Kayla is a freelance writer who covers health, nutrition, and lifestyle for Prevention, Everyday Health, People, and more. She's always open to conversations about fueling up with flavorful dishes, busting beauty standards, and finding new, gentle ways to care for our bodies. She thinks therapy is for everyone, and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio University with specializations in women, gender, and sexuality studies and public health. She's a born-and-raised midwesterner living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and ornery tabby cat.
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Growing awareness around sun damage has made many people serious about protecting their skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays with sunscreen. But few double-check their SPF to see if it also defends against blue light. Also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light, blue light is a wavelength that is, in some ways, more permeant than UV because it’s “all around us,” says Ava Shamban, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. It’s emitted by the sun, fluorescent light bulbs, and the screens we find ourselves scrolling nearly 24/7, which is why it’s worth adding blue light-blocking skincare to your routine.
The Alastin SilkSHIELD® All Mineral Sunscreen is a multi-tasking product worth the splurge. It’s formulated to protect against blue and UV light, while also providing anti-aging benefits with added hydration. The ISDIN Mineral Brush Powder’s innovative packaging makes it easy to maintain maximum protection throughout the day with quick touch-ups and is great for combination or oily skin.
Ongoing research shows that near-constant blue light exposure changes our skin cells, says Dr. Shamban. “It causes a reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the skin which can break down proteins our skin needs,” she adds, which results in accelerated aging in the form of cellular stress, sagging, lines, and hyperpigmentation. “Even exposures as short as 60 minutes can trigger these changes,” Shamban adds.
The good news is, some sunscreens—namely tinted and mineral formulas—do protect against HEV with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Other ingredients that may minimize damage are free-radical fighting antioxidants including vitamins C, E, and B complex, Shamban suggests, as well as naturally occurring antioxidants like lutein and phytoplankton. The type of product you choose will determine when to use it in your skincare routine.
Expect to pay mid-to-double digits for most blue light-blocking skin care, as it’s usually multi-functional in that it moisturizes, brightens, and protects against other environmental damage. Our top pick, Alastin SilkSHIELD® All Mineral Sunscreen, is $55 and contains a cocktail of moisturizing, protective ingredients including zinc oxide, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. We spoke with dermatologists and reviewed blue light skin care by type, SPF protection, and size.
Here are the best blue light-filtering skin care products out there.
Why We Like It: This mineral sunscreen formula contains 19.95% zinc oxide and added antioxidants to protect against UV and blue light.
It’s Worth Noting: The price point is high considering it’s meant for daily use and will run out rather quickly.
Dr. Shamban recommends this dermatologist-loved formula because it is zinc oxide-based and has added anti-aging ingredients like a peptide blend that encourages restored collagen and Ectoin, a synthetic anti-environmental stress ingredient that protects against blue light damage.
It also contains hyaluronic acid for a hydration boost, as well as phytoene/phytofluene antioxidants to further shield the skin from environmental stressors. And its non-tinted cream formula blends in sheer. An all-in-one multitasker, it won’t leave you worried that a skin concern has gone unaddressed.
Why We Like It: This versatile formula offers sun protection of SPF 30 with added antioxidants and hydrating ingredients that plump and firm skin.
It’s Worth Noting: It's a chemical sunscreen, and those typically aren’t blue light protective. However, it’s specially formulated to prevent damage from all types of light.
Elizabeth Hale, MD, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University Langone Medical Center recommends this formula because it’s “a multi-tasking moisturizer and broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 designed to reduce damage from the sun’s rays, infrared, and blue light,” she says.
The formula gets its antioxidant boost from melon extracts, as well as orchid leaf, root, and stem and vitamin E, the latter of which specifically prevents oxidative stress, Shamban says. This makes it a rare chemical sunscreen with blue light protection. Dr. Shamban says chemical SPFs typically don’t offer it because blue light’s “wavelength is different and it penetrates more deeply into layers of the dermis.”
Why We Like It: A powder formula provides physical mineral SPF 50 protection and makes reapplication a breeze.
It’s Worth Noting: It’s only available in one shade.
If you have oily or combination skin, you might like a powder sunscreen, and this finely milled one from ISDIN (with a built-in brush) eliminates the worry of growing shiny throughout the day. It’s also super compact and easy to carry, making you more likely to reapply SPF at the recommended range of every 90 minutes to two hours. That’s why Dr. Shamban loves it because it’s “great for touch-ups all day long,” she says.
Just know that, in order to get adequate protection, you’ll need to apply a decent amount of powder or wear a liquid SPF underneath. For context, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends covering the entire body with a shot glass worth of sunscreen daily, which amounts to about a nickel-sized dollop for the face.
Why We Like It: This sunscreen is fragrance-free, oil-free, and ultra-hydrating thanks to added hyaluronic acid, making it great for sensitive skin.
It’s Worth Noting: It’s not tinted and may not be ideal for those with oily skin.
Dr. Shamban points out that the EltaMD UV Replenish is great for indoor and outdoor protection, meaning its zinc oxide formula protects against UV and blue light rays. Although it’s not tinted, it rubs in easily without leaving a white cast, and it delivers an extra boost of hydration to sensitive and dry skin types via hyaluronic acid.
The 100% physical sunscreen formula also makes it free of chemical irritants that those with sensitive skin might want to avoid. It’s also water-resistant and fragrance- and oil-free.
Why We Like It: A tinted sunscreen that works for most skin tones, this makeup-skin care hybrid has a natural finish and SPF 50 sun protection.
It’s Worth Noting: The creamy, hydrating formula may not be ideal for oily skin types.
The problem with most tinted sunscreens is that their tint isn’t universally fitting for all skin tones, which is what makes CC Screen so unique. It’s available in 15 flexible shades, evens skin tones with buildable coverage, and has SPF 50. To maximize blue light protection, it’s also chock full of antioxidants including apple extract, red moss and seaweed extracts.
Its mineral sun protection comes from non-nano zinc oxide, which are particles larger in size that effectively absorb UV rays and blue light.
Why We Like It: This versatile moisturizer contains lutein, an antioxidant that naturally defends the skin from blue light, and vitamin C, a brightening antioxidant that helps counteract the effects of blue light damage.
It’s Worth Noting: This product does not contain sunscreen and therefore an SPF would need to be layered on top of it during the day for adequate protection.
Dr. Shamban says products with naturally occurring carotenoids like lutein, an organic pigment that gives certain plants a yellow-orange color, protect against blue light damage. This moisturizer, which can be used day and night, is rich in lutein and vitamin C, another antioxidant that helps reverse blue light damage.
Unlike most items on this list, it doesn’t contain SPF, which means it needs to be used in conjunction with one during the day. But the added ingredients of lutein, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid to your routine will double down on protection if you, for example, work at a computer or have prolonged screen time.
Why We Like It: Mineral sunscreens are notoriously thick and goopy, and this lightweight serum provides all the protection of one without feeling heavy.
It’s Worth Noting: This product is a tinted sunscreen moisturizer, so it’s not ideal for someone who isn’t interested in a makeup adjacent-formula.
This multi-tasking skin care-makeup combo will cut getting ready time in half. It has nano-nano zinc oxide protection, which defends against UV and HEV light, and it contains niacinamide, which Shamban loves because it’s calming and “supports barrier function.”
Dry-skinned people will love that it also contains moisturizing squalene and hyaluronic acid to visibly plump and hydrate the skin. 30 shades make it another rare, widely accessible tinted formula, and the serum texture makes it easy to quickly spread onto the skin. There’s also no added fragrance.
Why We Like It: This formula’s niacinamide and easily blended tint are friends to inflamed skin. The lightweight texture makes it easily wearable and less likely to cause further irritation.
It’s Worth Noting: The “universal” tint may not work for every skin tone.
The added niacinamide (vitamin B3) in this formula, which is known to calm redness and pigmentation, is what makes it a great SPF for inflamed or acne-prone skin. Niacinamide is also a skin-loving antioxidant that supports barrier function, per Dr. Shamban.
With an SPF of 46, the tinted formula, complete with a convenient airless pump packaging, adequately protects the skin from UV and blue light damage, and, depending on your skin tone, the tint may help tame any visible redness.
Why We Like It: For under $20, this daily moisturizer hydrates the skin and prevents blue light damage with plankton extract and other antioxidants.
It’s Worth Noting: It doesn’t contain SPF, so sunscreen would need to be layered on top of it during the day for adequate protection.
It’s tricky to find any blue light-blocking skin care for under $20, which makes this moisturizer a welcome addition to the list. It’s specially formulated with plankton extract and papaya, apple, and grape antioxidants to both defend against blue light and reverse any existing damage your skin may have already endured.
Seaweed extract and hyaluronic acid support hydration, and the 100% recyclable airless pump packaging ensure you can use it to the last drop. Because this moisturizer doesn't contain SPF, be sure to layer one over the top so your skin is protected from UV and HEV rays.
Long-term exposure to blue light compromises skin cells and therefore, skin structure, which results in skin laxity, sagging, pigmentation, lines, and wrinkles, says Dr. Shamban.
“These conditions all speed up the cellular and visual aging process,” she adds. “Blue light, in effect, is wreaking havoc on your trajectory for skin aging and overall skin health.”
However, it’s worth noting that, in small doses, blue light has a medical, therapeutic effect on certain skin conditions and is used as treatment in dermatology offices. “In mild and moderate psoriasis, acne-prone, and oily skin types, it can help to diminish actinic keratosis, blackheads, whiteheads, and other visible signs of acne-targeting bacteria,” says Dr. Shamban.
“Yes, 100%,” says Dr. Shamban. “We should think of blue light protection like we think of sunscreen—preventative care and a daily part of our routine 365 days a year, regardless of activity or season.”
Similar to UV exposure, blue light exposure is cumulative, she adds, and any unprotected time does contribute to the cycle of visible aging.
Wear a mineral (and preferably tinted) sunscreen that contains iron oxides, and use other skincare products that contain blue light-combatting antioxidants like vitamin C and phytoplankton.
”It can also be as simple as switching to night mode on phones and tablets and adding blue light protectants to all screens,” says Dr. Shamban. “And it is always wise to turn off all devices at least two hours before bed to give the body time to prepare for sleep.”
The short answer is yes, but not all sunscreens absorb HEV rays. Only those with iron oxides do, explains Dr. Shamban, which applies to most mineral and tinted formulas. “Most chemical sunscreens will not help protect against blue light because the wavelength is different and it penetrates more deeply into layers of the dermis,” Dr. Shamban adds.
Synthetic Red Oxide Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a specialization in public health and women, gender, and sexuality studies. She's covered health, nutrition, lifestyle, and beauty at various outlets for five years.