As an esthetician with 30 years of experience under her belt, Renée Rouleau has seen a lot of different skin situations. But thanks to the pandemic, 2020 brought about an entirely new slew of issues, including maskne, stressed skin, and dry hands. One of the biggest qualms, according to Rouleau, is the rising concern of blue light, thanks to the fact that we’re all spending the majority of our days glued to our screens. This is why she expects to see a boom of blue-light-protecting products hit the market in 2021.
“Yes, we have been talking about blue light for a bit, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we love our techy tools and toys,” says Rouleau. As we called out in our own 2021 Trends report, the new Zoom-heavy way of life has sparked an increased interest in defending our skin against the long term effects of screen time. Conversations surrounding blue light damage, the wavelengths that are emitted from phone screens and laptops, were up 121 percent on Reddit this year. These rays cause a proliferation of free radical damage that causes a breakdown of collagen and elastic tissues and can lead to issues like inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and skin laxity.
“To lessen the damage caused by blue light, you’ll want to use skin-care ingredients in your products that use both direct and indirect antioxidants,” says Rouleau. “[Antioxidants] are members of a complicated biological system that defend the body against increased production of free radicals caused from blue light as well as from the air we breathe, cigarette smoke, UV sunlight, stress, and smog.” To fight off blue light damage while you sit in front of your computer, she suggests looking for products that contain antioxidants like pomegranate, algae, glutathione, niacinamide, and coenzyme Q10.
The good news? Just as Rouleau predicted, the skin-care market has already seen some buzzy innovations in its blue light defense and damage repair offerings (and it’s only the first month of the year!). Scroll through to see the ones we’re most excited about—and keep an eye out for new launches from Colorescience, Goodhabit Skin, and EltaMD later this year.
Everyone’s favorite sunscreen brand has gotten in on the indoor game with the launch of a first-of-its kind vitamin C sunscreen serum. The combination of SPF 40 and antioxidant-packed vitamin C works to defend against free radical damage from UVA, UVB, and blue light rays, and cuts out a step of your routine to make it easier than ever to remember to apply sunscreen 365 mornings of the year.
Shop now: Supergoop! Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 Serum, $48
Since your skin is exposed to blue light during the day, it’s a good idea to repair the damage overnight—and this moisturizer is designed to do exactly that. Made with marine-derived proteins, it works to replenish the naturally occurring enzymes in your skin, which helps your complexion fight off the DNA damage that blue light brings about.
Shop now: CellularMD Night Shield Lotion, $85
Jennifer Lopez is a sunscreen devotee, and her new SPF is meant for both indoor and outdoor protection. The lightweight whipped moisturizer is infused with antioxidant-packed licorice root, which fends off free radical damage from blue light. Plus, since it’s got SPF 30—which is what derms recommend for everyday use—your skin will be protected the moment you step away from your screen and go outside.
Shop now: J. Lo Beauty That Big Screen SPF 40, $46
Laneige’s cult-fave hydrating moisturizer just got an antioxidant upgrade. The latest launch from the brand is made with a potent vitamin C derivative, and a clinical trial conducted on 21 women aged 18 to 49 found that the moisturizer minimized the “undesirable effects caused by blue light”—like dullness and reduced elasticity—after two weeks of use.
Shop now: Laniege Radian-C Cream, $36
This spray is all about keeping your skin’s microbiome healthy, which is the first line of defense against any type of damage, including blue light. It’s made with powerful electrolytes like coconut water and sodium PCA, which provide antioxidant protection to fend off blue light in the first place, plus zinc, copper, and calcium gluconate, which stimulates collagen production to reduce some of its effects.
Shop now: Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Spray, $42
Speaking of pandemic-related skin issues, check out the video below for some dermatologist tips for how to fight maskne.