Are Led Lights Harmful to the Skin? Answered

The skin is the largest organ of the human body, with a total surface area of about 20 square feet. The skin is primarily responsible for body temperature regulation, protection against microbes, and a receptor for sensations such as touch, heat, and cold.  

Are LED lights harmful to the skin? Yes, LED lights are harmful to the skin when exposed to LEDs for extended periods at proximity. Unlike incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs, LED lights do not emit UV rays which makes them safer for daily use. 

Can LED light make your skin darker?

Millions of people of diverse skin tones from around the world can experience hyperpigmentation at any age. You may or may not be aware of the use of broad-spectrum sunscreens in the prevention and treatment of dark marks. 

But are you aware that the blue light emitted from your phone and computers can make hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and melasma on your skin worse? This is specifically true for people with darker skin tones. 

What is blue light?

In simple terms, blue light is the light visible to the human eye, and it’s blue in color. The size of light waves varies with color, and blue light is a high-energy short wave. Because blue light is a short wave, it is likely to scatter, a phenomenon responsible for the sky’s blue appearance. Do you also know that the blue light emitted from the sun bounces around in our atmosphere? Now you know!

However, the sun is not the only avenue for blue light exposure. Electronic devices such as computer screens, televisions, smartphones, fluorescents, and LED lights also contribute to blue light exposure.  

While daytime exposure to blue light improves our mood and helps us pay attention, there are genuine concerns about its effect on our sleep patterns. 

Emerging evidence also suggests that blue light is capable of causing long-lasting discoloration issues with dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and melasma, particularly in people with melanin-rich skin. 

How can we protect our skin from LEDs?

The previous section establishes the fact that too much exposure to blue light emitted by LEDs can have long-lasting undesirable effects on your skin. By avoiding unnecessary exposure or keeping a safe distance from blue light sources, you can avoid the effects of overexposure to blue light. 

Before undergoing any form of blue light therapy such as “Seasonal Affective Disorder” therapy, ask for your provider’s history and experience in dealing with blue light and melanin-rich skin, including measures taken to minimize skin damage.

Vitamin c serum is a potent and effective antioxidant useful in the management of damage caused by free radicals as a result of blue light and improves hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin production to even skin tone. 

According to NY Times, using a mineral sunscreen with iron oxides is the “Gold Standard” in blue light protection. Indoor use of sunscreen may not be your first line of thought, but daily exposure to smartphones, computers, and televisions, necessitates the need to wear sunscreen while indoors to protect your skin from blue light exposure.

When it comes to mineral-based sunscreens, micronized forms of those minerals tend to offer the best protection, by ensuring that they do not leave a white cast on people with darker skin tones.

Are LED lights better for your skin than fluorescent lights?

The short answer is yes, LEDs are way better for your skin when compared to incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. The reason is that LEDs do not emit UV rays like incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. In addition to that, LEDs come in a variety of colors, “Warm white LEDs” and “Cool white LEDs”. 

Warm LEDs are healthier because they emit far lesser blue light than the “Cold LEDs”, which makes them safer for your skin.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) also make good options, they generally emit far lesser UV rays than incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. 


Though LEDs are generally thought to be safer options when it comes to your lighting needs, it is important to limit your exposure to them. You should also know that overexposure to LEDs does not only pose a threat to your skin health but can also affect your eyes. If ever in doubt about what type of LED to buy for your lighting needs, just remember that “Warm LED” bulbs are the safer options. 



Can a 400nm LED light cause skin cancer?

400nm is UVA. Both UVA and UVB can and will cause cancer. Cancer does not occur overnight, it is always a result of accumulated damage. The amount of damage from UV is exposure intensity times the exposure time. So it depends.

Do LED nail curing lamps tan skin like UV lamps?

LED nail curing lamps and UV lamps both use UVA. These lamps are fairly high-intensity and should not be used for more than 8 minutes at a time. Some researchers also believe that nail curing lamps may cause DNA damage to the skin in 12 sessions.

See Also: Are led lights harmful to the eyes?