Physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide protect the skin from visible light and can prevent and treat skin conditions like premature aging and hyperpigmentation. Many skin conditions like melasma and are worsened blue light from the sun. This post will convince you to switch to using visible sunscreens as an agent in fighting hyperpigmentation and photo-aging.
How do visible sunscreens protect skin against visible light damage?
To understand how visible sunscreens protect one’s skin from photo-damage, we must explain what visible light is and how it affects the skin.
What is visible light?
All the colors that are visible to the human eye is a result of visible light being reflected of objects.
The visible light spectrum is the segment of the electromagnetic spectrum that the human eye can view.https://science.nasa.gov/ems/09_visiblelight
How does visible light affect the skin if absorbed?
Not all visible light is bad all the time. There are some great clinical uses for different colors of visible light. But, depending on your skin type and skin tone, visible light can hinder your skin from regenerating and improving.
Red light is good and is used in treatments for acne, scarring and other condition. Although, other types visible light is not good for the skin.
Wavelengths like blue light if absorbed by the skin (although great in treating acne) has been shown to product free radicals that destroy natural skin antioxidants. One such antioxidant that visible blue light destroys is vitamin C.
A lack of vitamin C hinders the skin from healing, causing skin cells to die, and in some types of skin, to promoting excessive melanin (brownish reddish pigments) production like melasma and hyperpigmentation in the skin that can last up to 3 months.
This is why it is so important to protect and heal the skin from visible light damage.
How do visible sunscreens prevent sunlight from damaging skin?
When sunscreens are invisible to the naked eye and you don’t see a color cast, it means that the visible light rays are getting absorbed by the skin and possibly reacting with skin cells in either good or bad ways that are even worse and longer lasting than those from UVA radiation.
How do visible sunscreens prevent harmful sun rays from penetrating the skin?
Most mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide o titanium dioxide give off a color cast that protects the skin from visible light by physically reflecting the visible sun light off of the skin. Some of those visible sun rays get reflected into the human eye which is translates as us seeing a white or “ugly” blue cast on skin covered with sunscreen.
A white cast means that a total of all visible light is reflected away from the skin.
A grey cast means the same thing but the white cast gives off a grey look on darker skin tone because the eye sees the dark color mixed in with the white minerals.
A blue cast means that the blue light is bouncing off the skin surface.
A violet cast means that the violet light is not getting absorbed by the skin.
What types of sunscreens are visible?
Mineral sunscreens like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are visible and provide physical protection against visible light.
Titanium dioxide mineral sunscreens give off a white cast.
The mineral zinc oxide gives off a blue hue to the skin.
Do invisible mineral sunscreens protect the skin from visible light?
Nano-zinc or micro titanium oxide is invisible to the human eye and therefore not effective against visible light, since they literally don’t reflect any color from the skin.
Chemical sunscreens that are slightly tinted may also protect the skin from visible light
Iron oxide in tinted sunscreens gives off yellow, brown and red tones.
There are a few chemical sunscreens look good on darker skin tones because they give off a yellow, brown or red cast which compliments brown skin.
If you cannot find a visible chemical sunscreen, you can use an invisible chemical sunscreen containing antioxidants. The antioxidants in sunscreens and other topical skin treatments replenish the skin.
Otherwise you can use skincare with antioxidants to reverse the effects of visible light.
Which antioxidants should invisible sunscreens include to reverse or prevent visible blue light damage?
- glycine soja
- gamma tocopherol
- tanacetum parthenium
- soy extract
- Iron oxide
Which skincare ingredients or nutritional antioxidants will help reverse skin damage from visible blue light?
The following antioxidants are great for skin renewal and healing for your whole body. You can get theses skin antioxidants in your diet, supplements or your favorite serums and creams. Some are commonly found in skincare.
- Vitamin C to replenish destroyed vitamin c in skin cells.
- vitamin E
- green tea
- vitamin A
- Co-enzyme q10
Can makeup help protect skin from visible light?
Yes, makeup products like color powder, concealer, BB and cc creams can be applied on their own to protect against visible light alone or can be applied on top normal UV sunscreen to provide an added benefit as visible light protection.
how do tinted sunscreens protect skin against visible light?
Tinted sunscreens that contain iron oxide will give you protection against visible light and UVB. The iron oxide in visible sunscreens and makeup reflect visible light away from the skin, before it has a chance to effect the skin biologically.
Best sunscreen for visible light protection:
I recommend wearing a sunscreen like normal zinc oxide with a blue or violet cast in order to protect you from visible blue or violet light while still letting the visible red light penetrate your skin to benefit from its healing properties against acne scars, eczema, melasma and hyperpigmentation.
Is skin damage and persistent hyperpigmentation from blue LED lights a myth?
Did you know that visible blue light is present in LED and other artificial lights in lamps and computer screens?
In the same way that there are man-made UV black lights that cause real damage to skin, we have LED lights that give off a cool (blue) light that has the same effect on skin as visible blue light from the sun.
This is why you should protect your skin against LED lamps with blue light.
How to protect your skin from artificial visible blue light?
Choose warm or yellow color LED lights if you can around your home at night. If you cannot change your lighting setup, make sure to wear skincare with antioxidants or blue light filters like a zinc oxide sunscreen at night. It can’t hurt, at least for as long as you’re trying to heal your skin from hyperpigmentation or melasma.
Now, you have alternative uses for those sunscreens you might have wanted to throw away.