin care, lifestyle changes also play a significant role in reducing melasma risk. Here are some lifestyle changes that you can make:

      1. Limit Sun Exposure: Avoid direct sunlight, particularly between 10 am and 4 pm when UV rays are most intense. 
  • Ensure sun protection: 
        1. Protective clothing: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, wide-brimmed hats or sunglasses with UV protection to guard your skin. 
        2. Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 50 daily, even on cloudy days and when indoors. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or often if swimming or sweating
  • Healthy Diet: Incorporate antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which help protect the skin from oxidative stress and inflammation. To keep the skin healthy in general, you can also try a skin-healthy diet of foods rich in Vitamin D consisting of almond milk, eggs, mushrooms, fatty fish and yoghurt. 

  • Effective Treatments for Melasma

    Treatments can be added to skincare and lifestyle changes for the management of melasma. First-line treatment typically involves lightening creams and products that normalise the cellular differentiation of the upper skin layer. If still not well-treated, additional options including exfoliation topical creams or professional chemical peels, as well as oral medications and laser or light therapies, can be considered at a later stage.


    As we navigate a world increasingly dominated by digital screens emitting blue light, protecting our skin becomes paramount. From utilising blue light filters and taking regular screen breaks to incorporating advanced skincare solutions like MIRIQA® Professional Skin Nutrition Supplement, there are effective strategies available to safeguard against blue light-induced skin damage and manage melasma. 

    Ready to take control of your skin health? Don’t let blue light and melasma stand in your way – discover the key to healthier skin and take the first step towards a more radiant you with MIRIQA today


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    Li, L., Jiang, X., Tu, Y., Yang, Y., Zhang, X., Gu, H., & He, L. (2023). Impact of blue light on skin pigmentation in patients with melasma. Skin Research and Technology, 29(7).

    Wong, N. A., & Bahmani, H. (2022). A review of the current state of research on artificial blue light safety as it applies to digital devices. Heliyon, 8(8), e10282.

    Suitthimeathegorn, O., Yang, C., Ma, Y., & Liu, W. (2022). Direct and Indirect Effects of Blue Light Exposure on Skin: A Review of Published Literature. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology.