Advocates of skin protection against blue light express concern about exposure to indoor lighting and electronic screens as
well as natural outdoor exposure. However, the nature of adverse effects in skin is unclear and the doses to induce effects
are unknown. We aimed to reveal whether there is a scientific basis for promoting skin protection against violet-blue light
(400–500 nm, VBL). Based on published literature, we determined the time to reach a threshold dose that induced a biological response in human skin. In the absence of an action spectrum for effects on skin, we used a hand held probe with a defined spectral response and measurements of the unweighted exposure between 400 and 500 nm to estimate the exposure by a selection of artificial light sources and solar light. For comparison, an outdoor threshold erythemally weighted UV dose was set to 1 SED (standard erythema dose). Outdoor, weighted irradiances were obtained using a radiative transfer model. Induction of pigmentation in human skin tissue was the only consistently reported endpoint after VBL exposure of about 65 Jcm−2. This threshold dose was reached in 0.5 to 20 months of exposure to indoor lighting sources. In comparison, specialised medical sources reached this dose in 0.5 min to 45 h. The time outdoors to reach 1 SED was shorter than the time to reach a VBL threshold dose throughout all seasons. Skin protection against VBL is superfluous for exposures to domestic lighting sources or screens and for solar radiation; however, it may be advantageous for patients suffering from photosensitive diseases or taking photosensitising medication.
Violet-blue light exposure of the skin: is there need for protection?
Christensen T, Johnsen BJ, Bruzell EM.
Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 2021, 10.1007/s43630-021-00043-9