Tips to Protect Yourself from Blue Light Exposure
Blue light is everywhere. It’s emitted from traffic lights, LED light bulbs, and most frequently, from our electronic devices. It’s normal for us to spend a few hours on our phones, watching cooking videos or scrolling through social media.
However, long-term exposure to blue light has been linked to wrinkle-causing free radical production and even negative health outcomes, such as obesity, heart disease, and even a shorter lifespan.3
But how does watching cat videos on my phone put me at risk for these negative health outcomes? Let’s find out.
Negative Effects on Skin
Researchers have found that even just 1 hour of exposure to blue light showed an increase of free radical production in the body. Free radicals are well-known for accelerating the aging process. They cause the most outside damage to our skin in the form of wrinkles and other signs of aging. As we age, our bodies naturally produce more and more free radicals. At the same time, our skin cells become less efficient at repairing the damage they cause. Therefore, the longer and more frequently you expose yourself to blue light, the more free radicals are produced in your body; making you age faster both inside and out in the form of wrinkles.
However, blue light does more damage to our skin than giving us wrinkles.
Since blue light keeps us awake longer at night, it causes our bodies to release the stress hormone, cortisol. Studies have shown that cortisol can cause inflammation in the skin, resulting in acne breakouts and flare-ups of psoriasis and eczema.5
To ensure healthy, glowing skin, we can take precautions to limit the damage caused by blue light. We’ll talk about the use of antioxidants and other great tools near the end!
Negative Effects on Sleep
You may have a friend who once told you they wished they could stay awake forever. Think of all the things they could accomplish instead of sleeping! The truth is, we spend 1/3 of our lives asleep. That may seem scary at first, especially for your ambitious friend, but sleep is important for our bodies to function normally.
Blue light prevents your body from releasing the sleep hormone, melatonin, at its scheduled time. This makes you stay up later and can cause a myriad of negative health outcomes, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even a shorter lifespan. In one study, 10 participants who were forced to sleep later than usual, experienced higher blood sugar levels: putting them in a prediabetic state.
Ever have the late-night munchies? Lack of sleep also causes a decrease in leptin, the hormone that tells us when you’re full and when to stop eating. This could be why lack of sleep is related to obesity and heart disease.3
How to Protect Yourself
Though it’s recommended you stay away from screens at least three hours before bed, we know that’s not realistic for most of us. Instead, here are four ways you can limit your blue light exposure to get better sleep and slow down the aging process!
1. Add vitamin C to your diet and skincare regime.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps our bodies fight free radicals. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat!” Try adding vitamin C rich foods, such as broccoli and strawberries, to your diet. Also, consider adding vitamin C supplements to your daily routine. Our Tru-C gummies contain the same amount of vitamin C as eating 3 1/2 oranges! Combine these with a vitamin C face serum and you’ll be fully protected!
2. Get more sunlight during the day.
Not only does sunlight brighten our mood, but it also strengthens your circadian rhythm, so you can fall asleep easier at night! Go out for a walk on your lunch break or open your blinds to let in lots of light! Receiving that natural sunlight will make your day brighter and help you get some much-needed vitamin D!
3. Wear blue light glasses.
You can find a pair of blue light glasses for as cheap as $20 to as pricey as over $100! If you’d like to save some money with a cheaper pair, we recommend pairing your glasses with the following step.
4. Use free blue light filter apps on your phone or desktop.
These apps allow you to choose the intensity and color of the blue light filter you’d like to use. Yellow to orange to red tints are the most effective at filtering blue light and protecting your skin and eyes! This is a great alternative for those who enjoy playing video games or surfing social media apps at night!
The sun’s rays aren’t the only form of light we need to be worried about. Just like how we wear sunscreen and take precautions against exposure to UV light, we also need to take precautions against blue light exposure.
Follow these tips to prevent blue light from speeding up your aging process and to lower your risk of negative health outcomes as a result of blue light exposure.
- Arjmandi, N., et al. Journal of Biomedical Physical Engineering. 2018, Dec. 1;8(4), 447–452.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6280109/
- Breus, Michael J. Psychology Today. 2018, Jan. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201801/protect-yourself-blue-light-exposure
- Harvard Health Letter. 2019, August.https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
- Harvard Health Letter.2020, July 7.https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
- Sleep.org. (n.d.).https://www.sleep.org/how-sleep-improves-your-skin/