The average person spends roughly seven hours on the internet each day. From working from home to catching up with friends, screens are a normal part of everyday life in the 21st century. And with that, people are curious about blue light's effects on skin health.

The effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays are widely known, including increased risk of skin cancer, sunburn, and premature aging. But UV light isn't the only type of light that harms your skin. Fortunately, tinted sunscreen can protect you outdoors and indoors, too. Here's what to know about tinted sunscreen and blue light.

Why Should You Protect Your Skin from Screens?

Unlike UV light from the sun, blue light is visible—meaning you can actually see it. So, it's often known as high-energy visible (HEV) light.

While most blue light comes from the sun, it's also emitted from screens (like smartphones, tablets, and computers), fluorescent lights, and LEDs. If you spend most of your time indoors, you may lower your exposure to direct sunlight but increase your exposure to artificial blue light.

Girl student freelancer working at home on a task, the cat is sitting on the window

So, should you be concerned about blue light harming your skin? While blue light from the sun is significantly more harmful than artificial blue light, the light from your screens isn't harmless. More research is needed to fully understand artificial blue light's effects. For example, there isn't strong evidence that blue light contributes to skin cancer, but research shows it plays a role in premature skin aging. Blue light exposure is associated with discoloration and hyperpigmentation (especially in darker skin tones), and it's believed to break down collagen and cause free radical damage.

Ultimately, experts recommend getting into the habit of applying sunscreen daily. If protection from blue light is important to you, opt for a tinted sunscreen that protects you from both UV and artificial light.

How Does Tinted Sunscreen Protect against Blue Light?

Tinted sunscreen contains pigments called Iron Oxides, which even out skin tone, combat white cast, and provide protection against blue light. Here's how it works.

Any sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection will effectively protect your skin from UV light. But not all sunscreens protect against visible blue light. Between the two main types of sunscreen—mineral and chemical—mineral (or physical) sunscreen is more effective at scattering and deflecting blue light. These sunscreens contain multiple ingredients that provide blue light protection, including Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.

But tinted sunscreens have a third layer of defense: the formerly mentioned Iron Oxides. The relationship between tinted sunscreen and blue light protection is primarily due to these added pigments. Research shows that Iron Oxides provide enhanced protection against blue light—especially when combined with Zinc Oxide.

How to Choose and Use Tinted Sunscreen

When selecting a tinted sunscreen, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests starting with the following basic criteria:

  • Broad-spectrum protection
  • SPF 30 or greater
  • Water resistance for up to 40 or 80 minutes

For optimal protection against blue light, look for sunscreens with Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, and Iron Oxides. Try a formula like EltaMD UV Restore Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 40, which includes this powerful trio plus antioxidant support, light coverage, and moisturizing ingredients like Squalane.

Tinted sunscreen can act like a foundation or BB cream by blurring mild imperfections and evening out your skin tone, but it's not makeup. So, treat it like a sun care product in your skin care routine. Apply it as the last step (after cleansing and moisturizing and before any makeup), and reapply at least every two hours during the day.

Making Skin Health a Priority

Even if you spend most of your day indoors, find a tinted sunscreen to add to your daily routine. Tinted sunscreen protects against the sunlight that penetrates through windows and the visible light from your computer screen or smartphone, so it works double-time for your skin. Apply it after you brush your teeth or while you wait for your morning coffee to brew—however you build the habit, you'll be glad you did.


  • Lacey Muinos

    Lacey is a Southern California-based freelance writer who combines her passions—fitness, health, and a vegan lifestyle—with her work to help readers feel and be their best. Her work has been featured in Healthline, Livestrong, Verywell Fit, Eat This Not That, KinderBeauty, and more.