Why You Need Both SPF and Blue Light Protection In Your Skincare Routine

December 4, 2020

by Amanda Etkind


By now, we all know how important it is to wear SPF on the daily. Yes, even in the winter. Yes, even if your exposure to the outdoors is limited to your daily coffee run. SPF is what shields our skin against those harmful UV rays and pollution that can cause premature aging. But did you know there’s another offender when it comes to causing premature wrinkles and fine lines (and no, we’re not talking about your recent Bumble date who ghosted you after swearing that they’re ~different~), we’re talking about blue light.

If you don’t already know, blue light, also known as HEV (high energy visible) light, is emitted from our phones, laptops, computers, and TV screens and can cause premature aging and skin damage—just like those harmful UV rays from the sun. While the two may seem pretty much the same, they’re actually not. That’s why it’s important to protect your complexion from both every single day (we mean it, don’t skip). Here, we give you deets on the difference between UV rays and blue light, what exactly is SPF and blue light protection, the types of products you should be incorporating into your routine, and how to use each. So, to stop beating around the bush, there’s no such thing as SPF blue light protection: You actually need them both. 

What is the difference between UV rays and blue light?

Similar to how the reason for every past relationship gone sour seems the same at surface level, there are usually subtle differences that contribute to their demise. That same nuance applies to the effects of blue light and UV rays on your skin. Dr. Michele Farber, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York, explained the difference between the two to HuffPost. “Blue light causes a slightly different type of damage,” she said. “It causes generation of reactive oxygen species which damages collagen, causes wrinkling, pigment changes and laxity. The sun, on the other hand, causes photoaging to a greater degree than blue light, and can also induce skin cancers.” So basically, yes, both blue light and UV rays cause premature aging, wrinkles, and photo damage, but unlike spending a day poolside under the sun’s rays, blue light doesn’t burn your skin. Blue light does, however, penetrate to the third layer of your skin (for comparison UVA/UVB typically only touches the first and second layers) causing oxidative stress on skin cells also leading to wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and skin dullness.

Gotcha! So how do SPF and blue light protection shield my skin from damage?

Simply put, SPF or Sun Protection Factor helps to prevent the sun’s UV rays from affecting your complexion. There are two types of SPF: physical sunscreens, which actually block the rays from reaching your skin and chemical sunscreens, which absorb UV rays before they can do any damage. Whereas blue light protection, like the kind found in Goodhabit’s lineup, typically filters and offsets the impact of artificial blue light, while reversing already-done damage. Dr. Mona Gohara, an NYC-based dermatologist explains via The Strategist, “blue light antioxidants that help fight off the free radicals could be beneficial in protecting your skin. Serums specifically designed for this damage may help. Sunscreen protects your skin from further damage, but it won’t repair in the same way these blue light protection products claim to do.” When you use both daily, you’re decreasing your exposure to both damaging lights preventing those signs of aging.

Sounds great! What products should I add to my routine?

Unlike those 12-step skincare routines (don’t worry, we wouldn’t do that to you), incorporating both SPF and blue light protection into your daily routine is actually pretty simple. Experts recommend SPF products that contain physical blockers like titanium dioxide and zinc to help protect your skin from both broad-spectrum UV and HEV lights plus antioxidant-rich serums like Vitamin C, etc. to help fight free radicals from causing damage. If you want to take it a step further, we suggest incorporating serums, moisturizers, and other treatments that contain damage-reversing properties like our Goodhabit line, which contains our proprietary blend of BLU5 technology. Our unique skin-enriching blend BLU5—found in all our Goodhabit products—stars a special marine active extract that’s sourced from Greenland waters as well as rich proteins and polysaccharides that create a protective film over the skin to prevent future damage.

Got it! So how should I use both in my routine?

We’re so glad you asked. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to layer your skincare from lightest to richest. Just remember, you’ll always end your routine with a layer of SPF. First, remove dirt, oil, and impurities using a cleanser of your choice. We recommend Goodhabit’s Clean Scene Micellar Gel for its skin-cleansing and makeup-removing abilities sans water. Plus, it doesn’t dry out the skin thanks to the encapsulated hyaluronic acid beads in the formula. Next, rebalance your skin using a toner or an essence. We love Goodhabit’s Texture Magic Exfoliating Toner. It’s powerful enough to smooth out your skin’s texture and reduce pores overnight without causing irritation. Next is where you add in your serums or treatments that contain Blue Protection. Lucky for you, our Glow Potion Oil Serum protects you from blue light with its robust 3-in-1 formula enriched with antioxidants, skin-strengthening properties, and hydrators that leaves your skin glowing. It also improves your skin’s elasticity, reduces wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, and rejuvenates skin so it’s more plump and supple. Now it's time to hydrate with your moisturizer of choice. We suggest trying our Water Jelly Dew Cream which has 20% humectants that nourish your skin—which is key to retaining your skin’s moisture levels. Top everything off with an SPF. Like we’ve mentioned we recommend trying a physical SPF that has broad-spectrum protection against UV and HEV lights. It is the best practice until we actually invent SPF blue light protection. Talking about dreaming big, right? We’ll it is a good habit, after all.

Like that annoying aunt that asks you about your dating life at every family holiday, blue light and UV rays are pretty much unavoidable. But, by keeping the above in mind and implementing these changes into your daily skincare routine, you can help prevent and reverse skin damage from blue light. Now glow on, and live your life to the fullest.